The top Illinois bred two-year-old trotting colts took center stage on Thursday night (September 29) at Balmoral Park as a field of 10 gathered for their biggest purse of the year the $123,000 Lincoln Land Stake Final.
When the smoke cleared from this battle it Julius Munie’s Valley Liberator who had picked a fine time to post his first career victory as he rolled by his rivals in the late going to win by one-length in 1:59.3.
Taking advantage of his inside starting spot driver Tim Tetrick positioned this son ofperfectly, spying all the action from an up close and ground saving position.
While patiently watching Adam Gram (Ron Marsh) roll through fractions of 30.1, 1:00.0 and 1:29.4 Tetrick had his colt trotting comfortably in third through those splits.
After securing racing room for this good looking bay, thanks in part to an ill-timed break by Battleshoe Bridge (Anthony Morgan) and a tiring first over Sonny Knew (Dean Magee), Tetrick maneuvered the diagonally gaited freshman to the outside where he took dead aim on the leaders.
Gathering up momentum as the youngsters trotted through the lane Valley Liberator first consumed the 2-1 favorite Fox Valley Hotrod (Andy Miller), who had enjoyed a beautiful two-hole trip despite leaving from post position eight, and then Adam Gram.
Storming home in 28.4, the Roger Welch trainee was well in hand as he trotted under the finish line with his first victory in seven career starts. Adam Gram held on gamely to finish second while Fox Valley Hotrod had to settle for the show dough.
Dispatched at odds of 15-1 Valley Liberator returned $31.80, $13.40 & $7.00. The winner also helped to key a $1,395 trifecta payoff for the lucky gamblers who came up with the 1-2-8 combination.