Thisbigdowilfight left no doubt he aims to defend his Maywood Pacing Series crown. The even-money favorite was a dominant front-end winner in Friday night's $40,000 Egyptian stake, the second series leg, drawing off by three lengths in a snappy time of 1:51.1.
"When he got away like he did, I knew the race was over," said winning driver Dave Magee after guiding the five-year-old Jim Eaton trainee to his fifth season win for Redbud Stable (Frankfort, IL) and Michael McNeely (Normal, IL).
Weren't you at little concern when you had to take him to a: 26.4 first quarter to keep the lead?
"Not at all," replied the Hall of Fame driver. "The son ofwas good tonight and when he's good, he doesn't know the end."
Magee hustled Thisbigdogwilfight out in a hurry from the coveted one-slot. The even-money choice had had the 5-2 third choice Fox Valley Gambler on his back when he fought off(Joshua Sutton) through a :54.3 first half, outing that pacer away before the 1:23 three-quarter marker and then repelling a three-wide bid by the 2-1 second choice Mucho Sleazy (Mike Oosting). Thisbigdogwilfight had plenty left, coming home in: 28.1 and putting some distance between himself Fox Valley Gambler who took the place by three-plus lengths over Mucho Sleazy.
Thisbigdogwilfight missed the Cook County stake, the first leg of the Maywood Pacing Series in June, and was close to missing Friday's Egyptian.
"I don't think I was ever more nervous before one of his races than I was tonight," said trainer Jim Eaton. "He was so sick last Saturday I didn't think there was anywhere we were going to be able to get him cleared up in time for this stake and do well. I guess we did," said Eaton with a laugh.
Thisbigdogwilfight now has banked $90,585 on the current campaign and boosted his career earnings to $609,649.
Upset winners Native Hotspur ($31.60) and Cane's Z Tam ($16.20) took their respective Violet stake eliminations and advanced to next Friday's $60,000 Final for state-bred freshman pacing fillies. They'll be joined by the second through fourth place finishers in both Violet eliminations: the 2-5 heavy favorite China Gal, Matt's Wolfey, Fox Valley Smooch from the first split and Shilo Sundance, 9-5 favorite Fox Valley Topaz, and Kennans Ellery from the second elim.
Native Hotspur was particularly impressive winning for driver Dan Noble. The Nelson Willis trainee raced outside of China Gal through most of the fractions of: 28, 58.1 and 1:26.4 and still came on in the lane to gain a half-length decision in 1:56 flat.
Cane's Z Tam's early success on the Illinois fair circuit paid off for her in Maywood Park debut. Dave Magee sent the smallish freshman filly to the top and she went all the way posting fractions of: 28.3,:57 and 1:26.1, putting away a bid by the Orange and Blue champion Fox Valley Topaz and winning for the eighth time in 10 starts for trainer and co-owner Dave McCaffrey in 1:55.2, a neck ahead of the 87-1 longshot Shilo Sundance.
Three elimination divisions of the Cardinal stake for ICF two-year-old pacing colts and geldings were contested with only the first two finishers in each assured of starting in next week's $60,000 championship. A drawing will decide which 2 of the 3 third place finishers also advance to the final.
The first Cardinal elimination saw the favorite Grandma Jan's Max (Brent Holland) overcame a break near the quarter-mile pole and edge My Boy Luke (Dave Magee) by a nose in 1:55.3. The Classic Z Tam was third, beaten only by a neck. In the second elim
Smellthecolornine (Tyler Buter) went wire-to-wire in 1:55.4 with Bushwood Z Tam taking the place, one and one-half behind. Pure Defiancy was third. Orange and Blue colt champ Enzo The Baker was much the best in the third elimination with Dave Magee, winning by four and one-half lengths in 1:55.1 over Henry Gram with Wheretheparty'at a distant third.
Mike Paradise, director of publicity