Day At The Track

The third time works

05:50 AM 26 Apr 2015 NZST
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Earndawg
Earndawg, pictured here cruising to an easy win in the Cardinal Stake at Maywood Park
R.E.B. Photo

The third time was the charm to kick off the start of this season’s harness racing ICF 3-year-old colt stakes program.

The initial stake was to be raced a month ago but that Taurus Bomber event and Maywood’s scheduled Sportsmaster two weeks ago both had to be scrapped because of insufficient entries.

Not so with tonight’s Betzotic for state-bred pacing colts and geldings.

The fourth race co-feature lured a field of seven including last season division champ Earndawg, winner of just about every major ICF freshman stake and a couple of open added money events as well—Maywood’s Abe Lincoln and a division Hoosier’s Madison.

Tonight’s start will be the 2014 Orange and Blue Colt champion’s first in five months for the Roger Welch Stable. The son of Sportsmaster had a pair second place finishes in April qualifiers paced in 56 and change and will be the 2-1 first flash favorite.

Another Welch trainee, Rockin Cassinova (9-2, Mike Oosting) also makes his 3-year-old debut and so does Fox Valley Elijah (8-1, Tim Curtin), and M A Bay (10-1, Ridge Warren). The Betzotic will be No. 7 Dinky Dune’s (8-1, Kyle Wifong) second season start.

No. 2 Dixie’s Boy (6-1, Casey Leonard) and No. 4 Dakota Roadster (7-2, Bobby Smolin) already have 19 season starts between them and a pair of victories each.

The Joel Smith Sale’s Dixie Boy has looked very good at times and not-so-good in others. I asked Casey for his thoughts on the Duneside Perch gelding.

“When I drove him towards the end of last year I really liked him,” said Casey. “I thought the horse had a big motor. When he came back earlier this year I didn’t get the call. Dale (Hiteman) did. The horse really struggled and when I got to drive him again when Dale left (for Indiana) he was horrendous that night.

“He dropped the lines on me when the field got to the paddock. That was it. I knew something was wrong and I asked his caretaker to have the horse scoped. When they did and found out he bled and they put the horse on Lasix.

“He then raced great and won in 53.3. Last week I thought he was the best horse in the race. We got the trip I wanted and he cleared the horse he was following but then he turned loose on me. They scoped him and sure enough he bled again.

“If he’s right Saturday, I think he’s one of the better horses in the race. I hope they can get his bleeding situation taken care of. He can go with those horses if they do.”

The Betzotic will share Balmoral’s Saturday spotlight with the $14,000 Rambling Willie the first ICF stake race of the year for older pacers. Two-time Super Night champion Iam Bonasera (Travis Seekman) has been installed as the 9-5 program favorite.

Taking on in race nine Iam Bonasera is Whirlwindiplomacy (10-1, Dean Magee), Big Brad (6-1, Bobby Smolin), Fort Silky (3-1, Casey Leonard), Ice Scraper (2-1, Brian Carpenter) and Ricky Bobbie (8-1, Mike Oosting).

Saturday’s second race for ICF 3-year-old pacing fillies will be the season debut of last year’s division champion Mr Leland’s Filly (5-2 Casey Leonard). The Erv Miller trainee put over $177,000 on her card in her freshman campaign and came away with the $162,000 Filly Orange and Blue crown on Super Night.

(Of the 12 races contesed on Maywood’s Friday card 8 winners were  Mike Paradise top selections, 2 were listed second and another was a third choice.)

Mike Paradise

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