SEVEN IN A ROW FOR HOT N SPORTY

03:52 AM 13 Aug 2005 NZST
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Hot and nasty. That could be the description used for the first day's weather at the Illinois State Fair.

Instead it describes the racing action over the famed mile in Springfield, Illinois, as the 2-Year-Old Illinois breds attacked the record books yet again.

2-Year-Old colt pacer Lucky's Z Tam became the fastest freshman in North America with an amazing 1.50.2 mile.

Illinois Conceived and Foaled season's marks were also re-written in three different instances.

Andy Miller raced Lucky's Z Tam parked fourth at the quarter behind R Coleateral (Tony Morgan) who raced on the point but parked, My Boy David (Patrick Berry) in second on the rail, and Cool Cal (Eric Ledford) third over.

Miller then raced the Cole Muffler colt covered on the rail in second at the half mile mark with Dr. Lon (Tim Tetrick) leading but parked three wide, and My Boy David third.

Miller had lost a 1 ½ lengths by three quarters to Dr. Lon and Tetrick, but then moved his colt first over from the rail to lead the field at the top of the stretch. Lucky's Z Tam then sped home with a 27.1s final quarter to finish with the new seasons mark of 1.50.2.

Trainer David Mc Caffrey said following the colt's performance that the big mile could “work for us or against us.”

His major concern was that the top 2-Year-Old in the division, Hot N Sporty, will be quite rested for Thursday's final after basically “shooting free throws” in his elimination.

Lucky's Z Tam is a son of Cole Muffler owned by MJGB Racing stables Inc. of New York and Mc Caffrey. The youngster has established the remarkable standard in only his third start.

The three winners of eliminations for 2-Year-Old filly trotters were all sent postward from the Ervin Miller Stable.

Andy Miller piloted Vickie, a Valley Victor daughter, to a new Illinois Conceived and Foaled seasons mark of 1.59.3 in Friday's first race.

That mark lasted as long as the next race when Miller again, this time behind Miss Imperial, piloted the Imperial Victory daughter to another new ICF mark of 1.58.4.

It however appears that both of those fillies will be chasing Victor's Finesse in the final. Fresh from her third place finish in the $390,000 Merrie Annebelle at the Meadowlands, things looked bleak for the Valley Victor miss until about three hundred feet from the tele-timer's beam.

Miller then spotted an opening along the rail and squeezed his charge through to win in 2.00.1.

Giant Jelly Bean ( Gene Miller ) came on for second, and Cherry Lane Star (Dirk Simpson) was third.

The new ICF season's mark established by Miss Imperial is her third win in four starts, albeit her first over a mile racing surface.

Her previous starts were over the half mile ovals of the Illinois county fair circuit. The filly is owned by Jack Hood, Mystical Marker Farms, and the Ervin Miller Stable.

Don't set the record book down yet. You Make Me Smile driven by Mike Oosting set yet another ICF season's mark in the fifth race with her 1.52.1 timed mile.

Handicapped by post nine as the gate folded, Oosting had the filly moving on the backstretch to race sixth but parked out by four and one quarter lengths at halftime.

He then sent her three-wide at three quarters to get around a tiring Gypsy's Girl (Hart Walker) and the first up racing Annies Smokin Gun with Tony Morgan behind.

It was all You Make Me Smile through the lane as she put smiles on the faces of trainer Roger Welch and owner Lynn Wilfong with the new mark.

Eric Ledford established that “Sonny Knew”, how to get to the wire first that is, to turn in the fastest elim for 2-Year-Old colt trotters.

The Doug Graham trained, and co-owned with brother Danny Graham Valley Victor gelding covered the mile in 1.56.2.

He'll face Kan Wire, a 1.58.3 wire-to-wire winner owned by Jerry and Helen Logan of Coffeyville, Kansas, and also Fox Valley Cayenne, a 1.59.1 winner for owner Tanah Merah Farms, in Thursday's afternoon final.

Then came the eliminations for the 2-Year-Old colt pacers.

Fox Valley Tribal and driver Andy Miller set the standard for the other two elims to follow by pacing the mile in 1.52. That mark set him directly behind season's leaders Western Ace, 1.51.2, and Total Truth, 1.51.4.

The Hot N Sporty juggernaut was up next in the tenth race and the crowd anxiously waited to see what the Sprotsmaster gelding would stop the tele-timer in.

Tony Morgan floated the Jim Crebs trainee from the gate, and then raced fourth by 4 ¼ lengths at the quarter pole. He then set sail for the front at three eighths and never looked back.

Sporty cruised through fractions of a 28.1 half mile, and 1.26.1 three quarters, with the mile being raced in 1.53.2.

Owner-trainer Crebs said afterwards:

“Morgan never took the whip from underneath his arm. Sporty did it pretty much on his own.

"Tony didn't have to pop the earplugs because I don't use them. I use a hood over his ears to keep him calm when warming up, but then I pull them off when he races.

"He's a calm and collected horse around the barn. He laid down and took a nap before racing today, but once he hits the track, he's a completely different horse.”

Hot N Sporty, still undefeated with seven wins in as many starts, will look for number eight in what may turn out to be a very competitive final Thursday at the Illinois State Fair.

Racing continues Saturday, August 13 as the 3-Year-Old Colt Stake eliminations commence at 12 noon (CDT).

Grand Circuit racing comes to the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Monday and Tuesday.

Hambletonian runner-up Classic Photo will be sent postward by the Ervin Miller Stable in the Alexander Stakes.

Post time for those cards will be 4.30 pm (CDT).

ourtesy Of Timothy M. Jones

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