Day At The Track

Southland festival eliminations wrap-up

06:03 AM 26 Jul 2010 NZST
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Muscatine Marcus Miller and Mystical Victress Merry High
Muscatine - Trotted his way to his fourth victory of the year
Marcus Miller and Mystical Victress - Teamed up for a wire to wire victory in the Ann Vonian Stake
Merry High - Scored in come from behind fashion for driver Mike Oosting

After a busy Saturday night of harness racing elimination action for next weekend's Southland Festival of Racing the countdown to the big weekend continued with three more elimination's for state-bred pacers and trotters on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

The first elimination of the night featured Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old trotting fillies as a field of 10 was sent postward looking for spots in next week's $44,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake. The top nine finishers will join KF's Picture Perfect who was given a bye on a money earned basis.

As was the case on Saturday night when he posted four elimination tallies, leading driver Mike Oosting continued to drive with a hot hand as he guided Trenton & Brenda Watson's Merry High to a one-length victory in 1:57.2 to get the action started.

Kept well off the early pace which was being set by Southern Maebelle (Brian Carpenter), Oosting ducked to seventh after leaving from post position eight.

After watching last year's champ roll through splits of 28.3, 59.1 & 1:28.3 Oosting moved the daughter of High Falls-Merry Game into striking position as the field neared the top of the stretch.

Showing no ill effects after missing a month between starts due to an illness the Trenton Watson trained miss began gobbling up ground as the field moved through the lane. Powering by one rival after another, the bay filly was well within herself as she rolled by everyone for her third win in 12 starts this season. Powerful Bella (Marcus Miller) turned a ground saving trip into a second place finish while a pocket sitting Claires Rose (Dave Magee) wound up third.

Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Click, Fox Valley Ripple, Southern Maebelle, St. Louis Holiday, Vapor Girl and Fox Valley Sienna.

Next up were sophomore pacing fillies as a field of 10 looked for seven openings in next week's $56,000 Ann Vonian Stake final where they will be joined by leading money winners Cotton Candy, Fox Valley Dazzle & Fox Valley Oracle.

Taking home the top honors in this tussle was the Ervin Miller trained Mystical Victress as she wound up making every call a winning one, scoring by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:53.3.

Confidently handled by driver Marcus Miller the daughter of Sportsmaster-Sneakheravalentine stormed right to the top from post position five.

In complete control of the proceedings as she stepped through splits of 28.3, 57.3 & 1:26.4 the 11-time winner rebuffed a challenge from a first over Rolldownthehiway (Mike Oosting) at the top of the lane and then proceeded to cruise home with her third straight Balmoral Park triumph. Rolldownthehiway was a game second while Ribbons N Pearls (Dave Magee) overcame some late traffic problems to grab the show dough.

Also moving on to the final were Fox Valley Angie, Ellamakailey, Leanmean Normajean and Cole Blue.

The final elimination of the night featured three-year-old trotting colts as a field of 10 looked for seven open spots in next week's $46,000 Kadabra Stake.

Coming up big once again despite not getting the hype he deserves Miranda Lyon & Paula Smith's Muscatine unleashed a big closing kick to win by a length in a career best of 1:55.0.

Placed in mid-pack through the early stages driver Dale Hiteman was able to save ground through the opening five-eighths of a mile as Run And Tell Pap (Mike Cox) and Somore Set (Lance Scurlock) battled tooth and nail through fractions of 28.1 & 56.0.

Moving to the outside midway around the final bend, Hiteman had the son of Tequila Spur-Star Slinger in perfect striking position as the leaders continued to duel while trotting by the three-quarter-mile station in a brisk 1:25.1.

Swinging outside of the tiring leaders the Joel Smith trainee quickly swallowed up the early leaders and was on cruise control the rest of the way as he scored for the fourth time in 13 starts this season. Powerful Speed (Todd Warren), came from far back to rally for the place spot while Big Bucks (Casey Leonard), who was dead last at the top of the stretch, rallied to be third.

Super Sonic Flash, Run And Tell Pap, Dutch Commander and Somore Set also gained spots in next week's final.

Tom Kelley

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