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State-bred pacers were in the spotlight on a busy Saturday night of harness racing action at Balmoral Park as the Crete plant played host to a pair of ICF Stake eliminations in preparation for next weekends big Southland Festival of Racing.   Freshman pacing fillies kicked off the elimination action as a field of 10 were sent to battle in a $10,000 Loyal Opposition Stake elimination. The top nine finishers will join Lyrics Fall in next week's $43,500 final.   Fresh off back to back victories Kay Willis's good looking filly Lex made it three in a row as she cruised to an easy four-length win in a career best of 1:55.0 with Kyle Wilfong in tow.   Despite having to make three big moves throughout this tussle the bay daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U still managed to pace a back half in a brisk 56.0 to secure her third win in four lifetime starts for veteran conditioner Nelson Willis. Duneside Pertie (John De Long) shook loose to rally for the place money while 80-1 longshot Fox Valley Kit (Pat Curtin) took home the show dough. Also gaining spots in the final were Girls Hunt Too, Angel Demon, Mr Leland's Filly, Duneside Splash, Forsaken Glory and BS Tyrichess.   A total of 13 two-year-old pacing colts were dropped into the box for the Mini Me Stake necessitating a pair of $10,000 elimination tussles. The top five in each division will return next Saturday night to battle for a $48,000 jackpot.   In the first elimination Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark showed a great deal of grit and determination as he overcame a tough trip in route to a 1 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:54.4 with Dave Magee at the controls.   Grinding it out on for the final five-eighths of a mile while trying to reel in the pace setting Earndawg (Todd Warren) as he put up splits of 29.2, 57.1 & 1:26.4 the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best found his best stride in the late going, sealing the deal with a 27.4 final quarter to notch his second win in three career starts for trainer Erv Miller. Casey At Bat (John De Long) finished second while Earndawg held on for third. Also moving on to the final will be Get Your Camo On and Fox Valley Elijah.   In the second elimination William C & William P. De Long's King Of The Swamp made every call a winning one as he held on to record a three-quarter-length verdict in a lifetime best of 1:55.0.   After cruising through splits of 28.4, 58.3 & 1:27.2 the gelded son of Sportsmaster--She's Redhot, who was an $85,000 yearling purchase dug in gamely keeping Thisishowweoll (John De Long--2nd) and Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin--3rd) at bay for his second win in four career starts. Also gaining spots in next week's final were Fox Valley Cadet and Gett'er Done Dune.   Sophomore pacing fillies were also in action on Saturday night as a field of 10 state-bred three-year-olds battled in a $7,000 "prep" for next week's Ann Vonian Stake.   This hotly contested division provided another thrilling finish as Quaid Racing LLC's My Little Bit and driver Casey Leonard wound up prevailing by a hard fought head in a career best of 1:52.3. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) was second while Molly Go Lightly (Matt Krueger) was third in the tight three-horse photo. The top three finishers were all sent off as odds of 2-1.   The Ervin Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Parade Of Love now boasts nine wins, three seconds and two thirds in 20 lifetime starts with earnings of nearly $160,000.   For more information on the big Southland Festival of Racing please visit www.balmoralpark.com.      

A pair of Hanover Stakes for three-year-olds shared top billing on the Saturday program at Balmoral Park. A total of 14 sophomore pacing fillies were dropped into the box necessitating a split into a pair of $22,750 divisions while a total of eight pacing colts were sent postward for a purse of $37,600. The fillies kicked things off with Burke Racing Stables, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino & Lawrence Karr's U R It BB's posting a 2 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:51.4 for driver Casey Leonard. Given a perfect steer by Balmoral's leading driver the daughter of Always A Virgin--U Neek B B sat second while a headstrong Kayla Grace (Brad Kramer) showed the way through an opening quarter in 28.1. After grabbing command midway down the backside, Leonard elected to let a hard charging Hello My Dream (Dave Magee) go as the field rolled by the half-mile mark in 55.2. Sitting patiently In The Pocket as Hello My Dream and a first over Kayla Grace battled head and head around the far turn, Leonard had U R It BB perfectly positioned as the ladies hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.3. Maneuvering into the passing lane with a sixteenth of a mile to go the Ronnie Burke trained miss quickly moved into full flight finishing off the mile with a 28.0 final quarter to notch her first win in eight starts this season. One Jazzy Lady (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish second while Kayla Grace held on for third. Sent off as the second choice in the wagering U R It BB returned $7.60, $4.20 & $3.20 while running her career slate to 5-6-3 in 19 starts with earnings of $207,923. In the second division Brent Hopper, James Davis & Kyle Gray's Platinum Spirit also used the passing lane to perfection as she came roaring through inside of her rivals to win by three-quarters of a length in a lifetime best of 1:52.0 for Kyle Wilfong. The diminutive daughter of Tell All---Platinum Hanover protected early position getting away third as Cuzimalegend (Travis Seekman) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.2. After a backside brush to the lead Wilfong and Platinum Spirit faced immediate pressure from Always Dee One (Ryan Anderson) as the field moved past the half-mile station in 55.1. After watching that rival clear on the final bend Platinum Spirit settled into the pocket nicely as Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) came calling to challenge Always Dee One as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.4. Hidden behind her bigger rivals, Platinum Spirit emerged at full speed as the passing lane opened up, zipping right by the embattled leaders to post her sixth win in 14 starts this year. Always Dee One finished a hard fought second while Cuzimalegend (Travis Seekman) was third. Unraced as a two-year-old Platinum Spirit now sports five wins, one second and three thirds in 14 starts with earnings of $33,385. The Ben Davis trained miss returned $18.80, $11.80 & $5.20 to her backers. In the colt match-up Erv Miller Stables and Bert Hochsprung's Dinner At The Met scored in impressive fashion as he came charging through the lane for John De Long to win by three-lengths in a lifetime best of 1:50.2. Reserved in the early going as Blooming Genius (Travis Seekman), Pumped Up Kicks (Todd Warren) and PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) all took turns leading the way through hotly contested splits of 26.4, 54.0 & 1:22.3, De Long finally made his move first over as the field neared the top of the stretch. Taking dead aim on the leaders the gelded son of Metropolitan--Grabbersome flew home in 27.4 to post his fifth win in 18 tries this season. PQ Three fought on gamely to hold on for second while Pumped Up Kicks was third. With the win Dinner At The Met who was unraced as a two-year-old now boasts a record of 5-2-3 in 18 starts with earnings of $70,875. Well supported at the betting windows the Ervin Miller trainee returned $5.00, $2.80 & $2.40. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park  

Getting a confident steer from driver Travis Seekman, Dennis Nehmer & Robert Phillips Dakota Roadster powered by his rivals nearing the half-mile mark and never looked back in route to an impressive 3 ½ length victory in Friday's $10,000 Fox Valley Barzgar Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:57.4. Despite starting in the second tier Seekman managed to get his charge away in fourth as Fox Valley Cadet (Todd Warren) and Pathologist (Brian Carpenter) battled through an opening quarter in 29.0. Heading into the stretch for the first time Seekman made what would prove to be the winning move, pulling from fourth and powering to the top as the field reached the half-mile mark in 58.4. Quickly facing pressure from a hard charging Gett'er Done Dune these two battled neck and neck by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1. A fit and fresh Dakota Roadster then seemed to find another gear on the final turn, rebuffing the challenge of the favorite as he began putting daylight between himself and his rivals while pacing away to his first career victory. Joel's Z Tam (Casey Leonard) who got away to a slow start, rallied from last to finish second while Gett'er Done Dune held on for third. An $8,500 yearling purchase, Dakota Roadster returned $7.80, $5.00 & $7.40 while running his record to one win and two seconds in three career starts with earnings of $8,500. Driver Travis Seekman and Dakota Roadster were on cruise control as they strolled under the wire with an easy win in Friday's $10,000 Fox Valley Barzgar Stake. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

The 2014 Maywood Park Pacing Series kicked off on Friday, July 4th with the first of the three leg series, the $30,000 Cook County Stake attracting a field of seven ICF pacers. After taking this series last year, John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler's Fort Silky showed that taking "champs" belt will be no easy task as he cruised to a two-length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Casey Leonard. Taking advantage of the defection of morning line favorite Al's Hammered who was scratched sick, Leonard charged away from post position four with the eight-year-old son of Ft Apache Hanover easily made the top as the field rolled through an opening quarter in 27.2. Keeping a first over Fancy Creek Elusiv (Ryan Anderson) at bay Fort Silky continued to pace along steadily on top through middle splits of 56.0 & 1:23.2. With plenty in reserve the Terry Leonard trainee found another gear heading around the final turn, quickly widening his advantage as he cruised home with his second win in 11 starts this season. Silver Devil (John De Long) rallied late to finish second while Fancy Creek Elusiv held on for third. A 17-time winner in 2013 Fort Silky continues to put up big numbers now boasting $628,850 in earnings for his proud connections. Bet to the near exclusion of his rivals Fort Silky returned $3.00, $2.10 & $2.10. The Maywood Pacing Series awards a $25,000 bonus to the higher point earner of its three-race series. The bonus has gone to a Terry Leonard trainee the past four seasons with Fort Silky taking last year's championship after the great Well To Do Guru had taken home top honors in 2010, 2011 & 2012. Fort Silky took the first step towards defending his Maywood Park Pacing Series with an easy win in Friday's $30,000 Cook County Stake. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

It was only fitting that a stake named for a rugged Erv Miller trained filly was taken by another Miller trainee on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as Quaid Racing's My Little Bit hung on gamely to record a head decision in the $10,000 Mystical Victress Stake for ICF three-year-old pacing fillies. The final time was 1:53.2. Confidently handled by driver Casey Leonard, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Parade Of Love was sent to the front but quickly relinquished the top spot to a hard leaving Cuzimalegend (Dean Magee) as the field moved by the opening split in 26.4. Showing the confidence he had in his filly, Leonard quickly moved the Miller trained miss back to the top where she put up middle splits of 56.0 & 1:24.1. After repelling the challenge of a first over Molly Go Lightly (Brian Carpenter) as the field turned for home, My Little Bit drew off to a 2-length advantage in the lane. All out as the distaffers made their way to the wire My Little Bit dug in gamely to fight off the bid of M A Duty (Kyle Wilfong) who had been saving ground throughout the mile to post her second win of the season. M A Duty was a hard fought second while Party Hangover Two (John De Long) rallied from far back after being shuffled out of contention early to finish third. With the victory My Little Bit now boasts a record of 7-3-2 in 17 career starts with earnings of $149,260 for her proud connections. Coming off her second place finish in the Filly Maywood Pace, My Little Bit was heavily backed at the betting windows returning just $3.80, $2.80 & $2.80. Live racing continues at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 2nd, win a nine-card card getting underway at 7:10 pm (central). The Wednesday Pick 4 will have a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will entail races six through nine. Past performances for the Pick 4 races, courtesy of Trackmaster and the U.S.T.A. can be found at www.ustrotting.com. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Looking more like a seasoned veteran than a two-year-old making just his second lifetime start Frank Baldachino & Earl J. Smith's Gett'er Done Dune looped the field on the backstretch and then cruised to an easy 1¾ length victory over five other state-bred freshmen pacing colts in Friday's $10,000 Enzo The Baker Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:58.4. Content to sit near the back of the pack as Just Do It Jesse (John De Long) strolled through leisurely splits of 30.0 & 1:00.3 driver Casey Leonard put Gett'er Dune Dune into motion as the field moved by the halfway mark. Not waiting for his cover to lead him into contention Leonard quickly swung three and then four wide on the backstretch, sweeping from fifth to first with a move not see very often on the half-mile oval as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:30.2. Quickly opening up a 2½ length lead on his rivals around the final turn the gelded son of Duneside Perch--Zsa Zsa Bilmac was under wraps through the lane as he reported home with his first career victory. Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) finished second while Quinnocchio (Kyle Wilfong), who tried to follow the winner's big move rallied to finish third. An $1,800 yearling purchase Gett'er Dune Dune returned $3.40, $3.00 & $2.10 while upping his bankroll to $7,500 under the guidance of conditioner Kathy Millman. Casey Leonard had Gett'er Done Dune on cruise control as they hit the wire with an easy win in Friday's $10,000 Enzo The Baker Stake at Maywood Park. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

Fresh off a game wire to wire win in her career debut, the Peter Dora owned and trained Lyrics Fall made it two in a row to open what looks like a promising career as the speedy youngster knocked off five other Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old pacing fillies by 2¾ lengths in the $10,000 Juxtaposition Stake on Thursday night at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:57.2. Hustled off the gate from post position four by driver Casey Leonard the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fall Colors led the field through an opening quarter in 28.3. After relinquishing the lead to a hard charging BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) as the field moved by the half in 57.4, Leonard did not wait long before sending his filly back to the front, charging by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1 with a 1 ¾ length advantage. Comfortably in front of their rivals around the final bend and into the stretch, the $1,800 yearling purchased looked like a "million bucks" as she cruised home with her second win in as many tries while under no pressure whatsoever. Duneside Splash (Travis Seekman) finished second while Gracie On My Mind (John De Long) rallied to finish third. Sent off as the odds on choice after the win in her debut, Lyrics Fall returned $3.60 $2.20 & $2.10 while moving her bankroll up to $10,000 for her owner-trainer. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

Continuing to show that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with among this seasons ICF three-year-old colt pacing set Paymaq Racing's Uncle Ugly turned Friday's $92,000 Maywood Pace into nothing more than a stroll in the park as he cruised to a beautiful five-length victory in 1:53.3 for driver John De Long. Gunned away from post position five by De Long, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper---Yankee Blue took an early tuck behind longshot Fox Valley Cupid (Robert Smolin) before looping that rival as the two sped by an opening quarter in a brisk 27.1. "I was a little surprised that horse (Fox Valley Cupid) was able to get away from the gate as quickly as he did," said De Long. "I never anticipated having to take an early tuck but I knew that horse was a longshot and I wanted to be in control of things so I waited for things to settle down just a bit then just sent my horse back on his way." Rolling along through the heavy humid air Uncle Ugly proceeded to put up middle splits of 55.2 & 1:23.3 while his rivals struggled to maintain a deteriorating outer flow. After turning aside a first over bid from PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) and watching the overwhelming 1-2 favorite Unlocked (Dave Magee) make a break while trying to move up three-wide, De Long and Uncle Ugly began to draw away from the pocket sitting Fox Valley Cupid as the field moved into the final turn. "I was a little nervous heading into that last turn because I knew some of Erv's (Miller) other horses were still looming out there but my horse just picked up the bit again and really started to dig in," said a smiling De Long. Dig in he did, quickly sprinting away from the rest of the field as he left no doubt as to who was the best on this night while cruising under the wire with his fifth win in 10 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Cupid, the 28-1longshot did well to hold on for second while Beach Boy Brody (Casey Leonard) overcame a miscue at the half-mile mark to rally for the show dough. The second choice in the wagering, Uncle Ugly returned $4.80 & $4.80. Show wagering was not allowed on the race. Unraced as a two-year-old, Uncle Ugly, who was a $19,000 yearling purchase now boasts a record of five wins, two seconds and two thirds in 10 starts with earnings of $84,012 while under the watchful eye of trainer Erv Miller. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

Racing fans received their first look at some of this seasons Illinois conceived and foaled freshmen trotting and pacing sets as a pair of non-wagering events on Sunday, June 15th capped off a busy weekend of state-bred stakes action.   Pacers kicked off the early action on Sunday night with a field of four youngsters battling in the $10,000 Wicked Brew Stake. After biding his time at the back of the pack as Really Dave (Dean Magee) strolled through splits of 31.1, 1:00.3 & 1:30.2, the Dennis Brightwell owned Casey At Bat uncorked an eye catching 28.0 final quarter to roll right by his rivals for a neck decision in 1:59.2 with Casey Leonard at the controls. Gett'er Done Dune (Dave Magee) was second while Just Do It Jesse (Robert Smolin) was third.   The homebred son of Sportsmaster--Odds On Casey is conditioned is conditioned by Curtis Rice.   A field of five diagonally gaited freshmen went postward in the $5,000 Million Dollar Bye Stake a few minutes later. After a perfect pocket sitting journey while Captain Greedy (JD Finn) put up splits of 30.2, 1:00.3 & 1:32.1, driver Todd Warren popped out of the two-hole at the head of the stretch with the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar and the youngster trotted home powerfully to post a three-length victory in 2:01.2. Captain Greedy held on for second while Arcs Conquest (Dave Magee) was third.   The winner who is a gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain was a $7,000 Land Of Lincoln Sale purchase by Wheeler.   Pacers and trotters also shared the spotlight on Saturday, June 14th as a field of eight older state-breds met in the $20,000 Broadway Preview Stake while seven sophomore trotting colts squared off in the $10,000 Southern Rocketop Stake.   A pair of frequent visitors to the Balmoral Park winner's circle toted home top honors in these events as the Robert Phillips owned and trainer Al's Hammered zoomed right by the field with his potent closing burst to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:49.4 while Tour Hall continued his dominance of the sophomore trotting set with a deceptively easy half-length victory in 1:55.2.   Reserved in the early going by driver Robert Smolin Al's Hammered circled around rivals on the final turn before unleashing a wicked 26.1 final quarter to win for the seventh time in 11 starts this season. Silver Devil (John De Long) shook loose late to rally for second while pace setter Ice Scraper (Todd Warren) held on for third.   Mike Brink and Loren Tournear's Tour Hall came into Saturday's stake riding a four-race winning streak and the overwhelming 2-5 favorite lived up to his hype as he shook loose in the lane after a perfect steer from Dave Magee, charging home in 28.2 to stop the clock in a career best. Fox Valley Veto (John De Long) battled hard but was relegated to the runner-up role for the Third Straight week while Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) was third. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Despite getting off to a nice start in her sophomore season Paula Smith, Lucas Smith, James Runyan and Kathleen O’Neill’s Fox Valley Amanda was a bit overlooked at the betting windows in Friday’s $89,000 Filly Maywood Pace for ICF three-year-olds. The home-bred harness racing filly wound up making her “doubters” pay though as she parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a half-length victory in a career best of 1:55.1 with Dale Hiteman at the controls.   Taking advantage of post position two, Hiteman positioned the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper—Thongundrcolrsoops right on the back of My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) as that filly led the field through splits of 27.3, 56.4 & 1:25.1. After being softened up by a first over bid from Molly Go Lightly (Ryan Anderson), a game but leg weary My Little Bit could not hold off the open stretch move of Fox Valley Amanda as she powered home in 29.3 to post her fourth win in nine starts this season. My Little Bit held to be the bridesmaid while Molly Go Lightly finished third, three-lengths behind the top filly. Dispatched as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering the Joel Smith trained Fox Valley Amanda returned $12.80, $3.60 & $2.20 while running her career record to 5-7-3 with earnings of nearly $139,000. State-bred pacing colts were in action as well on Friday night as a field of eight squared off in a Maywood Pace elimination. The top seven finishers will be back next Friday (June 20) to join Unlocked in one of tracks signature events. Despite a tough trip Megan Rogers Stables Beach Boy Brody posted an impressive 2 ¼ length victory for driver Dave Magee in 1:53.1. He will be joined in the final by Uncle Ugly, PQ Three, R Duneshine, Fox Valley Cupid, Fox Valley Van and Traffic Cop. The 20 cent Pick 6 wager went unclaimed for a third straight card so thanks to a carryover of $4,283 there will be a Guaranteed Pool of $15,000 for Thursday, June 19th. Tom Kelley

Living up to his status as the even-money favorite, Paymaq Racing's Uncle Ugly made it look pretty in Saturday's $48,100 Cardinal Stake Final for ICF three-year-old pacing colts at Balmoral Park as he cruised to a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.2 for driver John De Long.   Zipped away from post position seven by De Long, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper--Yankee Blue was under wraps as he led the field through splits of 27.1, 55.2 & 1:23.0.   "Erv (Miller) told me earlier in the day not to be afraid to leave with him because he was really sharp right now," said De Long. "Once I got him to the top he relaxed perfectly for me through the middle half-mile of the race and he was ready to go again when I asked him at the top of the stretch."   With stablemate PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) making a bid at the pace-setter as the field turned for home Uncle Ugly set sail for the wire finishing up the mile in grand fashion as he paced home in 28.2 for his fourth win in eight career starts. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard), the early season leader among this set, parlayed a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while longshot Fox Valley Van (Brian Carpenter) rallied to finish third.   After the victory De Long was still singing the praises of his charge who was unraced as a two-year-old.   "He's still a little green at times and doesn't even realize just how fast he's going or how easy he's doing it," explained De Long. "He's learning pretty quickly though and when he gets it all figured out he's going to be a pretty serious race horse."   Uncle Ugly looked beautiful to his backers returning $4.00, $2.40 & $2.40 while running his record to 4-1-2 in 8 starts with earnings of $34,856. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park      

Flashing the form that made her one of last season's top freshman pacing fillies in the Prairie State Quaid Racing's My Little Bit charged past nine rivals to post an impressive 4¼ length victory for driver Casey Leonard in Sunday's $48,100 Violet Stake at Balmoral Park. The final time of 1:52.4 shaved a full second off the fillies previous lifetime best.   Confidently handled by Balmoral's leading reinsman the daughter of Sportsmaster--Parade Of Love was reserved through the early stages of the race as Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) and race favorite Buoncammino (Sam Widger) battled through splits of 28.1, 56.0 & 1:23.2.   Moving up in a nice second over position as the field turned for the money, Leonard tipped to the Erv Miller trained miss to the far outside where she quickly starting picking off rivals with a potent closing kick. Taking command of the proceedings with a sixteenth of a mile to go, My Little Bit was on cruise control the rest of the way as she drew clear of her foes to score for the sixth time in 14 lifetime starts. Another Miller trainee, M A Refling (Lewayne Miller) rallied from ninth at the top of lane to be the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Amanda held on for third.   An $11,000 yearling purchase, My Little Bit now boasts more than $120,000 in earnings on the strength of a 6-2-1 record in 14 starts. The second choice in the wagering after finishing third in last week's elimination, My Little Bit returned $8.60, $4.80 & $3.00.   Illinois conceived and foaled trotting fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a field of 10 were sent postward in a $10,000 Violet Stake elimination. The $47,000 final will be contested next weekend as part of the big Memorial Day weekend festivities.   Fresh off a nice win in her sophomore debut last week, Donald Huddleston's Macie Rae was impressive again, posting a 4¼ length wire to wire victory in 1:59.2 with Ryan Anderson at the controls.   Hustled right to the top from post position four, the Michael Rogers trained daughter of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry put up splits of 30.2, 1:01.2 & 1:31 before sealing the deal with a sharp 28.2 final quarter to remain spotless in 2014. Fox Valley Lotus (John De Long) parlayed a perfect trip into a second place check while 55-1 longshot Graceful Spirit (Mike Brink) rallied to finish third. With the win Macie Rae now sports a record of 10 wins, three seconds and three thirds in 21 starts with earnings of $32,867. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

Continuing his eye opening start to the 2014 season, Paula Smith & James Runyan's Fox Valley Deuce continued to impress knocking off five other Illinois conceived and foaled sophomore pacing colts by a length in Friday's $10,000 Gosox Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was a career best 1:54.2 for the Joel Smith trainee. Gunned right to the front by regular pilot Casey Leonard, the altered son of Sportsmaster--Dodger Girl breezed through splits of 28.3, 57.3 & 1:25.4 while holding a first over Fox Valley Cupid (Ryan Anderson) at bay for the final five-eighths of a mile.   After turning aside that longshot's bid, Fox Valley Deuce began to draw clear of his rivals in the lane, sealing the deal with a 28.3 final quarter to score for the fifth time in seven starts this year. Cotton Eyed Joe (Robert Smolin), the only horse to defeat Fox Valley Deuce this season, shook loose late after a ground saving trip to finish second while Sleazeburgernfries (Kyle Wilfong) finished third.   The 8-5 favorite returned $5.20, $3.00 & $2.10 and now boasts seven wins, two seconds and a third in 22 lifetime starts with earnings of $43,147.   Driver Casey Leonard and Fox Valley Deuce were on top at every call in Friday's $10,000 Gosox Stake at Maywood Park. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

After a nasty thunderstorm caused a 35 minute delay to start the Sunday, May 11th card at Balmoral Park the action was hot and heavy the rest of the evening as a pair of state-bred events shared top billing on the program. The stakes action kicked off with trotters as a field seven three-year-old fillies met in a $10,000 Betzotic Stake. Despite being away since last October, Donald Huddleston's Macie Rae looked fit and fresh as she came splashing through the passing lane to post a 1 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:59.1 for driver Ryan Anderson.   Hustled away from the outside starting spot by Anderson, the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry settled perfectly into third through the early going as High Balance (Casey Leonard) led the field through splits of 31.1, 101.2 & 1:30.0.   With High Balance and last year's division Bailey's Wish (Lewayne Miller) battling tooth and nail through the lane, Anderson patiently maneuvered the Mike Rogers trained miss into the passing lane where she quickly gobbled up the embattled leaders to post her ninth win in 20 lifetime starts. Bailey's Wish was forced to settle for the runner-up role while High Balance hung on for third.   With the win Macie Rae, who returned $8.40, $5.20 & $3.40 boasts career numbers of 9-3-3 in 20 trips postward with earnings of $27,867.   A $10,000 elimination for the first "major" stake of the 2014 season was contested on Sunday as well but with the field of 10 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies knocked down to seven because of scratches this wound up being a "prep" for next week's $44,700 Violet Stake.   Nonetheless trainer Nelson Willis had to be happy as a pair of fillies trained by the veteran conditioner wound up in the top two spots with the Sawgrass Farms & Kay Willis owned Cuzimalegend overtaking last season's division leader Thesleazyprincess to score by a half-length in 1:57.2 for driver Dale Hiteman.   Using the inside starting spots to perfection driver Todd Warren put Thesleazyprincess right on the lead from the word go. With Hiteman and Cuzimalegend sitting in the garden spot, Thesleazyprincess paced through splits of 30.3, 1:00.3 & 1:29.2. Fit and fresh after the two-hole journey a determined Cuzimalegend gradually wore down her stablemate with a sharp 27.3 to post her first lifetime victory. Thesleazyprincess was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while favored My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) finished third.   The home-bred daughter of Lexington Legend--Cuzurinittowinit, who was scheduled to be coupled in the wagering with the scratched Molly Go Lightly (sick) returned $7.80, $4.00 & $2.10 while pushing her bankroll up to $10,093.   Live racing continues at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, May 14th win a nine-card card getting underway at 7:10 pm (central). The Wednesday Pick 4 will have a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will entail races six through nine. Past performances for the Pick 4 races, courtesy of Trackmaster can be found at www.ustrotting.com. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

After being relegated to the runner-up role in his last two starts Paula Smith & James Runyan's Fox Valley Deuce gained a measure of revenge on his three-year-old pacing colt rivals on Friday, May 2nd at Maywood Park as driver Casey Leonard guided him to a 1 ¼ length victory in the $10,000 Taser Gun Stake. The final time was 1:55.2 over a fast track. After getting away fourth in the field of six Leonard was content to let the son of Sportsmaster--Dodger Girl bide his time as Dunside Art (Kyle Wilfong) and Cotton Eyed Joe (Robert Smolin) battled through an opening quarter in a brisk 27.3.   Getting underway as the state-breds hit the half in 58.0 Fox Valley Deuce stormed to the top just as the field reached the three-quarter-mark in 1:27.0.   Drawing clear in the final turn, the Joel Smith trainee sealed the deal with a 28.2 final quarter to post his fourth win in six starts this season. Dunside Art held on to the second spot while 3-5 favorite Cotton Eyed Joe was forced to settle for the show dough.   With the win Fox Valley Deuce now boasts six wins, two seconds and a third in 21 lifetime starts with earnings of $38,147. The second choice in the wagering returned $6.40, $3.80 & $2.20.   Driver Casey Leonard guided Fox Valley Deuce to an 1 1/4 length victory in Friday's $10,000 Taser Gun Stake at Maywood Park.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

The sophomore trotting set was back in the spotlight on Wednesday night at BalmoralPark as a field of seven diagonally gaited state-breds tangled in the $10,000 Iggy Magoo Stake.   After a thrilling stretch long duel, it was Tom L. Graham & Tom L. Graham Jr's Vin who prevailed by the slimmest of margins over 1-9 favorite Tour Hall in 1:59.1 for driver Casey Leonard.   Positioned in mid-pack as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) and Tour Hall (Dave Magee) led the field through splits of 29.4 & 1:00.0 Leonard sent the Thomas Graham trained colt on a power sweep around the far turn, pulling to within a head of Tour Hall as the two passed the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:31.0.   With the two sophomores battling tooth and nail through every inch of the 1,360 foot stretch, Vin was able to hold off one final surge from the division leader to record his first win in 12 career starts. Tour Hall was a tough luck second while Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) finished third.   Dispatched at odds of 8-1, the son of Powerful Emotion--Valli Gram returned $18.80, $4.60 & $2.60 while pushing his career bankroll up to $9,000.   With a carryover of $7,665 the wagering public once again showed a great deal of support for the Balmoral Park signal pushing another $45,166 into the pool for a total of $52,831 in the 50 Cent Pick 5 pool to get the Wednesday night card underway!   by Tom Kelley, for Harnesslink.com

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