Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old harness racing pacing colts hit the track on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a total of 14 youngsters lined up behind the gate for a pair of $10,700 Betzotic Stake splits.
In the first division John & Mary Krasnican’s Big Brad took advantage of a late break by the 1-2 favorite, Fox Valley Action, parlaying the miscue into a 1 ½ length victory in 1:54.1 over a sloppy track.
After leading the field through an opening quarter in 28.4, driver Bobby Smolin elected to let a hard charging Fox Valley Action (Todd Warren) grab command as the field headed down the backside.
Sitting in the pocket as Fox Valley Action battled with a first over Fox Valley Christo (Dave Magee) through splits of 57.4 & 1:26.3 Big Brad was still fit and fresh as the field turned for home.
With Fox Valley Action continuing to lead through the lane Big Brad used the passing lane to draw closer to the heavy favorite. As the two good looking youngsters neared the wire, disaster struck for Fox Valley Action as he went off-stride allowing Smolin and Big Brad to blow by for the colt’s second career victory. Fox Valley Action held on to the second spot since he was not lapped on at the wire while Murvey Vinny (Josh Sutton) rallied to be third.
The Bob Phillips trainee now boasts a record of 2-1-3 in 6 lifetime starts with earnings of $46,270. The son of-One Sure Thing returned $9.20 & $3.20. There was no show wagering.
In the nightcap Richard Beere’s Collet Hotspur dispatched of six rivals using the passing lane to perfection while recording a half-length victory in 1:55.1 for driver John Roberts.
Sent to the front from post position six by Roberts the son of Ft. Apache Hannover-Lookin Her Best led the field through a brisk opening quarter of 27.4.
Roberts then tapped the breaks with the Nelson Willis trainee prompting Casey Leonard to send Ready to the front as the field raced towards the half-mile mark.
Positioned perfectly in the garden spot as Ready rolled through middle splits of 56.4 & 1:26.1 Roberts and Collet Hotspur patiently waited for the passing lane as the youngsters fanned out through the stretch.
Urged down to the pylons Collet Hotspur finally overtook the pace setter with a sixteenth of a mile to go, gradually drawing clear of that rival and a fast closing Fox Valley Norman to win for the third time in seven lifetime starts. Fox Valley Norman (Mike Oosting), who made a bold first over bid around the far turn, was a game second while Ready hung on for third.
Sent off as the 4-5 choice of the wagering public Collet Hotspur returned $3.60, $2.40 $2.40 while moving his record to 3-1-2 in 7 starts with earnings of $34,003.