A pair of state-bred stakes for sophomore pacers and trotters closed out a big Memorial Day weekend of action on Sunday night (May 29) at Balmoral Park.
A field of 10 trotting colts were sent postward in the $50,000 Cardinal Stake Final and when the smoke cleared from this battle it was Sherrie’s Delight, owned by Michael Polansky, who emerged victorious with an impressive 2 ¼ length triumph in 1.56.4.
Fresh off a front stepping win to open his second season in last week’s elimination this son of Keystone Kim was the beneficiary of a perfect ground saving journey as he allowed Bear Claw (Tim Tetrick) to carve out fractions of 28 seconds, 58.1s, 1.28.
Sitting fit and fresh along the pylons after that golden journey, driver Tony Morgan maneuvered his colt into a clear lane as they stormed home in 28.3 to win handily.
Last year’s division champion Victrola (Andy Miller) turned in a solid effort as he came on late to be the runner-up while a tired Bear Claw hung on for third, seven lengths behind the winner.
Under the watchful eye of conditioner Tom Harmer, Sherrie’s Delight has posted five wins, one second and three thirds in 10 career starts for earnings $43,837.
The sophomore filly pacing set was also in action on Sunday night as a field of 10 good looking ladies slugged it out in the $56,600 Violet Stake Final.
Once again a perfect trip was parlayed into a victory as Shirley and Arthur Le Vin’s 13-1 longshot, Major Shirley continued an impressive second season with a ¾ length score in a snappy 1.52.1.
After leaving quickly from post seven, driver Dean Magee did a magnificent job of finding a spot in fourth along the pylons with his filly.
With 4-5 favorite Brianna Joy (Mike Oosting) cruising through splits of 27.3 seconds, 57s and 1.24, Major Shirley was content to sit inside while patiently biding her time.
Things heated up in the stretch as Brianna Joy was forced to fend off a big first over bid from Fox Valley Zena.
After putting away that fillies bid by the mid-stretch call the heavy favourite had to prepare for the ground savers in the group Major Shirley and Time For A Win (Anthony Morgan).
With those two breathing down her neck a Brianna Joy dug in determinedly but she could not hold off the 27.2s closing burst by the hard charging Major Shirley and was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role.
Madge’s Girl (Brent Holland) who was coupled in the wagering with Brianna Joy came flying from far back to get the show dough.
With the win the Homer Hochstetler trained miss has racked up seven wins, two seconds and one third in 15 starts this season for earnings of $57,767.
Courtesy Of Tom Kelley, Publicity Director, Balmoral Park