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ANDERSON, Ind.-August 1, 2017 - The top two and three-year-old trotters and pacers in the Hoosier state were in the harness racing spotlight at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, August 2 to battle it out in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Finals. Over $630,000 was up for grabs on the evening's 14-race card and featured six $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for the two and three-year-old divisions. The three-year-old trotting colts and geldings kicked off the action-packed evening and it was Swan Chase and driver John DeLong who found the winner's circle for the second consecutive week. After winning his elimination last week, Swan Chase used a ground-saving trip to best his rivals by a length, scoring in a new lifetime best of 1:55. Swan Chase sat third along the rail through splits of :28.3, :57.3 and 1:26.4 before utilizing a :27.4 final quarter to track down the heavily favored My Uncle Cuz and Don Harmon late in the lane. My Uncle Cuz had to settle for second place honors while Double A Goldrush and Ross Leonard rallied gamely late in the lane to round out the trifecta. "They gelded him a few weeks ago and I think that has really made a big difference in him," DeLong noted after the victory. "He is a little more manageable this way and seems to be getting better with every start." Trained by William Crone, the son of Swan For All-Precisionist notched his sixth win from 11 seasonal outings. Owned by John Barnard, Swan Chase has now won nine of 22 lifetime outings while bankrolling $177,716 in lifetime purse earnings. Satin Dancer, driven by Ronnie Wrenn Jr., looked every bit the part of a 3-5 favorite in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting fillies, stopping the timer in 1:56.1. Benefitting from a pocket trip, Satin Dancer sat patiently through splits of :28, :57.3, and 1:27.1 before Wrenn Jr. gave her the green light. Utilizing a :28.3 final panel, Satin Dancer coasted on to the wire under a hand drive to finish a length in front of the front-running Ajessia and Doug Rideout. Trained by Byron Hooley, Satin Dancer recorded her fifth win from eight seasonal outings. The daughter of Big Stick Lindy-Shaken Not Stirred is owned by Summit Pacing Acres LLC and now sports a lifetime bankroll of $368,808. The three-year-old pacing fillies were up next and it was Rockin Serena and Peter Wrenn who pulled a mild 10-1 upset in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Scoring in 1:52.1, Rockin Serena held off her rivals late in the lane to prevail in a tight photo and establish a new lifetime best in the process. "I didn't know how things would go in here as far as the trip was concerned," Wrenn noted after the victory. "She's a classy filly, still a little green, but that was a great trip for her. She really raced great tonight." Owned in partnership by Kales Co., Dolne Fm Services, S&R Racing Stables, and Wrenn Racing, Rockin Serena notched the second victory from eight trips behind the gate in 2017. The daughter of Rockin Image-Day Lily Hanover has won four of 13 lifetime outings while earning $117,205 in purse earnings. Rock N Tony turned in a gritty performance to find the winner's circle in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. With Trace Tetrick in the bike, Rock N Tony was able to overcome a long, first-over grind to wear down the heavily favored Beckham's Z Tam and Ricky Macomber Jr. late in the lane and stop the timer in 1:50.4. "He's all heart," Tetrick noted after the victory. "Not the ideal trip, they rushed me early and I had to pull. He was able to overcome it and grinded all the way to the wire. He's a very honest colt that loves his job." Trained by Erv Miller, the three-year-old gelded son of Rockin Image-Pandemonious recorded his fifth seasonal victory and eleventh lifetime win from 17 starts. Owned by Anthony Lombardi and Rocco Ruffolo, Rock N Tony pushed his lifetime earnings to $354,912 with the victory. The two year-old fillies were in the spotlight in the very next race and after a disqualification of the heavily favored Dee Rocks and Sam Widger, Ezpay and Brandon Bates were declared the winner in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for two-year-old pacing fillies. With a final time of 1:54, Ezpay found the winner's circle for just the second time in her young career and established a new lifetime best in the process. Trained by Pete Leu, who co-owns the filly with Heidi Estep, the daughter of Jereme's Jet-In The Red has now amassed $58,900 in purse earnings from five seasonal starts. The freshmen pacing colts rounded out the stakes action for the evening and with a winning streak on the line-Shnitzledosomethin delivered as the heavy favorite in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. With regular pilot Peter Wrenn at the lines, Shnitzledosomethin turned a pocket trip into a 1:52.2 score. With the win, the rookie colt equaled his lifetime best and remains undefeated in four lifetime starts. "I knew I wanted to race him off a helmet tonight," Wrenn said in the winner's circle. "It couldn't have worked out any better for us. He's still learning and figuring everything out but he's a nice, nice colt." Trained by Dylan Davis, the son of Fred And Ginger-Summer N Sand has now won all four of his lifetime outings. With the win, Shnitzledosomethin has bankrolled $67,250 in lifetime purse earnings for his connections of Bfj Stable, T. Lazzaro, E. Gold, and A. Basen. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continues on Thursday, August 3 with a 14-race card. With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 17. The 24th season of live harness racing is highlighted by the 34th edition of the Breeders Crown, harness racing's championship event valued at $6 million, on Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin

With an impressive showing by Indiana's three-year-old trotting fillies last evening at  the harness racing meeting at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in stakes action, their male counterparts were not to be outdone in their turn of Indiana Sires Stakes on Thursday, July 23. A field of ten sophomore trotting colts lined up behind the gate in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final and once again, the race left no doubt as to who was the best on this night. With a seven race win streak on the line, Homicide Hunter continued his divisional dominance to score impressively in 1:53.4. With regular driver John DeLong in the sulky, Homicide Hunter equaled the track record for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings with the win and remains undefeated in his sophomore campaign. Starting from the trailing post position ten, Homicide Hunter was unhurried in the early stages of the race to settle along the rail in fifth. Shawnee Valley and Jason Dillander left the gate firing to rattle off splits of :27.1 and :56.4 while Hominy Hill and Trace Tetrick benefitted from a pocket trip. As the field approached the final turn, DeLong gave Homicide Hunter the green light and he quickly engaged the leader at the three-quarter clocking in 1:26.2. Homicide Hunter reached the lead as the field turned for home and simply sprinted away from the field to cruise on to the wire under a hand drive, winning by five lengths. Bluebird Reverend and Rick Farrington rallied gamely in the stretch but had to settle for second place honors while Hominy Hill rounded out the trifecta. As the overwhelming favorite, Homicide Hunter returned $3.00 at the betting window. With the victory, Homicide Hunter remains undefeated in Indiana Sires Stakes action in 2015. Owned by Dr. Patrick Graham and trained by Curt Grummel, the homebred son of Mr. Cantab-Evening Prayer has now won 11 of 18 lifetime starts. The stakes action opened up for the evening with the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Downthehighwy and Jason Dillander used a well-timed rally to score their second consecutive victory, this time in 1:53.2. Downthehighwy was able to track down the pacesetting Granite and Peter Wrenn before holding off a late charge late in the lane from Matrix of Luck and Tyler Smith to get the win. The victory was the second of the season from five tries for the son of Dontgetinmyway-Happy Tears and a lifetime best effort. Trained by Robert Taylor, Downthehighwy has now earned $70,375 for his connections at Mack Racing Stables, LLC. Emily Gaskin

Merle Finn Jr’s mare Wings continued her fairy-tale journey from a one-time horse pulling an Amish cart to her dominance of the Chicago circuit’s older distaff ranks at Balmoral Park with her fourth consecutive harness racing victory in the “Winner’s Over” vents for fillies and mares. With regular driver Tim Curtin at her lines Wings put away six foes in the second race-co-feature and again did it in rather comfortable fashion. The triumph was also Wing’s seventh in her last eight starts for the 23-year-old owner and trainer from Browns, Illinois. Curtin ducked Wings from the outside seven-slot at the start and was seven-plus lengths behind in last when State Street Liz got command at the first quarter in a leisurely 29.1 seconds. Wings was taken out midway on the backstretch and Curtin was contend to race the ultra-sharp Indiana bred mare first up, slowly grinding their way toward the leaders. After another slow second panel (30 seconds flat) by the pacesetter, Curtin got Wings into high gear. The heavy 2-5 favorite got eye-to-eye with State Street Liz half-way into the final turn before drawing away from the field. Wings ($2.60) paced the final quarter of the 1:54.4 mile in 27 flat, finishing two lengths ahead of State Street Liz. Finn acquired Wings in July of 2013 at the age of five with just $40 on her card when Merle “traded a trotter straight-up for the mare from the Amish.” The horse has banked almost $72,000 for him since. Back-To-Back: Patiently handled by John De Long, Firstclassallthway followed last week’s 10-1 upset win in the “Winner’s Over” ranks with a repeat victory last night in the same $9,400 event. As expected the betting favorite Ice Scraper grabbed quick control of the ninth race and took the five horse field to a :56.2 first half with consecutive :28.1 panels with Best Man Hanover in the pocket and Firstclassallthway in third. The field bunched up turning for home and when an inside lane opened for De Long, he ducked the Jim Ellison trainee there and Firstclassallthway ($12.20) went on to outsprint his rivals to the wire with a huge :26.1 last quarter. Best Man Hanover was second best, beaten 2 and 1/2 lengths in the 1:50.3 mile. Ice Scraper held on for third. The victory was the third of year in eight starts for the 8-year-old gelding owned by Dandy Farms of Glenview, Illinois. By Mike Paradise

One of this season’s surprises at Balmoral Park has been the 3-year-old trotter Fox Valley Veto. Despite less than three dozen lifetime starts the ICF gelding has more than held his own in the top level trots against older and more seasoned open company horses. The son of Pizzazzed out of the Valley Victory broodmare Yankee Victory goes after his third consecutive victory in Saturday’s $11,000 “Winner’s Over” trot in race six with regular driver John De Long. “He’s super sharp right now,” said De Long. “I think he’s better now than he has been all year.” “The horse is really good now,” added trainer Curt Grummel. “I don’t know if it’s the colder weather or what but he is at the top of his game. He’s sounder now than he has been all year. He’s unbelievably sound “I’ll keep racing him at Balmoral through the end of the year and then decide if I want to take him out east to see what he can do there.” Fox Valley Veto put on an electrifying stretch move last week, trotting a 27 flat last quarter to overtake the even-money favorite Justice Jet in the late going to post a career fastest 1:54.3 mile for Curt who shares ownership of the gelding with his father Craig of Carrollton, Illinois,. The win was Fox Valley Veto’s eighth of the season and a trio of them have come against top-level open company trotters. Fox Valley Veto (pp 6) is the 3-1 second program choice in tonight’s sixth race co-headliner behind Justice Jet (pp 5, Ryan Welch) at 2-1. They’ll take on Salutation Hanover (12-1, Pat Curtin), Surclasser (8-1, Bobby Smolin), Repeat Your ABC’s (10-1, Kyle Wilfong), Master Of Excuses (5-1, Todd Warren) and Celebrity Hercules (7-2, Casey Leonard). De Long also has “live” drives in Saturday’s other headliners. He’s back behind Dallas Jones in, the third race $11,000 “Winner’s Over” for fillies and mares and Mosee Terror in the $10.500 eleventh race conditioned pace loaded with past Invitational pacers. Dallas Jones comes off  a two-length win in 1:53.1 with De Long in a non-winners of $8,000 conditioned pace. John was very pleased with his first drive behind the 4-year-old Illinois bred mare. “I told Joel (trainer Smith) I wanted to race her with a trip and that’s what she got. When I asked her in the lane, she was gone. She really raced well. “Dallas Jones is probably one of the biggest mares I have ever driven. She’s enormous and she covers a lot of ground. She came home in 27.1 last week with pretty much minimal urging and she can be right there Saturday with the right trip” Dallas Jones opens at 5-1 behind the 8-5 favorite Always About Katey (Todd Warren), DP Angel (Mike Ooosting) at 7-2, and Party Hangover (Ridge Warren) at 4-1. Ryleigh’s Lilly (6-1, Casey Leonard), Four Hour Nap (15-1, Ross Leonard) and Just By Design (10-1) Dave Magee complete the third race field. Mosee Terror is saddled with the outside 10-hole in the 11th race conditioned pace with the early favoritism going to Time To Roll (7-2, Dave Magee), Kanarsis (4-1, Ridge Warren), Fort Silky (9-2, Casey Leonard) and Best Man Hanover (5-1, Todd Warren), all recent starters in Balmoral Invites. De Long was in the bike behind Mosee Hanover for the first time. The 6-year-old Jim Eaton trainee had been campaigning all year at Pocono Downs. “I was very impressed with Mosee Terror,” said John. “He had been off a few weeks. Last Saturday he had nowhere to go. He was boxed-in and I never even got the earplugs out. “With a second or third over trip I think he can collar most of the horses around here. He’s that kind of a horse.” The solid field of pacers is rounded out with Major Monet (8-1, Dean Magee), Old Man River (10-1, Ross Leonard), Lennox Blue Chip (10-1, Brian Carpenter), Lieutenant Steve (15-1, Ryan Anderson) and Island Jet (10-1, Island Jet). by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

Continuing her quest to lock up divisional honors among the ICF two-year-old trotting filly set, Dr. Patrick Graham's Fox Valley Yoko took another step towards securing those honors on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as she came charging through the lane to record a 1 ¼ length victory over five rivals in the $40,050 Violet Stake. The final time of 1:58.2 was a new career mark for the good looking youngster. Masterfully handled by driver John De Long, the pair was content to save ground near the back in the compact field of five while Bi Polar Rose (Travis Seekman) strolled through splits of 29.4, 1:00.4 and 1:30.0. After watching their chief rival, Persuasive Look (Casey Leonard) overtake the pace setter as the field moved into the lane, De Long quickly maneuvered the Curt Grummel trained miss into position with a sixteenth of a mile to go. The daughter of Pizzazzed--Yankee Victory Om responded beautifully, finding her top stride in the blink of an eye as she roared home in 27.4 to blow right by her opponents for her fifth win of the year. Persuasive Look was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role for the second straight week while Bi Polar Rose held on for third. With the win Fox Valley Yoko, who was the second choice in the wagering returned $4.40, $2.20, & $2.10 while running her record to 5-3-2 in 11 starts with earnings of nearly $95,000. Also on Sunday night, the $1 Pick 4 went unclaimed so a carryover of $23,792 will be added to Wednesday's (Oct. 29th) pool. Because of the large carryover, there will be a $50,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool on Wednesday's card. The Pick 4 will be contested on races six through nine on Wednesday night. 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 by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Illinois conceived and foaled two-year=old pacers shared top billing on the Friday, Oct. 3rd card at Maywood Park as some of the state's top fillies gathered for the $43,600 Violet Stake while their male counterparts battled in the $43,350 Cardinal Stake. Both races left no doubt as to who was best on this night as Jessie De Long & the Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler romped to a 6½ length victory in the Violet while Bo & Pat De Long and Ernest Miller's Earndawg continued his recent dominance of his division with a devastating 4 ½ length romp in the Cardinal. Taking advantage of a perfect pocket sitting journey as Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) rattled off splits of 28.0 & 57.1 driver John De Long moved Sportsmuffler to the outside as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.1. Fit and fresh as the fillies moved around the final bend the Jessie De Long trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatthere'smore overpowered the pace setter as the field turned for home then drew off impressively, tripping the timer in 1:56.3 for her seventh win in 11 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Charm (Kyle Wilfong), who picked up brief cover from the winner turned in a nice effort to be the bridesmaid while Luvniecestopieces held on to be a distant third. A close second choice in the wagering Sportsmuffer returned $5.00, $3.20 & $3.20 while upping her career bankroll to more than $67,000. Using the "give and go" to perfection in the Cardinal Stake driver Todd Warren allowed entrymate King Of The Swamp (Ridge Warren) to grab command through a quick opening split of 27.2. Sweeping back to the top after the opening panel Earndawg proceeded to pace through fractions of 57.2 & 1:26.2 while keeping Lucpark (Dave Magee) hung on the outside. With the difficult trip finally taking a toll on that one, the Roger Welch trained son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K simply sprinted away from the rest of his rivals leaving them in his wake as he cruised under the wire in 1:55.4 for his fifth win in 12 tries this season. King Of The Swamp followed the winner all the way but was simply second best on this night while C Note (Travis Seekman) shook loose late to finish third, 8 ¾ lengths behind the winner. This year's Orange & Blue champion may have put a stamp on divisional honors with Friday's win as he now boasts a record of 5-2-2 in 12 starts with earnings of more than $141,000. Bet as though defeat was out of the question the Welch trained coupling returned $2.20, $2.40 & $2.10. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park  

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters were back in the spotlight on Wednesday night with a pair of stakes highlighting the nine-race card. Freshmen fillies had the chance to grab their biggest payday of the year for the state-bred set as a field of nine went postward in the $90,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake while a compact field of six sophomore trotting fillies gathered in a $10,100 Betzotic Stake to start the Wednesday night action. The Betzotic proved to be a walk in the park for Super Night winner Bailey's Wish as the pride of owners Jim Bafia and Eugene White demolished her rivals with a 7 ½ length score in 1:57.3 for driver Dave Magee. Sent to the front by Magee after an opening quarter in 29.0 the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen made the top easily and was unchallenged through middle splits of 57.4 & 1:27.3. Quickly putting daylight between herself and the rest of the field, the Dirk Simpson trained miss left her rivals in her wake as she cruised under the wire with her fifth win in 13 starts this season. Band's Alexis (Todd Warren) rallied late to finish second while Say No Mo (John De Long) was third. Even-money co-favorite Macie Rae made a break in the lane and finished last in the field of six. Bailey's Wish returned $4.20, $2.80 & $2.20 while upping her career record to 10-8-3 in 27 starts with earnings of $243,938. With the scratch of last week's elimination winner Jazzie Mermaid (injured) the LadyLincolnLand looked like it would be a showdown between Fox Valley Yoko and Persuasive Look. Unfortunately a break behind the gate took out the latter and the former made a break while challenging in deep stretch allowing a game Bi Polar Rose to post a front stepping half-length victory in 1:59.3 for Travis Seekman. Confidently handled by Seekman the daughter of Polar Winner--I Still Owe trotted right to the top from post five, putting up leisurely splits of 29.4, 59.3 & 1:29.0 while cruising along unchallenged. In the lane the Ronnie Roberts trained miss dug in gamely, turning back a "passing lane" challenge from 29-1 longshot Fox Valley Harrah (Kyle Wilfong) who had enjoyed a perfect pocket sitting trip while also keeping Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long) at bay to notch her third win in eight tries. Fox Valley Harrah was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Fox Valley Yoko did well to salvage a third place finish after the miscue. Sent off at 7-2 by the betting public Bi Polar Rose returned $9.20, $4.00 & $3.00 while running her record to 3-2-1 in eight starts with earnings of $60,515 for owners Cynthia Demarlie and Jason Van Winkle. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park  

Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds shared top billing on the Sunday night card at Balmoral Park as a pair of Super Night Stake Consolation's headlined the 10-race harness racing card.   Trotters kicked off the action with a field of seven diagonally gaited sophomores squaring off in the $20,000 Su Mac Lad Consolation. This test turned into a stroll in the park for Ron Marino and David Hermann's Nino Marino as he stormed right to the front and never looked back in a three-length victory. The final time was 1:56.1.   Confidently handled by driver Dean Magee, the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Charger's Affair gunned to the top from post six and proceeded to put up splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:26.1 while opening up a 5 ½ length advantage at the top of the stretch.   On cruise control the rest of the way the Randy Tuftie trainee was threatened as he reported home with his second win in 16 starts this season. Saint Simeon (Rick Schrock) rallied late to finish second while Photo Surprise (Todd Warren) was third.   The $21,900 Grandma Ann Stake Consolation for three-year-old pacing fillies also produced a wire to wire winner as Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly bested six rivals by a half-length in 1:54.0 for driver Dave Magee.   Using an inside draw to perfection Magee put the daughter of Lexington Legend--Waggle right on the front where she proceeded to step through splits of 28.0, 57.4 & 1:26.1.   After opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call the Nelson Willis trainee then held on gamely as a late rushing Fox Valley Shiver (Todd Warren) came charging late to get the place money. Kiwi Party (John De Long) finished third.   The win was the third in 15 starts this season for Molly Go Lightly who now boasts career earnings of just over $98,000. Tom Kelley

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters and pacers were back in the spotlight on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as the Crete plant played host to four stakes or consolations for Super Night participants as part of the big 13-race harness racing program.   Freshmen pacing fillies kicked off the action with a field of nine going postward in the $13,900 Thrifty Way Stake.   Avenging a pair of recent tough trips that led to sub-par efforts Quaid Racing's Angel Demon came steamrolling down the center of the track to record a 3 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.2 for driver John De Long.   Saving ground the entire way, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Miss Swift appeared to be hopelessly shuffled out of contention before De Long managed to shake loose from the pylons.   Storming down the center of the track Angel Demon blew right by a leg weary Girls Hunt Too to pick up her first career victory. Longshot Desi Dune (Todd Warren) turned in a nice effort to finish second while Girls Hunt Too was third.   Now in the barn of conditioner Erin Elliott, Angel Demon returned $5.00, $3.60 & $3.40 while pushing her bankroll to $48,113.   Trotters were next to hit the track as a field of seven diagonally gaited three-year-old fillies battled in the $20,000 Lady Ann Reed Consolation.   Making amends for her costly break in the rich Super Night final of this event, Donald Huddleston's Macie Rae was on her best behavior as she made every call a winning one, reporting home by 4 ¾ lengths in 1:57.1.   With trainer Mike Rogers climbing into the bike for this battle the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry stormed right to the front, putting up splits of 29.1, 58.1 & 1:27.0.   After opening up a big lead at the top of the stretch, Rogers let his filly drift a bit through the stretch and she responded beautifully to that careful handling as she widened her margin while notching her 11th victory in 15 starts this season. Bands Alexis (Todd Warren) tried to follow the winner's every move but was forced to settle for a runner-up role while Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) finished third.   Heavily backed off her sparkling record Macie Rae returned just $2.80, $2.80 & $2.20 while upping her career earnings to $89,520 with career win number 19.   Freshmen pacing colts jumped into the fray with a field of nine youngsters battling in the $13,900 Yates Eagle Stake.   Taking advantage of a perfect two-hole trip, Fox Valley Elijah came rolling through the passing lane to win by 1 ½ lengths in a career best of 1:54.2.   Perfectly positioned by driver Todd Warren, the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Eternal Gift had all the best of it while C Note (Travis Seekman) carved out splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:27.0.   Fit and fresh off that journey the Nelson Willis trainee gradually wore down the pace setter, drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for his second lifetime win for the partnership of Kay Willis, Engel Stable Of Illinois and Haugen Stables. C Note held on gamely to finish second while Casey At Bat (Dean Magee) found room late to rally for the show dough.   Part of a Willis owned entry Fox Valley Elijah returned $9.60, $4.20 & $4.00 while moving his bankroll to $15,890.   Last but not least were sophomore pacing colts as a field of nine three-year-olds squared off in the $22,400 Pete Langley Memorial Consolation. This race provided the biggest shocker of the night as 19-1 longshot Fox Valley Cupid parlayed a perfect trip into a thrilling nose decision in a career best of 1:52.3.   Hustled off the wings of the gate by Robert Smolin the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Cherub landed in the garden spot right on the back of favored Uncle Ugly as that one put up hot splits of 26.3, 55.1 & 1:23.2.   Moving into the passing lane the Mike Schulfer trainee gradually wore down the favorite and then held on for dear life as Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) came flying late to just miss. The other half of that Tom Simmons trained entry; Fox Valley Van (Dale Hiteman) was a fast closing third.   The win was just the second in a 34-race career for Fox Valley Cupid who has still managed to earn a "cool" $115,830 for owner James Strazlka, Mike Schulfer, James Skvarla and Nancy Magnus. Those lucky enough to back the bay sophomore were rewarded with mutuels of $40.80, $12.80 & $5.80.   Saturday's 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $6,168 added to Sunday's pool. Thus, there will now be a GUARANTEED POOL OF $50,000 for Sunday's Pick 5 wager. The Pick 5 is contested on races 2-6 on Sunday's.   Past performances courtesy of Trackmaster for the 50 Cent Pick 5 and the $1 Pick with its $25,000 guaranteed pool can be found at ustrotting.com   Tom Kelley  

Throughout a racing campaign you will have trainers, or their owners, pointing their horse for a particular stake race. You can be sure than no horseman or proprietor aimed for the Balmoral Park stake races held the weekend after Super Night. The half-dozen ICF stakes on this weekend are for pacers or trotters that, for one reason or another, fared poorly on Super Night. While these horses are racing for some decent purses ($13,900 to $21,900), in most cases its only 10 to 15 per cent of what the pots of those finals offered a week ago. Saturday’s $13,900 Thrifty Way and Yates Eagles are for 2-year-olds that didn’t finish in the top five in their respective O&B Final or 1-2 in their Consolation. Both of this summer’s downstate champions, Lucpark in Du Quoin’s Governor’s Cup and Thisishowweroll at Springfield, came up with disappointing races on Super Night and finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Tonight they’ll open as the 2-1 and 4-1 program favorites in the fourth race Yates Eagle stake. Lucpark had to battle hard (27.1, 55.2) to get to the front and keep the lead to the three-quarter pole in the final and was on empty in mid-stretch. The second race Thrift Way filly stake 3-1 favorite is Angel Demon, the second place finisher in both State Fair championships and Balmoral’s Loyal Opposition earlier in the summer. Angel Demon was hung out to a bruising 27.1 first quarter and went to a :55.1 first half before she folded and ended up a far-back ninth. The Quaid Racing filly debuts for the Erin Elliott Stable tonight and John De Long takes over the lines. The Lady Ann Reed heavy favorite Macie Rae looked like she was going to reward her many backers on Super Night but went into a gallop on the lead in the lane ended up the track. Trainer Mike Rogers will be in the bike on the Powerful Emotion 3-year-old when she opens up as the 8-5 favorite in the $20,000 second race Lady Ann Reed Consolation. “I thought she was a winner coming down the lane but that’s horse racing,” said Rogers. “I’m not going to tell you her breaking on Super Night was easy to swallow because it wasn’t. But these things happen. “I think the bike we used was a little too much for the filly and gave her too much lift, so I’ll try a different one Saturday and see how she reacts with it for me.” Last year’s Illinois 2-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year PQ Three and  Maywood Pace champion Uncle Ugly will open as the 5-2 and 7-2 favorites in tonight’s $22,400 Langley Consolation after being non-factors a week ago in the championship. Uncle Ugly, catch driven tonight by Travis Seekman, was about 15 lengths off Unlock a week ago, while PQ Three obviously had some physical problems and was pulled up and didn’t finish the race. The Quaid Racing Stable of vgreen Park, IL has moved its horses to the barn of trainer Eric Elliott. Dean Magee will drive the 3-year-old PQ Three tonight. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

The prestigious American National Stakes returned to Balmoral Park on Wednesday night with a pair of trotting events for two-year-olds sharing top billing on the nine-race program. The ladies opened the action with a compact field of six diagonally gaited specialists battling for a purse of $57,200. Returning to the scene of her lone victory to date was just what the doctor ordered for Homer Hochstetler and Robert Buddig's Persuasive Look as the filly reported home with a half-length victory in a career best of 1:58.0 for driver Casey Leonard. Content to sit near the back of the pack in fifth as heavy favorite Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long) cruised through splits of 29.2, 58.3 & 1:28.3 Leonard finally put the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Black N Bluegenes into contention as the field neared the top of the stretch. "They were going fast enough for my liking so I wasn't concerned about being back there," said the patient Leonard. "I had plenty of horse left and I managed to pick up some very good cover to bring us to the top of the lane so it worked out perfectly." Gradually starting to reel in a leg weary Fox Valley Yoko and the pocket sitting Jazzie Mermaid (Dave Magee) with a sixteenth of a mile to go, the Homer Hochstetler trained miss trotted by that pair in the closing yards in what looked like a replay of her big Fox Valley Flan Stake win here in late July. Jazzie Mermaid turned in a solid effort to finish second while Fox Valley Yoko held on for third. Sent off as the third choice in the wagering Persuasive Look returned $10.20, $5.20 & $2.20 while running her career slate to 2-2-3 in 7 seven starts with earnings of $66,374. Next up were the colts and geldings as a field of eight youngsters faced the starting gate with a purse of $73,000 on the line. Despite an eventful journey K R Breeding & Robert Rudolph's Iron prevailed by a hard fought head in 1:58.1 for driver Domenico Cecere. Hustled to the front from post four by Cecere the royally bred son of Cantab Hall-Ivory Lindy strolled through an opening quarter in 29.3. After allowing a hard charging SS Poseidon (Dan Shetler) to grab command on the backside a headstrong Iron was nearly climbing into the bike with Shetler as the field reached the half-mile mark in 59.0. "Things just kind of came to a very quick stop out there," said a relieved Cecere. "We were very lucky that my horse didn't run or worse yet have an accident." Things straightened themselves out heading around the far turn with SS Poseidon proceeding to lead the field past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.1. Through the lane SS Poseidon continued to show the way as Cecere swung to the outside with Iron. That allowed a locked a loaded KY Lucky (John De Long) to move through in the passing lane, making for a thrilling three-horse stretch duel. With the three trotters spread out across the track Iron regained his best stride in the closing yards getting up the final strides to get his first win in his second career start. KY Lucky and SS Poseidon wound up in a dead-heat for second behind the victor. After the win a very happy Cecere explained his strategy in the lane. "My horse is still very green but he's a very talented horse as well," he said. "He's never been in the passing lane so I didn't want to take a chance at going down there with him which is why I swung outside. It took him a little bit to get his momentum going again but I didn't really urge him until the very end and he was just super tonight." After a third place finish in his division of the Kindergarten Stake at the Red Mile Iron was a bit overlooked in the wagering returning $13.00, $4.80 & $4.00 while moving his bankroll to $36,240. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park  

As it has done on four other occasions the $118,000 Lorna Propes Championship for filly and mare pacers 3yo & up produced yet another repeat harness racing champion as the Jesse De Long owned Let's Go Higher held on to win by a length in 1:52.0 with John De Long at the controls. Last year's winner of this event left hard from post five but was quickly covered up as Dune In Red (Dave Magee) and Party Hangover (Todd Warren) battled through a tough opening quarter of 27.1. Moving first over as the field raced by the half-mile mark in 55.0 the Heidi Rohr trained six-year-old swallowed up Party Hangover as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.3. "I wasn't surprised that we had to do as much work as we did because they're not going to be able to beat her if they just leave her alone on the front end," said a confident De Long. Through the stretch the daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed held sway as Dune In Red came charging at her along the inside while No Respect (Marcus Miller) was closing on the outside. Unfortunately time ran out for that pair as Let's Go Higher dug in gamely to post her 23rd victory in the past two seasons. Dune In Red was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while No Respect was third. After the victory a beaming De Long was more than happy to sing the praises of his charge. "Halfway down the lane I was nervous," he said. "But she fought off the outside horse then nearing the wire she caught the inside horse out of the corner of her eye and she just dug in again. I really believe this is the toughest mare I've ever driven and her will to win is just second to none." The 1-2 choice after a strong elimination win the previous week Let's Go Higher continued the parade of favorites paying $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while moving her career bankroll to a gaudy $460,435. Tom Kelley

In what turned into a replay of last year's Filly Orange & Blue on harness racing "Super Night" at Balmoral Park, Engel Stable of Illinois' Thesleazyprincess became a two-time Super Night victress, this time capturing the $142,000 Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies by a nose over My Little Bit in 1:53.1 Hustled off the wings of the gate by Marcus Miller, the homebred daughter of Sagebrush--Da Sleazy One landed In The Pocket spot right behind My Little Bit as she led the field through splits of 27.3, 56.1 & 1:24.2.   "I wanted to get out of there quickly and get around the two fillies inside of me," explained Miller. When we wound up right on the back of my dad's (Erv Miller) other horse (My Little Bit) I knew we were going to be in pretty good shape."   Continuing to sit right on the leaders helmet until the passing lane, Miller ducked the bay filly inside where she gradually wore down the pace setter, finally getting up in the last stride after a thrilling duel. As was the case last year, My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Party Hangover Two (John De Long) rallied late to get the show dough.   After the race Marcus seemed a bit stunned by it all.   "It's always great to come home and always great to be a part of Super Night," he exclaimed. "At the top of the lane I thought my filly was going to be an easy winner but My Little Bit showed how tough she is tonight as well. I didn't know if I got there or not until the numbers came up. Last year "Sleazy beat me when I was driving My Little Bit so I guess I got a little revenge tonight."   A recent addition to the barn of Erv Miller Thesleazyprincess who returned $8.60, $4.00 & $4.00 now boasts $243,831 in earnings on the strength of a 4-4-7 record in 30 career starts.   Thesleazyprincess (inside) nosed out My Little Bit to win the $142,000 Grandma Ann for driver Marcus Miller. Tom Kelley

Fresh off five straight victories over her divisional harness racing foes, Paymaq Racing and Leland Mathias's Mr Leland's Filly made it six in a row as she came charging down the lane to win the $162,000 Filly Orange & Blue in 1:53.2 for driver Casey Leonard.   Content to sit in the middle of the pack as several fillies battled through quick splits of 27.1, 55.2 & 1:24.0 Leonard had his filly out and rolling in the middle of the final bend.   "When the draw came out I tried to picture every scenario that might shake out and this one was definitely the best," said a very happy Leonard. "I was ecstatic that they were going as fast as they were and I was getting to follow the horse I thought we had to beat."   Confidently starting to reel in the other elimination winner from last week, Sportsmuffler (John De Long), who had powered into the lead with a big first over move at the top of the lane Mr Leland's Filly quickly found her best stride.   Powering home in 28.3, the Ervin Miller trained miss zipped right by the leg weary leader giving Miller his Super Night leading 23rd championship. Lex (Kyle Wilfong) came on late to edge Sportsmuffler for the place honors in a tight photo.   With the win Mr Leland's Filly appears to have a lock on divisional honors with her record of 6-0-0 in eight starts. The daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Katie returned $2.60, $2.40 & $2.10 while upping her bankroll to $158,360.   Mr Leland's Filly notched her sixth straight victory as she overpowered her rivals to win the $162,000 Filly Orange & Blue for Casey Leonard.   Tom Kelley

Super Night 2014 at BalmoralPark kicked off with a pair of trotting events for harness racing three-year-olds as the $100,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake and the $100,000 Su Mac Lad started the biggest night of racing for the state-bred set. It was only fitting that Super Night's leading reinsman, Hall of Famer Dave Magee piloted the winner of the opener as he guided James Bafia and Eugene White's Bailey's Wish to a neck victory in the Lady Ann Reed. The final time was 1:58.1.   Given a perfect steer despite leaving from post position nine the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen was able to work her way to the front after being parked through opening splits of 29.1 & 57.2.   "I was a little concerned and a little surprised we had to work that hard to make the front," said a relieved Magee. "Like most any horse she's best off a trip but that wasn't going to happen from the 9-hole tonight."   Continuing to roll along on the front end as the ladies passed the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.3 Bailey's Wish began to brace for the challenge of heavily favored Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) who was out and rolling from third.   As the two hooked up with just over an eighth of a mile to go disaster struck for the favorite as she made a nasty break leaving Bailey's Wish alone on the front.   The Dirk Simpson miss then dug in gamely as she neared the wire, holding off a late bid in the passing lane from longshot Lora Lee Breeze for her fourth win of the season. Lora Lee Breeze was a hard charging second while Say No Mo (John De Long) was third.   "I knew my horse was going to try all the way down the lane but I really wasn't sure how much she had left when that horse came at her," said Magee. But the other filly made the break and my horse seemed to get more confidence at that point and she just kept going long enough to get there."   The second choice in the wagering, Bailey's Wish returned $8.00, $4.00 & $3.20 while running her career numbers to 9-8-3 in 26 starts with earnings of $238,438.   Magee was right back in the winner's circle in the Su Mac Lad picking up a late drive as Marcus Miller was delayed getting to Balmoral and making the most of it, notching his 31st career Super Night win by steering Donald Emond's Big Bill Breeze to a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:56.1.   Sent right to the front from post position six the gelded son of Southwind Breeze--Big Z Cornsilk proceeded to stroll through splits of 29.0, 58.4 & 1:27.0 while under very little pressure from the rest of the field.   "I was very pleased by the way the opening splits went out there," explained Magee. Once I got control of things I knew I could always let somebody and go and still get the good trip but we never had to."   Easily fending off a first over bid from heavy favorite Fox Valley Veto (John De Long), the Monte Gelrod trainee was pretty much under wraps as he pulled away from his nine rivals for his 12th win in 16 starts this year. Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Tour Hall (Mike Brink) rallied to finish third.   After the win Magee was quick to sing the praises of Nick Prather who conditioned Big Bill Breeze up until his recent sale.   "Nick really did a great job with this horse, developing him, teaching him and getting him to race up to his abilities," said Magee. "Now Monte has continued with him and he's really a very nice and solid trotter."   Now sporting an impressive slate of 19-2-5 in 28 career trips postward with earnings of $102,616 Big Bill Breeze returned $8.80, $6.00 & $5.00.   Bailey's Wish and Dave Magee held on gamely to win the Lady Ann Reed.   Magee was right back in the winner's circle with Big Bill Breeze in the Su Mac Lad.   Tom Kelley

Most horsemen tend to be cautious about their horses’ chances when Super Night rolls around and don’t want to appear to be too optimistic. After all anything can happen in a horse race and it often does on Illinois most anticipated racing evening of the year. “I have to admit my hopes are up a little bit more for Super Night than they were the week before the eliminations,” said owner and trainer Jesse De Long who has had a Super Night champion in his barn the last two years.” And well they should be. De Long’s mare Let’s Go Higher, the 2013 Lorna Propes champion, breezed in 1:52.1 in her Propes elimination for trainer Heidi Rohr. His 2-year-old filly Sportsmuffler (1:54.3) was much the best in her Orange and Blue Filly elimination, and Jesse and John De Long’s 3-year-old Party Hangover Two finished a strong fourth in  the Grandma Ann stake prep. “Jimmy Richard and Heidi Rohr had Let’s Go Higher out east. I don’t think she came in a sharp this time around as she did last year but they told me ‘don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’ I was a little worried but they were right, she did race really well. “It’ll be kind of strange racing against Party Hangover Saturday. I still cheer for the mare but I don’t want to cheer for her too much when she’s racing my mare. It should be interesting race. “Party Hangover is a very good mare and so is the mare (Dune In Red) that beat her last week. It’s a tough field and it should be a very good horse race. “I have Party Hangover’s little sister (Party Hangover Two) also racing Saturday in the Grandma Ann. Like (my son) John always says about her: ‘We always seem to finish fourth, about a length and a half out of first, and we seem to always draw outside the horse and have to come from way back. Maybe things will be different Saturday.” I told Jesse he can probably count on much quicker fractions in the Grandma Ann Final and its $142,000 purse than he saw in the $10,000 prep when Molly Go Lightly (Matt Krueger) cruised to a  :57.2 half-mile time and got away with a:29.third quarter enroute to her 1:55 flat victory. “I hope you right,” replied Jesse. That would help our filly a ton. She’s close now to being near the top of her game like she was earlier in the summer when she paced in 1:52.3) in a Hanover. “I thought our 3-year-old pacing filly (Sportsmuffler) raced super last weekend in her division of the filly Orange and Blue. “I’m really excited about her now. She had two things that were wrong with her at Du Quoin and they are perfect now. She should be good for the final.” First Super Night post on Saturday will be at 6:30 pm Chicago time. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

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