Day At The Track

This lady is quite the "charmer"

05:40 AM 10 Sep 2015 NZST
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Fox Valley Charm will put a three-race winning streak on the line
Fox Valley Charm will put a three-race winning streak on the line
David Baum Photo
Fresh off a very convincing 1¾ length score in last week's elimination action Peter Karras's Fox Valley Charm will put a three-race winning streak on the line when she steps on to the track as the morning line harness racing favorite in Saturday's $116,000 Grandma Ann Championship for three-year-old pacing fillies.
 
After admittedly flying under the radar a bit during her freshman season, the $2,500 yearling purchase has really started to blossom under the tutelage of veteran conditioner Dirk Simpson who seems to be quite smitten by the bay daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Cherub.
 
"She's really a nice horse to be around every day," said Simpson. "She loves to do her work, she's happy to go out to the track and she's a big strong filly who is as consistent as they come and just seems to keep getting better and better."
 
Lightly raced during the 2014 season Fox Valley Charm gave her connections a pretty good preview of the talent she possessed right out of the box as she opened her career with three straight victories, which included a Department of Ag. Stake score in 1:55.1 at Springfield. After closing out her first season with a win in a Betzotic Stake at Balmoral in early November Simpson turned the filly out for some "growing up time". For the year Fox Valley Charm wound up with a record of four wins, three seconds and a third in 10 starts while racking up just over $25,000 in earnings.
 
"I was really happy with the way she finished up last year and when we put her away for the year she was still fresh and not worn down a bit," explained Simpson. "Her owner, (Peter Karras) believes in giving his horses plenty of time out in the field so we just took our time bringing her back and that's probably why it's starting to pay dividends later in the year like it is now."
 
An even bigger and stronger Fox Valley Charm made her sophomore debut in early June, tuning up for her second season with a sharp qualifying effort at Simpson's home base at the State Fair Grounds in Springfield. From there it was on to Hoosier Park for a couple of starts before returning to Illinois where she captured the Mystical Victress Stake in 1:53.3 on June 28th.
 
After a couple of uncharacteristic breaks cost her better finishes in the Ann Vonian Stake and the State Fair Stake in Springfield Simpson decided to make a couple of changes with the filly and those "tweaks" have seemed to do the trick.

"One of the main things we wanted to do was get the same driver on her every week so we turned to Mike Oosting and he's done a great job with her," said Simpson. "We added a couple of head poles as well and covered her up a little bit and she's really been good these last few weeks. We're certainly hoping it continues right into Saturday's final for us."

Oosting seems to be equally impressed by Fox Valley Charm's recent victories.
 
"She likes to leave out of there in a hurry and she really surprised me with how long she can carry that high turn of speed," said Maywood Park's leading driver. "I've been trying to teach her a few things in these last few starts as well and she really seems to get it. She is getting better and better with each start and I believe she's got some big things ahead of her if she continues to progress like she has."
 
Tom Kelley
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