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Just as he’s done all season long “Bill” Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa continued to rule the Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old colt trotting ranks as he cruised to a very easy five-length victory in 1:56.1 while overpowering five rivals in Sunday’s $12,000 Betzotic Stake. Confidently handled by leading driver Mike Oosting, the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was unhurried away from the inside starting spot, landing in third as Semper Fit (Dave Magee) and Fox Valley Camo (Jamaica Patton) battled through an opening quarter in 28.2.   After straightening up on the backstretch, Oosting then moved the Mike Brink trainee to the outside where he quickly rushed to the front, swallowing up the leaders with no trouble while showing the way through middle splits of 56.3 & 1:26.2.   With plenty still in reserve “The King” began to drawn clear with every stride, leaving his rivals in his wake while cruising under the wire with his 13th win in 14 starts this season.  Fox Valley Camo held on well to finish second while Semper Fit finished third.   Bet as though defeat was out of the question, King Mufasa returned $2.40 & $2.10. Show wagering was not allowed in the race. With the $6,000 winner’s check, the good looking brown gelding now boasts a bankroll of $209,840 in 2013.    by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park  

Continuing a nice late season surge towards divisional honors James Bafia and Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish completely dominated nine rivals in the year’s richest race for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies, winning Wednesday $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake by 3 ½ lengths at Balmoral Park. The final time was1:59.4. Given a perfect steer by driver Dave Magee the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen was hustled to the front after landing in fourth through an opening quarter in 29.4. “I knew we had to gain some early position since we were leaving from the eight-hole,” explained Magee. “Once they started to slow down just a little bit on the front end I asked her to go and she moved up to the front very easily for me.” Rolling through middle splits of 59.3 & 1:28.4 the Dirk Simpson trainee began to put daylight between herself and her struggling rivals as the field neared the top of the stretch. On cruise control the rest of the way Bailey’s Wish effortlessly trotted under the wire with her third win in her last four starts and her fourth win in 11 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) rallied up the inside to finish second while Bands Pippa (Casey Leonard) was third. “She was doing that all on her own,”said the Hall of Famer. “I don’t like to pressure her if I don’t have to. She just trotted right away from them and glided home with no urging from me whatsoever.” The 8-5 co-favorite in the race returned $5.40, $3.20 & $3.00 while upping her career bankroll to $93,383. Earlier in the night trainer Roger Welch reached a career milestone as he sent out his 1,000th career winner. The 50-year-old Beecher, IL resident was extremely jubilant since son his Ryan was the owner-driver for the milestone event, guiding Monticello Lulu to victory in the first race night of the night. “I couldn’t have asked for more than this to have my son Ryan driving the horse that gives me a 1,000 wins,” said the proud father. “Couple that with the fact that this is a horse that belongs to our family and it’s more than I could have ever imagined.” Approximately three minutes later Welch struck again, this time at Hoosier Park as his fine two-year-old trotting colt Justice Jet gave the veteran conditioner his 1,001st win taking a Sire Stake event. “We were watching the two races side-by-side on the televisions down in the paddock,” said Welch. “I didn’t want to miss either one of them. Luckily I was still able to get down to the winner’s circle here at Balmoral to celebrate!” David Baum   

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 1, 2013 — Parked the entire first quarter before making the front, Aperfectyankee had plenty left in the tank and rolled to victory in a stake-record 1:53 in Tuesday’s Keystone Classic at The Meadows. The $94,998 event for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters was contested over three divisions, with Rossini and Bambino Glide taking the other splits. Charlie Norris, who drove Aperfectyankee for owner/trainer Jim Oscarsson, said he wasn’t unduly concerned about the demanding 27.3 opening panel. “I was just trying to let everyone get settled, and I didn’t want to rush him,” Norris said. “I thought he would be fine. We got a little breather the second quarter.” Wind Of The North was 1-3/4 lengths back in second, with Sailer Eddie third. The time erased the previous stake record of 1:54.1 held jointly by Another Amaretto and Lindys Jersey Boy. Aperfectyankee, a son of Yankee Glide-Asixpakfromperfect, extended his career bankroll to $587,119. Bambino Glide retook the lead at the three-eighths and controlled the mile handily for Dave Palone, downing Possessed Fashion by 1-1/4 lengths in a career-best 1:53.1. Picture This rallied for show. “He got out of there on the right foot,” Palone said, “so I thought I would let him go down the road. He went a good trip. I was really happy with how quiet he was behind the gate.” Julie Miller trains the Yankee Glide-Raising The Bar gelding, who now has won seven of 15 lifetime starts, for Kapildeo Singh and Shakoor’s Racing Stable. Rossini led every step for Howard Parker but had to dig in late to defeat the closing Body Balance by a nose in 1:53.3. Cantab Abs was well back in third. Jim Raymer, who conditions Rossini for Harbor Racing Stable, said he’s looking forward to campaigning the Classic Photo-Beverly Crusher gelding in some late-season stakes . . . and as a 4-year-old. “He has the Circle City at Hoosier, the American National and the Galt,” Raymer said. “He’s a homebred. We had his mother, we had his grandmother, and they’ve been nothing but good.” $90,000 Keystone Classic — 3-Year-old Colt & Gelding Pacers Lightly raced Latest Desire followed cover willingly and took the fastest division of Tuesday’s companion feature in 1:49.2. Palone, who won six races on the 15-race card, captured the other two splits — both for trainer Chris Oakes — with Big Time Promise and Shock It To ‘Em. In his first start on anything but a mile track, Latest Desire picked up the first-over cover of Ultimate Beachboy and brushed past him in the lane for Dave Magee to defeat him by 3/4 lengths. Fateful Choice completed the ticket. Latest Desire has only 10 career starts, including seven this year, but Nick Giberson, who trains the son of Real Desire-Latest Design for Steven Newcom, Larry Taylor and Tex Moats, said there’s method to his madness. “He has a lot of stakes later on, so we’re just keeping him fresh,” Giberson said. “He has four or five weeks back in Illinois and Indiana that will be pretty stout, so we’re just saving him. He’s never really been tested. He’ll keep right on motoring. He’ll keep pacing right through the wire and kick it in gear when he has to.” Big Time Promise made it look easy on the front end, demolishing the field by 6 lengths in 1:49.3 and securing his ninth win in 18 career outings. McAlvin and Net Ten EOM were second and third, respectively. “Every time I’ve raced him, I’ve really, really liked him,” Palone said. “I had it in my mind that he was probably the strongest horse in the group and that I would just stretch him out today so that it would take a mile in 1:50 or better to beat him.” Conrad Zurich owns the Real Desire-Yankee Promise gelding. Shock It To ‘Em, the Pennsylvania Stallion Series champion, worked out comfortable fractions on the lead and easily held off Johns Polyview by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51.2. Varadero Hanover was third. “I figured I’d get it as cheap as I could,” Palone said. “He’s been super all year long. He’s a pleasure to drive — makes my job easier.” Hauser Bros. Racing, Chuck Pompey, Susan Oakes and Timothy Cable own the Western Terror-Tootsie J gelding. by Evan Pottak for The Meadows  

Quantity and quality is often a successful combination and that’s what trainer Dirk Simpson has going for him in Wednesday’s $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Championship at Balmoral Park. The Springfield based trainer has 4 of the 10 finalists in the richest stake race of the season for ICF 2-year-old trotting fillies; including the 7-2 second morning line favorite Bailey’s Wish in the fourth race feature. Owned by James Bafia of Minooka, IL and his co-worker Gene White of Chicago, Bailey’s Wish was much the best in last week’s Lady Lincoln single elimination for the two brokers at the Chicago Board of Trade. Bailey’s Wish led at every pole and was more than four lengths the best at the end of her winning 1:59.4 mile. National Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee was all smiles talking about the Simpson trainee. “She was really good the other night, probably as good as she has ever been,” said Dave. “Bailey’s Wish was straight and she was solid. She really raced well and she comes into this championship very sharp. “The filly is great gaited. While she’s not big she’s filling out nicely. I think she has the potential to be a very good trotting filly.” Bailey’s Wish didn’t draw well, landing the 8-slot in the 10-horse field, but she has shown she has the gate speed to leave for position if asked. Du Quoin champion Fox Valley Hosanna leaves (8-1) from the middle of the pack for driver Mike Oosting, while Bands Pippa and Say No Mo, two fillies that Dirk also shares ownership with have the one and three slots, respectively. Casey Leonard will be behind Bands Pippa (6-1) for the first time after the filly drew a bye into the Land Lincoln land Final. John De Long (10-1) is back to guide Say No Mo, who had a big effort in last week’s elimination. Say No Mo left from the 10-hole and got good up-close position, She raced third on the inside most of the way, following her two more successful stable-mates Bailey’s Wish and Fox Valley Hosanna but when the latter stalled in the lane, Say No Mo was pushed back before finishing strong. All four fillies Wednesday will race un-coupled. The Roger Welch Stable’s S V Spirit (Todd Warren), moves to the inside two-slot for the championships where she looks very dangerous for her driver Todd Warren and opens as the 3-1 morning line favorite. She didn’t have the easiest of trips when she was third in last Wednesday’s elimination. Also looking for pull off an upset in the Lady Lincoln Land are Green Acres (15-1, Jon Anderson), Lora Lee Breeze (15-1, Matt Krueger), Graceful Spirit (12-1, Brian Carpenter, Fox Valley Skylar (9-2, Dale Hiteman) and Fox Valley Flan champion Vienna (8-1, Kyle Wilfong) who has the 10-slot. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The red-hot combination of trainer Perry Smith and driver Mike Oosting clicked again for Sawgrass Farms LLC as the trio combined to get Fox Valley Norman home with a 1½ length victory in Saturday’s $13,900 Bye Bye Byrd Stake. The final time was a career best of 1:51.2 for the three-year-old gelding. Leaving alertly from post seven for Oosting the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Lake Hills Nan settled in third as Drunk On You (Dave Magee) led the field an opening quarter in 27.3. With the action continuing to heat up on the backstretch Oosting maneuvered his charge to the outside where they began to carve into the advantage of Fox Valley Action (Todd Warren) as that sophomore put up middle splits of 55.1 &1:23.4. Through the stretch a determined Fox Valley Norman eventually wore down the pace setter, sealing the deal with a 27.2 final quarter to post his third win in 19 starts this season. Silver Devil (Casey Leonard) rallied late to finish second while Fox Valley Action held on for third. Sent off at 8-1 by the betting public Fox Valley Norman returned $18.20, $5.40 & $3.40 while upping his career bankroll to $74,708. David Baum   

Owned by the A La Carte Racing Stable of California and trained by the late-great Jim Dennis, Mr. Dalrae was one of the most popular and successful pacers to race on the Chicago circuit in the early and mi-1980s. Mr. Dalrae was named the 1984 Aged Pacer of the Year as a 5-year-old when he pulled down $474,525 while winning 18 of 30 starts, mostly against the elite older pacers in the nation and in Canada. (He’s showed in the photo winning one of his many races at Sportsman’s Park with his young, bearded, up-and-coming star driver Dave Magee) Among his victories in the 1984 was the American National at Sportsman’s and the U.S. Pacing Championship, a tri-city stake raced on three different size ovals. Mr. Dalrae that year came from fifth at the top of the stretch and shop up the inside to take the mile leg at the Meadowlands in 1:52.2. He followed with a victory in the half-mile leg at New York’s Roosevelt Raceway in 1:56.2. The horse also captured the Canadian Classic, all with Dave Magee. In 1985 Mr. Dalrae repeated as winner of the U.S. Pace Championship, based by points earned, by capturing the five-eighths leg at Sportsman’s Park. The son of Meadow Skipper out of the dam Queen’s Crown repeated as the American National Aged Pace titleholder that year with Dale Hiteman at his lines. In his final year as a racehorse Mr. Dalrae won another eight races earned $322,800. His dam Queen Crown also produced Sir Dalrae, the 1973 Horse of the Year for owner/trainer Jim Dennis. Videos attached of Mr Dalrae winning the 1984 US Paing Championship at the Meadowlands and the second video is of Mr Dalrae running second to On The Road Again in the 1985 US Pacing Championship. Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies were in the spotlight on Wednesday night at Balmoral Park as a field of 10 looked for eight starting spots in next week’s $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake Final. Those top eight finishers in Wednesday’s $15,000 event will join Bands Pippa and Graceful Spirit who received byes into the final on a money earned basis.   When all was said and done James Bafia and Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish emerged with a very easy wire to wire score, reporting home with a 4 ¼ length verdict in 1:59.4.   Confidently handled by Dave Magee the daughter of Southwind Breeze—Jen zipped right to the front from post position two and proceeded to cruise through splits of 30.0, 1:00.2 & 1:30.2.   With plenty still in reserve the Dirk Simpson trained miss trotted home in 29.2 to secure the third win in her career. Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) finished second while S V Spirit (Todd Warren) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Green Acres, Say No Mo, Lora Lee Breeze, Vienna and Fox Valley Hosanna.   Sent off as a close second choice in the wagering Bailey’s Wish returned $7.60, $4.60 & $3.40 while moving her record to 3-2-2 in 10 starts while upping her bankroll to $40,838.   by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park

Springfield based trainer Dirk Simpson will send out a trio of fillies in Wednesday’s Lady Lincoln Land stake single elimination and has a fourth already in next week’s $110,000 final via a bye. Only an eighth place or higher finish is needed in the 10-horse first race field to advance and therefore many trainers turned their thumbs down for a free pass into the 2-year-old ICF trotting deciding instead to keep their filly sharp and take their chances in the elim. Division’s leading money earner Fox Valley Lotus ($40,615), the Springfield champion and the Du Quoin runner-up, took the bye and Simpson’s Bands Pippa will by-pass her way into the final as well. “All the other top money earner trainers passed on the bye before I took it with Bands Pippa,” said Simpson. “She’s earned less ($11,636) than the three of my other fillies racing in the elimination and less than several others entered.” Simpson’s top two freshman fillies, Bailey’s Wish, the Springfield runner-up, and Du Quoin champion Fox Valley Hosanna, disappointed in last week’s elimination. Bailey Wish made a break and was distanced while Fox Valley Hosana also finished far up the track in seventh. Simpson’s other elimination starter is Say No Moe who was third in the Shawnee. “I was totally surprised by the break from Bailey’s Wish,” continued the Illinois Harness Hall of Fame trainer. “We did some things we believe will take care of the problem and I expect her to race just find in the elimination. “Hosana displaced a palate so it wasn’t her fault she did so poorly. We worked on taking care of that issue and with the rail Wednesday instead of the 10-hole she had in the American National, she should do just fine, too. “Say No Moe landed the 10-hole Wednesday but she should be all right to move along to the final where hopefully she’ll draw better.” Bailey’s Wish ($33,338), programmed as the 4-1 second choice with Dave Magee, drew the two-slot Wednesday while here stable-mate Fox Valley Hosana (6-1, Mike Oosting), with $30,495 in earnings landed the one. The 7-2 morning line favorite is the Roger Welch Stable’s S V Spirit (p.p. 6, Todd Warren), a four-time season winner in 10 starts. Starting to her right is Fox Valley Flan champion Vienna (5-1, Kyle Wilfong). Also looking to advance to the Lady Lincoln Land showdown are Green Acres) 15-1, Jon Anderson), Fox Valley Skylar (12-1, Dale Hiteman), Lora Lee Breeze (15-1, Matt Krueger), High Balance (15-1, Lavern Hostetler), Macie Rae (10-1, Brian Carpenter) and Say No Mo(8-1, John De Long). Simpson’s Super Night champ Trot Fudge Sundae is racing in Thursday’s Hoosier Park Invitational where the 3-year-old ICF filly landed the 9-hole against older trotters. “She’s got some stakes still coming up and I wanted to keep her sharp so that’s why she’s there,” said Dirk. “There was nowhere else to race her.” By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

State-bred pacers were front and center on Saturday, Sept. 21st at Balmoral Park as a pair of two-year-old events shared top billing on the 13-race program. An overflow field of 12 freshman pacing fillies was sent postward in the $14,200 Thrifty Way Stake to kick off the Saturday action. When the dust settled it was Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly who emerged with a 2 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.4 with Mike Oosting at the controls. The Nelson Willis trained daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle was reserved in the early going as Party Hangover Two (John De Long) and Western Dame (Dale Hiteman) led the field through splits of 28.0, 56.1 & 1:25.2. Tipping three and then four deep off excess cover at the top of the stretch, Molly Go Lightly then rattled home in 28.2 going from fifth to first to notch her third win in nine career starts. Party Hangover Two (John De Long), the even-money favorite in the race finished second while Ms Solongbyebye (Casey Leonard) overcame a starting spot in the second tier as she staged a long rally to salvage the show dough. A field of 11 two-year-old pacing colts was sent post ward in the $14,100 Yates Eagle to complete the stakes action. After managing to avoid traffic problems that were caused by a breaking horse just after the half-mile mark, driver Dave Magee guided Z Tam Racing, Mike Polansky, Joseph Mc Caffrey and David Mc Caffrey’s Ringo’s Z Tam to a three-quarter-length victory in 1:54.0. Aggressively handled by the Hall of Fame reinsman Ringo’s Z Tam stormed to the front from post three leading the field by an opening quarter in 27.2. After working a give and go on the backside the striking chestnut was still in command as the field reached the half in 55.4. With the confusion in the back of the back caused by the breaker Fox Valley Deuce (Dale Hiteman) swept up on the far turn to lead the field by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.4. Magee then went to work on the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Rons Girl through the stretch and the Dave McCaffrey trainee responded beautifully, reeling in a tiring Fox Valley Deuce and holding firm for his second win in six lifetime starts. One Sure Apache (Mike Oosting) rallied to be second while longshot Dunside Art (John De Long) worked his way around the traffic problems to rally for third. David Baum   

Despite atrack that had been drenched by heavy rains during the late afternoon hoursBurke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Stable 45’s had no problem negotiating hisway over the sloppy going as the $105,000 yearling purchase etched his name intothe Balmoral Park record books knocking off nine other two-year-old trottingcolts by 11 ¼ lengths in 1:54.1 while taking the $69,000 American National fortwo-year-old trotting colts. The previous mark of 1:54.3 had been set in 2008by Swan For All. The goodlooking son of Muscle Hill—Spice On Ice effortlessly trotted to the top frompost two for driver Mike Oosting putting up splits of 29.2, 58.2 & 1:26.2while widening his margin at each call. Under nourging whatsoever from Balmoral’s leading reinsman Southwind Spirit continuedto make it look like a stroll in the park as he sealed the deal with a 27.4final quarter to become the fastest two-year-old trotter in the history of Balmoral Park. Hot Type (D.R. Ackerman) finishedsecond while Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) was third. “I neverpulled his plugs, never spoke to him or even showed him the whip at any timetonight,” marveled Oosting in the winners circle. “I shook the lines right atthe finish line and he actually took off on me again so there was still plentyleft in his tank. That was a huge last three-quarters he trotted tonight. He’squite an animal.” Bet asthough defeat was out of the question Southwind Spirit returned $2.20, $2.40& $2.10 while running his record to 5-2-1 in 8 starts with earnings of $138,400while under the guidance of conditioner Ron Burke. In the$63,000 Filly division Robert & Lynda Stewart’s Herroyalhighness shruggedoff a first over trip as she splashed to an impressive 6 ¼ length triumph in1:57.0 for driver Trace Tetrick. Settlinginto a nice early spot in mid-pack as Pray With Me (Todd Warren) led the fieldthrough splits of 28.1, 57.4 & 1:28.1 Tetrick began a nice steady advanceas the field moved into the final turn. Quicklyblowing by the pace setter as the field turned for home the daughter of MuscleHill—Ok To Play left her rivals in her wake through the lane as she reportedhome “under wraps” with her second win in four career starts for trainer BobStewart. Pray With Me held on to be second while Muscle Babe (Dave Magee) wasthird. After thevictory Tetrick seemed quite pleased with the way his charge had performed. “She wasgood and strong the entire way tonight,” he said. “I really didn’t want to befirst up against the favorite but that’s just the way it worked out for us. She’sbeen getting better each week and she continued that progression tonight. I wasreally happy with the way she finished up that mile in the slop.” Overlookedat the windows Herroyalhighness returned $16.40, $6.00 & $5.80 while uppingher bankroll to $39,199 by Tom Kelley    

The first pair of American National stakes of the season, both for two-year-old trotters, highlight Wednesday’s Balmoral Park card. The sixth race $69,000 American National colt and geldings has a clear-cut favorite while the fifth race $63,000 added money stake doesn’t. The Ron Burke Stable’s Southwind Spirit should be a heavy favorite by post time after opening up at 2-1. The $105,000 yearling purchase has won 3 of his last 4 races and finished third in the other, the prestigious $250,000 Peter Haughton Final at The Meadowlands. Southwind Spirit comes off a career best 1:54.1 mile in a division of the Kindergarten at Lexington and with Mike Oosting at his lines and the two-slot the Muscle Hill colt looks hard to beat. Chuck Sylvester’s Toss Cartwright (programmed 4-1, Trace Tetrick), a three-time season winner including the $37,339 Wilfong stake at the Indianapolis State Fair last month should get plenty of play and so should Dwayne Minor’s Hillustrious (5-1) who dropped at neck decision in his Kindergarten event a week ago at The Red Mile. Among the local hopes are Plesac stake champion Bobby B Breeze (8-1, Todd Warren) from the Roger Welch Stable and Joel Smith’s (10-1, Dale Hiteman) Big Bad Bob, third best in the Springfield Final. In the filly division, Bobby Browner’s Pray For Me (7-2, Dave Magee) was a double stakes winner in Pennsylvania and took third in the $108,050 Kentuckana stake at Hoosier Park. Herroyalhighness (5-1, Trace Tetrick), the fourth place finisher in that same stake, was a $60,000 purchase by trainer Bob Stewart. Muscle Hill (4-1, Dave Magee) is 2-for-2 since joining the Mike Brink Stable and is 2-for-2 at Balmoral for her Norwegian owner Kjeli Magne Anderson who only paid $15,000 for her at last year’s Lexington Selected Sale. Fox Valley Lotus (6-1, John Roberts) had a strong 1:57.3 winning mile in her Springfield championship and it came in only her third career start, her first was a third-place finish in the July 31 Fox Valley Flan. “We got a late start with the filly because she was having breathing problems,” said her trainer Curt Grummel. “I tried a number of things to help her and when I tried what they call ‘The Cornell Collar’ (a throat support device developed at Cornell University), knock on wood, it’s worked.” Grummel’s familiarity with Fox Valley Lotus’s dam Love You More was the primary reason he purchased the filly for Pittsfield owner Dr. Patrick Graham. “We bought ‘Lotus’ for $20,000 as a yearling at last year’s Walker Sale,” said 41-year-old Carrollton native. “What attracted me the most to her was the filly’s family. I raced two of her sisters, Fox Valley Luxury and Fox Valley Lexus. “So far ‘Luxury’ has been the best of the three sisters. She won the Springfield Final, the Land Lincoln Land and another big stake at Balmoral (the Fox Valley Flan) in her first season but never made a start as a three-year-old.  Her career was cut short in 2010 when she developed a couple of bone chips in an ankle. “I stopped racing ‘Lexus’ earlier this year. She had a breathing problem, just like her younger sister ‘Lotus’ but ‘Lexus’ wasn’t able to overcome it and go fast enough to race on the Chicago circuit.” By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Proving once again that he is tops among the Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old colt pacing ranks Paymaq Racing, D&M Trading & Mystical Marker Farms Mystical Walter knocked off nine rivals by three-quarters of a length to win the $173,000 Pete Langley Memorial. The final time was 1:52.1. Using the big quarter move that has become his signature in his second season of action driver Casey Leonard had the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Yankee Blue out and rolling from fifth as Crankin It Up (Kyle Wilfong) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.4. “I  was basically forced to make that move with him tonight”, explained Leonard. “A lot of those horses left out of there pretty hard tonight so I was just happy to land in the spot that we did.” Charging to the front Mystical Walter was in complete control of the proceedings as he showed the way through middle splits of 56.0 and 1:24.2. Through the lane the Ervin Miller trainee was forced to find a little something extra as he gamely dug in through the final 100 yards to hold off one last late surge from Crankin It Up for his eighth win in 16 starts this year. Crankin It Up was a hard knocking second while last year’s Orange & Blue winner Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee) turned in a nice effort to rally for third. “He’s been waiting on horses a little bit because of how easy he’s been winning some of those races,” said Leonard. “Tonight he felt good all the way but I definitely had to keep after him because I knew some of those good horses in this division were right behind him and they weren’t going to be letting up at all.” Basically putting a lock on divisional honors with his win on Saturday night Mystical Walter now has 11 wins, four seconds and three thirds  in 21 lifetime starts with earnings of $212,266. The odds on favorite in the race returned $3.20, $2.40 & $2.20 to his many backers. Mystical Walter (5)_held firm to the wire to win the $173,000 Langley Memorial by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1 for driver Casey Leonard. David Baum   

llinois biggest night of racing, Super Night took place at Balmoral Park Saturday. With clear skies and temperatures in the upper 60’s a large crowd continued to file in as the big 14-race card kicked off with a pair of trotting events for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds.               Diagonally gaited fillies were first onto the track with a field of 10 squaring off in the $105,000 Lady Ann Reed Championship. In a division that has remained fairly wide-open throughout the season it was last year’s two-year-old champion Trot Fudge Sundae who continued a late season surge as she trotted to a very impressive one-length victory in 1:55.2 with Super Night’s all-time leading driver Dave Magee at the controls.             Confidently handled by Magee the daughter American Native—What A Joy was sent right to the front from post position four. Turning back an early challenge from Little Ms Chrissy (Robert Taylor) the Dirk Simpson trainee put up splits of 28.3, 56.3 & 1:25.0.             “My filly was very aggressive tonight,” said Magee. “Once she heard those other horses coming after her near the quarter-pole she grabbed on and there was no way she was going to let them go.”             After putting away a second challenge from a game Sara The Spy (Todd Warren) who was outside every step of the mile, Trot Fudge Sundae dug in determinedly as Just For Fun (Casey Leonard) began to cut into her lead. Showing the grit that earned her divisional honors last season Trot Fudge Sundae held firm to the wire for her 15th career victory. Just For Fun was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Sara The Spy turned in a big effort to hang on for third.             In the winner’s circle a relieved Simpson talked about the thrilling stretch drive.             “I swear that was the longest stretch drive of my life,” said the Illinois based conditioner. “I just kept looking at her, looking at the horse that was coming on the outside and looking for wire. It seemed like it took forever to get there but she showed once again how tough she is.             Sent off as the 8-5 favorite by the large crowd Trot Fudge Sundae returned $5.20, $2.80 & $2.20 while running his career bankroll up to $272,370 for proud owners Sam Daddono, James Bafia and Eugene White.             Chalk players were rewarded again in the second race of the night as H. “Bill” Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa reigned supreme but not without some anxious moments as he held on to win by a diminishing head in 1:56.2 with Mike Oosting at the controls.             After getting away in third from the inside post Oosting sent the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds to the top where he proceed to trot through splits of 29.2, 59.2 & 1:27.3.             “I probably could have out-footed them out of there but I figured I would just let them trot out of there, settle in and then send my horse to front. With the fractions we were going I really thought we were going to win the race pretty handily.               After drawing away to a three-length advantage mid-way down the lane it as appeared as though the only thing in doubt would be the final margin of victory. That’s when a fit and fresh Fox Valley Camo (Jamaica Patton) pulled from the pocket and began to cut into the “Kings” advantage. That forced Oosting to get after the brown gelding through the final sixteenth of mile and the wire arrived just in time for the 1-5 favorite who notched his 12th win in 13 starts this season. Fox Valley Camo was a hard charging second while Fox Valley Legend (Dale Hiteman) rallied to be third.             “I was chasing after him pretty hard down there at the wire,” said a relieved Oosting. “I don’t really think he was quite himself tonight. It’s been a long year for him and he may be getting just a little bit tired right now.”             The Mike Brink trainee returned $2.40, $2.20 & $2.10 while running his career record to 14-2-0 in 21 starts with earnings of $213,382 for his proud owners.   Jesse De Long’s Let’s Go Higher soared to an impressive three-length victory over nine other filly and mare pacers in Saturday’s $130,000 Lorna Propes Stake stopping Mystical Victress’s bid to become the first four-time Super Night winner. The final time was 1:50.4.              Sweeping from fourth to first for driver John De Long after an opening quarter in 27.2 the five-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler then proceeded to roll through splits of 55.0 & 1:22.3.             “I didn’t want to rough up my mare too much early on so I thought I would just see how they got away and then move to the front once things settled down,” explained De Long. “I was a little surprised Mike didn’t leave a little more with his mare (Mystical Victress) so I was pretty happy to wind up in control of things like we did.”             After putting away a first over bid from Just By Design (Dave Magee) Let’s Go Higher began to put daylight between herself and her rivals quickly opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call.             “I looked back and saw Dave’s horse was starting to back up the outer flow a bit and we were starting to get away from the rest of them so I was pretty confident at that point,” said De Long.             On cruise control the rest of the way the Heidi Rohr trainee was never seriously threatened as she rolled under the wire with her ninth win in 29 starts this season. Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting) managed to rally for the second place check while Fox Valley Absolut (Robert Smolin), who was used hard to find a good early spot from her outside post held on for the show dough.             Bet down to 4-5 after her impressive elimination win Let’s Go Higher returned $3.60, $2.20 & $2.10 while winning for the 18th time in her career. The victory helped push her career bankroll to a gaudy $235,505.   by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park        

Jesse De Long’s Let’s Go Higher soared to an impressive three-length victory over nine other filly and mare pacers in Saturday’s $130,000 Lorna Propes Stake stopping Mystical Victress’s bid to become the first four-time Super Night winner. The final time was 1:50.4.    Sweeping from fourth to first for driver John De Long after an opening quarter in 27.2 the five-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler then proceeded to roll through splits of 55.0 & 1:22.   “I didn’t want to rough up my mare too much early on so I thought I would just see how they got away and then move to the front once things settled down,” explained De Long. “I was a little surprised Mike didn’t leave a little more with his mare (Mystical Victress) so I was pretty happy to wind up in control of things like we did.”   After putting away a first over bid from Just By Design (Dave Magee) Let’s Go Higher began to put daylight between herself and her rivals quickly opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call.   “I looked back and saw Dave’s horse was starting to back up the outer flow a bit and we were starting to get away from the rest of them so I was pretty confident at that point,” said De Long.   On cruise control the rest of the way the Heidi Rohr trainee was never seriously threatened as she rolled under the wire with her ninth win in 29 starts this season. Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting) managed to rally for the second place check while Fox Valley Absolut (Robert Smolin), who was used hard to find a good early spot from her outside post held on for the show dough.   Bet down to 4-5 after her impressive elimination win Let’s Go Higher returned $3.60, $2.20 & $2.10 while winning for the 18th time in her career. The victory helped push her career bankroll to a gaudy $235,505.   David Baum

Elimination races were not necessary Wednesday night for the first American National stakes of the year when 10 two-year-old trotters were entered in each of the colt and filly divisions. Instead seven of next week American National finalists will prep in Wednesday night races with five of them going in the fourth race, a 2-year-old trotting events with “American National Entered Preferred.” The three fillies prepping are the Mike Brink Stable’s Muscle Babe (programmed 3-1, Dave Magee) and the Trenton Watson Stable entry of Pinking Of You (5-2, Casey Leonard) and Dancing Dynamite (5-2, Dean Magee), both winners of a Pennsylvania Sire Stake last month at The Meadows. Among their fourth race competitors are a pair of geldings who are American National bound, the Joel Smith trainee Big Bad Bob (6-1, Dale Hiteman), and the Roger Welch trained Bobby B Breeze (4-1, Todd Warren), winner of Balmoral’s $50,000 Plesac on July 31. Fox Valley Lotus (John Roberts), another starter in next Wednesday’s $63,000 (est.) American National filly stake is the 3-1 favorite in the first race trot. She captured the Springfield State Fair 2-Year-Old Filly Trot crown and was the runner-up in the Shawnee at Du Quoin. The Trenton Watson Stable’s Explosive Cash (Mike Oosting), who will vie in the $67,000 (est.) colt division of the added money stake, is the 3-1 program choice in Wednesday’s second race. While winless in his first six career starts Explosive Cash was second in a division of Philadelphia’s Historic, in a Pennsylvania Sire Stake at Pocono, and third in another at The Meadows. Probably the biggest name to be coming in is Southwind Spirit in the American National colt division. A son of Muscle Hill, this colt has been third or better in all six career starts against some well-regarded youngsters. A $105,000 yearling buy at the 2012 Lexington Select Sale, Southwind Spirit won his Peter Haughton elimination in 1:57.2 before finishing third in the $280,500 Final at The Meadowlands. He also won a New Jersey Sire Stake and was second in another. Trained by Ron Burke, who shares ownership of the colt, Southwick Spirit already has over $101,000 on his first season card. Here are the horses that entered next week’s American Nationals (listed in each alphabetically): Colt and Gelding Division: Big Bad Bob, Bobby B Breeze, Explosive Cash, Fox Valley Veto, Hillustrious, Hot Type, Maple Grove Joe, Nino Marino, Southwind Spirit and Toss Cartwright. Filly Division: Bailey’s Wish, Dancing Dynamite, Deweyscheatingirl, Don’t Miss A Tweet, Fox Valley Hosana, Fox Valley Lotus, Herroyalhighness, Muscle Babe, Pinking Of You and Pray With Me. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

With all the preliminary action in the books it’s now “go-time” for everyone involved in Illinois’ biggest night of standardbred racing as Super Night 2013 is just six nights away at Balmoral Park. After a hectic weekend which saw 12 elimination tussles on Saturday the action slowed down just a bit on Sunday night with six more elimination’s contested for a trio of Super Night events. Kicking off the action were three-year-old trotting colts as a total of 17 diagonally gaited sophomores battled in a pair of $15,000 Su Mac Lad Stake elimination’s.The top five finishers in each division will be back on Saturday, Sept. 14th for the $121,000 final. In the first elimination “Bill” Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa continued his domination of this division as he rolled to a one-length victory in 1:56.3 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Sent to the front by Oosting after an opening quarter in 29.1 the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was in complete control the rest of the way as he rattled off middle splits of 58.1 & 1:28.1. With the “soft” middle half under his belt, the Mike Brink trainee had plenty in reserve for the stretch drive, trotting home in an effortless 28.2 for his 11th win in 12 starts this season. Semper Fit (Dave Magee) finished a nice second despite leaving from the outside post while Fox Valley Camo (Jamaica Patton) was third.Happy Balance finished fourth and Riet’s Kid was fifth. The division leader has now banked over $156,000 this year for his proud connections and he figures to be an overwhelming favorite on Super Night. In the second elimination Mystical Marker Farms and Jack & Peggy Hood’sPowerful Poe shed the runner-role he had assumed seven times already this season knocking off eight rivals by two-lengths in 1:56.2 with Todd Warren handling the driving duties. Despite leaving from an outside post the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Fox Valley Poetry landed in a good early spot as Powerful Valor (Jared Finn) and Skyline Road (Marcus Miller) battled through splits of 30.0 58.4 & 1:28.1. After securing racing room in the lane Warren asked the Dirk Simpson trainee for his best and the gelding responded beautifully as he trotted home in a brisk 27.3 to post his third win in 14 starts this year. Fox Valley Legend (Dale Hiteman ) rallied well to be second for red-hot trainer Joel Smith while Fox Valley Dubai (Dave Magee) finished third. Skyline Road and Powerful Valor finished fourth and fifth respectively to earn the last two spots into the Su Mac Lad final. Next up were three-year-old trotting fillies as a field of 10 looked for nine spots in next week’s $106,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake. They will be joined in the finale by Divination who received a bye into the Super Night  tussle. Flashing the form that netted her divisional honors in her two-year-old season, James Bafia, Eugene White and Samuel Daddono’s Trot Fudge Sundae reported home with a half-length victory in a career best of 1:56.0 with “Mr. Super Night”, Dave Magee in the bike. Givena confident steer by Magee the Dirk Simpson trained daughter of American Native—What A Joy shot right to the front from post six putting up splits of 29.1, 59.3& 1:28.1 while under a snug hold from her Hall of Fame pilot. Fit and fresh as she straightened for the money, the long striding bay put up a 27.4 final quarter to secure her 14th career victory in her 26th lifetime start. Little Ms Chrissy (Robert Taylor) finished a game second while Sara The Spy (Todd Warren) was third. Also securing spots in the final were Just For Fun, Fox Valley Yavonne, Powerful Goddess, American Empress, Kelsey’s Star and High Stepper. A total of 25 filly and mare pacers, three-year-olds and up, were entered for the $123,000 Lorna Propes Stake necessitating a trio of $15,000 elimination tussles. The top three in each division along with one fourth place finisher,(drawn by lot) will be back for the big cash next Saturday night. In the first elimination James Strzalka, Nancy Magnus, Norma Schulfer and James Skvarla’s Fox Valley Absolut exhibited the form that has netted her more than $361,000 in career earnings as she shook off a tough first over trip to score by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:52.4 for driver Robert Smolin. Taking advantage of a nice inside draw the seven-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster was able to save ground through opening splits of 27.2 & 56.2 before moving to the outside as the field headed around the final bend. Grinding her way towards the top the Mike Schulfer trainee was right on the pace setting Tamarac Sassy’s flank as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.2. Seemingly finding another gear as the distaffers moved through the lane Fox Valley Absolut swallowed up the pace setter with a 27.1 final quarter as she began to widen her margin while scoring for the fifth time in 25 starts this year. Kimberley R (Dale Hiteman) shook loose late to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) held on for third. Willow Gram finished fourth. In the middle split the Terry Leonard owned and trained Whistle Pig looked like a princess as she pulled off an 18-1 stunner, scoring by a neck in a career best of 1:52.0 with Casey Leonard handling the driving chores. Placed near the back of the pack despite leaving from post position three the six-year-old daughter of Park Place moved into the outer flow on the far turn as Rev Me Up (John Roberts) sped through splits of 27.2, 55.4 & 1:24.0. Moving up with live cover Leonard tipped his mare four deep turning for home and she responded beautifully, speeding home in 27.1 to put up a career best. Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) closed well to finish second while Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting), the 1-9 favorite in the race finished third. Kate The Great was fourth. In the final elimination east coast invader Let’s Go Higher made it known that she will be a force to be reckoned with next week as the Heidi Rohr trained  five-year-old posted an eye catching eight-length romp in 1:50.4 with John DeLong at the controls. Perfectly positioned in third as Party Hangover charged through splits of 26.3 & 54.2 De Long moved the daughter of Park Place to the outside as the field moved mid-way around the final turn. Leaving the others in her wake Let’s Go Higher sped by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.3 as she set sail for the wire. Finishing off the mile in grand fashion Let’s Go Higher sped home in 28.1 to post her eighth win of the year for owner Jesse De Long. Just By Design (Dave Magee) finished second while Tune In (John Roberts) finished fourth but was moved up to third via a disqualification of Fox Valley Hermia who was cited for interfering with several horses near the top of the stretch. Cole Blue finished fifth but was moved up to fourth because of the DQ. Sunday’s 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $10,416 into Wednesday night’s pool. There will now be a $30,000 guaranteed pool on Wednesday’s Pick 5. The Pick 5 entails races 2-6 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. Tom Kelley ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KING MUFASA POSTED HIS 11TH WIN IN 12 STARTS THIS SEASON AS Mike Oosting STEERED THE DIVISION LEADER TO AN EASY WIN IN THE FIRST OF TWO SU MAC LAD STAKE ELIMINATIONS ON SUNDAY NIGHT. TROT FUDGE SUNDAE AND HALL OF FAMER Dave Magee TEAMED UP TO WIN THE LADY ANN REED STAKE ELIMINATION IN 1:56.0 ON SUNDAY NIGHT. LET'S GO HIGHER ROMPED TO AN EIGHT-LENGTH DECISION WITH JOHN DE LONG AT THE CONTROLS IN THE LAST OF THREE LORNA PROPES STAKE ELIMINATION'S ON SUNDAY NIGHT. THE 5YO DAUGHTER OF Park Place STOPPED THE CLOCK IN A BLISTERING 1:50.4. -----Original Message----- From: David Baum To: Tom Kelley ; Mike Paradise Sent: Sun, Sep 8, 2013 9:09 pm  

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