Day At The Track
Search Results
97 to 112 of 173

Taking advantage of mid-race speed duel, driver John De Long slid 24-1 longshot Silver Devil to the outside of horses on the backstretch the final time then rallied sharply in the lane to post a half-length upset in Friday's $34,380 Cardinal Stake for older state-bred pacers at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:53.3. Using post position two to perfection De Long positioned the handsome roan son of Duneside Perch along the pylons while Elkhorn Damien (Todd Warren) and Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) battled through a 27.3 opening quarter.   After letting the field settle into position through that opening split driver Casey Leonard sent 4-5 favorite Fort Silky on his way from fifth as the field headed into the stretch the first time prompting some strong urging from Warren with Elkhorn Damien. With these two quickly engaged in a speed duel the dominant Fort Silky made a very uncharacteristic break as the field moved to the half-mile mark in 56.1.   Quickly righting the ship with Fort Silky, the top two continued to battle tooth and nail as the field raced by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.3. By this point De Long had slipped to the outside with Silver Devil and had the four-year-old gelding powering up three wide around the top pair as the field moved into the final turn.   Sweeping around the tiring leaders as the field turned for home, the Nick Giberson trainee paced home in 28.3 for his first win of the season, holding off a big late move from another longshot, Fancy Creek Elusiv (Ryan Anderson) who made a huge four-wide surge around the last bend. Elkhorn Damien held on for third.   After an impressive 11-win campaign in his first season of action in 2013, Silver Devil who returned $50.80, $20.40 & $7.40 now boasts career earnings of nearly $105,000 for the ownership group of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson.   The two longshots helped produce a $435.00 return on a $2 exacta wager and a whopping $1771.00 trifecta payout. The 20-cent Pick 6 wager also went unclaimed for the second straight night so there will be a carryover of $2,242.15 in the pool when live racing resumes next Thursday night at Maywood Park. Post time will be 7:10 p.m.   John De Long guided the good looking Silver Devil to an upset score in Friday's $34,380 Cardinal Stake at Maywood Park. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

Coming into Sunday's $10,000 Koochie Stake at Balmoral Park, all eyes were focused on trainer Dirk Simpson's star freshman, Bailey's Wish who dominated the division most of last season. But when all was said and done it was a different Simpson trainee who was toting home top honors as driver John De Long guided Say No Mo to a two-length victory in a career best of 1:59.3 at odds of 51-1.   Given a perfect steer by the red-hot De Long, the daughter of Bands Gold Chip--Not So Kosher floated away from post position nine, eventually finding a good early spot in third as High Balance (Casey Leonard) sped away from the gate to lead the field through splits of 30.0, 1:01 & 1:30.2.   Masterfully securing racing room after a prolonged first over bid by Green Acres (Jon Anderson) came up short, De Long moved his charge into position and the four-time winner in in 2013 responded beautifully, trotting home in a brisk 28.3 to pull off the shocking upset. Lora Lee Breeze (Matt Krueger) parlayed a perfect two-hole trip into a second place check while High Balance held on for third. Bailey's Wish, the 4-5 favorite of the betting public made an early break and was never a threat while finishing a distanced eighth.   Lighting up the board with mutuels of $104.80, $36.00 & $16.60 Say No Mo pushed her career earnings up to $28,118 for the partnership of Dr. Patrick Graham, Flacco Family Farms and the Dirk Simpson Stables.   Thanks in large part to the upset in the Koochie Stake which was the final leg of the 50 cent Pick 5 wager, no one successfully picked all five winners. There will be a carryover pool of $7,665.15 for Wednesday's (March 30) Balmoral card. Because of the carryover Balmoral Park has announced that there will be a $40,000 guaranteed pool on Wednesday's Pick 5 at Balmoral. The Pick 5 will be on races one through five on Wednesday night. Post time is 7:10 p.m. (central).   There will also be a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the $1 Pick 4 wager this Wednesday. The Pick 4 is on races six through nine.   Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com ay No Mo and driver John De Long teamed up to pull off a shocking upset at 51-1 in Sunday's $10,000 Koochie Stake for ICF three-year-old trotting fillies. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

State-bred pacers took center stage on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as trainer Robert Phillips and driver Robert Smolin teamed up for a pair of impressive victories with two of the stables stars as Al's Hammered romped to a 5¾ length victory in the $15,000 Rambling Willie Stake while Cotton Eyed Joe rolled to a 2¾ length win in the $10,000 Betzotic Stake.   With a compact field of five of the state's top older pacers facing the gate for the Rambling Willie Stake, Al's Hammered found himself much closer than usual to the early action as Ice Scraper (Todd Warren) rattled off splits of 27.0, 56.0 & 1:23.4.   Smolin then maneuvered the son of Droppin'thehammer off the pylons as the field turned for the money. As he's done so often, the bay five-year-old absolutely exploded through the stretch, charging home in a wicked 25.4 to secure the victory in 1:50.1 for his owner-trainer Phillips. Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) parlayed a perfect pocket sitting journey into a second place check while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee) finished third.   With the win Al's Hammered who has overcome serious injury to return to stardom now boasts a career record of 25-8-11 in 64 starts with earnings of more than $340,000   Sophomore pacing colts were also in action on the chilly Saturday night card and when the smoke cleared from the $10,000 Betzotic Stake the Phillips-Smolin pairing were back in victory lane as Cotton Eyed Joe turned a two-hole trip into an easy win over seven other state-breds, stopping the clock in 1:54.1.   Perfectly positioned on the back of odds-on favorite Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) as he clicked off splits of 27.3, 57.1 & 1:26.4, Smolin patiently waited for the passing lane as the field headed for the wire. After securing room with a sixteenth of a mile to go, the gelded son of Big Green Machine--Secret Dial flew home in 27.0 to nab his second win in four starts this season. Fox Valley Deuce held for second while Dune Dude (Dean Magee) turned in a late rally to finish third, four lengths behind the winner.   A four-time career winner, last season's Orange & Blue champion now boasts career earnings of more than $121,000 for owner-trainer Bob Phillips.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park     COTTON EYED JOE AND DRIVER Robert Smolin CHARGED THROUGH THE PASSING LANE TO SECURE VICTORY IN SATURDAY'S $10,000 BETZOTIC STAKE.     AL'S HAMMERED UNCORKED A WICKED 25.4 TO BLOW BY HIS RIVALS IN SATURDAY'S $15,000 RAMBLING WILLIE STAKE.       -----Original Message----- From: David Baum <baum.photography@gmail.com> To: Tom Kelley <tkelleyatbal@aol.com>; Mike Paradise <michaelfparadise@hotmail.com> Sent: Sat, Apr 26, 2014 9:31 pm        

After closing out his freshman campaign with a stakes victory here at BalmoralPark back in November, Tour Hall picked up right where he left off on Saturday night as the talented youngster cruised to an easy 1 ½ length triumph over three other sophomore trotting colts in the $10,000 Speedy Rodney Stake. The final time was 1:59.3. Given a confident steer by co-owner and trainer Mike Brink, the gelded son of American Native grabbed command right from the start leading the field through leisurely splits of 29.3, 1:00 & 1:31.2.   With plenty still in reserve Tour Hall sprinted home in 28.1 while easily keeping his rivals at bay for his fifth career win in 14 starts. Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) parlayed a pocket sitting journey into a second place finish whileVin (Casey Leonard) was third.   With the win Tour Hall now boasts a career record of 5-3-1 in 14 starts with earnings of $78,801 for Brink and co-owner Loren Tournear.   With the Easter holiday on Sunday, April 20thBalmoralPark will be "dark" for live racing.   However, Wednesday night action will return at the Crete oval on April 23rd with a nine-race card getting underway at 7:10 p.m. (central). There will be a $10,000 Guaranteed Pool on Wednesday's Pick 4 which will entail races six through nine.   Program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster and the USTA at www.ustrotting.com. Just click on the handicapping section of that website. Also, the 50 Cent Pick 5 wager will begin on the first race of the night on Wednesday.

After opening his second season with two very impressive scores over "older open" company, Paula Smith and James Runyan's Fox Valley Deuce took his first crack at state-bred stakes company on Saturday night at Balmoral Park in the $10,000 Taurus Bomber Stake. The gelded son of Sportsmaster--Dodger Girl had no problem keeping his perfect slate intact as he cruised to an easy 4 ½ length score over five rivals in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Hustled away from the outside post in the field of six, the Joel Smith trainee was parked through an opening quarter of 29.4. After grabbing command as the field straightened up onto the backstretch for Leonard, the issue was never really in doubt again as the good looking sophomore put up leisurely middle splits of 1:00.2 & 1:29.4.   Fit and fresh as he headed for the money Fox Valley Deuce finished off the mile in grand fashion, rattling off an eye opening 26.2 final split to make it three in a row in 2014. Orange & Blue winner Cotton Eyed Joe (Robert Smolin), who was making his sophomore debut, finished a fast closing second while Dune Dude (Dean Magee) turned in a solid try to rally for third.   With the win Fox Valley Deuce now boasts fives wins and a third in 18 lifetime starts with earnings of $28,147.   A trio of Newcomer Series finals were contested on Saturday night as well. The $7,800 Filly & Mare final was taken by Brett Wilfong's Chariots Afire (Jimmy Daniel) as she cruised to her second win in three starts this year. The home-bred daughter of Skydancer Hanover stopped the clock in 1:55.0. The $8,000 colt & gelding final was captured Nelson & Kay Willis's Shark Vision (Kyle Wilfong) as the royally-bred son of Cam's Cam Shark made it three in a row in 2014 while tripping the timer in 1:55.1.   On the trotting side of the docket, the Lester Banks owned, Steve Bauder trained Mary Queen (Dale Hiteman) was able to mind her manners again as she uncorked a big closing burst to knock off eight other diagonally gaited specialists in the $7,750 final of that series.The final time was a career best of 1:59.2.   There will be no live racing this Wednesday April 2, 2014 due to lack of entries.    By Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Illinois legislators will reconvene in Springfield on Wednesday to hear Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address. It also is imperative that they pass legislation allowing Advance Deposit Wagering. ADW allows horse racing fans to bet on horse races online. This is not a new law. ADW has been legal since 2009 but is due to sunset Jan. 31. A percentage of ADW wagers fund the Illinois Racing Board, which regulates horse racing. Without ADW funds, the IRB cannot sufficiently carry out its responsibilities. Consequently, harness racing would see a 95 percent reduction in racing dates, going from racing 251 days in 2013 to 13 days in 2014. Such dramatic cuts will effectively kill Illinois horse racing and the thousands of jobs it creates. We simply want to do what we love and earn an honest paycheck. But this bill, which is supported unanimously in the horse racing industry, must pass first. Illinois horse racing employs more than 15,000 men and women, including drivers, trainers, bartenders, blacksmiths and more. These are real jobs throughout Illinois. It is reasonable to assume then that the Illinois General Assembly would be eager to promote and nurture an industry that provides revenue and jobs in a state that is hungry for those things. Our racing season is scheduled to begin Feb. 5. We urge all lawmakers to encourage leadership to call this critical piece of legislation on Wednesday and show your support with a “yes” vote. Casey Leonard Harness driver, Harvard Dave McCaffrey President Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association 

With the 2013 racing season in the books a couple of very familiar faces on the Chicago circuit toted home top honors in the training and driving ranks as veterans Perry Smith and Mike Oosting each completed “daily doubles” by sweeping the training and driving titles respectively at Maywood and Balmoral Park. The 62-year-old Smith who is a Crete, Illinois resident began his career back in the mid-1970’s as a driver-trainer before becoming a full-time trainer in 1989. Since then Smith trained- horses have racked up 1296 victories and more than $8.3 million in purse money. Currently, Smith has 35 head in training at Sawgrass Farms. “I did a lot of racing at both tracks this year,” said Perry. “The key to being successful is knowing where your horses fit and getting them in those spots. If you’re realistic about them and put them in the right spots you can be successful and make money with them.” In the Maywood standings Smith recorded 69 victories from 347 starts for a 19.9% win ratio. David Mc Caffrey finished second with 56 winners from 426 starters while Angie Affrunti was third with 50 wins in 221 starts. The Balmoral title came down to the final weekend but when the smoke cleared it was Smith edging out another veteran, Nelson Willis by a 71-69 margin. Smith sent out 422 starters at the Crete oval for a 16.8% win ratio. Mike Brink finished third with 52 trips to the winner’s circle. On the driving side of the docket, Mike Oosting continued to dominate the ranks defeating Casey Leonard by a margin of 219-201 at Maywood Park and 270-197 at Balmoral Park for his “daily double”.  John De Long finished third in the Maywood standings while Dave Magee was third at Balmoral. The Balmoral title was the eighth in the last nine years for the Beecher, Illinois resident who now sports 5,651 career wins and more than $35.5 million in purse earnings. It also marked the eighth straight year the 52-year-old Oosting has finished with a U.D.R. of higher than .300.   For complete stats and information on both tracks including the big Meadowlands Handicapping contest taking place at Maywood Park and the Illinois O.T.B.’s which starts on Friday, Jan. 3rd visit www.maywoodpark.com and www.balmoralpark.com. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral and Maywood Park

The late season surge of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson’s Silver Devil continued on Friday, Nov. 22nd as the handsome roan gelding completely dismantled five other Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts in a 6 ¼ length romp while taking the $15,000 Cole Muffler Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:54.0.           Taking full advantage of a nice inside draw and the defection of his main rival, Mystical Walter who was a “Judges Scratch”, the altered son of Duneside Perch—Armbro Wahine swept from third to first after watching Golden Nugget (Jason Brewer) and Fox Valley Norman (John Roberts) battle through an opening quarter in 27.4.           In command of the proceedings the rest of the way the Nick Giberson trained sophomore rattled off middle splits of 56.4 & 1:25.4 while putting daylight between himself and his competition. Leaving his rivals in his wake on the final turn Silver Devil sealed the deal with a 28.1 final quarter to post his 11th win in 26 starts this season. Monopoly Man (John De Long) rallied to be second while Colechester (Sam Widger) finished a distant third.           Unraced as a two-year-old, the 1-5 favorite of the betting public returned $2.40, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping his record to 11-2-1 in 26 lifetime starts with earnings of $84,614.           The .10 cent Pick 6 wager went unclaimed for a third straight racing card on Friday night so there will be a carryover of $15,026 for the Friday, Nov. 29th program at Maywood Park. There is no racing on Thursday, Nov. 28th because of the Thanksgiving holiday.           With the three card buildup in the Pick 6 Maywood Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 6 pool of $50,000 on Friday, November 29th. That should provide some lucky “player” with plenty of extra “shopping” money for the Holiday season!             Once again the Pick 6 can be played for as little as a .10 cent investment giving all gamblers, regardless of the size of the their bankrolls, a chance to play for a nice payday next Friday night.           Post time for the opener on Friday, Nov. 29th at Maywood Park is 7:10 p.m. (central) and the fifth race, which kicks off the guaranteed pool action, is expected to go sometime around 8:30 p.m. (central). by Tom Kelley for Maywood Park  

Fort Silky and driver Casey Leonard went wire-to-wire to capture the $30,000 Lester McKeever Stake in 1:53.3 on Nov. 15 at Maywood Park. The 7-year-old son of Ft. Apache Hanover is trained byTerry Leonard for owners John Prentice and Neve Jan Ikeler of Illinois. After sweeping through fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.4, Fort Silky held off second-place finisher Uncle Smoothie (Matt Krueger)by three-quarters of a length. Mystical Walter (Lewayne Miller) finished third. Fort Silky added the $15,000 winner’s share to his seasonal bankroll of $237,795. “This race worked out exactly the way we wanted it to,”Leonard said. “My horse left well as I had him pretty reved up and I was a little surprised nobody left. Going into the last turn my horse felt really good. He doesn’t finish as well here as he does at Balmoral, but he was good enough to get the job done. I love horses that just get it, like he does. Sometimes the fastest horse doesn’t always win the race—sometimes it’s just the horse that keeps on trying.” Fort Silky scored his fourth consecutive victory andpushed his career earnings to $551,935. by Kimberly A. Rinker for Maywood Park  

It’s not often that the “star” of your team retires and the squad doesn’t miss a beat. But that’s the case for “Team Leonard” as Fort Silky looks to post his 16th win of the season and lock up a $20,000 bonus when he takes on seven other state-bred pacers in Friday’s (Nov. 15) $30,000 Lester McKeever Stake at Maywood Park. .   Fresh off three straight victories against “open” company in the Invitational ranks at Balmoral Park the seven-year-old son of Ft. Apache Hanover enters the McKeever Stake in peak form for trainer Terry Leonard.   “I think he’s as good as he’s been at any point in the year,” said driver Casey Leonard who has been the gelding’s regular pilot all year long. “He’s had a couple of weeks off in a few different spots this year and that has really helped to keep him fresh all season long.”   Sent to the Leonard barn to start the season by owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler Fort Silky, who had banked nearly $300,000 going into 2013 season, immediately began to flourish under the care of the Leonard operation.   “We knew he was a very good horse from competing against him for the past few years while we had Well To Do Guru racing,” explained Leonard. “From day one he took to our program and he’s only become more and more comfortable with it. He’s a heck of a good eater, he learned to swim and now he’s actually very fond of that and he’s been a good trainer when it comes time to hit the track. He’s as relaxed as can be and he’s just fit in perfectly with us.”   Fort Silky enters Friday’s battle sporting an impressive record of 15-11-2 in 31 starts this season with earnings of $239,795. Despite the gaudy totals driver Casey Leonard believes the career winner of $536,939 could have even more money on his card this season if not for some tough racing luck in several starts. “He’s was stuck in the second tier in the Cook County Stake (Leg 1 of this series) and wound up finishing second,” said Leonard who is having the best year of his career with 344 victories through Nov. 13th. “Then in the Egyptian (Leg 2) he wound up on the outside in the 8-hole and I had to blast him out of there. We also had a pretty tough trip while under constant pressure on Super Night and still managed to finish second. Still the numbers he’s put up are pretty impressive.” After taking this series the past three years with their great home-bred Well To Do Guru who was retired earlier this season, the Leonard’s will have a chance pull off the four-peat with Fort Silky who will leave from post position four in Friday’s battle.   “I certainly didn’t foresee being in this position after we retired “Guru” earlier this year,” said Leonard. “He was the star of our stable for so long that it’s almost surreal to have this chance again. The year that Fort Silky has put together has been incredible. He’s been a pleasure to drive and to train and to be able to do this for such respected people like Neva and John makes it that much better.”   The $20,000 owner’s bonus goes to the horse who accumulates the most points in the three-race series.  Here are the current standings heading into Friday’s McKeever Stake.   Maywood Park's Illinois Bred Championship Series Point Totals   Fort Silky 50 Uncle Smoothie 50 Fox Valley Yukon 50 NJ's Big Deal 20 Sports Fanatic 20 Whirlwind Diplomacy 10   Tom Kelley

After getting off to a fast start in his first season on the track Mike Brink and Loren Tournear’s Tour Hall looked like he was going to be the one to beat in the Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old colt trotting ranks. Unfortunately breaking problems plagued the gelding through late August and September. Now trainer Mike Brink appears to have the son of American Native—Broadway And Fifth back on course as the long striding youngster trotted to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:59.2 while capturing Wednesday’s $10,000 Betzotic Stake at Balmoral Park. Taking advantage of a perfect two-hole trip that was worked out by Hall of Famer Dave Magee, Tour Hall saved ground throughout as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) put up splits of 29.0, 59.1 & 1:29.4.   After securing racing room in the lane Tour Hall reeled in longshot Gottaluvaredhead (Casey Leonard) who had had overtaken a tiring Nino Marino at the top of the stretch. Drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for Magee, Tour Hall was on cruise control as he scored for the fourth time in 13 lifetime starts. Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) rallied to be second while Gottaluvaredhead held on for third in the field of six. Morning line favorite Photo Surprise was scratched sick prior to the start of this event.     Wednesday’s $1 Pick 4 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $19,006 for Saturday’s big American National card. Balmoral Park has announced there will now be a $100,000 guaranteed pool for Saturday’s Pick 4 which entails races 10-13, adding even more excitement to what will be one of this season’s biggest nights of racing anywhere in the country! by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park

Thursday’s $12,000 Life’s A Holiday Stake at Maywood Stake turned into quite a nail biter for chalk players as the heavily favored entry of Skyline Road and King Mufasa both made breaks during the mile. The 1-9 favorites still made good on their favored status though with Skyline Road prevailing by 3 ¼ lengths in 2:00.4 over a sloppy track. After speeding to the top from post position eight King Mufasa (Mike Oosting) appeared to take a bad step just after leading the field through an opening quarter in 28.0. After making a nasty break, Oosting did a magnificent job of gathering up the division leader on the turn but not before they had dropped all the way back to seventh as Riet’s Kid (Dean Magee) led the field through a half in 59.2. Circling around rivals as the field moved onto the backstretch the Mike Brink trainee, who had won 14 of 15 starts this season, was back in front as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:30.2. Meanwhile, entry mate Skyline Road and driver Casey Leonard, who made a break early in the race and was last at the opening call, was circling up from th eback of the pack picking off one rival after another as he moved up to challenge as the field moved into the final turn. In full flight as the diagonally gaited sophomores moved around the final turn Skyline Road trotted right by his entrymate as the field straightened for the money, eventually drawing away for his fourth win of the season. King Mufasa turned in an unbelievable effort to finish in the runner-up role while Mack’s Gold Band (John De Long) was third. Sent off at odds of 1-9 the overwhelming favorites returned $2.20 & $2.10. There was no show wagering on the race. With the win Skyline Road now sports a record of 4-3-2 in 17 starts this season with earnings of $54,775 for “Bill” Wright, Geis Enterprise and the Ervin Miller Stable. by Tom Kelley for Maywood Park  

A pair of state-bred stake events for two-year-olds shared top billing on Saturday, Oct. 19th at Balmoral Park as a field of eight freshmen pacing fillies squared off the $12,000 Beecher Stake while seven of their male counterparts met in the $12,000 Crete Stake. Continuing her late season run at divisional honors Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly parlayed a perfect two-hole trip into her fifth straight victory as she prevailed by a well-measured length in 1:54.2.   Perfectly positioned in the pocket behind Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) by driver Mike Oosting, the homebred daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle saved ground the entire way as the pace setter put up splits of 29.1, 57.4 & 1:27.0.   Sitting behind their cover until the eighth-pole, Oosting then maneuvered the Nelson Willis trainee to the outside eventually wearing down the leader with a 27.1 final quarter to post her sixth win in 13 career starts. Fox Valley Amanda was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Thesleazyprincess (Casey Leonard) was third, five lengths behind the winner.   With the win the 1-5 favorite in the betting who returned $2.40 $2.10 & $2.10 now boasts a record of 6-1-3 with $56,895 in career earnings despite missing the division’s richest event of the year, the Filly Orange & Blue on Super Night.             Fresh off an impressive win in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake last week, Jack and Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop curbed six rivals for the second straight week as the Dirk Simpson trainee cruised to a 2 ½ length score in 1:52.2.       Taking advantage of perfect two-hole trip that driver Todd Warren worked out for the son of Sportsmaster-Dixiegirl the bay gelding was fit and fresh after sitting on the back of heavily favored Unlocked (Mike Oosting) as that colt clicked off splits of 28.0, 57.0 & 1:25.0.   Quickly swallowing up the pace setter in the stretch, Traffic Cop sped home in 27.0 to notch his fourth win in 15 tries. Unlocked was forced to settle for the runner-up role for the second straight week while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) finished a distant third, 9 ¾ lengths behind the victor.   The win moved Traffic Cop’s career earnings up to $77,635 on the strength of a 4-4-2 record in 15 starts. The 2-1 second choice returned $6.00 & $2.80. There was no show wagering on the race. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park  

A busy stakes-filled night of action was contested on Sunday, October 13th as the Crete plant welcomed Grand Circuit action back to town. On tap was a pair of $27,950 splits for two-year-old filly trotters while their male counterparts slugged it out later in the night for a $46,700 jackpot. In the first Hanover split for the freshman trotting fillies Bobby Brower and Mystical Marker Farms Petticoat Affair had no trouble living up to her favored status as she cruised to a 4 ¾ -length triumph in 1:57.1 with Brad Hanners at the controls. Sweeping from fifth to first on the backside after watching Dancing Dynamite (Dean Magee) cruise through an opening quarter in 28.2, the daughter of Valley Victor—Katie Hall was in complete control of the proceedings as she rolled through middle splits of 58.0 & 1:27.3. With plenty still in reserve the Bobby Brower trained miss trotted home in 29.3 while continuing to put daylight between herself and her five rivals to notch her fifth win in eight starts this year. Dancing Dynamite held on for second while Fox Valley Lotus (John Roberts), who made a break leaving the gate, rallied to finish third. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite Petticoat Affair returned $3.60, $2.40 & $2.40 while upping her career bankroll to $185,124. In the second division the Brower-trained, Hanners-driven connection clicked again as Victory Hill Farms and Bobby Brower’s Pray With Me demolished six rivals by seven-lengths in 1:58.4. After saving ground in third while Dress For Success (Dale Hiteman) carved out leisurely splits of 30.0 & 1:00.1, Hanners set the daughter of Broadway Hall—Hail Mary Hanover on a mission for the lead heading into the final bend.  Effortlessly sweeping past her foes on the turn, the Brower trained miss was in front by a length and starting to leave her rivals in her wake as she stepped by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.4.  Leaving no doubt as to who was the best in this group Pray With Me trotted home in 29.0 to post her third win in eight lifetime starts. Simply Class (Joe Putnam) finished second while Pinking Of You (Casey Leonard) was third. Bet as though defeat was out of the question Pray With Me returned $2.40, $2.20 & $2.10 while upping her bankroll to $64,026. A field of nine two-year-old trotting colts was sent postward for the $46,700 Hanover and when all was said and done it was last week’s Lincoln Land Stake winner Photo Surprised who emerged victorious as he trotted to a one- length victory in a career best of 1:57.4 for driver Mike Oosting. Gamely “toughing it out” first over as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) put up splits of 28.2 & 58.1 the Nelson Willis trainee swept past his rivals on the far turn and began to draw away from the field as he rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1. Continuing in full stride as he headed for the wire the state-bred son of Powerful Emotion—Gloria Wyoming was straight and strong as he continued his late season surge with his third win in eight career starts. Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) rallied late to finish second while Explosive Cash (Casey Leonard) was third. Fresh off that win in the biggest event of the year for diagonally gaited Prairie State freshmen the Jerry Graham owned gelding returned just $3.80, $2.40 & $2.10 while running his career bankroll up to $76,725. State-bred pacing fillies were also in action on the busy Sunday night card as a field of eight youngsters squared off in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake. In a re-match of the Violet Stake at Maywood Park last week, Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly once again proved best as she reported home with a three-quarter-length triumph in 1:54.1 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Content to bide her time in the middle of the pack as Mae Flynn (Ryan Anderson) put up splits of 28.3, 57.2 & 1:26.1 Oosting maneuvered his charge into a live outer flow as the field moved around the final turn. Tipping three and then four wide from her third over position, the Nelson Willis trained miss then uncorked a blistering 27.0 final quarter to blow right by her rivals for her fifth win in 12 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) came up with a solid effort to finish second while Fox Valley Shiver (Todd Warren) was third. With the win the daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle sports a record of 5-1-3 in 12 career starts with earnings of $50,895.  David Baum

The $21,750 Lady Lincoln Land Consolation is for ICF 2-year-old filly trotters who didn’t finish in the top four in last week’s $105,000 championship so it’s somewhat surprising to find a trio of past stakes winners in Wednesday’s starting field. Nonetheless that’s the case. Going postward in the third race feature is S V Spirit, a Springfield elimination winner and the Downstate Classic champion at Lincoln, Du Quoin’s Shawnee victor Fox Valley Hosana, along with Vienna who won the Fox Valley Flan Final at the end of July at Balmoral. “Hosana” was fifth best in the Lady Lincoln Lane Final for trainer Dirk Simpson, Bob Phillips’ Vienna broke and ended up seventh, and S V Spirit went off stride in contention and finished eighth for the Roger Welch Stable. The trio could get the bulk of the money bet in Wednesday’s Consolation event. S V Spirit, the 8-5 beaten favorite in the final, will open as the 5-2 choice with Todd Warren Wednesday. Fox Valley Hosana (Mike Oosting) is at 5-1, while Vienna (Kyle Wilfong) is at first flash odds of 6-1. They’ll be challenged by Say No Mo (Dale Hiteman), another Simpson trainee who will race un-coupled with Fox Valley Hosana and is the 4-1 second programmed choice, Green Acres (8-1, Jon Anderson), High Balance (12-1, Lavern Hostetler), Macie Rae (8-1, Mike Rogers) and Graceful Spirit (10-1, Casey Leonard). Macie Rae, a first-time Lasix user, was an eight-time winner with past summer fair circuit and took the Country Fair Challenge at Do Quoin by over 13 lengths in 2:00.4 with Rogers. Stakes Aplenty: There are a half-dozen more stakes raced to be contested this week starting with a pair of $12,000 Betzotic’s at Maywood. The ICF 3-year-old filly pacers vie on Thursday night while the state-bred sophomore colts tangle on Friday. Grandma Ann champion Auniqueaquistion makes her first start since Super night in the eighth race Thursday feature. Fox Valley Norman and Silver Devil, the 1-2 finishers in the recent Bye Bye Byrd at Balmoral are in Friday's ICF stake. There’s another $12,000 Betzotic Saturday at Balmoral and it’s for Illinois bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. The freshman filly version goes on Sunday evening where it’ll be joined by the last two Hanover stakes for this season. Both the 2-year-old colt and filly Hanover’s have estimated purses of $60,000. Recent Lady Lincoln Land champion Bailey’s Wish will head up the local contingent of freshman distaff trotters Muscle Network, a 1:53.2 winner last Friday, the fastest of a trio of $86,000 International Stallion stakes decided at The Red Mile, is eligible for Sunday’s Hanover colt trot and is a likely starter for trainer Tony O’Sullivan. Photo Surprise and Fox Valley Veto, the one-two-finishers in last Sunday’s $105,000 Lincoln Land Final, are both expected to also enter. Oosting Moves Up. With 10 winning drives over the weekend at Balmoral Mike Oosting is now at 447 for the season, moving him into sixth place in dash winners throughout the country and Canada. The Michigan native entered this week only one winner out of fifth. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The richest trotting event of the season for two-year-old state-bred trotting colts received top billing on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as a field of 10 diagonally gaited youngsters squared off in the $105,000 Lincoln Land Stake. Despite taking the overland route from post 10, Jerry Graham’s Photo Surprise struck a winning pose as he rallied gamely in the final strides to win by a head in 1:59.1 with leading driver Mike Oosting at the controls. After getting away near the back of the pack as last week’s elimination winner Nino Marino (Dean Magee) led the field through opening splits of 29.0 & 58.3 Oosting maneuvered his charge to the outside where they quickly began to gobble up ground. Tipping three wide as the colts moved around the far turn, the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Gloria Wyoming was all the way up to fourth as Nino Marino moved past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.1. Grinding away through the lane as a leg weary Nino Marino began to back up the Nelson Willis trainee eventually reeled in Fox Valley Veto (John Roberts) in the last stride to notch his second career win in seven starts. Fox Valley Veto was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) was third, 4 ¼ lengths behind the top pair. With the win Photo Surprise now sports a record of 2-1-0 with $52,375 in earnings.The beaten favorite from last week’s elimination returned $8.80, $6.40 & $4.00 to those who stayed loyal to the gelding. Sophomore trotting fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a field of seven battled in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake. Continuing her fine second season on the track, the Todd Warren owned and driven Sara The Spy recorded her seventh win of the year as she cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:57.0. Hustled right to the front from post position three the daughter of Powerful Emotion—Sarabella posted leisurely splits of 29.2, 59.4 & 1:28.2 before sealing the deal with a 28.3 final quarter. Divination (Mike Oosting) followed the winner’s every move but was relegated to the bridesmaid role while Just For Fun (Casey Leonard) was third. Amodel of consistency from the time she hit the track in 2013 the Mike Croucher trained miss now boasts a record of 7-4-3 in 15 starts this season with career earnings of $97,017. The odds on choice in the wagering returned $3.60, $2.40 & $2.10 to her legion of followers. Sunday’s Pick 4 was not hit so $27,661 will be carried over to Wednesday’s Pick 4. There will be a guaranteed pool of $75,000 for Wednesday’s Pick 4 which is on races 7-10. Once again the Pick 4 has a low 15% takeout with a one dollar minimum and features a guaranteed pool each night. Handicappers across North America can get a headstart on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pool courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Sara The Spy and owner-driver Todd Warren cruised to an easy win in Sunday's $12,000 Betzotic Stake. Mike Oosting guided Photo Surprise to thrilling head victory in Sunday's $105,000 LIncoln Land Stake. David Baum  

97 to 112 of 173