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The Illinois State Fair meeting at Springfield came to an end with a bang Thursday afternoon when PQ Three became the fastest Illinois bred 2-year-old pacer in history with a 1:50 flat track record performance for driver Mike Oosting. The Erv Miller trained gelding put an end to Unlocked’s unbeaten streak at six when he went past the front-stepping 4-5 pacesetting favorite in the lane in the meet’s finale, the freshman colt and gelding pace showdown and the last of 8 Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Championships contested. The first of finals came in the 3-year-filly trot division where owner-driver Todd Warren gave his Sara The Spy ($12.20) a perfect two-hole journey and the filly overtook the favored Little Ms Chrissy in the final stride for a head victory. The time of 1:54 flat was a career best for Sara The Spy who will head next to the Du Quoin State Fair that starts a week from today. King Mufasa ($2.10) was all out to capture the 3-year-old colt trotting final, his seventh straight for the driver-trainer combination of Mike Oosting and Mike Brink, just holding off his fast charging entry-mate Skyline Road. King Mufasa, who this year is 9-for-9 in his division, trotted a lifetime best time of 1:53.4 and went over $130,000 in season earnings for owners Bill Wright and Mystical Marker Farms. Fox Valley Lotus ($8.40) made her third career start the charm, taking the freshman filly trot final despite a first-over journey. John Roberts guided the Curt Grummel trainee to her maiden triumph in 1:57.3 over Bailey’s Wish for Pittsfield, Illinois owner Dr. Patrick Graham. My Little Bit ($7.40) led from start to finish when she annexed the 2-year-old filly pace crown with Marcus Miller, pacing a 1:53.4 mile for trainer Erv Miller and her winning Evergreen Park, Illinois owners Obermeier & Quaid Stables. When Fox Valley Veto went off stride in mid-stretch on the lead it made the task easier for eventual winner Tour Hall ($9.40) who flashed past and drew away to the freshman championship for trotting colts and geldings. “Mike (trainer Brink) made some changes on him since last week and he was much better today,” said driver Dave Magee in the winner’s circle. “When he was keeping up at the quarter mile pole I knew we had a good chance. That had been an issue him in his earlier races. He was full of trot when we turned for home and I couldn’t wait to pull him.” Owned by his Springfield based trainer and Loren Tournear of Liberty, Illinois, Tour Hall knocked almost three full seconds off his first winning mile with a 1:57.3 clocking. Brink, who is recovering from major shoulder surgery from an earlier accident at a County Fair track, had a training triple on the day. He won earlier with King Mufasa and with his 2-year-old filly pacer April May Dune. The 3-year-old filly pace final saw the 10-1 longshot Dallas Jones ($23.40) get her nose in front of the pacesetting Mystical Danica at the end of a quick 1:51.2 mile. Capably driven by Casey Leonard for trainer Joel Smith, the filly erased over three seconds from her lifetime mark with season win No. 7 for Hoosier Paula Smith and Illinoisans James Runyan and Frank Pike. Leonard was back in the winner’s circle a third time with a heady drive behind the favorite Mystical Walter ($3.80) in the championship for sophomore pacing colts and geldings. With the field “walking” to a the first half, timed in :59.3, Casey took Mystical Walter out of fourth on the backside and to the lead before the last turn. The Miller trainee came home in 26.1 at the end of his 1:53.4 mile for Illinois owners Paymaq Racing of Long Grove and Mystical Marker Farms of Dwyer, Indiana. Oosting won the Springfield meet’s driver title and Miller successfully defended his trainer’s crown. Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The Champion On Ice Trotting Series has always proven to be popular with horsemen and it’s no different this time around. A sizable 28 horses passed the entry box for Wednesday’s opening round at Balmoral Park, necessitating three harness racing divisions. Local based horses will be challenged by trotters, mostly youngsters, who have come in from out-east tracks in Pennsylvania and New York, to Midwest facilities in Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota, as well as County Fair tracks. Springfield based trainer Mike Brink has a threat in each of the three splits with Dave Magee driving all three. There’s Nidaros  a $50,000 yearling buy as a yearling in the opener, Jailhouse Rockn a Hoosier Park invader who got her maiden win in 2:00.2 less than two weeks ago in the second, and Justice And Fifth, a son of Justice Hall who was a 1:58.4 victor in Indiana on July 25, Eligible to Champion On Ice Series are trotting colts and geldings with a victory as of July23. Fillies are mares are allowed one won by the same date. A second series round will be contested next Wednesday, the 14th, with the $9,000 (est.) Final slated for Wednesday, August 21. Dirk Simpson, another Springfield based conditioner, has a pair of Champion On Ice hopefuls with I’m A Pop Star (Todd Warren) in race one and Chantilly Hall (he’ll drive) in race three. Both three-year-old fillies didn’t come cheap at yearling sales. I’m A Pop Star sold for $40,000 when her name was Muscany Valley, while Chantilly Hall was a $32,000 purchase. The second division morning line 5-2 favorite is the ICF filly Fox Valley Roxy (Dean Magee) fresh off a 2:00.1 victory. I expect Homer Hochstetler Stable’s Emoticon, who has been campaigning in upstate New York at Vernon Down to go off much lower than his listed program odds of 12-1. The son of Conway Hall was unraced at two after being bought for $37,000 at the 2011 Lexington Select Sale and lands the one-slot for his return to Balmoral.. Third division programmed second choice at 9-2 is We’ve Got It All (Mike Oosting) sold at the same Kentucky sale for $97,000 to the trio Paymaq Racing (Long Grove, IL), Peggy Hood (Valparaiso, IN) and Canadian Greg Gillis. Unraced as a 2-year-old, this year the Yankee Glide filly was winless in her first seven starts out east, campaigning mostly at Pocono Downs. Note that she’s raced with trotting hobbles in her last two starts when she was timed in 1:56.3 and 1:57.3 with fifth place finishes. Springfield Opens: A double-draw for the Springfield State Fair cards of Friday, August 8 and Saturday, August 9 took place this Tuesday morning at Maywood Park.  Most of Friday’s opening program will be filled with Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes elimination races. The 2 and 3-year-old ICF championships for both pacers and trotters will be conducted next Thursday, August 15, the final day of racing at Springfield. County Fair Report LOGAN COUNTY FAIR at LINCOLN     Saturday Afternoon August 3 Results FIRST: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, 1st Div, Purse $5,738: Horse (Driver)                                                           Time (Track Fast) Fox Valley Shiver (Freddie Patton Jr.)                             2:00 Trainer: Freddie Patton Jr. Owners: Peter Karras, Thomas Spathies and William Tortoriello. SECOND: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $5,738: Kiss This Perch (J D Finn)                                                 2:02.1 Trainer: J D Finn.  Owner: Sharon Finn. THIRD: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, 1st Div, Purse $6,302: Marty Rocker (Ronnie Gillespie)                                       2:00 Trainer: Ronnie Gillespie. Owners: Ron Phillips, John Carver and Jesse Ferge. FOURTH: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $6,302: Manny”s Z Tam (Rick Schrock)                                         2:02 Trainer: Dave Mc Caffrey. Owners: Z Tam Stables, Michael Polansky, Joseph McCaffrey and David McCaffrey. FIFTH: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, 1st Div, Purse $5,630: S V Spirit (Todd Warren)                                                     2:07.2 Trainer: Roger Welch, Owners: William De Long and Wm. Patrick De Long. SIXTH: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, 2nd Div, Purse $5,630: Say No Mo (Dirk Simpson)                                                 2:06 Trainer: Dirk Simpson. Owners: Dr. Patrick Graham, Flacco Family Farms and Dirk Simpson Stable. SEVENTH: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Colt Trot, 1st Div, Purse $5,374: Finnster (J D Finn)                                                              2:06 Trainer: J D Finn. Owner: J D Finn and Allison Finn. EIGHTH: Downstate Classic Two-Year-Old Colt Trot, 1st Div, Purse $5,374: Gray N Cloudy (Dirk Simpson) Trainer: Dirk Simpson. Owners: Sam Daddono, Dr. Patrick Graham, Dirk Simpson and Simpson Racing Stables. EFFINGHAM COUNTY FAIR AT ALTAMONT    Sunday Afternoon, August 4 FIRST: Big 10 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot, Purse $3,173: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) High Stepper (JD Finn)                                          2:05.3 Trainer: J D Finn. Owners: Mary Jeffers and Adele Everett. SECOND: Big 10 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, Purse $3,341: Powerful Valor (Jared Finn)                                  2:05.1 Trainer: J D Finn. Owner: Hinshaw Homestead Farms. THIRD: Big 10 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, Purse $3,574: M A Duty (Ronnie Gillespie)                                  2:05.1 Trainer: Ronnie Gillespie. Owners: Ron Phillips, John Carver and Jesse Ferge. FOURTH: Big 10 Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, Purse $3,597: Tower Power (Freddie Patton Jr.)                         2:04.4 Trainer: Freddie Patton Jr. Owner: Marvin Kendrick. FIFTH: ICF Four-Year-Olds & Up Male Pace, Purse $3,500: T J’s April Angel (Ronnie Gillespie)                     2:02.2 Trainer: Roshun Trigg. Owner: Roshun Trigg. SIXTH: ICF Four-Year-Olds & Up Mare Pace, Purse $3,500: Fox Valley Barbosa (Jared Finn)                          2:03.2 Trainer: Ray Hanna. Owners: Ray Hanna and Jim Edgar. SEVENTH: Free For All Trot, 1st Div, Purse $1,250: LW Jaynie Flyer (Cassidy Melloy)                                    2:03.4 Trainer: Cassidy Melloy. Owner: Cassidy Melloy. EIGHTH: Free For All Trot, 2nd Div, Purse $1,250: He’s Lucky (Kyle Husted)                                       2:03.4 Trainer: Pamela Coleman. Owners: Horseman’s Financial Agency and Premier Racing Stables.  EFFINGHAM COUNTY FAIR AT ALTAMONT    Monday Afternoon, August 5 FIRST: Big 10 Two-Year-Old Trot, Purse $6,104: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Bessiebearcat (Eric Collier)                                   2:12 Trainer: Delbert Burkett. Owners: Delbert Burkett and Eric Collier. SECOND: Big 10 Three-Year-Old Filly Pace, Purse $3,329: Queen Beatrice (Darla Martin)                              2:02 Trainer: David Lohman. Owners: Fred and David Lohman. THIRD: Big 10 Three-Year-Old Colt Pace, Purse $3,574: Party Cove (Tom Simmons)                                   2:01.3 Trainer: Tom Simmons. Owners: Beat Seales and Dennis Beccue. FOURTH: Filly and Mare Open Pace, 1st Div, Purse $1,000: Wild Berry Muffler (J D Finn)                                 2:04.2 Trainer: J D Finn. Owner: Catherine and Ritzel. FIFTH: Filly and Mare Open Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $1,000: Prosper (Kyle Husted)                                             2:01 Trainer: Pamela Coleman. Owner: Fair Meadow Farm. WILLIAMSON COUNTY FAIR AT MARION   Monday Afternoon, August 5 FIRST: ECS Two-Year-Old Pace, Purse $6,204: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Syd’s Lollipop (Freddie Patton Jr.)                        2:05 Trainer: Freddie Patton Jr. Owner: Perry Tillman Jr. SECOND: ECS Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, Purse $3,202: Bands Giant Star (Freddie Patton Jr.)                  2:12.1 Trainer: Freddie Patton Jr. Owner: Flacco Family Farms. THIRD: ECS Two-Year-Old Colt Trot, Purse $3,212: Battleshoe King (Buddy Simpson)                                   2:12 Trainer: Buddy Simpson. Owners: Buddy and Clay Simpson. FOURTH: Non-Winners of $1,500 Lifetime, 1st Div, Purse $600: Wings (Merle Finn)                                                  2:08.4 Trainer: Merle Finn Jr. Owner: Merle Finn Jr. FIFTH: Non-Winners of $1,500 Lifetime, 2nd Div, Purse $600: Dusty Dunes (H. Joe Haught)                               2:09 Trainer: H. Joe Haught. Owner: H. Joe Haught. SIXTH: Free For All Trot, Purse $800: Elmar (E. Leroy Moore)                                           2:08.4 Trainer: E. Leroy Moore. Owner: E. Leroy Moore. SEVENTH: Non-Winners of $3,500 Lifetime Pace, Purse $800: Lion Of Judah (H. Joe Haught)                             2:08.1 Trainer: H. Joe Haught. Owner: Thomas Throgmorton. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters closed out a big weekend of racing action at Balmoral Park on Sunday, August 4th as a field of eight three-year-old colts battled in the $25,000 Mikes A Mystery Stake. As has been the case throughout the entire 2013 season, H. “Bill” Wright & Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa toted home top honors as he posted a hard fought head decision in 1:55.1 for driver Mike Oosting. Leaving from post eight the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was unhurried early on allowing Maplegrove Shaelyn (Jamaica Patton) to dictate terms through splits of 28.4, 58.3 & 1:27.2. Getting underway as the field moved towards the half-mile mark Oosting tried to flush cover as he proceeded his march towards the front but with his rivals electing to sit in King Mufasa pulled alongside of the pace setter as the diagonally gaited sophomores hit the top of the stretch. Zipping right by Maplegrove Shaelyn Oosting and King Mufasa then dug in gamely to hold off a late surge from the ground saving Powerful Poe through the final sixteenth of a mile for his eighth win in nine starts this year. Powerful Poe settled for the runner-up role for the eighth time in 11 starts this season while Monticello Lane (Robert Taylor) benefitted from a disqualification to move into the show spot. The Mike Brink trained King Mufasa now boasts 10 wins and 2 seconds in 17 career starts with earnings of $117,452. Grand Circuit action highlighted the Saturday, August 3rd program as a pair of Hanover Stakes for two-year-old attracted 27 colt and filly pacers. An overflow field of 12 colts were sent postward for a $46,100 jackpot and when the smoke cleared it was Lawrence Gary’s good looking Quik Pulse Mindale—Hast yDewer colt Blooming Genius who emerged on top with a wire to wire score in1:54.1 for driver Dave Magee. Despite making only his third career start, the Todd La Fountaine trainee looked like a seasoned pro as he took full advantage of the inside starting spot while leading the field through splits of 28.0, 57.1 & 1:25.1. With plenty in reserve Blooming Genius sealed the deal with a 29.1 final marker towin for the second time in three starts. PQ Three (Mike Oosting) rallied nicel yto finish a fast closing second despite being outside every step of the mile while another Erv Miller trainee, Badger Quinn (Lewayne Miller) finished third. Fresh off his back to back wins after finishing second in his career debut Blooming Genius now boasts $26,475 in career earnings. With a total of 15 fillies dropped into the entry box the filly tussle was split into a pair of $29,600 divisions. In the opening battle Engel Stable of Illinois’ Marzy Bearzy came up with a career best as she rallied from mid-pack to score by a half-length in 1:54.3 with Casey Leonard at the controls. After saving ground through splits of 28.0 56.3 & 1:25.2 Leonard moved the Nelson Willies trained daughter of Rocknroll Hanover—Sleazebiscuit to the outside as the field headed around the final bend. Hitting her top gear with an eighth of a mile to go Marzy Bearzy cruised right by the leaders with a 28.2 final quarter to notch her second win in four starts. Rock Groupie (Brian Carpenter)battled through a tough first over trip to finish in the bridesmaid role while Boxed Chocolates (Dave Magee) was third. In the second division the Jesse De Long owned and trained Delco Voracious pulled off the upset as the Running Aces invader found room late and rallied sharply for a 2 ¾ length triumph in a career of 1:53.1 with John De Long handling the lines. The home-bred daughter of Voracious Hanover—Gypsys Good Girl used her inside starting spot to perfection, saving ground throughout the mile as Western Dame(Casey Leonard) put up splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:26.0. After finding racing room in the lane Delco Voracious unleashed a wicked 27.0 final quarter to roll right by for her fourth win in five career starts. Western Dame held on for second while Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting), the even-money favorite was forced to settle for the show dough after a tough first over journey. Sent off at 19-1 despite opening her career with three straight wins in Minnesota Delco Voracious returned $40.20 while pushing her career bankroll over the $24,000 mark. by Tom Kelley  

The first pair of major stakes race for ICF 2-year-old trotters—the $50,000 Fox Valley Flan for fillies and the $50,000 Plesac for colts—head up Wednesday’s mid-week program at Balmoral Park. Since eliminations weren’t needed for either stake or a prep race wasn’t written for these inexeprience freshmen, both horsemen and bettors alike don’t have much of a gauge on both trotting stakes which will go as races 4 and 5 on the card. The 7-2 second morning line favorite in the Plesac is Tour Hall (Dave Magee), winner of the Physic Spirit stake some three weeks ago. However the Mike Brink trainee and Bobby B Breeze (4-1, Todd Warren), the July 10 runner-up, have each had just that one start going into this major ICF first season stake. “Of course like everybody else who has a horse in the race I wanted to race Tour Hall in either in elimination or a prep for this stake,” said Brink. “I wanted to give him a little more education, especially when you’re going for $50,000. “So without an elimination or prep we’re going into this major stake kind of cold with this young horse. He’ll have just one start, and like some of the others in his stake, it came three weeks ago. “Tour Hall is the second foal of that mare (Broadway And Fifth) that I bought. He is a nice horse and he’s been that way from day one. He hasn’t done much wrong,” continued the veteran Springfield based conditioner. “I told Davey when he drove him in his first start to take an easy with him from out of the gate and from then on he was on his own. When Dave came back after the race he said ‘He’s not a very big horse but he is fast.’ “In his only start Tour Hall was far back (7th, almost 10 lengths behind) and he trotted a 58 last half to win. Davey told me he was just trying to steer him and never asked the horse for anything.  So like I said, I think he’s a good colt. “I’ve had offers to sell him but I’ve opted not to at this time. We like him but with just one start we don’t know yet just what we have. I think he’s a player (in his division). I think his best trait is that he doesn’t know how fast he can go.” Tour Hall will have an entry-mate, Just Leo, when he leaves from the 8-slot and also takes on Fox Valley Vero (8-1), Battleshoe Crown (8-1), Gottalovaredhead (20-1), Gray N Cloudy (the 3-1 programed favorite), Rory Borealis (10-1) and Polars Big Spender (20-1). Buddy and Clay Simpson’s Battleshoe Crown and Polars Big Spender will test Balmoral’s big track for the first time. Vienna will be making her seventh career start as the 2-1 favorite in the Fox Valley Flan. The Bob Phillips trainee was an easy winner of the July 7 Vaporize with Wilfong prior to being second to S V Spirit (not eligible to the Flan) in a Balmoral race a week ago Vienna has seven challengers—Reina Bonita (8-1), High Balance (12-1), BS Casino Cowgirl (9-2), Bailey’s Wish (3-1), Fox Valley Lotus (10-1), Fox Valley Hosana (10-1) and Wacko (5-1)—and between them they have made only a total of 12 starts. Unpredictable is probably the best way to describe Wednesday’s two $50,000 ICF trotting stakes. $40,000 Pick 5 Pool: Balmpral’s 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit on Sunday night so a carryover of $10,288 will be added to Wednesday’s Pick 5. The guaranteed wagering pool will be $40,000: County Fair Report CLARK COUNTY FAIR at MARSHALL Saturday Evening July 27 Results FIRST: Illini 2-Year-Old Filly Pace, Purse $3,424: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Fox Valley Corinne (Ronnie Gillespie)                2:02.1 Trainer: Roshun Trigg. Owner: Timothy Williams. SECOND: Illini 2-Year-Old Colt Pace, Purse $3,447: Whawillhebe (Richard Fagan)                              2:06 Trainer: Trenton Watson. Owner: Brenda, Trenton and Baden Watson. THIRD: Illini 3-Year-Old Trot, Purse $6,014: Powerful Anthony (Dou Graham)                         2:04.1 Trainer: Doug Graham. Owner: Doug Graham. FOURTH: Topline, Two-Year-Old Trot, Purse $2,500: Morgan’s Majestic (Ronnie Gillespie)                  2:09.1 Trainer: Jeremy Jones. Owner: Gloria Gillis. FIFTH: Topline, Three-Year-Old & Up Trot, Purse $2,500: Skyline Happy (J D Finn)                                       2:01.2 Trainer: J D Finn. Owners: J D and Brent Finn. SIXTH: Topline, Two-Year-Old Pace, Purse $2,500: Liberal (Cornelius Cavett)                                      2:05.3 Trainer: Cornelius Cavett. Owners: Cedric Daniels and Christopher Spann. SEVENTH: Illini 2-Year-Old Trot, Purse $6,204: Phychicfinn (J D Finn)                                           2:12.1 Trainer: J D Finn. Owner: Mark Finn. EIGHTH: Illini 3-Year-Old Pace, Purse $6,036: Kittitas (Tom T. Tetrick)                                            2:02.3 Trainer: Tom D. Tetrick. Owners: Mary and Tom D. Tetrick. NINTH: Topline, Three-Year-Old & Up Pace, Purse $2,500: B C’s Bad Cat (Michael Johnson)                        2:02.2 Trainer: Michael Johnson. Owners: Gary Crumrin and Mike Davison. WHITE COUNTY FAIR at CARMI Sunday Evening July 28 Results FIRST: ECS Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, Purse $3,220: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Master Of Excuses (Marcus Turner)                     2:02.2 Trainer: Ronald Knupp. Owner: Ronald Knupp. SECOND: ECS Three-Year-Old Filly Trot, Purse $3,110: High Stepper (J D Finn)                                         2:04.2 Trainer: J D Finn. Owners: Mary Jeffers and Adele Everett. THIRD: ECS Three-Year-Old Colt Pace, Purse $3,050: Tim’s Finale (Antonio Love)                                   1:59.4 Trainer: Timothy Barbre. Owners: Rick, Vernon, Gary and Edwin Barbre. FOURTH: ECS Three-Year-Old Filly Pace, Purse $3,200: Uneek Shuttle (Harold Finn Jr.)                            2:02.4 Trainer: Dakota Birch. Owners: Dakota Birch and Eric Lamay. FIFTH: ICF Four-Year-Olds & Up Pace, 1st Div, Purse $3,500: Mighty Oak Perfect (Marcus Turner)                    2:00 Trainer: Marcus Turner. Owner: Terry Wilson/ SIXTH: ICF Four-Year-Olds & Up Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $3,500: Tinkers Dam (Mike Knicley)                                   2:01.4 Trainer: Mike Knicley. Owner: Randall Denham. SEVENTH: Non-Winners $5,000 Lifetime Trot, Purse $800: Anita’s Dream (Donald Bryant)                             2:08.4 Trainer: Donald Bryant. Owner: Donald Bryant. EIGHTH: Non-Winners $15,000 Lifetime Pace, 1st Div, Purse $800: Jazmin Mykal (Larry L. Ward)                                2:07.1 Trainer: Larry L. Ward. Owner: Larry L. Ward. NINTH: Non-Winners $15,000 Lifetime Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $800: Allstar Gal (J D Finn)                                               2:04.3 Trainer: Gary Gorrell. Owner: Gary Gorrell. TENTH: Non-Winners $15,000 Lifetime Pace, 1st Div, Purse $800: Dusty Dunes (H. Joe Haught)                               2:04.3 Trainer: H. Joe Haught. Owner: H. Joe Haught. COLE COUNTY FAIR at CHARLESTON Monday Evening July 29 Results FIRST: ICF Four-Year-Olds & Up Filly Pace, Purse $3,700: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Mystical MJ (Tom Simmons)                                  2:00.3 Trainer: Tom Simmons. Owner: Clinard Properties. SECOND: ICF Four-Year-Olds & Up Colt Pace, Purse $3,500: Fox Valley Barbosa (Jared Finn)                          1:58.2 Trainer: Ray Hanna. Owners: Ray Hanna and Jim Edgar. THIRD: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, 1st Div, Purse $6,175: Say No More (Dirk Simpson)                                 2:06.2 Trainer: Dirk Simpson. Owners: Dr. Patrick Graham, Flacco Family Farms and Dirk Simpson Stable. FOURTH: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, 2nd Div, Purse $6,175: Bands Pippa (Dirk Simpson)                                 2:06.4 Trainer: Dirk Simpson. Owners: Sam Daddono, Flacco Family Farms and Dirk Simpson Stable. FIFTH: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Colt Trot, Purse $11,750: Big Bill Breeze (Nick Prather)                                2:04.1 Trainer: Nick Prather. Owners: Derek Jacobus and Nick Prather. SIXTH: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, 1st Div, Purse $6,175: Kiss This Perch (J D Finn)                                     2:01.2 Trainer: J D Finn. Owner: Sharon Finn. SEVENTH: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $6,175: My Girl Pippa (Ronnie Gillespie)                          2:01.2 Trainer: Ronnie Gillespie. Owners: Ron Phillips, John Carver and Jesse Ferge. EIGHTH: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, 1st Div, Purse $6,175: Tower Power (Freddie Patton Jr.)                         2:05.2 Trainer: Freddie Patton. Owner: Marvin Kendrick. NINTH: Illinois Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $6,175: Unlocked (Nick Prather)                                         2:02.1 Trainer: Nick Prather. Owner: Megan Rogers. TENTH: Amateur Pace, Purse $620: Goose On The Rocks (Jazmin Arnold)                2:02.2 Trainer: Jared Seekman. Owners: Tina and Joe Seekman. BROWN COUNTY FAIR at MOUNT STERLING Monday Evening July 29 Results FIRST: Two and Three-Year-Old Open Trot, Purse $1,000: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Powerful Goddess (Mike Cox) $3.40                    2:06 Trainer: Mike Cox. Owners: Jerry Graham and Mystical Marker Farms. SECOND: Two and Three-Year-Old Open Trot, Purse $1,000: Deacons Valley (Paul Cavett) $5.00                    2:05.3 Trainer: Paul Cavett. Owners: Ron Phillips and John Carver. THIRD: Maiden Pace, Purse $1,000: Kay’s Lucky Day (Paul Cavett) $3.00                   2:04.1 Trainer: Michele Morgan. Owners: Michele Morgan, Janet Betley and Raymond Morgan. FOURTH: Non-Winners of Three Races, Pace, Purse $1,000: Pita (Jerome Daniels) $9.00                                  2:05.1 Trainer: Dirk Simpson. Owner: Simpson Racing Stable. FIFTH: MWIRA Three-Year-Old Filly Trot, Purse $3,173: Fox Valley Yavonne (Vince Espinosa) $3.40     2:03.2 Trainer: Curt Grummel. Owner: Dr. Patrick Graham. SIXTH: MWIRA Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, Purse $3,441: Bandslam (Vince Espinosa) $11.40                     2:04 Trainer: Curt Grummel. Owner: Dr. Patrick Graham. SEVENTH: MWIRA Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, Purse $3,397: Back At Cha (Tom Walker) $5.00                          2:08.1 Trainer: Mark Walker. Owners: Karen and Larry Walker. EIGHTH: MWIRA Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, Purse $3,374: Fox Valley Twist (Jamaica Patton) $5.20             2:05.3 Trainer: Robert Walker. Owners: Hart Walker, Robyn Mullink, Homer Henke and Robert Walker. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

State bred pacers and trotters were front and center on Saturday, July 27th as Balmoral Park presented its Southland Festival of Racing. A total of five championship tilts were contested with more than $290,000 in purse money up for grabs as the Prairie States top two and three-year-old pacers slugged it out in one of 2013’s biggest nights. Trotters kicked off the racing action with a field of seven diagonally gaited three-year-old colts and geldings battling in the $51,000 Kadabra Stake. Just as he’s done throughout his entire second season H. Bill Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa proved to be way too much for this group as he trotted to a 1 ¼ length triumph in 1:55.2 for driver Mike Oosting. Unhurried early the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds settled in sixth as Semper Fit (Dave Magee) led the field through opening splits of 28.1 & 58.0. Oosting then put the Mike Brink trainee into gear as the field headed down the backstretch and the division leader responded beautifully, charging right by the pace setter on the final turn while taking the field by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.2. “We were going into a pretty decent wind there so I just allowed him to trot on as much as he wanted to,” said Oosting. “I didn’t even realize we were going a 28.2 third quarter. That’s how smooth he is.” Under a hand drive through the lane, King Mufasa turned aside a challenge from entrymate Powerful Poe (Todd Warren) as he reported home with his seventh win in eight starts this year. Powerful Poe was forced to settle for the runner-up role for the sixth time this year while Skyline Road (Casey Leonard) was third. “I was a little concerned when Powerful Poe came up alongside us but then he just took off again,” said a happy Oosting. “He knows what he’s got to do and he just keeps going out there and doing it. Not only is that a credit to him but to Mike (Brink) as well. He’s kept him quiet and sound all year long and he’s just as sharp now as he was early in the year.” With the win King Mufasa now has seven wins and one second in eight starts this year with earnings of $95,410. With no place or show wagering King Mufasa returned $2.10. Next up were two-year-old pacing fillies as a field of 10 youngsters squared off in the $65,000 Loyal Opposition Stake. After a furious stretch drive Engel Stable of Illinois ’ Thesleazyprincess gave Oosting his second stakes triumph of the night as she recorded a 3 ¼ length victory in 1:54.3. After rushing to the front after an opening quarter in 27.3 Oosting allowed a hard charging Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) to grab command as the field reached the half-mile mark in 56.2. That pocket sitting journey nearly turned into a nightmare for the Nelson Willis trained miss as Fox Valley Amanda began to tire after passing the three-quarter mile mark in 1:25.1. “Those two up front (Fox Valley Amanda & Western Dame) were starting to tire and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get carried to the open stretch,” said a relieved Oosting. “That’s when I decided to back my filly off a little and we were able to get out of that spot.” Patiently sliding off the pylons with an eighth of a mile to go Oosting maneuvered the daughter of Sagebrush—Da Sleazy One three wide around her rivals and the long striding filly quickly swept past the tiring leaders for her second win in three career starts. My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) shook loose late and rallied to be the bridesmaid while favored Western Dame (John De Long) finished third. “That was a giant effort from a two-year-old filly,” Oosting commented in the winner’s circle. “I really wound up starting and stopping her three different times during that race but she still had an answer for them when she needed it most. That was huge.” The second choice in the wagering returned $5.00, $3.40, & $2.10 while upping her bankroll to $37,450. Oosting did not wait long to strike for a third time taking the $63,500 Mini Me Stake for two-year-old pacing colts in the next event of the night guiding Obermeier & Quaid Stables good looking youngster, PQ Three to a half-length triumph in a career best of 1:54.2. Floating away from post position nine Oosting had the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Sweltering underway as R Duneshine (John Roberts) and Traffic Cop (Todd Warren) battled through opening splits of 27.3 & 56.2. Picking up cover from Badger Quinn (Kyle Wilfong) as the field moved into the turn Oosting did not wait long to attack from his second over position, moving three wide as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.3. “I knew Todd’s horse (Traffic Cop) was going to be tough to beat so I did not want to let them get away from us,” explained Oosting. “I would have loved to have sat in there longer but I wanted to be in top gear when we straightened up for home.” Setting sail for the wire the Erv Miller trainee paced home in 28.3 to secure his third win in five lifetime starts. Traffic Cop was a hard fought second while Badger Quinn held on for third. After the win Oosting was quick to praise Miller for the conditioning job on PQ Three. “Erv has done a nice job with this one,” said Oosting. “He was a nice horse the first time I ever sat behind him but he’s even better now. They’ve taken pretty much all of the equipment off of him and he’s very simply rigged now. He’s just an absolute pleasure to drive.” The 2-1 second choice returned $6.00, $2.80 & $2.20 while moving his record to 3-2-0 in five starts with earnings of $41,874.  Balmoral’s leading reinsman continued his “one-man-show” in the fourth event of the evening, this time guiding John arver’s Auniqueaquistion to a one-length victory in 1:53.1 to take the $60,000 Ann Vonian Stake for three-year-old filly pacers. Confidently handled by her red-hot pilot the daughter of Cole Muffler—Shessoluvabull made a bold move to the front after watching Feel Like Dancing (Kyle Wilfong) lead the field through an opening quarter in 28.0. Rolling through middle splits of 56.1 & 1:24.0 the Donna Lee Ozment trained miss was forced to brace for a first over challenge from her chief rival, Aliyah Maria (Todd Warren) as the field turned for the money. After gamely putting away that challenge Auniqueaquistion held firm the rest of the way for her seventh win in 10 starts this year. Feel Like Dancing came on again to finish a nice second while Dallas Jones (Casey Leonard) was third. “My horse was starting to get a little complacent on me so I had to get after her a little harder than I usually do,” said Oosting. “She really started to dig in at that point and I felt pretty confident we could hold off whoever was going to take a shot at us. That’s the big difference with her this year. She really gets after it in the last 200 yards or so and Donna’s done a great job with her after she had the heart issue a few weeks ago.” Now sporting a record of 10-5-0 in 18 career starts, Auniqueaquistion returned $4.00, $2.60 & $2.60 while upping her career bankroll to $240,985. The final stake of the night provided a bit of an upset as John & Mary Krasnican’s Big Brad, a 5-1 shot came flying through the stretch for driver Robert Smolin to win the $59,000 Incredible Finale Stake for three-year-old colt pacers in 1:51.2. Reserved through opening splits of 28.0 & 55.3 while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee), Sage Ruck (Mike Oosting) and Mystical Walter (Casey Leonard) all took turns on the lead, Smolin finally worked Big Brad into the outer flow as the field reached the halfway point. “Ever since he tried to pull himself up while on the lead a few starts back I’ve been ducking with him,” Smolin explained. “I was hoping  that we were going to catch some decent cover tonight and I was pretty happy with the way he felt on the last turn.” Storming up three wide as Mystical Walter led the way past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2 the son of Henry Clay—One Sure Thing set sail for the wire. Flying home in 27.1 the Bob Phillips trainee picked off one rival after another while bobbing and weaving his way to his sixth win 14 starts this year. Sage Ruck came on again late to finish second while Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) rallied to be third. After the win Smolin seemed a bit relieved that the journey resulted in a victory. “At the top of the stretch I was just hoping to be second or third,” he said. “My horse was running out at that point, then he started diving in on me. He didn’t know which line he wanted to be on. Once he finally decided to go straight he was as fast as he’s ever been!”  Big Brad returned $13.80, $6.80 & $5.40 while running his record to 9-4-7 in 23 career starts with earnings of $166,540. Stakes action continues on Sunday night with the $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake for three-year-old trotting fillies headlining the card. Post time on Sunday is 7:10 p.m. (central). Tom Kelley ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Big Brad and driver Bobby Smolin came flying through the lane to win the $59,000 Incredible Finale Stake in 1:51.2. King Mufasa continued his dominance of the three-year-old colt trotting set with an easy score in the $51,000 Kadabra Stake. Thesleazyprincess knocked off nine other two-year-old pacing fillies to win the $65,000 Loyal Opposition in 1:54.3. PQ Three won for the third time in five career starts as he rolled to victory in the $63,500 Mini Me Stake for two-year-old pacing colts. Auniqueaquistion gave Mike Oosting his fourth stakes win of the year as she knocked off nine rivals in the $60,000 Ann Vonian Stake.  

Balmoral Park hosts its annual Southland Festival of Racing on Saturday evening with five ICF stake championships to be decided. The $51,500 Kadabra for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings was moved to the second race to kick off the track’s Pick 5 which, at least on paper, looks more like a Pick 4 with the powerhouse entry of King Mufasa, Skyline Road and Powerful Poe. King Mufasa has been dominant, breezing to victories in his last four races that included a Hanover and a career fastest 1:54.1 mile two weeks ago and he wasn’t urged to go any faster. “I don’t know how fast he can go,” said King Mufasa’s trainer Mike Brink. “Mike (driver Oosting) told me he never pulled the earplugs in his last start when the horse went in 54. All I can say is that he’s a very nice trotter and that we haven’t found his bottom yet.” “King Mufasa is loaded with talent,” added Oosting. “Mike (Brink) has done a wonderful job with the horse. Last year he was uncontrollable. Now you can do anything you want with him.” Powerful Poe, the runner-up to King Mufasa in the Hanover, went to Michigan earlier this month and was second in hazel park’s $100,000 Connors championship. Regular driver Todd Warren made the trip to drive the Dirk Simpson trainee with over $210,000 on his card in one and a half seasons of racing. While the morning line on the Kadabra has King Mufasa and friends is at 6-5, anything over 2-5 odds would be a gift for the entry supporters. Saturday’s $60,000 Ann Vonian Final Auniqueaquisition (programmed 5-2) and Aliyah Maria (3-1) square off for the fifth time this year with the each filly beating the other twice. Aliyah Maria beat her when the Roger Welch trainee took the Violet title back in May. Auniqueaquisition handled open company fillies in a Hanover, a stake Aliyah Maria wasn’t eligible to. “Donna (trainer Lee Ozment) has just done a heck of a job with Aquiqueaquisiton,” said her driver Oosting “Last year the filly didn’t always want to finish but this year that’s not a problem. “She and Todd Warren’s horse (Aliyah Maria) look like the best in their division. They’ve beaten each other and they figure to battle that way all through the rest of the year.” The other Southland Festival of Racing ICF showdowns are the $65,000 Loyal Opposition for freshman pacing fillies, the $63,500 Mini Me for 2-year-old male pacers and the $59,000 Incredible Finale for second season pacing colts and geldings. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The Mike Brink Stable's April May Dune won't be going off at double-digit odds again in Thursday's $12,000 My Metallic stake for ICF freshman pacing fillies. Not after she was an easy winner at 13-1 odds in last week's Juxtaposition stake when she made her very first start.

The first two-year-old stake of the 2013 season at Maywood Park was contested on Thursday night and it provided plenty of fireworks as Mike Brink and Ed Teefey's April May Dune staged a big rally to pull off the upset in the $12,000 Juxtaposition Stake.

State-bred trotters were in action before the rains and high winds pelted Balmoral Park on Wednesday night as a field of five diagonally gaited three-year-olds squared off in the $12,000 Southern Rocketop Stake, which was contested as a non-wagering event prior to the scheduled start of the regular card which wound up getting wiped out by severe storms.

If you are a Cardinal fan this is your week. I'm not talking those who are supporters of the baseball team in St. Louis. This week is for those who admire and follow the top harness racing ICF male harness horses.

Sophomore trotting colts were on display on Wednesday night as a field of eight diagonally gaited state-breds were sent postward in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake which was contested as a non-wagering event prior to the start of the regular 10-race harness racing program on Wednesday night.

Wednesday's $12,000 Betzotic for ICF trotting colts and geldings landed eight starters but because there would have been only six betting interests the stake was slotted as a non-wagering event with an early 6:45 pm post before the regular harness racing card.

Sunday's $15,000 Fox Valley Memory Stake provided a thrilling finish as Joshua Carter's Just By Design rallied in the final strides to score by a hard fought head in 1:53.3 over nine other Illinois conceived and state-bred pacing fillies.

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters were the featured harness racing attraction on Sunday, July 15th, as a field of six diagonally gaited three-year-old colts and geldings met in the $12,000 Brandenburg Stake.

Sophomore trotting fillies headlined the Sunday, July 8th harness racing program at Balmoral Park as a field of nine diagonally gaited ladies were sent postward in a $34,700 Hanover Stake.

State-bred trotting colts were back in the spotlight on Wednesday night (november 9) at Balmoral Park as a harness racing field of seven two-year-olds met in the $14,200 Normal OTB Stake. Coming off back to back romps over this surface Fox Valley Standardbreds and Harold & Joshua Carter's Vaporstar continued his late season dominance as he strolled to a 6-1/4 length victory in 2:00 with driver Mike Oosting at the controls.

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