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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

State-bred trotting colts were in the spotlight on Sunday, Sept. 29th as a field of eight youngsters looked for spots in next week’s $105,000 Lincoln Land Stake final and 46-1 long shot Ryleigh's Lilly scored a major upset in the Direct Dottie final. With four of the eight starters making early breaks in the race things were up for grabs from the word go. When the smoke cleared it was Ron Marino & David Hermann’s Nino Marino who emerged with a three-quarter-length victory in 1:59.3 for driver Dean Magee. Benefiting from a perfect pocket sitting trip as Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) put up splits of 29.3, 58.2 & 1:29 the Randy Tuftie trained son of Pizzazzed—Never Ms Still overtook the pace setter with an eighth of a mile to go and eventually drew clear for his second win in five lifetime starts. Big Bad Bob held on for second while Battleshoe King (Buddy Simpson) was third. Also gaining spots in the final where they will be joined by Tour Hall, Bobby BBreeze and Fox Valley Veto were Photo Surprise, Battleshoe Crown, Polars BigSpender and Finnster. Sophomore pacing fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a field of 10 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds battled in the $14,000 Direct Dottie Stake. This test produced the biggest surprise of the night as John Barnard’s Ryleigh’s Lilly lit up the tote board at odds of 46-1 with a half-length victoryin a career best of 1:54.1. Reserved through the early going by driver Robert Smolin the daughter of Western Hero—Fox Valley Chosen moved up third over through the final five-eighths of a mile. Exploding off her cover in the lane, the Bill Crone trained miss flew home in 27.1 to secure her second win in 16 starts this year. Aliyah Maria (John DeLong), who provided live cover for the winner was a game second while Zumba (Matt Krueger) rallied from far back to be third as the early speed collapsed in the lane. Returning $95.20, $30.00 & $15.60, Ryleigh’s Lilly helped key a $7,394.00 trifectapayout. 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

When trainer Lyle Scurlock was thinking about this season's schedule for 3-year-old pacer LB's Alamericanjoy, he never imagined he would send the homebred gelding into a race against Captaintreacherous. On Saturday night, he will send the homebred gelding into a race against Captaintreacherous. LB's Alamericanjoy is among the seven horses competing in Saturday's $50,000 Jenna's Beach Boy Invitational for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. The race is part of a card that also includes the $230,000 Centaur Trotting Classic and two divisions of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. Captaintreacherous, who is the No. 2-ranked horse in North America in harness racing's Top 10 poll, has won seven of eight races this year and earned $1.43 million. His victories include the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace and Max C. Hempt Memorial. Tony Alanga handles the training, Tim Tetrick the driving. "No, I never thought something like this would happen," said the Illinois-based Scurlock, who at the moment has a two-horse stable. "This is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream to go over there and face a horse like the Captain. I have no expectations; I just want to enjoy it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing." LB's Alamericanjoy was bred by Scurlock's mom, Mary, and has won five of seven races this year and earned $15,600. The horse was named after Scurlock's uncle, Lowell Burl Scurlock, who raised the horse. Scurlock owns the pacer with his brother, Lance. His cousin, Matt Krueger, will drive the horse in Saturday's race. The 38-year-old Krueger just started driving professionally last year after leaving his job at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Kansas City. Krueger, who works for trainer Homer Hochstetler, has won 30 of 325 starts this year. "From a driver's standpoint, you look forward to facing the best every chance you get," said Krueger, who worked with horses as a teenager, following his grandfather, John Finn, and father, Warren, into the sport. "It's like a fighter getting a title shot; I get to face the champion. "We might be racing for second place, but it's just an honor to race against guys like Tim (Tetrick) and Yannick (Gingras) and the Captain. I'm pretty excited." Although a newcomer in the driving ranks, Krueger has already seen stakes action. He finished fourth in Wednesday's American-National Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters with Hochstetler's Don't Miss A Tweet. He won the Tony Maurello Stakes consolation with Bruce Pacitti's Sports Fanatic on Super Night at Balmoral. "It's been a crazy year," Krueger said. "I'm enjoying it and having success." LB's Alamericanjoy is coming off a five-length win in a condition race Sept. 8 at Balmoral Park. He won in a career-best 1:50.2, with his final quarter-mile in :26.2. "The way he raced in his last start opened my eyes up," the 35-year-old Scurlock said. "He took it to another level. "I didn't get him staked, so when I heard Hoosier was going to have a $50,000 invitational it got my interest. I figured I'd take a shot at it." Scurlock and his father, Gary, will bring the horse to Hoosier Park. Scurlock expects a number of family members to make the trip for the race. "Hopefully, he'll be competitive," Scurlock said. "That would make it more interesting. "I know there will be plenty of speed. The good thing is he's versatile; he can race from the front or behind. He's a very nice horse to be around and very athletic. That makes it fun." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications U.S. Trotting Association  

The $45,000 Fox Valley Evita stake for ICF 3-year-old trotting fillies is all by its lonesome on Sunday night’s card. While the other five championships for 2 and 3-year-old state-bred pacers and trotters got a lot of hoopa on last night’s Southland Festival of Racing somehow this stake final for filly trotters was designated on a Sunday program where probably less than half of last night’s card will be in attendance. I’m not sure why. Yes there are only five betting interests but there were only six in last night’s Kadabra Championship and that had a three-horse entry, without Place or Show betting, that went off at odds of 1-9 with King Mufasa and the gang finishing 1-2-3. If a feature was needed for Sunday, why couldn’t the Invite have be moved from Saturday. If that’s too good of a betting race how about the high-level conditioned event for fillies and mares that followed. Saturday could have had both trot Finals as the Daily Double. Let the fans double their money on the wager going into the third race and let the owners and trainers of ICF 3-year-old trotting fillies enjoy the same festive evening as the owners and horsemen of the other state-bred stakes for young horses. Sunday’s “Evita” has the Robert Taylor trained entry (and he’s also a co-owner) of Just For Fun (p.p. 1, Casey Leonard) and Little Ms Chrissy (p.p. 6, Taylor) as the 3-2 first flash favorites. Last year’s freshman champion Trot Fudge Sundae (p.p. 2, Dave Magee) is next at 3-1. Nick Prather’s Divination (p.p. 5, Mike Oosting) follows at 7-2 and longshots Kelsey’s Star (6-1, Dean Magee) American Empress (8-1, Matt Krueger). Conspicuous by her absence is Todd Warren’s Sara The Spy, winner of a Betzotic ICF stake earlier and the runner-up in the Violet and the July 3 Sorce Ann stakes. Before being sold to Warren Sara The Spy wasn’t nominated to the Fox Valley Evita. There is no Showing wagering on the second race sophomore stake which begins the track’s 50 cent Pick 5 wager with a guaranteed pool of $15,000. Double O Sizzles: Mike Oosting came back from his brief one week vacation red-hot with his own version of Saturday Night Fever by driving seven winners last night including 4 of the 5 ICF stake finals on Balmoral’s Southland Festival of Racing Night. Mike brought home King Mufasa in the Kadabra, Thesleazyprincess in the Loyal Opposition, PQ Three in the Mini Me, and Auniqueaquisition in the Ann Vonian. The Michigan native was second with the 16-1 longshot Sage Rush behind Big Brad and driver Bobby Smolin in the Incredible Finale. Oosting also won the Mini Me Consolation with One Sure Apache and later on the night posted victories with Park Lane Hotshot and Fox Valley Malone in races 11 and 13. Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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