Day At The Track


02:59 AM 16 Aug 2005 NZST
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Monday's (August 15) card at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, originally scheduled for a 4.30 pm (CDT) post time, has been rescheduled because of rain in the central Illinois area.

It rained all day on Sunday, the westher looked threatening this morning, and raindrops ten began falling at approximately 1.00 pm on Monday.

Racing was rescheduled for noon on Tuesday, and Monday's entire card will be raced before Tuesday's scheduled Grand Circuit races.

Illinois-bred 2-Year-Olds have been terrors on the Chicago racing circuit and at the county fairs this year, and have repeatedly set season’s marks or erased track records, and this past Friday’s freshman eliminations at the Illinois State Fair set high expectations for this coming Thursday’s finals.

The David McCaffrey-trained Lucky’s Z Tam became a season’s leader when the 2-Year-Old Cole Muffler colt blazed over the Springfield mile oval in 1.50.2 with Andy Miller at the helm.

The mile put the colt at the top of the list, ahead of some very talented and stiff competition.

Western Ace and Total Truth rocketed to 1.51.2 and 1.51.4 miles, respectively, and rank one-two as season’s leaders.

Pujols, another Cole Muffler phenomenon, originally from Southern Illinois, was another talented colt who stepped into the spotlight when he easily won a Woodrow Wilson Elimination, and then finished third in the final, won by Western Ace, in 1.51.2.

The green-goggled Lucky’s Z Tam’s mile raised some eyebrows because he accomplished the feat in only his third start.

McCaffrey said that he was “all smiles” in the training bike, because of the youngster’s willingness and speed when overtaking other horses.

Lost in the shadow of Lucky’s Z Tam’s mile was a performance by the Ervin Miller-trained Fox Valley Tribal, also with Andy Miller at the controls.

The Sportsmaster gelding raced off the pace, by 1 ¼ lengths, through most his elimination, and then kicked home in 27.1 seconds and tripped the timer in 1.52.

That mile ranked him third among season’s leaders -- until two races later, when Lucky’s Z Tam hit the track. The effort this past Friday left him ranked fourth.

The mystery horse in this division of Illinois-breds is the Jim Crebs-trained Hot N Sporty.

The undefeated Sportsmaster gelding, in seven starts, has yet to be tested. McCaffrey may have said it best when he described “Sporty’s” elimination as “shooting free throws.”

In their only meeting of the year, Hot N Sporty sprinted away from Pujols with just under one-eighth of the mile to the wire, and has yet to be seriously challenged.

Tony Morgan has been able to race the colt pretty much as he wants.

Hot N Sporty has won from the front, been covered in traffic, or has won with a burst of speed in the lane. Crebs has “no idea how fast” his trainee can pace. Morgan has simply “not had to race him that hard.”

But that may change on Thursday because Hot N Sporty drew post 10, while Lucky’s Z Tam will leave from post four -- and Fox Valley Tribal will start inside the latter, in post position three.

The Roger Welch-trained You Make Me Smile will start from post position 10.

Her 1.52.1 mile with Mike Oosting in the bike established the Cape Crusader freshman filly as the fastest in North America.

The post position may, or may not affect her that much, however, because she left from post nine in a nine-horse field in her elimination.

She raced dead last, by 7 ¼ lengths, at the quarter pole, raced in the outer flow on the backstretch, and then erased a 2 ½ length deficit in the lane and won by 3 ¼ measures. She has won three of five and nearly $57,000 for owner Lynn Wilfong.

The Valley Victor gelding, Sonny Knew, made himself nationally known with his 1.56.2 mile for driver Eric Ledford.

His previous start, at the Brown County Fair in Mt. Sterling, Ill., saw him erase an enormous lead that had been held by county fair circuit stalwart EBM Superman midway on the final turn, and won going away.

Ledford rated the Doug Graham trainee through moderate fractions through most of the elimination, and they steadily gained ground on the Tim Tetrick-driven Cunning, who made a break while on the lead at the half-mile pole, and Cruz Bay (Andy Miller), who was 1 ½ lengths ahead of Sonny Knew at the head of the stretch.

Sonny Knew and Ledford then hit the afterburners as they came to the wire, where they posted a three length, 1.56.2 win.

That mile placed Sonny Knew directly behind Here Comes Herbie, who has a 1.56f mark and has won more than $37,000.

The results of this Thursday’s Colt Stakes finals, to be raced at the Illinois State Fair, may be a mystery now, but with all that talent going postward it’s a mystery to be met with much anticipation.

Post time on “Championship Thursday” will be at 12 noon (CDT).

ourtesy Of Timothy M. Jones, United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom Correspondent

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