Once again series action grabbed the headlines on a busy weekend of racing action at Balmoral Park.
Getting all the action underway on the Saturday afternoon card a field of nine Illinois conceived and foaled colts and geldings squared off in the $10,000 final of The Ideal Society Series.
This hotly contested series, which was fashioned for non-winners of four race lifetime, produced some thrilling finishes throughout the preliminary rounds and Saturday’s final was no different as Shirley and Arthur Le Vin’s Mr. Bluesuede Shoes prevailed by a hard fought head in 1:54.0.
Well handled by the red-hot Dale Hiteman Mr. Bluesuede Shoes was reserved early as I Know Your Lookin (Tim Tetrick) sped to the top from his outside starting spot. After watching that gelding rattle off an opening quarter in 28.2 Hiteman decided to get his charge underway from the middle of the pack.
Engaging the early leader midway down the backside I Know Your Lookin and Mr. Bluesuede Shoes were battling head and head for the lead as they rolled by the half-mile mark in 56.4.
The battle continued on the far turn with Mr. Bluesuede Shoes finally clearing to the lead midway around the final bend. Drawing clear of the lukewarm 5-2 favorite Mr. Bluesuede Shoes held a clear 1 ½ length advantage as he cruised by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:26.0.
Through the lane the Homer Hochstetler trainee dug in determinedly as he braced for the challenges of Our Beer Buddy (Mike Oosting), who had followed the live cover of Mr. Bluesuede Shoes, and Incredible Amos (Sam Widger) who patiently awaited room in the passing lane after a ground saving journey.
Coming to the wire a tired but game Mr. Bluesuede Shoes managed to keep a nostril in front of the hard charging Our Beer Buddy while Incredible Amos wound up just a length back in third.
The homebred son of Majestic Blue is now a perfect two for two in 2006 after posting three wins in his sophomore season.
The sky’s opened between the day and the night program so Saturday evening’s $10,000 Big Dog Series was contested over a sloppy racetrack.
Splashing home with an impressive come from behind victory was Joseph Mulcahy and Neva Grevengoed’s Triggerfish who came flying between horses to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:57.2.
Content to bide time along the pylons while Third Day (Mike Oosting), Grouchy Old Man (Darcy Pletcher) and Average Joe (Dave Magee) all took turns battling through splits of 28.3, 56.0 & 1:26.4 driver Shawn Christner never panicked even after Triggerfish had been shuffled to seventh at the top of the lane.
As the vicious early duel began to take a toll on the leg weary leaders Christner began to weave his way through traffic with the Jerald Grevengoed trainee. Picking off rivals one by one as they searched for a clear path to the wire Triggerfish and Christner were in high gear as they blew by the field for the second straight week. Audience Of One (Tom Insko) who made a big three-wide move on the far turn rallied to be second while Third Day did a nice job of holding on for third.
Dating back to the final month of his 2005 campaign, this four-year-old son ofhas now been victorious in four of his last six outings.
Another pair of finals headlined the Sunday night action as nine pacing fillies met in the $10,000 Pacific Pacing Series Final and a full field of 10 trotters knocked heads in the $12,000 Crete Trotting Series Finale.
In the Pacific Series wrap-up it was Pinske Stables fine looking filly Crisis who toted home top honors, albeit via a judge’s disqualification, of the original race winner Gro.
In a wild and wooly affair right from the word go the lead changed hands several times throughout the mile as horses were three and four-wide by the half-mile mark.
As the field sped away from the gate driver Tim Tetrick elected to put Gro on the front end and the daughter ofled the field through an opening quarter in 28.4.
After briefly giving up the lead on the backstretch to a hard charging Sign Of The Day (Dale Hiteman), Tetrick pulled from the pocket and had Gro back on top by a head as Crisis rolled up three-wide for driver Dave Magee. Senuous Dreams (Randy Jacobs) also had a full head of steam and she was powering up four deep as the field reached the half-mile mark in 56.4.
Heading around the final turn Crisis was gamely fighting to stave off the first over challenge from a determined Senuous Dreams. Gro was desperately looking for a way out of the pocket again but had nowhere to go as Fox Valley Casndra (Mike Oosting) rolled up second over as the fillies reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.2.
In the lane Senuous Dreams finally overtook the pace setting Crisis, drawing clear to a three-quarter length advantage at the eighth pole. Gro was becoming quite a handful for Tetrick as they searched for a way out from behind Crisis. In the process Gro and Fox Valley Casndra bumped causing Fox Valley Casndra to make a break.
After finally shaking loose Gro would go on to win the race by 1 ½ lengths but the inquiry sign immediately began to flash. After speaking to both drivers the judges disqualified Gro from first to eighth which moved a game Crisis into the top spot. A late rushing Audrey’s Queen (Gary Rath) was moved from third to second while Senuous Dreams went from fourth to third.
With the win this royally bred but lightly raced daughter ofnow sports a career record of four wins in her last six starts. The winning time for the John Butenschoen trainee was 1:55.4.
The Crete Trotting Series preliminary legs produced five different winners so Sunday night’s finale figured to be a heated affair from start to finish. Unfortunately for the rest of his rivals PB Racing Stables and Stan Blumenfeld’s AllN continued his red-hot start to the 2006 season as he used the passing lane to perfection in a 1 ½ triumph.
Sent right to the front by driver Mike Oosting, this New Zealand import led the field through an opening quarter in 28.3.
With a torrid pace continuing down the backstretch Oosting elected to back off a bit with this 11-year-old gelding giving way to a hard charging Fall Creek Mist (Dave Magee) who hit took the field to the half in 56.2.
Trotting around the final turn Fall Creek Mist was clinging to a narrow lead as a first over Awesome Tom (Dean Magee) pulled alongside the pace setter. Moving by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1 Oosting was perfectly content to sit third in the pocket as the top two slugged it out.
Moving through the lane Awesome Tom finally surged ahead of Fall Creek Mist with an eighth of a mile to go. That’s when Oosting maneuvered his charge into the passing lane and AllN quickly blew by his rivals as he won for the third straight week in 1:57.0. Fall Creek Mist turned in a big effort to hold on for second while Awesome Tom was a strong third.