Day At The Track

Sophomores star in state-bred stake action

08:10 AM 08 Jul 2012 NZST
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Uncle Smoothie Fox Valley Hermia Financial Effort
Uncle Smoothie - Reeled off an unbelievable final quarter of 25.2
Fox Valley Hermia - A daughter of Yankee Skyscaper-Hidden Princess
Financial Effort - A daughter of Yankee Skyscaper-Finance The Farm

Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds were front and center on Saturday, July 7th at Balmoral Park as a total of 15 harness racing sophomores battled in a pair of $10,000 Ohyouprettything Stake splits while seven of their male counterparts squared off in the $12,000 Hothead Stake.

In the opening split Donald Laufenberg’s Financial Effort found room in mid-stretch, rallying sharply to score by 2 ¾ lengths in a career best of 1:53.0 for driver Robert Smolin.

Taking advantage of the inside starting spot the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper-Finance The Farm sat in the pocket as a head strong Fox Valley Matinee (Brian Carpenter) rattled through opening splits of 27.4 & 57.1.

With the fractions slowing as the fillies moved around the final bend driver Marcus Miller moved MJ’s Bid to the outside where she made a power sweep from sixth to first as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.0.

In the stretch the big move began to take a toll on MJ’s Bid as she began to tire. Hostess Lisa (Todd Warren) was now in gear and gaining quickly on the leader as Smolin searched for racing room with Financial Effort, who was pushed back briefly at the top of the lane by the tiring Fox Valley Matinee.

Securing a clear path to the wire after moving to the far outside with an eighth of a mile to go, Financial Effort then kicked it into high gear quickly gobbling up the top pair with a wicked 26.3 final quarter to secure her second win in six starts this season. Hostess Lisa held on for second while MJ’s Bid was third.

Overlooked a bit at the betting windows the Lloyd Daulton trained Financial Effort returned $11.60, $4.20 & $2.80 to those who backed her.

The second division also provided a bit of an upset as Jesse Ferge & Ronald Phillips Fox Valley Hermia stormed right to the front in her usual fashion and wound up making every call a winning one in a lifetime best of 1:52.4.

Zipping right to the top from post position five the speedy daughter of Yankee Skyscaper-Hidden Princess carved out splits of 28.3, 58.1 & 1:25.3 while under very little pressure from her seven rivals.

Still fit and fresh as the field turned for home the Ronnie Gillespie trained and driven miss rolled home in 27.1 to post her third win in five starts this season. Favored Sleazy Does It (Mike Oosting) rallied to finish second while Kendyl (Mike Oosting) turned a ground saving trip into a third place check.

Installed as the 9-2 third choice in the morning line Fox Valley Hermia still managed to escape at 9-1 at “off-time” returning a healthy $20.60, $6.20 & $3.80. The long striding chestnut now boasts a very impressive lifetime slate of 11 win in 15 career starts with earnings of $37,735.

Fresh off a hard fought victory in the Betzotic Stake here on June 30th, Sawgrass Farms Uncle Smoothie made it two in a row as he charged by Al’s Hammered in the late going to score by 2 ½ lengths in a career best of 1:50.3.

Getting away in the garden spot as NJ’s Big Deal (Ronnie Gillespie) carved out leisurely splits of 27.2 & 57.4 driver Brian Carpenter was content to save all the ground with Uncle Smoothie throughout the early going.

Heading around the far turn driver Robert Smolin sent Al’s Hammered on a mission for the lead and that colt went flying right by the pace setting NJ’s Big Deal, speeding past the three-quarter-mile station in 1:24.3.

Facing a 2 ½ length deficit at the mid-stretch call Uncle Smoothie slowly began to gather in a leg weary Al’s Hammered. With long smooth strides, the gelded son of Sportsmaster-Kan Commute reeled off an unbelievable final quarter of 25.2, blowing right by Al’s Hammered to post his fourth win in nine starts this year. Al’s Hammered finished a hard fought second while NJ’s Big Deal was third.

With the win Uncle Smoothie now sports a gaudy career record of nine wins, three seconds and three thirds in 19 starts with $137,353 in earnings while under the guidance of veteran conditioner Nelson Willis. Uncle Smoothie returned $10.00, $4.40 & $2.80.

by Tom KELLEY

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