Round two action in the Champion On Ice Series for colts and geldings headlined the Tuesday (January 17) Balmoral Park program.
With a total of 14 trotters dropped into the box the second round was split into a pair of $5,500 tussles.
In the first division Andy Miller Stable’s Van Joe kept his 2006 record perfect as he dismantled six rivals in 2:01.1 over a tracked rated as “good”.
Well handled by his owner, this 5-Year-Old gelding left quickly from post position four and neatly tucked into the pocket behind another first round winner in Busto (Art Gregory Jr).
Content to sit in the garden spot as Busto led the field through pedestrian splits of 30.4 seconds, 1:01.3 and 1:32.3, Miller and Van Joe were loaded with trot as the field straightened for the stretch drive.
Angling to the outside with just over an eighth of a mile to go, the Julie Miller trainee trotted by the pace setter with the greatest of ease. Opening up his advantage with every stride the son of Van Gogh charged home in 28.2 seconds while recording a 6 ¾ length verdict.
Busto held on to be a clear-cut second while Double Strength (Dale Hiteman) was a non-threatening third, 10 ¾ lengths behind the winner.
Van Joe is coming off a 14-length romp in round one. The gelding has now won three in a row dating back to his final start of the 2005 season.
A pair of scratches reduced the number of starters to five for the second division and the chalk players did not fare as well in this event as Peter Karras’ BC’S Legend, the longshot in the race at 11-1, cruised home with a 5 ½ length triumph in 2:03.1.
After sitting in the three-hole as Four Starz Casino (Tim Tetrick) took the field through opening splits of 29 seconds & 1:00.4 driver-trainer Dirk Simpson maneuvered his charge to the outside on the far turn where he found live cover from 6-5 betting favorite AJS Send Money (Andy Miller). Simpson then rolled the 5-Year-Old son of Smokey Legend three-deep as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:32.1.
A miscue by Four Starz Casino at the eighth-pole took that gelding out of contention and BC’S Legend wasted no time quickly pouncing on AJS Send Money who had inherited the lead after the break by the pace setter.
Blowing by the favourite in easy fashion BC’S Legend did not look like a horse that had been off since August of 2003 as he cruised to a convincing score. AJ’S Send Money held on for second in a very tight photo over Sam’s Our Man (Charles Taylor) who was rough gaited for much of the mile.
The filly division of this series will be contested on Wednesday night with an overflow field of 11 going postward. First post on Wednesday is 7.20 pm.
Courtesy Of Tom Kelley, Publicity Director, Balmoral Park