The first showdown of the year in the Illinois conceived and foaled sophomore colt pacing ranks were held tonight (May 28) at Balmoral Park.
It was always going to be be an exciting duel between last year’s Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year, Team Hutch and last season’s fastest state-bred freshman Chevie Cash.
The large crowd lining the apron for the big Saturday card and the Great Midwest Fair did not go away disappointed as these two fine three-year-olds battled tooth and nail to the wire with Bonnie & Joy Hutchison's Team Hutch prevailing by a nose in a thrilling three-horse photo finish.
Confidently handled by Hall of Famer Dave Magee Team Hutch was whisked away from post position nine and wound up parked while dueling with Ithink'imsomebody (Anthony Morgan) through an opening quarter in 28.2.
Team Hutch eventually made his way to the pylons just after the opening station but there was no time to relax as driver Dale Hiteman had Chevie Cash out and rolling on the backstretch.
The two pacing stars locked horns as the field approached the half-mile mark and they were neck and neck as they passed that juncture in 56.2.
The battle continued around the far turn with Team Hutch clinging tenaciously to a short lead. Chevie Cash was working hard while first up and he was only a head behind the pacesetter as they rolled by the three-quarter mile station in 1:24.2.
With the fans roaring their approval these two set sail for home on even terms. The stretch long battle continued with Team Hutch keeping a nostril in front while getting masterful handling from his pilot. Chevie Cash was not about to go away despite a grueling journey and by the mid-stretch call a third player had worked his way into the game as Perdition (Andy Miller) came charging into contention on the far outside of horses.
This threesome raced as a team through the final sixteenth of a mile with each taking his best shot at the year’s first big jackpot. As has been his trademark, Team Hutch simply refused to lose, holding off the challenges of his two main rivals to win by the slimmest of margins in 1:52.4.
Chevie Cash finished second but was disqualified and placed fourth for a violation of the non-continuous hub rule in the first turn. That moved Perdition from third to second while Ithinki’msomebody, who finished only a half-length back, was moved up from fourth to third.
Picking up right where he left off last season Team Hutch is now a perfect four for four in 2005. The win was his 10th in 21 career starts and the Homer Hochstetler trained gelding now boast career earnings of $321,462.
Rucker & Engel Stables track record holdermade his return to the local scene a successful one winning the $20,750 Free For All by three-quarters of a length in a snappy 1:50.2 for driver Brent Holland. Johnny B Cool (Sam Widger) was second while Abouttolosecontrol (Andy Miller) was third.