Elimination harness racing action for next Saturday's Super Night 23 (September 16) continued on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as both trotters and pacers were in action in the Lady Ann Reed Stake & Lorna Propes Stake preliminaries.
A total of 14 sophomore trotting fillies were dropped into the box for the Lady Ann Reed Stake necessitating a pair of $15,000 elimination battles. The top five in each division will return on Saturday night to battle it out for a purse of $100,000.
After a red-hot four win night on Saturday trainer Ervin Miller picked up right where he left off, this time climbing into the bike, to guide his trainee Zumba Mouse to a one-length victory in the first elimination. The final time was 1:56.3 for the filly who is owned in partnership by Miller, Carol Reynolds and Matt Cox.
Taking full advantage of their inside starting spot Miller zipped the daughter of-Tootie Mouse right to the front where they proceeded to step through splits of 29.4, 58.0 & 1:27.3 while unchallenged on the front end.
Minding her manners beautifully after making breaks in two of her three previous starts the long striding filly then finished things off with a 29.0 final quarter to record her sixth win in 11 starts this season. Maple Grove Shaelyn (Jamaica Patton) finished second while Sassy Kat (Mike Oosting) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were My Funky Farkle and Skyline Happy.
Zumba Mouse’s effort definitely seemed to please her conditioner who showed that he can still handle the driving chores if need be.
“Some of my help here said that she just didn’t seem to be as good as she was a little earlier this summer so I wanted to check things out for myself,” explained Miller when asked about assuming the driving duties. “We did a little work on her and tonight she was absolutely perfect for me out there. I never even had to pop the plugs on her or asked her for very much. I think we’ve got her troubles ironed out again.”
The favorite also prevailed in the second division as Ron Marino and David Hermann’s Fox Valley Ruffian continued her strong sophomore season with a 1 1/4 length victory in 1:57.2.
Taking no chances after drawing outside in the field of seven driver Kyle Husted hustled the daughter of-Reina Bella away from the outside post. In complete control of the proceedings as she rolled through splits of 28.1, 57.1 & 1:27.0 the Randy Tuftie trainee faced her first challenge as the field neared the top of the stretch from a first over Search For Reality (Mike Oosting).
Quickly turning that filly away Fox Valley Ruffian stepped out to a five length lead by the mid-stretch call. The winner of more than $50,000 this season was on cruise control the rest of the way as she reported home with her fourth win in 14 starts. Powerful Connection (Brian Carpenter) rallied late to finish second while Make It Rain (Robert Smolin) shook loose late to get the show dough. Search For Reality was fourth while Maple Grove Emily was fifth.
Usually a filly who likes to come from well off the pace driver Kyle Husted was not about to take any chance with a Super Night berth on the line.
“I like to race her from off the pace but she’s just as capable if she’s on the lead,” said Husted. “With the outside post tonight I didn’t want to duck and wind up getting stuck behind poor cover or behind a breaking horse and end up not getting into the final. She was awesome tonight and I never really asked her for much until right at the wire and when I did she dug in nicely and held them off.”
With a total of 22 fillies and mares entered for the Lorna Propes Stake three $15,000 elimination battles were carded on Sunday night. The top three finishers in each division along with one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) will be back for the $115,000 final.
The opening split provided the most impressive effort of all the elimination action as Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood’s Mystical Victress etched her name into the Balmoral Park record books by establishing a new track standard for a four-year-old pacing mare with a 1:50 clocking for driver Marcus Miller.
After getting away third while Rev Me Up (Eric Carlson) sped through an opening quarter in 27.4 Miller decided to send his charge to the front as the field moved up the backside. Nearing the half-mile mark a surprised Miller was forced to back off a bit as a headstrong IYQ (Brian Carpenter), who was returning from a two-year layoff, swept three wide around the field to lead the way past the half-mile mark in 54.3.
“That definitely caught me by surprise,” said Miller. “It wasn’t like we were slowing down or anything and the next thing I know Brian’s horse just came blowing by everyone while three wide. I had a feeling she was going to get tired in that turn though so I decided to edge out of there before I got stuck behind them.”
Moving to the outside Miller had Mystical Victress just a head off the tiring leader as the distaffers sped by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:22.3.
Through the lane the Ervin Miller trained daughter ofthen proceeded to leave her rivals in her wake as she sped home in 27.2 to win by three lengths. Rev Me Up finished second while Dee Dee Sage (Casey Leonard) finished third. Land D’s Taylor was fourth.
When asked about the record setting performance Miller was quick to praise the career winner of more than $380,000 who won for the seventh time in 12 starts this year.
“Man she was just awesome tonight,” said Miller in the understatement of the night. “I popped the plugs on her passing the paddock and she just exploded even though she felt like she was on idle. It definitely felt like she had even more there. I knew we were flying but I had no idea that a track record was in our sights!”
In the middle split Obermeier & Quaid Stables Reilly’s Daughter came flying down the center of the racetrack to post a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:53.0 with Todd Warren at the controls.
Content to sit near the back of the pack as Helen’s Place Girl (John Roberts) showed the way through splits of 27.3, 57.0 & 1: 25.3 Warren placed the four-year-old daughter ofin the outer flow as the field headed around the final turn.
“Last week she almost choked down on me I had such a hold of her,” said Warren. “I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen tonight so I just let her do her thing out there because I had a feeling she could out brush this group if she was anywhere close turning for home.”
Taking dead aim on the leaders as the field straightened for home the Roger Welch trained miss quickly found her best stride as she picked off one rival after another. Uncorking a wicked 26.3 final split the lightly raced Reilly’s Daughter blew by the field for her third win in just four starts this season. Helen’s Place Girl held on gamely to finish second while Fox Valley Oracle (Brandon Simpson) was third. Dawn’s Mist finished fourth.
In the final elimination before Super Night the Mike Schulfer trained Fox Valley Absolut capitalized on a perfect two-hole trip as she rolled to 1 1/4 length victory in a seasonal best of 1:52.2.
Nicely handled by Robert Smolin the five-year-old daughter ofcharged to the front from the outside starting spot leading the field through an opening quarter in 28.2.
Heading down the backside a hard charging Only The World (John De Long) swept to the top putting Smolin and Fox Valley Absolut in the garden spot as the field reached the half-mile mark in 56.4.
Continuing to save ground the rest of the way as a first over Joinusforsomefun (Kyle Wilfong) and Only The World battled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.4 a locked and loaded Fox Valley Absolut patiently waited for the passing lane.
After finding room with an eighth of a mile to go Fox Valley Absolut kicked it into high gear, charging home in 27.2 to secure her sixth win in 28 starts this season for the partnership of Strzalka, Schulfer, Skvarla and Magnus. Only The World held on for second while Joinusforsomefun finished third. Linden Beauty was fourth.
“My mare was pretty geared up early but once John’s horse cleared and we wound up in the two-hole she relaxed perfectly tonight,” said Smolin. “When we got to the top of the stretch I knew that if she could just carry us to the passing lane my mare had plenty left to go by those horses and she did.”