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Eighteen years have passed since Balmoral Park picked-up the baton and took over as the Chicago circuit’s premier harness racing track, hosting Super Night and most of the other major ICF stake championships. That all came about in 1998 when old Sportsman’s Park a year earlier booted out harness racing and became strictly a thoroughbred/auto racing facility. Just a few years later that coming together of horse and gasoline fumes proved to be a financial calamity and the Cicero, IL track soon went belly-up. Unfortunately live harness racing at Balmoral Park does the same tonight but not before it became a major player in the growth and economy of the racetrack’s surrounding communities. Harness racing thrived at Balmoral for many years. Top-notch horses and a collection of drivers that could hold their own with any track in the country at one time was the norm at the far-south suburban facility. Sadly those days slowly eroded away at Balmoral when the lure of much bigger purses, boded by race-track casino money in other states drained the Illinois horse, driver and trainer colonies. Back-to-back years with “Veto’s” from former Governor Quinn on a Casino expansion bill that would allow slots at our Illinois racetracks sent Balmoral Park and its sister track Maywood Park, into a death-spiral. Nonetheless if we had a Coroner’s report on Balmoral’s demise it would probably read: “Fatal Wound Self-Inflicted.” After tonight we’ll be left with just memories of harness racing at Balmoral and we have plenty of them When Balmoral hosted its first Super Night in 1998 there were plenty of sceptics who were proved wrong. Some 9,200 patrons, at that time the largest crowd in Balmoral Park history, filled the track and its apron and saw Big Tom, one of best ICF pacers of all time, stable-mate Ohyouprettything and the mare Shady Veil all follow their Sportsman’s 1997 Super Night victories with championships that night. One year later over 10,000 fans passed through the turn-styles on Super Night 1999 and a record $2.7 million handle was established. The on-track attendance rose to 10,769 on Super Night 2000, helping set a new Super Night record $2.9 million mutuel handle. That year the Illinois Hall of Fame trotter Plesac won the Su Mac Lad crown by an amazing 19 and 1/2 lengths. A year later Rattle And Rock overcame the outside 10-hole in the Langley Final and won a share of the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s $1 million bonus. The same evening Mini Me capped a brilliant freshman season with a romp in the $300,000 Colt Orange and Blue. Later Super Nights gave us some other celebrated ICF horses as Loyal Opposition, Ideal Towne, King Johnny, Parklane Powerful, Home Bed Advantage, Mucho Sleazy, My Boy David, Enzo The Baker, Street Dancer, Sportsfancy, Taser Gun, and Incredible Tillie, just to name a dozen or so. Balmoral Park also gave us “American National Night.” While the American National stakes were born and raised into prominence at Sportsman’s Park they were always spread out through their five-month long meetings. Those American National’s started out that way at Balmoral but later were smartly condensed into one single huge gala evening of racing that year-after-year brought to Illinois some of the very best pacers and trotters in North American along with the crème de la crème of the country’s drivers. I know I’m not alone when I say: “Thanks for the Memories” Balmoral Park. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Most of the circuit’s top drivers are doing double-duty Saturday. They’ll compete in the afternoon in southern Illinois at the Du Quoin State Fair and then at night at Balmoral Park, wrapping up their day up some 12 hours after the first downstate post. “This year a lot of us plan to drive back to Balmoral instead of renting a plane like we did in the past,” said John De Long who will handle the favorites in 2 of the 5 major ICF trotting championships at Du Quoin. “Dave (Magee) drove back last year while we took a plane and Dave was at Balmoral around the second race and this year there are only 10 races at Du Quoin Saturday. The last one goes before 3 o’clock so we should be o.k.” De Long’s best chances Saturday afternoon are with the Curt Grummel Stable’s sister-brother Springfield champion tandem of Fox Valley Yoko in the Time Dancer, and Fox Valley Veto in the Pronto Don, and Say No Mo in the Windy Skeeter who earlier won the $42,000 Fox Valley Evita. “Yoko” may not have been 100 per cent when she was second in the Fox Valley Flan and Hanover,” said De Long. “They told me she had been a little sick. But last week at Springfield she bounced back and had a :26.4 last quarter for me and did it well in hand. “Veto has been awesome. The horse does everything absolutely perfect. “Say No Mo just didn’t fire at Springfield. She just wasn’t very good in her race. I had tipped her out near the half but she didn’t have any trot so I ducked her back in. They were going to scope her and do blood work if needed. Hopefully she’ll be good for the Du Quoin stake.” When De Long arrives from his 290 mile trip from Du Quoin to Balmoral he’ll have live drives on the Saturday night card including the Nick Giberson Stable’s Fashion Delight (5-1) in the fifth race Invitational Handicap. Owned by Illinoisan Mark Winship (Canton), the 6-year-old Fashion Delight is the winner of over $856,000 in his career. He’ll take-on some tough cookies like Al’s Hammered (programmed 8-5), last week’s Big Tom champion Fort Silky (5-2, Casey Leonard), Best Man Hanover (9-2, Todd Warren), Iam Bonasera (6-1, Kyle Wilfong) and Furious Frank (12-1, Ridge Warren). “Fashion Delight is just a nice older race horse,” continued De Long. “He likes to leave and he comes off a strong (1:49.4) mile last week. The 25-year-old Wisconsin native has the 5-2 favorites in a pair of high level conditioned paces that follow, Firstclassallthway in the seventh and Our Dragon King in the ninth. Both have the pole position. “I’ve driven Our Dragon King in the past, said De Long. “He’s a nice horse. He’s a American National and Hanover champion. The horse did get tortured last week so maybe that’s why I’m driving him this time around.” Our Dragon King cut bruising fractions of :26.4, :53.1 and 1:20.4 before going into retreat and finishing a far back sixth behind De Long and Fashion Delight. Du Quoin’s three-day harness met concludes Sunday (12 noon first post) with a number of championships to be decided including the $40,000 Governor’s Cup for ICF 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

After a two-week hiatus live racing returned to BalmoralPark with a pair of state-bred stakes for older pacers sharing top billing on the 13-race program. The ladies kicked off the action with a pair of $21,400 divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake. In the first division Kenneth Rucker's Party Hangover continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 3 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:51.1 for driver Todd Warren. After leaving alertly from the outside starting spot, Warren sent the five-year-old daughter of Party At Artsplace on her way from fourth after an opening quarter of 27.0. Quickly moving to the front, the Catrina Rucker trained miss proceeded to lead the field through middle splits of 54.1 & 1:22.2. Through the lane the only thing in doubt was who would pick up the minor spoils as Party Hangover effortlessly reported home with her sixth straight victory. Just By Design (Dave Magee) rallied from last to finish second while Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) was third. With the win Party Hangover boasts a record of 7-3-2 in 21 starts this season. The overwhelming favorite returned just $3.20, $2.60 & $2.10 while upping her career earnings to $292,511. The second division provided an upset as Mark Winship's No Respect took advantage of a miscue in the lane by favorite Dallas Jones in route to a 2 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:51.4 for driver John De Long. Settling near the back as the action up front was hot and heavy De Long was happy to watch Incredible Filly (Ronnie Gillespie), The Bruzilian Blur (Todd Warren) and then Dallas Jones (Kyle Wilfong) all trade blows through red-hot splits of 27.3, 54.1 & 1:23.1. In the lane, State Fair Stake winner Dallas Jones made a very uncharacteristic break jamming up several rivals while leaving a fit and fresh No Respect with clear sailing to the wire. The Nick Giberson trained daughter of Sportsmaster then proceeded to uncork a 28.0 final quarter to notch her seventh victory of the season. Dune In Red (Dave Magee) who inherited the lead after the miscue by the favorite held on for second while Kimberly R (Dale Hiteman) finished third. Sent off at 9-1 the brown five-year-old returned $22.80, $4.00 & $3.20 while pushing her career earnings up to $314,428. A full field of 10 pacers went postward in the $35,200 Big Tom Stake and when the smoke cleared in this wild and wooly affair it was John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler's FortSilky who emerged with an impressive 6 ¾ length victory in 1:49.3 for driver Casey Leonard. With even money favorite Al's Hammered saddled with a starting spot in the second tier Leonard left quickly with Fort Silky sitting right on the back of the hard leaving Ice Scraper (Ross Leonard) through splits of 27.2 & 55.0. Deftly averting disaster when the pace setter made a break approaching the top of the stretch, Fort Silky was in full in stride as he sailed by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:22.3. Leaving his rivals in his wake the eight-year-old Ft. ApacheHanover gelding sealed the deal in grand fashion, pacing home in 27.0 to post his 20th win over the past two seasons. Iam Bonasera (Kyle Wilfong) turned a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while Al's Hammered was forced to settle for third on this night. The Terry Leonard trainee returned $9.20, $5.60 & $3.20 while upping his career bankroll to an eye popping $650,650. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

The 2014 stake schedules for both Balmoral and Maywood Park have been released by racing secretary Doc Narotsky. The action kicks off at Balmoral on March 29th with the Taurus Bomber Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts. Maywood’s stake season gets underway on Friday, April 11th with sophomore pacing colts slugging it out in the Sportsmaster Stake. The first “major” state-bred stake of the season will be contested on Sunday, May 18th with three-year-old pacing fillies squaring off in the $45,000 Violet Stake at Balmoral. There will also be Violet and Cardinal Stakes for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters on Sunday, May 25th, Wednesday, May 28th, and Saturday, May 31st at Balmoral Park. Maywood’s first big event of the season will be the $100,000 Filly Maywood Pace for ICF three-year-old fillies on Friday, June 13th.  The $100,000 Maywood Pace for ICF sophomore pacing colts will be held the following Friday, June 20th. . The first Hanover Stakes of the season at Balmoral Park will feature a pair of events for three-year-old trotters on Saturday, June 7th.    The Southland Festival of Racing will provide a weekend filled with state-bred action at Balmoral on Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th with pacers and trotters squaring off in $50,000 battles like the Mini Me Stake, Loyal Opposition Stake, Incredible Finale Stake, Ann Vonian Stake, Kadabra Stake, Fox Valley Evita Stake, Fox Valley Flan Stake and Plesac Stake. A pair of $50,000 Hanover’s for two-year-old colt and filly pacers are scheduled for Saturday, August 2nd at the Crete oval while a pair of $60,000 events for freshmen trotters will be contested on Sunday, August 3rd. Balmoral will also play host to Illinois’ biggest night of racing, Super Night, on Saturday, Sept. 13th.  As always, the state’s top pacers and trotters will be on display as they battle for more than $1 million in purse money. The prestigious American National’s kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 17th with a pair of $90,000 trotting stakes for two-year-olds. October will be a busy month for the youngsters as the $100,000 Lady Lincoln Stake for two-year-old trotting fillies takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 1st while their male counterparts battle in the $100,000 Lincoln Land Stake on Sunday, Oct. 5th Balmoral Park. Maywood will also host the $60,000 Cardinal and Violet Stakes for two-year-old colt and filly pacers on Friday, Oct. 3rd. If the last few years were any indication of things to come then racing fans throughout the country will want to circle Saturday, Oct. 11th and Friday, Oct. 17th, on their calendars as some of North America’s best pacers and trotters are expected to visit the Chicagoland area as Grand Circuit action comes to town. Balmoral Park will play host to the $250,000 three-year-old colt pace, $225,00 American National three-year-old colt trot, $200,000 American National Aged Pace, $180,000 aged trot, $175,000 American National three-year-old filly pace, $150,000 three-year-old filly trot, $125,000 two-year-old colt pace and $125,000 two-year-old filly pace approximately one month earlier than in recent years.    Maywood’s biggest card of the season is just six days later on Friday, Oct. 17th with the $225,000 Windy City Pace for three-year-old pacing colts, the $130,000 Abe Lincoln Stake for two-year-old pacing colts, the $110,00 Galt Trot for three-year-old trotting colts and the $100,000 Cinderella Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies sharing the spotlight. The $30,000 Associates-McKeever Stake for ICF pacers is also scheduled for that same night. Below is a complete list of both tracks entire stake schedules. All purse values are estimated. Date       Day Track A-S-G ICF Name Est Purse 3/29/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Taurus Bomber 10,000 4/5/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Song Cycle 17,000 4/5/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Direct Balance 10,000 4/11/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Sportsmaster 10,000 4/13/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Trotting Tilly 10,000 4/16/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Speedy Rodney 10,000 4/18/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Desperate Lady 10,000 4/26/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Rambling Willie 17,000 4/26/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 4/27/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Koochie 10,000 4/30/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Iggy Magoo 10,000 5/2/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Taser Gun 10,000 5/3/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/11/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Violet Eliminations 10,000 5/11/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/14/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/16/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Gosox 10,000 5/18/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Violet 45,000 5/18/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Violet Eliminations 10,000 5/21/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Cardinal Eliminations 10,000 5/24/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Cardinal Eliminations 10,000 5/25/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Violet 40,000 5/28/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Cardinal 40,000 5/31/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Cardinal 45,000 6/1/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Jimmy Sunshine 5,000 6/4/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Egyptian Grande 5,000 6/5/2014 Thur May 3fp ICF Filly Maywood Pace Elim 10,000 6/7/2014 Sat Bal 3ct Hanover 35,000 6/7/2014 Sat Bal 3ft Hanover 35,000 6/8/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Bingo Johnnie 5,000 6/11/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Misty Misty Misty 5,000 6/13/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Maywood Pace Elim 10,000 6/13/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Filly Maywood Pace 100,000 6/14/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Broadway Preview 30,000 6/14/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Southern Rocketop 10,000 6/15/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Wicked Brew 10,000 6/15/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Million Dollar Bye 5,000 6/18/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Incredible Tillie 10,000 6/18/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Star Slinger 5,000 6/20/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Maywood Pace 100,000 6/21/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Sue Fee 20,000 6/22/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/25/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/26/2014 Thur May 2fp ICF Juxtaposition 10,000 6/27/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Enzo The Baker 10,000 6/28/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/29/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Mystical Victress 10,000 7/2/2014 Wed Bal 3ft ICF Sorce Ann 10,000 7/4/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Cook County 30,000 7/5/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Hot Head 10,000 7/5/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Ohyouprettything 10,000 7/6/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Vaporize 10,000 7/9/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Psychic Spirit 10,000 7/9/2014 Wed Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Diva 10,000 7/10/2014 Thur May 2fp ICF My Metallica 10,000 7/11/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Fox Valley Barzgar 10,000 7/12/2014 Sat Bal 3cp Hanover 45,000 7/12/2014 Sat Bal 3fp Hanover 40,000 7/13/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Brandenburg 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Mini Me Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Loyal Opposition Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Incredible Finale Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3ct ICF Kadabra Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3fp ICF Ann Vonian Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Evita Elim 10,000 7/20/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Plesac Eliminations 10,000 7/20/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Fox Valley Flan Elim 10,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Mini Me 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Loyal Opposition 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Incredible Finale 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Kadabra 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Ann Vonian 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Evita 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Plesac 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Fox Valley Flan 50,000 8/2/2014 Sat Bal 2cp Hanover 50,000 8/2/2014 Sat Bal 2fp Hanover 50,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 2ct Hanover 60,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 2ft Hanover 60,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 3+T ICF Mikes A Mystery 25,000 8/16/2014 Sat Bal 3+P ICF Big Tom 40,000 8/16/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Parklane Powerful 40,000 8/29/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Egyptian 30,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B Eliminations 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat/Sn Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat/Sn Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes Elim 15,000 9/7/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad Elim 15,000 9/7/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed Elim 15,000 9/10/2014 Wed Bal 2ct American National Elim 15,000 9/10/2014 Wed Bal 2ft American National Elim 15,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue 250,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B 225,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello 115,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem 170,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad 100,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann 170,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed 100,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes 115,000 9/14/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad Cons 25,000Date Day Track A-S-G ICF Name Est Purse 9/14/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed Cons 25,000 9/17/2014 Wed Bal 2ct American National 90,000 9/17/2014 Wed Bal 2ft American National 90,000 9/20/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Yates Eagle 15,000 9/20/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Thrifty Way 15,000 9/24/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land Elim 15,000 9/26/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Cardinal Elim 10,000 9/26/2014 Fri May 2fp ICF Violet Elim 10,000 9/27/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Bye Bye Byrd 15,000 9/28/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land Elim 15,000 9/28/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Direct Dottie 15,000 10/1/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land Cons 25,000 10/1/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land 100,000 10/1/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/3/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Cardinal 50,000 10/3/2014 Fri May 2fp ICF Violet 60,000 10/5/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land 100,000 10/5/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land Cons 25,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 2cp American National 125,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 2fp American National 125,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3cp American National 250,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3ct American National 225,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3fp American National 175,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3ft American National 150,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal ap American National 200,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal at American National 180,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 2cp Abe Lincoln 130,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Associates-McKeever 30,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3cp Windy City Pace 225,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3ct Galt 110,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3fp Cinderella 100,000 10/18/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Beecher 10,000 10/19/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Violet Elim 10,000 10/22/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Cardinal Elim 10,000 10/26/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Violet 40,000 10/26/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/29/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Cardinal 40,000 10/30/2014 Thur May 3ft ICF Speed N The Tunnel 10,000 10/31/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/31/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Giggles The Clown 10,000 11/1/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Crete 10,000 11/2/2014 Sun Bal 2fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/2/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Monee 10,000 11/5/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/6/2014 Thur May 3ct ICF Lifes A Holiday 10,000 11/14/2014 Thur May 3fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/15/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/21/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Cole Muffler 10,000 11/22/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Fox Valley Memory 15,000 by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral & Maywood Park

The draws are out for this year’s Super Night eliminations and as usual the Orange and Blue colt division has a difficult road to its final. With three elimination divisions a 1, 2 or 3 finish is needed to be guaranteed a start in the $200,000 (est.) Championship. A draw by lot will determine which of the three fourth place finishers advance and which two will race in a $26,400 Super Night Consolation. However, this year the path is easier than it was in 2012 when four elimination divisions in the O & B colt were needed, meaning only the first two finishers were assured of starting in that final. Is Super Night elimination weekend more of a pressure situation for a trainer than the championship night itself? “I think it is, especially when you have a horse in a division where only the top three make it,” replied Springfield based conditioner Dirk Simpson. “It has to be the most nerve-wracking race of the year for a trainer and the owner. “Once a horse makes the final, he’s certain of going for a lot more money than in a consolation and since they pay-out to all 10 finishers on Super Night you can finish off the board in an Orange and Blue final and still make 5 or 6 thousand dollars.” The path for Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair champion P Q Three to add the O & B colt title to his list of first season accomplishments isn’t as bumpy as it could have been. Owned by Obermeier & Quaid Stables of Evergreen Park, IL, PQ Three drew the outside seven-slot in of Saturday’s first race, the softest of the three elimination divisions. I made him 1 to 5 in my line. Unlocked, the chief rival to PQ Three in the ICF 2-year-old division, isn’t eligible for Super Night It’s a much tranquil situation for drivers, trainers and owners in the Orange and Blue Filly division than in the colt. Only two eliminations will be contested Saturday night with the top five finishers in each moving on to that $200,000 final. The Grandma Ann and Pete Langley Memorial also will have just two elimination divisions while the Tony Maurello for older ICF colts and geldings came up with three. Again a third or better finish is necessary to lock-up a start in that $127,000 Championship. The ninth race Maurello elim is particularly strong with defending champion Iam Bonasera (Kyle Wilfong) taking on the streaking A Cool Card (Marcus Miller), winner of both State Fair crowns and the recent Big Tom, among five others The Su Mac Lad and Lady Ann Reed eliminations are on Sunday, along with three divisions of the Lorna Propes for older ICF pacing mares. Marcus Miller will come in to drive both this weekend and on Super Night. The 22-year-old will be behind some of his dad’s horses including a pair of recent State Fair champions, the 2-year-old filly My Little Bit and the 3-year-old distaffer Mystical Danica. “My Little Bit really came around at the State Fairs,” said her trainer Erv Miller. “Hopefully she’ll hold her form through Super Night. The filly had been lazy and didn’t care about her work. We had to keep working with her for her to learn to be a race horse.” My Little Bit landed the pole position in Saturday’s 11th race O&B Filly elimination where she meets Loyal Opposition victor Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) and eight other freshman fillies. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

With Super Night less than two weeks away I decided to do some researching on the Illinois gala evening of harness racing that began at old Sportsman’s Park in 1989. Only one horse has ever won the same Super Night stake three consecutive years and that was Clark Fairley’s King Johnnie who captured the then Dan Patch (now the Tony Maurello) in 2005, 2006 and 2007 with Tim Tetrick. Mystical Victress can be the second horse to turn the trick if she can win the Lorna Propes (formerly the Ann Vonian) a third straight time with a victory on September 14th in the pacing stake for ICF fillies and mares age three and up. Another victory in the Propes would make the Erv Miller trainee the only horse to nail down four consecutive Super Night championships. Mystical Victress also won the Grandma Ann Final as a 3-year-old for Indiana owners Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood. You might remember that Mystical Victress was the heavy favorite to win the $250,000 Filly Orange in Blue Final back in 2009 but ended up second best that September night to the John Butenschoen trainee Fox Valley Oracle. The first horse to win a Super Night Championship as a 2, 3 and 4-year-old was the Illinois powerhouse Big Tom when he campaigned for the Joe Anderson Stable at the end of the last century for owners Tom Lewandowski, John Leahy and Anderson Racing Stables. Big Tom’s 1997 Orange and Blue crown was taken at Sportsman’s Park, the last year of harness racing at the Cicero, Illinois track. The illustrious pacer prevailed in the Pete Langley Memorial Final when it was then raced the first time at Balmoral Park in 1998, overtaking his chief rival Taser Gun in the late going (See Photo). The next year Big Tom drew off in the Dan Patch showdown. Lavern Hostetler’s Gosox was the first pacer to capture back-to-back Super Night championships. The Ideal Society colt won the Orange and Blue Colt Final on the first Super Night in 1989 at Sportsman’s and followed with the Langley title in 1990. Broadway Preview was the first colt or gelding pacer to win the same Super Night stake in back-to-back years when he took the Dan Patch crowns in 1995 and 1996 at Sportsman’s. Shady Veil was the first mare to do it when she triumphed in the Ann Vonian in 1997 and 1998. Interestingly she did it on two different racetracks with two different drivers. Jim Curran (See Photo)drove her in the last Ann Vonian to be decided at Sportsman’s in ’97 and Randy Jacobs was at her lines in ’98 when Super Night was switched to Balmoral. Last year’s Super Night handle of $1,767,268, while more than $1 million below the record $2.9-plus million of 2000, did reverse a disturbing trend. It was the highest since 2009 and $150,000 higher than 2011. This year is the 25th consecutive edition of Super Night. Those all so important stake elimination races for the festive evening will be contested next Saturday on the Crete, IL big track. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

‘Four year old bay mare, North American Honey NZ, will be crowned 2012/13 Horse of the Year at a gala awards ceremony on Bankstown City Cup Race Night, this Friday, August 23rd, 2013,’ Bankstown Paceway president Les Bentley has announced. ‘Bankstown Paceway’s most capped race winner for the season is also trained by 2012/13 Trainer of the Year, Martin Herbert, and has predominantly been driven by 2012/13 Driver of the Year, Joshua Willick,’ the president said. ‘Bankstown Paceway looks forward to welcoming everyone associated with the champion daughter of Artsplace USA and Make N Impact NZ on Friday, including her breeders who will visit us from New Zealand,’ Mr Bentley added. North American Honey NZ will be officially installed as the 2012/13 Sydney Horse of the Year on Bankstown City Cup Gala Race Night, this Friday, August 23rd, 2013, at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown – with the first race set to start at 6.30 pm. Racecourse entry is free. Gates open at 5.30 pm and bookings for either the star studded VIP awards dinner ($80 per person) or Champions Restaurant buffet dinner ($40 per person) can be made by contacting Bankstown Paceway directly on telephone 02 9708 4111 or via email at racing@bankstownpaceway.com.au   For the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013   HORSE 1STS 2NDS 3RDS TOTAL POINTS NORTH AMERICAN HONEY NZ 4 4   20 CHESAPEAKA BOY 3 2 1 14 DILINGER DREAMING 2 2 2 12 IM TILLY DEVINE NZ 4     12 PRIVATE ROAD 4     12 INTREPID TRAVELLER NZ 3 1   11 JAYLETS THUNDER 3 1   11 SHES TURNIN HEADS 2 2 1 11 LEFT AT THE MINT 3     9 PRESENT FOR PA 2   3 9 TOBIAS JAMES 1 2 1 8 BEETSON 2   1 7 JUST PONDER 1 1 2 7 ONAGIVENDAY 1 2   7 BETTOR SWEET NZ 2     6 BIEN HOA NZ 1 1 1 6 COTTON ROW NZ 1 1 1 6 DANAMITE LASS 1 1 1 6 FORTHELOVEOFMONEY 2     6 FREYBERG NZ 2     6 HU KEAS NZ 1 1 1 6 HYACINTH BUCKET NZ   2 2 6 IM THE FANTASY 2     6 LENNYS IN HEAVEN 2     6 MISS ABSTRACT   3   6 MR MURDOCH NZ 2     6 RUSTLEYOU 2     6 THEARTOFDELUSION 2     6 WISEKING MERRYWOOD 2     6 ARTFUL MARIE 1 1   5 BUZZ COURAGE NZ 1 1   5 FORGETABOUTIT 1 1   5 HOLD THE ACES 1 1   5 KYNUNA BOO NZ 1 1   5 LIKEAPLAYBOY 1 1   5 LYNCHMAN 1 1   5 MAJOR WORKS 1 1   5 MISS LIVIA 1 1   5 NORMS COURAGE 1 1   5 PRINCE KAI 1 1   5 VAMPISH HANOVER 1 1   5 ZENYATTA 1 1   5 ALTA SINATRA NZ   2   4 CEEAR RAIL 1   1 4 CHANG MAI   1 2 4 COLONEL MICK 1   1 4 EPIRUS BOY   2   4 FAMOUS CARIBBEAN 1   1 4 FAMOUSFOREVERANNIE 1   1 4 ITS MY PLEASURE 1   1 4 MAGIC TRUMP 1   1 4 MISTER DESIRABLE   2   4 NORA THE PIANIST NZ 1   1   ... Photo: Bankstown Paceway directors Megan Lavender and Andrew Ho with Bankstown Paceway Driver of the Year, Joshua Willick, Horse of the Year, North American Honey NZ, and Trainer of the Year, Martin Herbert, at the heart of Australian harness racing, Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway. Megan J. Lavender  

A pair ofstate-bred stakes, each split into two divisions, along with two carry over pools and two big guaranteed pools highlighted a busy Saturday night of harness racing action at Balmoral Park. With a total of 15 distaffers dropped into the box for the Parklane Powerful Stake a pair of $30,000 splits kicked off the “Elvis Night” action. In the first division Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood’s outstanding mare, Mystical Victress cruised to her 44th career victory as she rolled under the wire with a one-length decision in 1:51.2 for driver Mike Oosting. Confidently handled by Oosting the six-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster came away fourth as Rev Me Up rolled through opening splits of 27.4 & 55.1. Tipping to the outside on the final turn, the Erv Miller trained miss quickly pulled alongside the pace setter as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2. With the money on the line Mystical Victress set sail for the wire easily gobbling up the leader with a 27.3 final quarter to post her sixth win of the season. Fox Valley Matinee(Brian Carpenter) turned a ground saving trip into the place check while Whistle Pig (Casey Leonard) was third. Bet as though defeat was clearly out of the question Mystical Victress returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping her career bankroll to $758,973. In the second division Joshua Carter’s Just By Design used a big backside brush to power into command and never looked back as she reported home with a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:52.2 for driver Dave Magee. Reserved early on as Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 Magee pulled from sixth as Leonard tried to put on the brakes with the field moving towards the half-mile mark. Rushing up to challenge the pacesetter as the field hit the half in 57.1, Just By Design easily cleared to the front on the turn as was in complete command as she passed the three-quarter mile mark in 1:25.0. Fit and fresh down the stretch, the Mike Brink trained five-year-old sealed the deal with a 27.2 final split to post her second win of the season. Pardon (John De Long) turned in a solid effort to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy held on for third. The daughter of Sportsmaster returned $6.80, $3.60 & $2.80 while pushing her 2013 record to 2-3-2 in 13 starts. With the win Just By Design now boasts $212,702 in career earnings. A total of 13 older pacing horses were entered for the Big Tom Stake with each division each carrying a jackpot of $30,000. Once again trainer Erv Miller and driver Mike Oosting teamed up to get another prohibitive favorite home as Mystical Marker Farms, Paymac Racing, Shim Racing and Kenneth Duffy’s A Cool Card continued his impressive comeback with a1 ¾ length triumph in 1:51.1. Hustled from fourth to first after watching Park Lane Deputy (Todd Warren) lead the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 A Cool Card was comfortably in front through middle splits of55.4 & 1:23.4. Shrugging off a mild challenge from Whirlwind Diplomacy (Casey Leonard) in the lane, the five-year-old son of Cole Muffler paced home in 27.2 to secure his fourth win in eight starts this season. Park Lane Deputy came on again to finish second while Whirlwind Diplomacy wound up third. After missing part of 2011 and all of 2012 with a cracked knee the bay gelding is showing signs of regaining the form that turned heads here during his three-year-old season. With Saturday’s win A Cool Card boasts career numbers 11-1-2 in 16 starts with earnings of $126,900. He returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10 to his legion of backers. In the nightcap John Prentice and Neva Jane Grevengoed’s Fort Silky continued to enjoy his finest season to date as the seven-year-old gelding scored by a hard fought neck in 1:51.1 with Casey Leonard at the controls. Hustled away from post position six the gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover led the field through an opening quarter in 27.0. Facing immediate pressure from a head strong NJ’s Big Deal (Mike Cox) Leonard briefly released that rival before moving back to the front where he led the field through middle splits of 56.2& 1:24.0. Despite making two moves during the mile the Terry Leonard trainee gamely held off a late bit up the inside from the pocket sitting NJ’s Big Deal with a 27.1 final quarter to post his 37th career victory. Uncle Smoothie (Mike Oosting) finished third. Another heavy favorite of the betting public Fort Silky returned $3.00,$2.20 & $2.10 while upping his career bankroll to $458,834 on the strength of a 2013 record of 11-8-1 in 23 starts. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Cool Card continued an amazing comeback as he rolled to victory in the first of two divisions of the $30,000 Big Tom Stake. Just By Design and driver Dave Magee teamed up to win the second of two divisions of the $30,000 Parklane Powerful Stake. Fort Silky notched his 11th win of the year by knocking off six rivals in 1:51.1 in the second of two divisions of the Big Tom Stake. Mystical Victress posted her 44th career victory as Mike Oosting steered to the six-year-old to a 1:51.2 clocking in the first of two divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake. Tom Kelley

Masterofhisdomain Sunday evening follows a trio of past stable-mates and his harness racing trainer Joe Anderson into the Illinois Harness Hall of Fame at the IHHA's Award Banquet in Alsip, IL.

Two weeks from tonight on Sunday, Feb. 10 the I.H.H.A. will to honor Tom and Rose Lewandowski as its 2012 Persons of the Year at its annual Hall of Fame Banquet. In 2012 the Lewandowski's donated $5,000 towards a 'Big Tom' College Scholarship which was shared Emily Magee and Chas Walker for their winning essays on what Illinois harness racing means to them.

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