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Fresh off the two biggest wins in his career, Jerry Graham’s Photo Surprise continued his late season surge towards divisional honors among the Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old colt trotting set as he cruised to an easy 3 ¾ length victory in Wednesday’s $42,200 Cardinal Stake at Balmoral Park. Confidently handled by driver Mike Oosting the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Gloria Wyoming was unhurried early from his inside post content to trot along in third as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) and Tour Hall (Dirk Simpson) battled through an opening quarter in 30.0. Heading up the backstretch Oosting moved the Nelson Willis trainee to the outside where hemade a steady advance to the front finally taking command just as the field moved by the half-mile in 59.0. Heading around the far turn Photo Surprise continued to show the way past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.4. Leaving the field in his wake as he splashed through the lane, this year’s Lincoln Land & Hanover Stake winner was on cruise control the rest of the way widening his margin all the way through the wire while posting his fourth win in nine starts. Fox Valley Veto (John Roberts) rallied from far back to be a sharp second while Nino Marino held onfor third. The even-money favorite returned $4.00, $3.00 & $2.60 while upping his career bankroll to $96,825. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park  

Captaintreacherous heads to Hoosier Park on Friday night to face a field of nine foes in the $252,000 Monument Circle for three-year-olds. The race is part of a stakes-filled card that also includes the $286,500 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old trotters and the $223,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers. Captaintreacherous, who has won 12 of 13 races this year and $1.87 million, is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the Monument Circle. He starts from post two for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Tony Alagna. Following the Monument Circle, if all goes well, Captaintreacherous will visit Balmoral Park for the American-National Stakes on Nov. 9 and then possibly challenge older rivals in the TVG Free for All Series final on Nov. 30 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. "That's the schedule, but we're taking it one race at a time," Alagna said. "If everything goes well, and he ships home good, we'll decide what to do with that (TVG) race. "Everything is in good shape right now. He had a light week after the Breeders Crown and then we trained him up and he headed to Chicago on Tuesday." Captaintreacherous won the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers 12 days ago at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs by a neck over Sunshine Beach. It was his sixth consecutive victory since losing by a nose to Sunshine Beach in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine at Pocono Downs. By winning the Breeders Crown, Captaintreacherous joined Gallo Blue Chip and Rocknroll Hanover as the only horses to win the Crown, North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace in the same year. Last season, Captaintreacherous finished third in the Breeders Crown. It was his final start of a campaign in which he won eight of 10 races and was named Pacer of the Year. "To get the Breeders Crown was nice for him, especially because he wasn't able to win at (age) 2," Alagna said. "That was a tough loss for us at the end of the year. It was nice to see him put together two incredible performances in this year's Breeders Crown (elimination and final)." Captaintreacherous' other wins this year include the Max C. Hempt Memorial, Cane Pace and a division of the Tattersalls Pace. He also won a $52,000 invitational for 3-year-old pacers at Hoosier Park on Sept. 21. "That was probably the most pressure I felt all year because he was supposed to go out there and win," Alagna said. "But with every start there is some kind of pressure. It's a good pressure, though." Captaintreacherous is the No. 2-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10, behind 3-year-old filly trotter Bee A Magician. The Monument Circle includes two other horses that competed in the Breeders Crown: Beach Memories, who was fourth, and Apprentice Hanover, who finished sixth. Following is the field in post position order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Up Up And Out, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller; 2. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 3. Emeritus Maximus, Doug McNair, Alagna; 4. Dedi's Dragon, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace; 6. That Friske Feelin, Brett Miller, Burke; 7. The Pan Poobah, Ricky Macomber Jr., Burke; 8. Fool Me Once, Ron Pierce, Mark Austin; 9. Our Dragon King, Peter Wrenn, Dirk Simpson; 10. Beach Memories, David Miller, Brian Brown. Note: Beach Memories starts from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner for HRC  

State-bred trotting fillies took center stage as the ICF stakes season continued to wind down on Sunday, October 27, with a field of nine diagonally gaited freshmen taking to the track to slug it out in the $42,500 Violet Stake. With the move back into the state-bred ranks after finishing fifth against “open”company in the Hanover Stake last time out, James Bafia & Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish continued to solidify her spot as the “queen” of this division as she rolled to an easy 2 ¼ length victory in 2:00.2 for driver Dave Magee. Using the same tactics that netted them a victory in the Lady Lincoln Land on Oct. 2nd, Magee allowed the daughter of Southwind Breeze—Jen to settle in early before moving her to the top after longshot Macie Rae (Mike Rogers) led the field through an opening quarter in 29.0. Effortlessly sweeping into control on the backside, the Dirk Simpson trained miss led the field through middle splits of 58.1 & 1:28.2 as her rivals struggled to stay within striking position of the good looking brown filly. Through the lane, the issue was never in doubt as Bailey’s Wish received only mild urging from her Hall of Fame pilot while easily keeping her rivals at bay for her fifth win of the season. Fox Valley Hosana (Mike Oosting), who tried to make a first over bid to challenge the winner at the top of the stretch wound up in the bridesmaid role while Wacko (John De Long) rallied late to finish third. With the win Bailey’s Wish now sports a record of 5-2-2 in 13 lifetime starts with earnings of $108,210. The 6-5 favorite of the betting public returned $4.60, $3.20 & $2.60 to her legion of backers. David Baum   

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  

Freshmen pacing colts received top billing on Saturday, October 12th at Balmoral Park as a field of eight state-breds gathered for the $12,000 Betzotic Stake. When the smoke cleared it was Jack and Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop who came away with the top honors as he rallied for a three-quarter-length victory in 1:52.1. Given a perfect steer by driver Todd Warren the gelded son of Sportsmaster—Dixiegirl came away third while heavily favored Unlocked (Mike Oosting) rattled off splits of 27.3, 56.3 & 1:24.3. Things looked bleak for the rest of the field as Unlocked sped away to a 3 ½ length lead at the mid-stretch call but Warren angled his charge to the outside where the Dirk Simpson trainee began to cut into the leader’s margin. With a six-week layoff finally beginning to take a toll on Unlocked, a hard charging Traffic Cop curbed the pace setter with 100 yards to go and eventually drew clear with a 27.0 final quarter to notch his third win 14 lifetime starts. Unlocked held on for second while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) finished third, 5 ½ lengths behind the winner. With the win Traffic Cop now sports a record of 3-4-2 in 14 starts with earnings of $71,635. 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

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   

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

Elimination races for both the Cardinal and Violet two-year-old ICF stakes will be contested Friday night at Maywood Park. With all six-horse fields, a freshman pacer only needs to beat out two horses in an elim to advance to next week’s finals. With division leader PQ Three and Orange and Blue Colt winner Cotton Eyed Joe absent, the Nick Prather trained Unlocked will likely be a heavy favorite for next Friday’s $55,000 (est.) Cardinal Championship. Unlocked will open as the 7-5 morning line choice in race nine, the second Cardinal elimination division. The Duneside Perch colt was not eligible for Super Night and hasn’t competed since he dropped a photo to PQ Three on August 25 in the Governor’s Cup at Du Quoin. However, Unlocked drew off in a Springfield qualifier on Tuesday by 21 lengths, pacing a :26.4 last quarter at the end of a 1:54.4 mile for trainer Nick Prather. The colt has also showed a fondness for Maywood’s half-mile oval.  Earlier in the summer he breezed to victories in the $12,000 Enzo The Baker and Fox Valley Barzgar stakes and then pulled away by 11 lengths in a Illinois Stallion Stake at the Charleston Fair in late July. Even though Unlocked has 6 season victories in 8 starts and a pair of seconds at both State Fair Championships, his $51,587 earnings are only third best among the 12 horses entered for the Cardinal. The Dirk Simpson trained Traffic Cop (9-5, Todd Warren), the fifth race first Cardinal elim favorite, has $60,735 on his card, and Fox Valley Cupid (2-1, Ryan Anderson) has made $53,355 for the Mike Schufler Stable and the Yankee Skyscraper gelding has done it despite going winless in his first 10 career starts. Fox Valley Cupid earned a hefty $44,000 with his game second place finish in the O&B Final, losing by only a neck to Cotton Eyed Joe for his quartet of Illinois owners. My Little Bit and Thesleazyprincess, the top two leaders in the ICF freshman filly division, renew their rivalry in the first race initial Violet elimination and both are making their half-mile debuts Thesleazyprincess (9-5, Mike Oosting) has annexed both the Orange and Blue Filly and Loyal Opposition crowns at Balmoral for trainer Nelson Willis, while the Erv Miller Stable’s My Little Bit (8-5, Casey Leonard) took both the Springfield and Du Quoin titles. The fourth race second Violet elim brings out Molly Go Lightly (9-5, Oosting) and Fox Valley Shiver (8-5, Todd Warren); two talented fillies who didn’t get a chance to show what they can do on Super Night. Molly Go Lightly won her Orange and Blue elimination but had to be scratched in the final because of sickness. The Willis trainee bounced back with an easy triumph in the Thrifty Way stake at Balmoral. Fox Valley Shiver, the runner-up to My Little Bit in the Springfield Final, wasn’t eligible to the Orange and Blue. She’s been off a month but she also qualified impressively Tuesday morning at Springfield when she was 19 lengths the best in 1:56 with her trainer Dirk Simpson in the bike. Both Fox Valley Shiver and Kiwi Party (4-1, John De Long) are making their Maywood Park debuts however they spent the summer on the County Fair Circuit and should get around the half-mile turns just fine. Oosting drove six winners and De Long had four winning drives on Maywood’s 12-race Thursday evening card. By 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

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        

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  

It’s the second consecutive evening of Super Night eliminations races on Sunday and if I had to pick out two “Locks” they would be King Mufasa in his Su Mac Lad elim and Mystical Victress in her Lorna Propes division. Losing to another Illinois bred horse is just something these two talented horses very rarely do. King Mufasa brings an eight race winning streak into the first race and he’s 10- for 11 since joining the Mike Brink Stable for his 3-year-old campaign. The gelding’s lone 2013 loss came against older trotters early in the season when he was prepping for a stake and drew an outside post. Mystical Victress has lost once to an ICF mare this year, dropping a head decision to Rev Me Up in the $20,000 Sue Fee Stake at Balmoral, and that was the six-year-old mare’s her first loss in state-bred competition since late August of 2010 at Du Quoin in her sophomore campaign. Mystical Victress had won 11 consecutive races against ICF distaffers going into the Sue Fee stake and currently has strung together four straight victories and three were in open company. King Mufasa got his eighth straight win at Du Quoin when Skyline Road was disqualified to second when he went on the pace to get past the Mike Brink trainee. It was the third straight time Skyline Road has been DQ’s for switching over to the pace. King Mufasa didn’t look sharp at all at Du Quoin and I asked Brink if he knew why? “If I had to come with an excuse I would say it was the race track,” Mike answered. “It wasn’t very good and that wasn’t just my opinion. A lot of trainers felt that way. It was too deep. “King Mufasa isn’t a big horse and I think he just struggled on that deep track. A horse doesn’t trot in ‘53’ one week and the next start later has trouble going in ’58’ without a reason. “I had blood work done on him and it all came back clear. He trained really well this week and I think he’ll be just fine for Sunday’s elimination.”- Brink will depend on his help this weekend at Balmoral while he recuperates from reconstructive shoulder surgery in his in Springfield. “Four weeks ago this past week a horse I was driving at the Mt. Sterling Fair went down and I busted up my shoulder pretty bad in the accident. The clavicle was broken in four places and the shoulder was pulled out of its socket. “I’ve got four weeks of physical therapy ahead of me and I’ve been feeling weak so I’ll stay home and take it easy this weekend. Hopefully I’ll feel good enough to go to Balmoral for Super Night.” Brink is having a career year. The 60-year-old veteran had a season-best high 53 racing wins going into this weekend while his horses have won over $482,000, a single-season best. Only a fifth place or better finish is needed to make the Su Mac Lad Final. The third race second elim pits the State Fair runner-up Skyline Road (2-1, Marcus Miller), the consistent Dirk Simpson trainee Powerful Poe (7-2, Todd Warren), the Pronto Don third-place finisher Fox Valley Legend (9-2, Dale Hiteman) and seven other ICF hopefuls. Only the tenth place finisher in the second race Lady Ann Reed elimination won’t move on to the $106,000 final on Super Night. The first nine finishers will advance to meet Divination who drew a bye. Three fillies, Sara The Spy, Little Ms Chrissy and Just For Fum, all have season earnings higher than Divination but since they haven’t raced since August 24, their trainers declined the bye and elected to partake in Sunday’s single elimination. Trainer Nick Prather accepted a bye for Divination who stayed sharp for the Lady Ann Reed with a win on September 1 on the Pana fair track. Mystical Victress needs a third or higher finish to be assured of going after her third consecutive Lorna Propes crown on Super Night. She opens at 8-5 in the second Propes elim. Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) is the 3-1 programmed choice in the fourth race first split, while Brink’s Just By Design is the 3-1 favorite in the sixth race third elimination. “Just By Design is very sharp right now,” said Brink. “I call her a perfect ‘Dave Magee horse’ because he can drive her anyway he wants, depending how the race unfolds, just the way Dave likes to compete.” By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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

It’s a rare sight to see a 2-year-old trotting filly who recently won a State Fair championship competing in the same race as a freshman trotting colt who captured a State Fair crown. Nevertheless, that’s the case in Wednesday’s fourth race at Balmoral Park. Fresh off a 1:59.2 victory in the $33,000 Shawnee at Du Quoin, Fox Valley Hosana steps out of the distaff ranks and takes seven juvenile trotting colts including Springfield champ Tour Hall, the 5-2 favorite in the fourth race.. “It’s not an ideal situation but I wanted to keep Fox Valley Hosana sharp with her American National coming up in two weeks,” said trainer Dirk Simpson. “It’s been a week and a half since she won at Du Quoin and there wasn’t any place else to race her this week.” Fox Valley Hosana (programmed at 7-2) won’t be the only filly in the race. S V Spirit (9-2, Todd Warren), winner of her Springfield elimination and the Downstate Classic at Lincoln in early August, will start to the right of the Dirk Simpson trainee with post 8. Longshot Lorna Lee Breeze (12-1), a Southland Breeze filly, has the three post for her 20-year-old driver Mariyah Mulvey who also trains the freshman. This will be the Effingham, IL native’s first drive in a pari-mutuel race on the Crete one-miler. She competed at Balmoral in amateur driving events the previous past three years starting as a 17-year-old in 2010. Fox Valley Hosana, owned by the Illinois trio of Desyllas Racing (Alexander), Bill Beck (Edinburg) and Carol Riekin (Ashland) was fourth at a 1:01.1 first half before making a strong three-wide move with tonight’s driver Mike Oosting and drawing off by more than two lengths over Springfield freshman trotting filly champion Fox Valley Lotus. “Hosanna seems to like it better coming out of a hole,” said Simpson. “Mike used her that way at Du Quoin and just kept going.” Also going postward in Balmoral’s fourth race trot for freshman of both sexes is Bands Jeeves (10-1), Nino Marino (6-1), Busted Flat (20-1), Photo Surprise (10-1) and the Jared Finn trained entry of Aqua Lung and Leasem For Less at 8-1. He Paid What? My eyes aren’t what they use to be so I had to rub them a couple of times and keep looking to make sure I saw correctly the $31.00 winning mutuel on Mystery Exposed, one of my Sunday night Mike Price Shots at Balmoral. He drew off by three lengths with Casey Leonard in race eight and keyed a $364.60 Exacta. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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