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

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

The first trotting stake of the 2014 season at Balmoral Park was contested on Sunday, April 13th as a compact field of five Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old fillies battled in the $10,000 Trotting Tilly Stake. Using the inside post to her full advantage, the Robert Phillips owned and trained Vienna saved ground for most of the mile then split horses late to post a 1¼ length victory in 2:04.3 over a sloppy track. Perfectly handled by driver Kyle Wilfong, the daughter of Banderas Hall--Talcott Lori stayed inside as All Psyched Up (Robert Smolin) and Green Acres (Jon Anderson) took turns leading the field through splits of 32.3, 1:03 & 1:33.3.   Slipping to the outside behind a hard charging S V Spirit (John De Long) as the field turned for the money, Wilfong patiently waited for a seam to open between S V Spirit and Green Acres. With his filly responding perfectly, Wilfong then drilled Vienna between the two to rally for her first win of the year. S V Spirit was second while Green Acres held on for third.   The win was the third in 18 career starts for Vienna who despite being the leading career money earner in the field and having the inside post returned a healthy $19.80, $4.80 & $3.00 while upping her bankroll to $42,852.   Kyle Wilfong guided Vienna to her fourth career win in Sunday's $10,000 Trotting Tilly Stake at Balmoral Park. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

After posting win #999 in the final race on Saturday night at Balmoral Park, it did not take John De Long very long to reach the coveted 1,000 victory plateau as he guided Little Warriorette to victory in Sunday's (April 6th) third race, which was the first drive of the night for the 25-year-old resident of Clinton, Wisconsin.   Carving out a perfect two-hole trip with the Erin Elliott trained four-year-old, De Long roused a 28.3 final quarter from Little Warriorette as the mare went on to score in 1:56.3, knocking more than seven seconds off her previous career best.   De Long, who enjoyed his biggest year to date in 2013 when he posted 283 wins, 239 seconds and 235 thirds in 1789 starts with purse earnings of more than $1.9 million and a UDRS of .276 is off to another fast start this season with a .331 UDRS as he continues to rise through the driving ranks on the Chicago circuit.   The son of longtime horseman Jay De Long has been around horses his entire life working around the family's stable with younger brothers Austin, Ben and Eric for as long as he can remember. His first victory came in thrilling fashion as he guided West Bound Train to a nose victory in a track record time at the Keokuk County Fair at the age of 16.   After reaching the coveted milestone on Sunday night De Long took a moment to reflect on how far things have come in such a short time.   "Back when I won my first race I thought this would be a great thing do to as a hobby," said a beaming De Long. "But then it just gets in your blood and now I couldn't see myself doing anything but this."   Courteous as always and quick with a smile or a greeting, De Long in typical fashion wanted to be sure everyone else was acknowledged after Sunday's big night.   "I can't thank my family and friends enough for all their support throughout the years," said De Long who was joined by a large contingent in the winner's circle. "It's been a thrill and to get to a number like this is very gratifying. Without the support of all the horse owners and trainers who have used me to drive their horses something like this would never have been possible." by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park  

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

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

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

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 Cardinal Final looked to be a wide open race and it turned out to be just that as Z Tam Stables, Mike Polansky and Joe & Dave Mc Caffrey’s Ringo’s Z Tam came flying down the stretch to win by a half-length in 1:56.0 at odds of 8-1.   Content to sit at the back of the pack in the field of eight as Traffic Cop (Todd Warren) carved out splits of 27.1, 57.1 & 1:26.2 driver Casey Leonard had the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Rons Girl underway in a live outer flow as the field headed into the final bend.   Circling rivals while following the cover of I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long), Ringo’s Z Tam blew by the field as the speed collapsed, charging home in 28.3 to notch his third win in eight lifetime starts. I Bizel The Shizel finished a hard knocking second while One Sure Apache (Mike Oosting) was third after being first over for the final five-eighths of a mile.   Overlooked at windows despite being coupled in the wagering with Manny’s Z Tam, Ringo’s Z Tam returned a healthy $18.00, $5.80 & $2.80 while upping his bankroll to $39,654.   In the Violet Stake favored Molly Go Lightly shook off constant pressure and held firm through the lane to win by a half-length in a quick 1:54.4 for Jim Jesk’s Sawgrass Farms.   Taking advantage of the inside starting spot driver Mike Oosting whisked the daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle right to the front but was confronted with immediate pressure from a hard leaving My Little Bit (Casey Leonard).   With the two fillies battling tooth and nail through opening splits of 28.0 & 56.1 Molly Go Lightly finally put away the challenge from her main nemesis as the field headed for the three-quarter-mile mark.   Drawing away from the rest of the field as she stormed by that mark in 1:25.3, the Nelson Willis trainee then held firm to the wire as a ground saving Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) came charging through the passing lane. Party Hangover Two (John De Long) was a distant third, five lengths behind the winner.   The victory was the fourth in 11 starts for Molly Go Lightly who now boasts $44,895 in career earnings. The 4-5 choice of the betting public returned $3.80, $2.80 & $2.40.    by Tom Kelley for Maywood Park  

The slogan “You’ve Come a Long Way,” wasn’t written with the Illinois-bred filly My Little Bit in mind but as the old proverb says: “If the shoe fits, wear it.” And the (horse) shoe does fit the Erv Miller star freshman according to her driver Casey Leonard. “This filly has come a long way from her last start at Maywood Park when I drove her,” said Casey after steering My Little Bit to a comfortable one-length win in last week’s first Violet elimination. “My Little Bit had the 8-hole the first night at Maywood and when she came out of that turn for the first time and saw the grandstand, she wasn’t sure what was going on. She has a much better idea now of what’s she’s doing.” Her June 27 race in Maywood’s Juxtaposition stake was My Little Bit’s very first start. She ended up sixth, beaten almost 15 lengths by the winner April May Dune, and was timed in 2:00.4. Last Friday she won in 1:55.2 and pretty much coasted the second half of the mile. It was season win No. 5 for the Sportsmaster filly who captured both State Fair titles with Marcus Miller and was second with the 22-year-old in the $200,000 Orange & Blue Filly Final on Super Night behind Thesleazyprincess, one of her main threats in Friday’s Violet Championship. My Little Bit was also second in late July in the $65,000 Loyal Opposition stake with Casey at her lines. “I’m really happy to be back driving this filly” said the 35-year-old Leonard. “She can get out of there really well and she won her elimination pretty easily. The race didn’t go as I expected so when one of the longshots (Fox Valley Rockn) made a quarter move at us I couldn’t let her (the 38-1 longshot) go so I let my filly out a notch.” My Little Bit needed a :28.1 first quarter to get command and a :28.3 second quarter to keep it. After that :56.4 first half, the issue wasn’t in doubt. You can count on fastest fractions throughout in tonight’s $48,000 Championship. The 2-1 morning line favorite My Little Bit can use her speed from the inside three-slot to likely race on or close to the front again which is where we also probably see last week’s second elimination victor Molly Go Lightly, the 3-1 programmed second choice. “The filly is sharp right now,” said driver Mike Oosting after Molly Go Lighty’s four-length victory in 1:55.4. “She’s a handy filly. “You can race her pretty much anyway you want.” The Nelson Willis trainee could very well get another favorable trip with the pole position and that's probably why we’ll see Oosting at her lines instead of Willis’ another filly in the race Thesleazyprincess (6-1). The Orange and Blue Filly champion landed Maywood’s dreaded eight-hole for new driver John Roberts, making her chances of a fourth season win an arduous task. She’ll race on Lasix for the first time Friday. The third program choice is Jesse and John De Long’s Party Hangover Two (p.p. 5), second behind My Little Bit a week ago Hoping to pull off a surprise victory in the ninth race Violet Final are Fox Valley Flora (15-1, Brain Carpenter), Fox Valley Amanda (12-1, Dale Hiteman), Green Valey (20-1, Bobby Smolin) and Fox Valley Shiver (8-1, Todd Warren). Pricey Pick: The 14-1 longshot Fox Valley Lena (John Roberts) was a $30 top winner for us last night at Maywood Park. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

While nothing is a certainly in Illinois horse racing—or Illinois politics for that matter—going into last week’s Cardinal eliminations it looked to me that Unlocked was pretty much of a “lock” to win this Friday’s $44,000 Championship. With multi-stakes champion PQ Three absent for Maywood’s premier ICF 2-year-old colt and gelding stake, his chief rival Unlocked was a heavy morning line favorite in his Cardinal elimination. However, Unlocked never got the opportunity to compete and reward his potential backers The talented ICF freshman was a judge’s scratch for being late to the detention barn. While the hard-luck mishap on the way to Maywood Park was a costly misfortune for the horse’s owner and trainer it did turn the Cardinal Final into a wide-open brouhaha. “With Unlocked out of this stake it’s been opened up for a lot of other horses who haven’t made a lot of money yet and my horse is one of them,” said driver John De Long after guiding I Bizel The Shizel to a 1:55.3 one-length victory in the first Cardinal elimination last Friday over the favorite Traffic Cop. I Bizel The Shizel had less than $10,000 on his card going into September for trainer Tom Simmons. The Yankee Skyscraper gelding has made almost $20,000 more since and could add another with a victory in Friday’s of the $49,000 Cardinal. Not surprisingly the elimination triumph came on the front-end. “I drove against I Bizel The Shizel in a couple of fair races during the summer,” continued the 24-year-old Wisconsin native. “The horse made a break one afternoon at Aledo so I was conscious of that going into his elimination. I was a little cautious with him in the first turn, but he handled the track o.k. “I started driving the horse at Du Quoin and I’ve left with him in every start since but I wanted to be careful with him tonight and make sure he made the final. He’s aggressive behind the car and I didn’t want to roll out with him too hard. However after the first turn he just rolled on. “My horse was waiting on other horses on the backstretch and when Mike’s (Oosting) horse (Dunside Art) came up on us he started to take off. When Mike’s horse stopped my horse wanted to stop with him, but I got after him a little and he took off again.” I Bizel The Shizel drew well with the three-slot in Friday’s eighth race co-feature. His entry-mate Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) drew even better with the rail. They’ll open as the 5-2 programmed favorites. The Nelson Willis trained One Sure Apache, who was also an easy front-stepping winner in his elimination is in a great spot with the two with Mike Oosting. He’s the 4-1 morning line second choice. Traffic Cop, with $63,235 on his card which is tops in the field, has the six-slot for Todd Warren. Despite being 15-1 in the program he’s another major contender in the stake. The Dave Mc Caffrey trained entry of Manny’s Z Tam (p.p. 4, John Roberts) and Ringo’s Z Tam (p.p. 7, Casey Leonard) opens at 8-1. Fox Valley Deuce (p.p. 5, Dale Hiteman) is at 10-1 while Fox Valley Cupid (Ryan Anderson), saddled with the 8-hole is 5-1. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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

Illinois’ two-year-old crop of pacers were in action on Friday, Sept. 27th at Maywood Park as freshmen fillies battled in two Violet Stake eliminations while their male counterparts slugged it out in a pair of Cardinal Stake eliminations.     With a total of 12 fillies dropped into the box for the Violet eight spots were available for the $48,000 final.   In the first division Obermeier & Quaid Stables My Little Bit made every call a winning one as she cruised to a one-length victory in 1:55.2 for driver Casey Leonard.   Storming right to the front from post three the Erv Miller trained miss carved out splits of 28.1, 56.4 & 1:26.0 while holding her rivals at bay for her fifth win in 10 career starts. Party Hangover Two (John De Long) parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a second place finish while Filly Orange & Blue winner Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) finished third after being forced to make a three-wide sweep as the field headed to the half-mile mark. Green Valey was a distant fourth.   The favorite prevailed in the second division as well as Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly exploded out of the pocket on the final turn and then rolled to a convincing four-length victory in 1:55.4 for leading driver Mike Oosting.   After sitting right on the back of Fox Valley Shiver (Todd Warren) as that filly showed the way through fractions of 28.2, 58.2 & 1:27.3 Oosting deftly maneuvered the Nelson Willis trainee off the pylons. Quickly swallowing up the pace setter, the daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle charged home in 28.0 to post her fourth win 10 starts. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) rallied from far back to be the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Shiver held on for third. Fox Valley Flora finished fourth.   A total of 13 colts were entered for the Cardinal with the top four in each of the two $10,000 eliminations moving on to compete in next week’s $48,000 final.   In the first elimination Laura Hendricks and Benita Simmons I Bizel The Shizel led from pillar to post as he reported home with a hard fought one-length victory in 1:55.3 with John De Long in tow.   Parked through an opening quarter in 28.1 the Tom Simmons trained son of Yankee Skyscaper—Whata Bizy Body then proceeded to put up middle splits of 57.3 & 1:26.1.  After turning aside a challenge from a hard charging Dunside Art (Mike Oosting) I Bizel The Shizel drew away from his rivals in the lane to score for the fourth time in 11 career starts. Traffic Cop (Todd Warren) came on late to be second while Fox Valley Cupid (Ryan Anderson) rallied from last to get the show dough. Manny’s Z Tam was fourth.   In the nightcap Jerry Graham’s One Sure Apache took advantage of his inside starting spot rolling to a three-quarter-length victory in wire to wire fashion.   Hustled away from the gate by Mike Oosting the Nelson Willis trained son of Ft Apache Hanover—One Sure Thing strolled through leisurely splits of 29.2, 59.2 & 1:28.3 while relatively unchallenged for most of the mile. With plenty in reserve the good looking gelding kept a late charging Ringo’s Z Tam (Casey Leonard) at bay to win for the fourth time in 12 starts. Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) finished third while Fox Valley Deuce was fourth.   Unlocked, the 7-5 morning line favorite was a judge’s scratch from the race.   Kellie Lachata

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

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