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Taking advantage of a perfect two-hole trip Engel Stable’s Thesleazyprincess pounced on the heavily favored My Little Bit in the lane zipping right by the pace setter in the final sixteenth of a mile to record a three-length victory in the $200,000 Filly Orange & Blue. The final time was 1:54.4 Using the inside starting spot to perfection driver Mike Oosting positioned the daughter of Sagebrush-Da SleazyOne In The Pocket as My Little Bit  led the field of eight ladies through splits of 28.1, 57.1 & 1:25.3. “I was more than happy to let Marcus go early on,” said Balmoral’s leading reinsman. “I figured those two horse of the De Long’s (Party Hangover Two & Kiwi Party) would be coming at some point in the mile so I figured I would let those three battle it out while Istayed covered up with my filly.” Executing that plan to perfection the Nelson Willis trainee was full of pace while the battle on the far turn began to take a toll on My Little Bit as the field moved through the stretch. Moving into the passing lane with a sixteenth of a mile to go Thesleazyprincess responded beautifully, blowing right by her rivals and drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for her third win in nine lifetime starts. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) rallied from far back to be the bridesmaid while My Little Bit held on for third. After the win Oosting was full of praise for the Engle homebred. “She was really good tonight and that’s a tribute to the job Nelson Willis has done with her,” said a beaming Oosting. “She relaxed perfectly when she needed to and then she kicked it into gear again once she secured the room she needed. She was really a professional out there tonight.” Sent off as the 7-2 second choice in the wagering Thesleazyprincess returned $9.60, $5.00 & $2.80. The winner’s share of $94,000 moves the fillies bankroll to $152,452 on the strength of a 3-3-3 record in nine lifetime starts. Mike Oosting picked up his second Super Night victory guiding Thesleazyprincess to a three-length victory championship in the Filly Orange & Blue. David Baum   

Jesse De Long’s Let’s Go Higher soared to an impressive three-length victory over nine other filly and mare pacers in Saturday’s $130,000 Lorna Propes Stake stopping Mystical Victress’s bid to become the first four-time Super Night winner. The final time was 1:50.4.    Sweeping from fourth to first for driver John De Long after an opening quarter in 27.2 the five-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler then proceeded to roll through splits of 55.0 & 1:22.   “I didn’t want to rough up my mare too much early on so I thought I would just see how they got away and then move to the front once things settled down,” explained De Long. “I was a little surprised Mike didn’t leave a little more with his mare (Mystical Victress) so I was pretty happy to wind up in control of things like we did.”   After putting away a first over bid from Just By Design (Dave Magee) Let’s Go Higher began to put daylight between herself and her rivals quickly opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call.   “I looked back and saw Dave’s horse was starting to back up the outer flow a bit and we were starting to get away from the rest of them so I was pretty confident at that point,” said De Long.   On cruise control the rest of the way the Heidi Rohr trainee was never seriously threatened as she rolled under the wire with her ninth win in 29 starts this season. Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting) managed to rally for the second place check while Fox Valley Absolut (Robert Smolin), who was used hard to find a good early spot from her outside post held on for the show dough.   Bet down to 4-5 after her impressive elimination win Let’s Go Higher returned $3.60, $2.20 & $2.10 while winning for the 18th time in her career. The victory helped push her career bankroll to a gaudy $235,505.   David Baum

Elimination races were not necessary Wednesday night for the first American National stakes of the year when 10 two-year-old trotters were entered in each of the colt and filly divisions. Instead seven of next week American National finalists will prep in Wednesday night races with five of them going in the fourth race, a 2-year-old trotting events with “American National Entered Preferred.” The three fillies prepping are the Mike Brink Stable’s Muscle Babe (programmed 3-1, Dave Magee) and the Trenton Watson Stable entry of Pinking Of You (5-2, Casey Leonard) and Dancing Dynamite (5-2, Dean Magee), both winners of a Pennsylvania Sire Stake last month at The Meadows. Among their fourth race competitors are a pair of geldings who are American National bound, the Joel Smith trainee Big Bad Bob (6-1, Dale Hiteman), and the Roger Welch trained Bobby B Breeze (4-1, Todd Warren), winner of Balmoral’s $50,000 Plesac on July 31. Fox Valley Lotus (John Roberts), another starter in next Wednesday’s $63,000 (est.) American National filly stake is the 3-1 favorite in the first race trot. She captured the Springfield State Fair 2-Year-Old Filly Trot crown and was the runner-up in the Shawnee at Du Quoin. The Trenton Watson Stable’s Explosive Cash (Mike Oosting), who will vie in the $67,000 (est.) colt division of the added money stake, is the 3-1 program choice in Wednesday’s second race. While winless in his first six career starts Explosive Cash was second in a division of Philadelphia’s Historic, in a Pennsylvania Sire Stake at Pocono, and third in another at The Meadows. Probably the biggest name to be coming in is Southwind Spirit in the American National colt division. A son of Muscle Hill, this colt has been third or better in all six career starts against some well-regarded youngsters. A $105,000 yearling buy at the 2012 Lexington Select Sale, Southwind Spirit won his Peter Haughton elimination in 1:57.2 before finishing third in the $280,500 Final at The Meadowlands. He also won a New Jersey Sire Stake and was second in another. Trained by Ron Burke, who shares ownership of the colt, Southwick Spirit already has over $101,000 on his first season card. Here are the horses that entered next week’s American Nationals (listed in each alphabetically): Colt and Gelding Division: Big Bad Bob, Bobby B Breeze, Explosive Cash, Fox Valley Veto, Hillustrious, Hot Type, Maple Grove Joe, Nino Marino, Southwind Spirit and Toss Cartwright. Filly Division: Bailey’s Wish, Dancing Dynamite, Deweyscheatingirl, Don’t Miss A Tweet, Fox Valley Hosana, Fox Valley Lotus, Herroyalhighness, Muscle Babe, Pinking Of You and Pray With Me. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

With all the preliminary action in the books it’s now “go-time” for everyone involved in Illinois’ biggest night of standardbred racing as Super Night 2013 is just six nights away at Balmoral Park. After a hectic weekend which saw 12 elimination tussles on Saturday the action slowed down just a bit on Sunday night with six more elimination’s contested for a trio of Super Night events. Kicking off the action were three-year-old trotting colts as a total of 17 diagonally gaited sophomores battled in a pair of $15,000 Su Mac Lad Stake elimination’s.The top five finishers in each division will be back on Saturday, Sept. 14th for the $121,000 final. In the first elimination “Bill” Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa continued his domination of this division as he rolled to a one-length victory in 1:56.3 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Sent to the front by Oosting after an opening quarter in 29.1 the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was in complete control the rest of the way as he rattled off middle splits of 58.1 & 1:28.1. With the “soft” middle half under his belt, the Mike Brink trainee had plenty in reserve for the stretch drive, trotting home in an effortless 28.2 for his 11th win in 12 starts this season. Semper Fit (Dave Magee) finished a nice second despite leaving from the outside post while Fox Valley Camo (Jamaica Patton) was third.Happy Balance finished fourth and Riet’s Kid was fifth. The division leader has now banked over $156,000 this year for his proud connections and he figures to be an overwhelming favorite on Super Night. In the second elimination Mystical Marker Farms and Jack & Peggy Hood’sPowerful Poe shed the runner-role he had assumed seven times already this season knocking off eight rivals by two-lengths in 1:56.2 with Todd Warren handling the driving duties. Despite leaving from an outside post the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Fox Valley Poetry landed in a good early spot as Powerful Valor (Jared Finn) and Skyline Road (Marcus Miller) battled through splits of 30.0 58.4 & 1:28.1. After securing racing room in the lane Warren asked the Dirk Simpson trainee for his best and the gelding responded beautifully as he trotted home in a brisk 27.3 to post his third win in 14 starts this year. Fox Valley Legend (Dale Hiteman ) rallied well to be second for red-hot trainer Joel Smith while Fox Valley Dubai (Dave Magee) finished third. Skyline Road and Powerful Valor finished fourth and fifth respectively to earn the last two spots into the Su Mac Lad final. Next up were three-year-old trotting fillies as a field of 10 looked for nine spots in next week’s $106,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake. They will be joined in the finale by Divination who received a bye into the Super Night  tussle. Flashing the form that netted her divisional honors in her two-year-old season, James Bafia, Eugene White and Samuel Daddono’s Trot Fudge Sundae reported home with a half-length victory in a career best of 1:56.0 with “Mr. Super Night”, Dave Magee in the bike. Givena confident steer by Magee the Dirk Simpson trained daughter of American Native—What A Joy shot right to the front from post six putting up splits of 29.1, 59.3& 1:28.1 while under a snug hold from her Hall of Fame pilot. Fit and fresh as she straightened for the money, the long striding bay put up a 27.4 final quarter to secure her 14th career victory in her 26th lifetime start. Little Ms Chrissy (Robert Taylor) finished a game second while Sara The Spy (Todd Warren) was third. Also securing spots in the final were Just For Fun, Fox Valley Yavonne, Powerful Goddess, American Empress, Kelsey’s Star and High Stepper. A total of 25 filly and mare pacers, three-year-olds and up, were entered for the $123,000 Lorna Propes Stake necessitating a trio of $15,000 elimination tussles. The top three in each division along with one fourth place finisher,(drawn by lot) will be back for the big cash next Saturday night. In the first elimination James Strzalka, Nancy Magnus, Norma Schulfer and James Skvarla’s Fox Valley Absolut exhibited the form that has netted her more than $361,000 in career earnings as she shook off a tough first over trip to score by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:52.4 for driver Robert Smolin. Taking advantage of a nice inside draw the seven-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster was able to save ground through opening splits of 27.2 & 56.2 before moving to the outside as the field headed around the final bend. Grinding her way towards the top the Mike Schulfer trainee was right on the pace setting Tamarac Sassy’s flank as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.2. Seemingly finding another gear as the distaffers moved through the lane Fox Valley Absolut swallowed up the pace setter with a 27.1 final quarter as she began to widen her margin while scoring for the fifth time in 25 starts this year. Kimberley R (Dale Hiteman) shook loose late to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) held on for third. Willow Gram finished fourth. In the middle split the Terry Leonard owned and trained Whistle Pig looked like a princess as she pulled off an 18-1 stunner, scoring by a neck in a career best of 1:52.0 with Casey Leonard handling the driving chores. Placed near the back of the pack despite leaving from post position three the six-year-old daughter of Park Place moved into the outer flow on the far turn as Rev Me Up (John Roberts) sped through splits of 27.2, 55.4 & 1:24.0. Moving up with live cover Leonard tipped his mare four deep turning for home and she responded beautifully, speeding home in 27.1 to put up a career best. Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) closed well to finish second while Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting), the 1-9 favorite in the race finished third. Kate The Great was fourth. In the final elimination east coast invader Let’s Go Higher made it known that she will be a force to be reckoned with next week as the Heidi Rohr trained  five-year-old posted an eye catching eight-length romp in 1:50.4 with John DeLong at the controls. Perfectly positioned in third as Party Hangover charged through splits of 26.3 & 54.2 De Long moved the daughter of Park Place to the outside as the field moved mid-way around the final turn. Leaving the others in her wake Let’s Go Higher sped by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.3 as she set sail for the wire. Finishing off the mile in grand fashion Let’s Go Higher sped home in 28.1 to post her eighth win of the year for owner Jesse De Long. Just By Design (Dave Magee) finished second while Tune In (John Roberts) finished fourth but was moved up to third via a disqualification of Fox Valley Hermia who was cited for interfering with several horses near the top of the stretch. Cole Blue finished fifth but was moved up to fourth because of the DQ. Sunday’s 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $10,416 into Wednesday night’s pool. There will now be a $30,000 guaranteed pool on Wednesday’s Pick 5. The Pick 5 entails races 2-6 each night. Handicappers across North America can get a headstart on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pool courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Tom Kelley ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KING MUFASA POSTED HIS 11TH WIN IN 12 STARTS THIS SEASON AS Mike Oosting STEERED THE DIVISION LEADER TO AN EASY WIN IN THE FIRST OF TWO SU MAC LAD STAKE ELIMINATIONS ON SUNDAY NIGHT. TROT FUDGE SUNDAE AND HALL OF FAMER Dave Magee TEAMED UP TO WIN THE LADY ANN REED STAKE ELIMINATION IN 1:56.0 ON SUNDAY NIGHT. LET'S GO HIGHER ROMPED TO AN EIGHT-LENGTH DECISION WITH JOHN DE LONG AT THE CONTROLS IN THE LAST OF THREE LORNA PROPES STAKE ELIMINATION'S ON SUNDAY NIGHT. THE 5YO DAUGHTER OF Park Place STOPPED THE CLOCK IN A BLISTERING 1:50.4. -----Original Message----- From: David Baum To: Tom Kelley ; Mike Paradise Sent: Sun, Sep 8, 2013 9:09 pm  

The count down to Illinois biggest night of racing action, Super Night 2013, began in earnest on Saturday, Sept. 7th at Balmoral Parkas 12 eliminations battles were contested by some of Illinois top pacers. Kicking things off were a trio of $15,000 Orange & Blue Stake elimination’s for two-year-old pacing colts. The top three finishers in each elimination as well as one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) will advance to next Saturday’s $200,000 est. final. In the first division Obermeier & Quaid Stable’s PQ Three continued his recent winning streak as the Erv Miller trainee posted a 1 ¼ length decision in 1:54.1. Sent right to the front from his outside starting spot by driver Mike Oosting the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Sweltering cruised through splits of 28.2, 57.3 & 1:26.2 while easily keeping his rivals at bay throughout the mile. Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) sat right on the winner’s back the entire way to earn the place money while Cotton Eyed Joe (Robert Smolin) rallied to be third. Dave’s Skyscaper was fourth. The win was the sixth in 10 starts this year for PQ Three who now boasts $114,399 in career earnings. In the second elimination Paula Smith & James Runyan’s Fox Valley Deuce prevailed in a thrilling three-horse photo, winning by a nose in a career best of 1:54.3 for Dale Hiteman. Perfectly positioned while saving ground in fourth as Fox Valley Cupid (Ryan Anderson)  carved out splits of 28.2, 58.1 & 1:26.4 the Joel Smith (2 wins) trainee pulled as the field neared the top of the stretch. Battling tooth and nail through the lane the son of Sportsmaster—Dodger Girl managed to get a nose in front in the final strides to earn his second win in 10 tries. Fox Valley Cupid held on for second while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) rallied up the passing lane to be third. Manny’s Z Tam was fourth. The final division was taken by Jack & Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop who reported home with a 3 ½ length score in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Zipped right to the front as 4-5 favorite Badger Quinn went off stride right at the start, driver Todd Warren did a nice job of directing the proceedings as he rolled through splits of 28.1, 58.1 & 1:27.3. After turning away a first over challenge from Duneside Art in the lane the son of Sportsmaster-Dixiegirl proceeded to draw away from her rivals for her second win in 10 lifetime appearances. One Sure Apache (Mike Oosting) rallied to be second while Fox Valley Van (John De Long) finished third. Duneside Art was fourth. Next up were sophomore pacing fillies as a total of 18 ladies looked for 10 starting spots in next week’s $173,000 (est.) Grandma Ann Stake. In the first of two $15,000 elimination tussles John Carver’s Auniqueaquistion gave the chalk players a thrill as she shook loose from a precarious position in mid-stretch to win by a half-length in1:53.0. Positioned near the front by driver Mike Oosting as the lead changed hands several time through splits of 28.4, 57.4 & 1:26.1 the daughter of Cole Muffler—Shesoluvabull was desperately searching for racing room behind a tiring leader as the field turned for the money. Maneuvering outside then back inside again with the Donna Lee Ozment trained miss Oosting finally secured racing room with just less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. Responding beautifully, Auniqueaquistion bulled her way to the front and steadily began to draw clear for her 12th win in 21 career starts. Schmatie (John De Long) finished a game second while Aliyah Maria (Dave Magee) was third. Dune In Red & State Street Liz also gained spots in the final. In the second elimination Paula Smith, James Runyan and Frank Pike’s Dallas Jones continued an amazing second season transformation as she came flying home to win by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:53.1. Well-handled by a red-hot Casey Leonard the daughter of Sportsmaster—Cams Bett was reserved through the early stages as Feel Like Dancing (Kyle Wilfong) and Mystical Danica (Marcus Miller) battled through splits of 27.4, 56.4 & 1:24.4.Tipping four deep as the ladies turned for home the Joel Smith trained miss then picked off one rival after another on her way to her eighth win of the season. Mystical Danica held on for second while Thank You Doc (Mike Oosting) rallied sharply to finish third. Feel Like Dancing was fourth while Fox Valley Isabella was fifth. A total of 17 sophomore pacing colts were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial eliminations. Once again the top five will be back on Super Night to go for an estimated purse of $173,000. The first division provided a thrilling finish as Paymaq Racing, D&M Trading & Mystical Marker Farms Mystical Walter emerged with a hard fought three-quarters of a length victory in 1:51.0. Confidently handled by driver Casey Leonard the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Yankee Blue ranged up first over to engage Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) after watching that rival post splits of 27.3, 56.0 & 1:23.3. After battling head and head through the lane Mystical Walter finally began to pull clear in the final one-hundred yards, notching his 10th career win in 20 starts for trainer Erv Miller. Crankin’ It Up was a sharp second while Alequash Hotspur (Dale Hiteman) finished third. Fox Valley Norman was fourth while Big Brad was fifth. In the second Langley elimination Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy, Amy Giberson & Monty Thompson’s Silver Devil parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:52.2. Riding along in the pocket while Monopoly Man (John De Long) strolled through splitsof 28.0, 57.3 & 1:25.1 driver Casey Leonard patiently waited for the passing lane to make his move with the Nick Giberson trainee. Swinging down to the inside with a sixteenth to go the roan son of Duneside Perch—Armbro Wahine came charging home in 26.4 to secure his seventh win in this his first season of action. Monopoly Man held on well to finish second while Ready (Brian Carpenter) used a pylon skimming journey to get the show dough. Fancy Creek Elusiv was fourth while Fox Valley Action was fifth. With a total of 21 three-year-olds and up entered for the Tony Maurello Stake a trio of $15,000 elimination’s were needed. Once again the top three along with a fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) will be back for next week’s $125,000 final. In the first elimination Stevanna Turner’s NJ’s Big Deal rallied in the final strides to win by a head in 1:50.1 for driver Mike Cox. After leading the way through an opening quarter in 28.1, Cox elected to let a hard charging Uncle Smoothie (John De Long) go, winding up in the three-hole as the field sped through middle splits of 55.3 & 1:23.0. The John Fletcher trainee was then moved to the outside at the top of the stretch where he gamely wore down Ice Scraper (Kyle Husted) and Uncle Smoothie (John De Long) for his11th win of the year. Whirlwindiplomacy was fourth The middle elimination provided no surprises as heavily favored Fort Silky cruised to an easy 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1 for owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler. Sent to the front by driver Casey Leonard after a quarter in 27.0 the seven-year-old gelding then went unchallenged through middle splits of 55.4 & 1:24.3.Setting sail for home the Terry Leonard trainee sealed the deal in fine fashion, rattling off a final quarter in 26.3 to notch his 12th win of the year. Cole Heat (John De Long) finished second while Fox Valley Yukon (Marcus Miller) was third. Uncle Bud finished fourth. Chalk players were dancing again in the final Maurello elimination as Paymaq Racing, Mystical Marker Farms, Ken Duffy & Shim Racing’s A Cool Card notched his fourth straight win rolling to a one-length decision in 1:50.4 with Marcus Miller in tow. Working out a perfect second over trip as King’s Legend (Todd Warren) put up splits of 27.3, 56.0 & 1:23.4 A Cool Card tipped three-wide off his cover as the field straightened for home. The Erv Miller trainee then stormed home in a wicked 26.2 to record his sixth win in 10 starts this year. Iam Bonasera (Kyle Wilfong) finished a hard knocking second while Gibbs (Dave Magee) rallied to be third. Sports Fanatic wound up fourth. Freshman pacing fillies closed out the elimination action with a total of 20 youngsters battling in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elimination’s. The top five in each will return on Super Night to slug it out for a $200,000 jackpot. In the first elimination Team Miller clicked once again as Marcus (2 wins) made a successful return to the local scene guiding Obermeier & Quaid Stable’s (2wins) My Little Bit to an easy one-length triumph in 1:54.1, giving his father Erv, his fourth training win of the night. Powering to the front after an opening quarter in 28.1, the daughter of Sportsmaster-Parade Of Love rattled off middle splits of 58.1 & 1:26.1. With plenty still in reserve the good looking filly paced home in 28.0 to win for the fourth time in eight life time starts. Party Hangover Two (John De Long) was second while Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) was third. Fox Valley Amanda was fourth while Simplyirresistible was fifth. In the second division Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly took advantage of a ground saving trip as she charged up the passing lane to win by a half-length in1:55.0. Perfectly handled by Mike Oosting (3 wins) the daughter of Lexington Legend-Waggle was forwardly placed while skimming the pylons through splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:27.3. With the fillies fanning out for the stretch drive, Oosting moved the Nelson Willis trainee up the inside where she rallied gamely for her second win in eight trips postward. Kiwi Party (John De Long) overcame post nine to be the bridesmaid while Mae Flynn (Dave Magee) was third. Tessa finished a hard fought fourth while M A Refling overcame a miscue at the start to finish fifth. The elimination action for Super Night continues on Sunday, Sept. 8th at Balmoral Park as a trio of Lorna Propes Stake elimination’s (three-year-old & up filly & mare pacers), a pair of Su Mac Lad Stake elimination’s (three-year-old trotting colts) and one Lady Ann Reed (3yo trotting filly) will all be contested. Post time on Sunday is 7:10 p.m. (central). Tom Kelley  

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

With Super Night a little more than one week away let’s reflect on the Marty Engel home-bred who posted back-to-back champions on Illinois gala evening in 2007 and 2008. A son of Sportsmaster out of Engel’s broodmare Something Sleazy, Mucho Sleazy earned over $902,000 in 91 career  starts, winning 20 races, with 20 more seconds and 14 third place  finishers. As a 2-year-old Mucho Sleazy captured the Springfield  Championship before dropping a photo to King Of Kings at Du  Quoin in the Governor’s Cup. The gelding made a break in his  Orange and Blue elimination but then rebounded in a big way by winning Balmoral’s $145,000 American National Final, beating  freshman like Art Official, Lets Get It Stared and Sand Shooter. After a first season campaign that saw Mucho Sleazy earn $180,0546, the pacer had an even more spectacular sophomore season when he raked in $474,255 and he did it not only facing the best in the Midwest but the top pacers throughour North American. Mucho Sleazy picked-up fourth place checks in the finals of both $1 million-plus stakes, the North American Cup at Mohawk in Canada and the Meadowlands Pace in New Jersey. The horse took Maywood’s $50,500 Cardinal Final, won a second straight Springfield championship, this one with a sizzling 1:48.4 mile, and then avenged his loss as a freshman at Du Quoin to King Of Kings with a seven-plus length win in the Dudley Hanover on the Southern Illinois clay track in 1:49 flat. The Ken Rucker trainee then bagged his first Super Night title with a 1:50 flat clocking in the Pete Langley Memorial Final. As a 4-year-old Mucho Sleazy campaigned the first eight months of the year out east before he came back to Illinois for Super Night 2009 and captured the Maurello Championship with Andy Miller at his lines. Mucho Sleazy put another $151,940 on his card in his 4-year-old campaign and added $96,205 more in 2010 as a 5-year-old his last season of racing for his Buffalo Grove, Illinois owner. Pick 4 Pool at 25 Grand: Maywood Park will offer a guaranteed Pick-4 pool of $25,000 Thursday night which is on races 9 through 12. There’s a $12,271 carryover into the pool with a 15 per cent take out. All Is Well: One of the two Mike Price Shots for Wednesday came through at Balmoral when All Dune popped at an even $15 in race three with Casey Leonard. Mike Oosting drove 5 of the10 winners on the card. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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

Friday night’s $30,000 Egyptian stake, the second leg of the Maywood Park Pacing Series, isn’t a “Handicap” race but it may appear that way to some after seeing the draw for the ninth race feature. Fort Silky, all season long this year’s No. 1 state-bred aged pacer, landed Maywood’s dreaded 8-hole that produces the winning horse less than 7 per cent of the time. I asked driver Casey Leonard about Fort Silky’s draw. “We drew the 9-hole in the first leg when we got beat. It’s become a graveyard post at Maywood,” said Casey. ”Now we get the 8-hole with its low percentage of winners but I guess I rather be on the gate with it than start in the second tier.” Casey is well aware of a number of horses in The Egyptian who can sprint out in a hurry and he’s at the lines of one of them. “In Friday’s race I’ve got Uncle Smoothie and NJ’s Big Deal inside of us and they both can get away from the gate real well. I guess I have to leave at least a little bit or I can leave hard with him and hope to get up-close position. “I don’t want anything stupid to happen, especially with Super Night just a couple of weeks away. I guess we’ll just see what happens behind the gate and go from there,” said Casey who will turn 36 on September 11. While the 9-5 morning line favorite Fort Silky has always excelled at Maywood Park he hasn’t had many opportunities to compete there this season. This is only the 7-year-old gelding’s third start of 2013 on the half-miler. Fort Silky did take a $28,534 division of the Cardinal stake at Maywood the last day of May but he needed a 27 flat first quarter to make the front in the Cook County, the Series first leg, and was overtaken in the late going by the pocket horse Fox Valley Yukon who wasn’t entered for The Egyptian. Fort Silky has finished first or second in 15 consecutive starts, going all the way back to mid-March, for his Paw Paw, Illinois owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikler. The horse has already surpassed his previous best earning year (2011) by almost $50,000, a tribute to the Leonard family’s management of the ICF pacer. A $25,000 bonus goes to the owners who’s horse earns the most points in the three series legs, with 50 awarded for first, 25 for second, 12 for third, 8 for fourth and 5 for fifth. After his second place finish in the Cook County plus the absence of Fox Valley Yukon, a win tonight puts Fort Silky in the driver’s seat to become the fourth straight Leonard trainer pacer to capture the Maywood Series. The recently retired Well To Do Guru did it in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In fact the former Illinois kingpin swept all three legs the last two years. When Casey looks in before the starting gate gets ready to spring open he’ll find Fox Valley Mahalo (15-1, Kyle Husted), Whirlwindiplomacy (8-1, Todd Warren) Sports Fanatic (10-1, Dean Magee), Uncle Smoothie (9-2, John De Long), Raging Cam (10-1, Mike Oosting), NJ’s Big Deal (5-2, Mike Cox) and JHS (20-1, John Roberts). By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The $43,000 Governor’s Cup, the feature stake event of the Du Quoin State Fair, was expected to be a hard-fought battle between PQ Three and Unlocked, the one-two finishers at Springfield, and Sunday’s race came up as good as forecasted. The two top Illinois conceived and foaled colts put on a torrid duel down the stretch and just as he did at Springfield, the Erv Miller trained P Q Three prevailed for the meet’s leading driver Mike Oosting who changed tactics with the son of Yankee Skyscraper. Instead of coming out of a hole, as he did in his all of his other career victories, Oosting sent PQ Three to the front while Unlocked took the pocket behind him, reversing their Springfield roles. “With the wind to the horse’s backs on the backside and into their faces in the homestretch we didn’t want to come from too far out of it,” said the 46-year-old Miller in the winner’s circle. “We wanted to be up-close so I wasn’t surprised to see the horse on the lead. “PQ Three has really come around for us. “Turning for home he was digging in. Mike has done a very good job of driving him.” PQ Three’s head triumph was his fifth to go along with four seconds in nine career starts for owners Obermeier & Quaid Stables of Evergreen Park, IL. The youngster’s season earnings are now only $601 shy of $100,000. A heady drive by John Roberts enabled the 14-1 longshot Fox Valley Veto to pull off stunning upset in the $33,000 Darn Safe stake for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Sensing the slow pace Roberts took Fox Valley Veto to the front soon after a :29.4 first quarter and was able to give the gelded son of Pizzazzed a :31.2 second quarter breather. When the heavy 1-5 favorite Tour Hall came at him through a :28.4 third quarter the Curt Grummel trainee still had enough left to put away the Springfield champion and post a one length victory in 1:58.1. It was the maiden win for Fox Valley Veto and it came in his fifth career start for his Carrolton, IL proprietors Curt and Craig Grummel. Mystical Walter had no trouble adding the $21,500 Dudley Hanover stake to his 3-year-old colt pacing accomplishments for Casey Leonard and the Miller Stable. The son of Yankee Skyscraper earlier won a Hanover and the Incredible Finale at Balmoral and the recent Springfield State Fair crown for the winning trio of Paymaq Racing (Long Grove, IL), D & M Racing (Chicago) and Mystical Marker Farms (Dwyer, IN). The pocket horse Fancy Creek Elusiv was second best in the 1:52.3 mile, beaten one length. Earlier in the afternoon A Cool Card sped to a 1:50.2 victory in the $10,000 stake for aged ICF pacing colts and geldings, the fastest mile of the meet. Marcus Miller steered the Cole Muffler gelding to his third win in a row for his father, trainer Erv. The $10,000 Aged stake for pacing mares went to Just By Design (Dave Magee) in 1:52.4 for Williamsville, IL owner Josh Carter. It was Mike Brink’s fourth training win at the three-day meet. Kiwi Party came on nicely to take the $9,000 County Fair Challenge Championship for freshman pacing fillies in 1:56.2 to earn a start in Balmoral Park’s Orange & Blue Filly eliminations three weeks away. John De Long drove the Party At Artsplace filly to her fourth straight victory and shares ownership of Kiwi Party with his father and trainer Jesse, and Austin De Long, all of Wisconsin. I Bizel The Chizel gave John De Long his second consecutive County Fair Challenge champion when he out-closed his entry-mate Overloaded in the 2-year-old colt and gelding division with a 1:54.2 mile. Tom Simmons trains the son of Yankee Skyscraper for the Illinois team of Laura Hendricks (Silvis) and Benita Simmons (Springfield.) Sadie’s Art (Tom D. Tetrick) came thundering down the stretch and swept past the even-money favorite Checkout By Body to take the 3-year-old colt County Fair Championship in a career best time of 1:53.1 for breeders and owners Mary Alice and Tom D. Tetrick of Geff, IL. Oosting took the driving title at the Du Quoin meet with ten winners while Erv Miller successfully defended his trainer’s crown. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Harness Racing at the Du Quoin State Fair begins Friday evening with a trio of $9,000 County Fair Championships heading up the 10-race program at gets under way at 7 o’clock. The 2-year-old colt and gelding trot championship, the last race on the card, brings out Come And Tell Pap (Isaac Love) and Big Bill Breeze (Mike Oosting), who have each won five times on the County Fair Circle and have traded wins against each other. Come And Tell Pap got the best of Big Bill Breeze on July 19 at Petersburg by almost three lengths and then 10 days later Big Bill Breeze returned the favor by drawing off in a Illinois Stallion stake at Charleston, leaving Come And Tell Pap nine lengths behind. Big Bill Breeze, a Nick Prather trainee, was the runner-up in Springfield to eventual champion Tour Hall in an elimination race but missed the final due to sickness. John D Finn’s Finnster, who owns a win against both Come And Tell Pap and Big Bill Breeze, has shown ability when he stays flat. The field is completed with Bully Bust Boy, Battleshoe Crown, Swiss Mocha and Bands Jeeves. The first County Fair Championship to be decided Friday night is the third race for 3-year-old ICF filly trotters. The J D Finn Stable’s High Stepper, a seven-time season winner, is the likely favorite. The daughter of High Falls won her season debut at Hoosier Park with a 2:01.4 mile in the slop and then campaigned at Balmoral before going on the County Fair Circuit. High Stepper will face Foxy Polar, Elegant Rosie, Accokeek Aphrodite, Bands Dee Dee and Sherry’s Band, a six-time season winner for Freddie Patton Jr. Patton will guide the morning line favorite Bands Giant Star in the seventh race 2-year-old filly trot championship. She’ll race as an entry with Bands Fancy. Both fillies are owned and bred by Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois. Bands Giant Star has won 4 of her first 7 career starts but did draw the 8-slot in the 9-horse field. Macie Rae, who went off stride in the Springfield State Fair Final after third place finish in her elimination, has made five stops in a winner’s circle in her first season of racing for trainer Mike Rogers who will drive the daughter of Powerful Emotion. Landing the rail makes Macie Rae a solid threat if she can mind her racing manners. Looking to pull off an upset are Sweet Bella Breeze, Shady Maple Feisty, Psychicfinn, Dancingthebreeze and Pistol Annie. Mike Oosting, Todd Warren, John Roberts and Kyle Wilfong all are competing Friday night at Du Quoin and are off their drives at Maywood Park where the feature race is a $10,000 high-level conditioned pace. The 11th race is headed up by Firstclassallthway (programmed 2-1, John De Long), Raging Cam (7-2, Dale Hiteman) and Kansas Wildcat (5-1, Brian Carpenter). It also is the first leg of the track’s 50 cent Pick 4 with a guaranteed $10,000 pool and a less than usual takeout of 15 per cent. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The $12,500 “Winner’s Over” that lured the return of Dandy Farm’s star trotter Celebrity Hercules, along with the $10,700 Champion On Ice Series Final, share the spotlight on Wednesday evening’s card. Celebrity Hercules has spent most of the summer in Minnesota and Indiana, where he chalked up 4 wins in 5 starts. The 7-year-old gelding went 2-for-2 in June up north at Running Acres and later took a pair of “Winner’s Over” at Hoosier Park in July before dropping a fourth place finish in their Invitational 2 and1/2 weeks ago. In between Celebrity Hercules dominated a “Winner’s Over” at Balmoral in early July, proving best by 6 and 1/2 lengths in a career fastest 1:54 mile for trainer Erin Elliott and her Glenview, IL owners. Celebrity Best has been third or better in 18 of 19 season starts, winning 12 of them. If that sounds like a lot of victories for this time of the year, it is. Only four aged trotters throughout all of North American have won more races this year and each of those trotters has made more starts while earning a lot less money. Celebrity Best, who will open at programmed odds of 3-1 when he leaves from the 10-hole with Mike Oosting, has put $107,517 on his season card. His career earnings are over $410,000. Making his Balmoral Park debut is the Erv Miller Stable’s Nonverbal Hanover (5-1), a five-year-old gelding who has gone 2-for-6 in Pennsylvania, including a 1:54.3 mile on the five-eighths track at Philadelphia. He has post nine for Casey Leonard. The first eight slots will be manned by Outlaw (6-1), Evil Urges (4-1), GRC Travel King (12-1), Mad Cow Lisa (8-1), Mischievous Jesse (8-1), Ants Iner Pants (15-1), New Zion (6-1) and Clever Upstart (10-1). The eighth race Series Final Tempus Fugit, winner of his first two series legs for the Kyle Husted Stable is the 9-2 third choice from post eight behind J M Showcat (7-2) a first leg winner with Oosting and We’ve Got It All (4-1, Dale Hiteman) who dropped a head decision last week in his Balmoral debut for trainer Erv Mller. Also making the competitive series final were Speedy Alber (12-1), Perfect Profit (Casey Leonard), Sound And Fury (8-1), Nidaros (6-1), Jailhouse Rockn (6-1), Olives And Caviar (12-1) and Monticello Lulu (Todd Warren). By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

A pair ofstate-bred stakes, each split into two divisions, along with two carry over pools and two big guaranteed pools highlighted a busy Saturday night of harness racing action at Balmoral Park. With a total of 15 distaffers dropped into the box for the Parklane Powerful Stake a pair of $30,000 splits kicked off the “Elvis Night” action. In the first division Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood’s outstanding mare, Mystical Victress cruised to her 44th career victory as she rolled under the wire with a one-length decision in 1:51.2 for driver Mike Oosting. Confidently handled by Oosting the six-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster came away fourth as Rev Me Up rolled through opening splits of 27.4 & 55.1. Tipping to the outside on the final turn, the Erv Miller trained miss quickly pulled alongside the pace setter as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2. With the money on the line Mystical Victress set sail for the wire easily gobbling up the leader with a 27.3 final quarter to post her sixth win of the season. Fox Valley Matinee(Brian Carpenter) turned a ground saving trip into the place check while Whistle Pig (Casey Leonard) was third. Bet as though defeat was clearly out of the question Mystical Victress returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping her career bankroll to $758,973. In the second division Joshua Carter’s Just By Design used a big backside brush to power into command and never looked back as she reported home with a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:52.2 for driver Dave Magee. Reserved early on as Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 Magee pulled from sixth as Leonard tried to put on the brakes with the field moving towards the half-mile mark. Rushing up to challenge the pacesetter as the field hit the half in 57.1, Just By Design easily cleared to the front on the turn as was in complete command as she passed the three-quarter mile mark in 1:25.0. Fit and fresh down the stretch, the Mike Brink trained five-year-old sealed the deal with a 27.2 final split to post her second win of the season. Pardon (John De Long) turned in a solid effort to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy held on for third. The daughter of Sportsmaster returned $6.80, $3.60 & $2.80 while pushing her 2013 record to 2-3-2 in 13 starts. With the win Just By Design now boasts $212,702 in career earnings. A total of 13 older pacing horses were entered for the Big Tom Stake with each division each carrying a jackpot of $30,000. Once again trainer Erv Miller and driver Mike Oosting teamed up to get another prohibitive favorite home as Mystical Marker Farms, Paymac Racing, Shim Racing and Kenneth Duffy’s A Cool Card continued his impressive comeback with a1 ¾ length triumph in 1:51.1. Hustled from fourth to first after watching Park Lane Deputy (Todd Warren) lead the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 A Cool Card was comfortably in front through middle splits of55.4 & 1:23.4. Shrugging off a mild challenge from Whirlwind Diplomacy (Casey Leonard) in the lane, the five-year-old son of Cole Muffler paced home in 27.2 to secure his fourth win in eight starts this season. Park Lane Deputy came on again to finish second while Whirlwind Diplomacy wound up third. After missing part of 2011 and all of 2012 with a cracked knee the bay gelding is showing signs of regaining the form that turned heads here during his three-year-old season. With Saturday’s win A Cool Card boasts career numbers 11-1-2 in 16 starts with earnings of $126,900. He returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10 to his legion of backers. In the nightcap John Prentice and Neva Jane Grevengoed’s Fort Silky continued to enjoy his finest season to date as the seven-year-old gelding scored by a hard fought neck in 1:51.1 with Casey Leonard at the controls. Hustled away from post position six the gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover led the field through an opening quarter in 27.0. Facing immediate pressure from a head strong NJ’s Big Deal (Mike Cox) Leonard briefly released that rival before moving back to the front where he led the field through middle splits of 56.2& 1:24.0. Despite making two moves during the mile the Terry Leonard trainee gamely held off a late bit up the inside from the pocket sitting NJ’s Big Deal with a 27.1 final quarter to post his 37th career victory. Uncle Smoothie (Mike Oosting) finished third. Another heavy favorite of the betting public Fort Silky returned $3.00,$2.20 & $2.10 while upping his career bankroll to $458,834 on the strength of a 2013 record of 11-8-1 in 23 starts. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Cool Card continued an amazing comeback as he rolled to victory in the first of two divisions of the $30,000 Big Tom Stake. Just By Design and driver Dave Magee teamed up to win the second of two divisions of the $30,000 Parklane Powerful Stake. Fort Silky notched his 11th win of the year by knocking off six rivals in 1:51.1 in the second of two divisions of the Big Tom Stake. Mystical Victress posted her 44th career victory as Mike Oosting steered to the six-year-old to a 1:51.2 clocking in the first of two divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake. Tom Kelley

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

With Marcus Miller back in his home state this week to handle some of his dad’s horses in stakes races the Illinois State Fair in Springfield the 24-year-old will also visit Balmoral Park Wednesday night to do some catch-driving. Miller has a drive in every event on the 10-race card that includes the well-bred 3-year-old filly trotter We’ve Got It All in the third race, the second of three divisions of the Champion On Ice Trotting Series. We’ve Got It All was scheduled to race in last week’s opening round but ended up a judge’s scratched for “not reported.” A daughter of Yankee Glide out of the Mr. Vic mare Wishingforadream, the filly went unraced as a 2-year-old and in seven starts this season she hasn’t been better than third and that occurred just once. “We’ve Got It All has raced better since dad (trainer Erv) put trotting hobbles on her a few starts ago,” said Marcus. I asked Marcus why the $95,000 yearling buy was shipped to all the way to Illinois to compete in the Champion On Ice Series. “To braven her up,” Marcus replied. “Out east these NW of 1 and 2 trots go in ‘55’ or ’56.’ We thought she would do well against the (softer) competition at Balmoral. A couple of wins could do a lot for her confidence.” We’ve Got It All is owned by Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, Illinois, Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana and Canadian Greg Gillis. She’ll leave from the pole position and will open as the 7-2 morning line second choice. Among her opponents is the 3-1 favorite Tempus Fugit (Kyle Husted) and Liz’s Black Beauty (5-1, Dave Magee), first round series winner in 1:59 flat and 1:59.2, respectively. J M Showcat, the other opening leg winner, is Wednesday’s 3-1 first race favorite and Marcus will take over his lines for Mike Oosting, who is taking Wednesday off along with Todd Warren and John Roberts. Wednesday’s third series division, the fifth race, has Fox Valley Roxy (Dean Magee) and Jailhouse Rockn (Dave Magee) as the 3-1 and 4-1 first flash favorites, in that order. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Harness racing at the Springfield State Fair gets underway this afternoon with a 10-race card mostly for ICF 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. First post is 12 noon. Elimination races for next week’s $45,000 Illinois State Fair Colt Stake Championships were needed for each of the freshman trot and pace events. A pair of $10,000 ICF championships will be also decided. Squaring off in the eighth race trotting stake showdown (program odds listed) are Westbound Darin (6-1), Ants Iner Pants (12-1), Maplegrove Shaelyn (5-1), Miss Kylie (8-1), Fox Valley Sienna (8-1), B Fly McQueen (4-1) and Ruby’s And Pearls (3-1). Back to defend her title in the 10th race Illinois State Fair Filly and Mare Championship is Fox Valley Touche (3-1) and the Joel Smith trainee landed the rail in the nine-horse field. Last summer the Sportsmaster mare took her lifetime mark of 1:50.4 in this Springfield stake. Taking on Fox Valley Touche are TJ’s April Angel (6-1), Just By Design (4-1), Nina Coleada (10-1), Cole Blue (12-1), Willow Gram (8-1), Sleazy Does It (8-1), Pardon (5-1) and Miss Kelley Lynne (12-1). With six starters in 4each of the 2-year-old colt eliminations only one youngster in each split won’t advance to that $45,000 final. The opening elim has Polar’s Big Spender (10-1), Finnister (6-1), Rory Borealis (8-1), Gray N Cloudy (4-1), Big Bad Bob (3-1) and Just Leo (5-1). The second race lines up with Nono Marino (10-1), Tour Hall (3-1), Bobby B Breeze (2-1), Fox Valley Veto (5-1), Big Bill Breeze (4-1) and Battleshoe Crown (6-1). The first five finishers in the fourth and fifth race eliminations for 2-year-old trotting fillies return for next Thursday’s $45,000 championship. With Fox Valley Flan champion Vienna not at Springfield, the pre-stake favoritism looks to be between “Flan” runner-up Bailey’s Wish for Springfield based trainer Dirk Simpson, and S V Spirit, a three-time victor in five career starts for trainer Roger Welch who wasn’t eligible to the Fox Valley Flan. Eliminations for the freshman filly pace are races 6 and 7 with the second division pitting recent Hanover stake runner-up Western Dame (3-1, John De Long) against Loyal Opposition champ Thesleazyprincess (4-1, Mike Oosting). They’ll be challenged by Fox Valley Thyme (12-1), Kiss This Perch (8-1), Fox Valley Flora (6-1), First Lady’s Z Tam (5-1), My Girl Pippa (8-1) and Fox Valley Roxanne (10-1). The first filly pace elim 3-1 favorite is My Little Bit (p.p. 6, Casey Leonard), runner-up in the Loyal Opposition who hails from the always strong Erv Miller Stable. She’s owned by Obermeier & Quaid Stables of Evergreen Park, Illinois. Also looking to finish in the top five and advance to next week’s final are Ms Solongbyebye (10-1), Fox Valley Shiver (6-1), Fox Valley Amanda (4-1), Perfectly Clear (6-1), Amazing Summer (5-1), Rds Master Revrac (8-1). April May Dune (12-1) and Ineverkissandtell (12-1). A single elimination will be raced in the 2-year-old colt pacing division where only the 11th place finisher won’t make that final. Posts 1 through 10 will be manned by Fancy Creek Mitch (10-1), Fox Valley Cupid (8-1), Badger Quinn (3-1), Traffic Cop (5-1), Duneside Mike (12-1), Sky Cam (12-1), Fox Valley Deuce (8-1), PQ Three (4-1), Unlocked (6-1), and Rio’s Z Tam (8-1). Fox Valley Van starts in the second tier at program odds of 12-1. Unlocked (Dave Magee) is unbeaten in five career starts that include a trio of stake wins in June at Balmoral and the July 5 Fox Valley Barzgar at Maywood. Nick Prather trains the Duneside Perch colt for Chicago owner Megan Rogers. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association County Fair Report EFFINGHAM COUNTY FAIR AT ALTAMONT    Thursday Afternoon, August 8 FIRST: Free For All Pace, 1st Div, Purse $980: Horse (Driver)                                               Time (Track Fast) Annrenee (Jared Finn)                                           2:03.2 Trainer: Dane May. Owner: Dane May. SECOND: Free For All Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $980: Richard Traci (Jared Finn)                                     2:02 Trainer: Dane May. Owner: Dane May. THIRD: Free For All Pace, 3rd Div, Purse $980: Spill The Beans (Dillon Cox)                                 2:01.3 Trainer: Mike Cox. Owner: Mike Cox. FOURTH:  Non-Winners of $1,000 or 2 Races LT Trot, Purse $1,320: So Photogenic (Jerome Daniels)                          2:05.4 Trainer: Jerome Daniels. Owners: Jerome Daniels and Cornelius Cavett. FIFTH:  Non-Winners of $1,000 or 2 Races LT Pace, 1st Div, Purse $1,020: Frontier Rose (Harold Finn Jr.)                             2:06.2 Trainer: Philip Finn Jr. Owner: Philip Finn Jr. SIXTH:  Non-Winners of $1,000 or 2 Races LT Pace, 2nd Div, Purse $1,000: Wings (Merle Finn Jr.)                                            2:06.3 Trainer: Merle Finn Jr. Owner: Merle Finn Jr. SEVENTH:  Non-Winners of $1,000 or 2 Races LT Pace, 3rd Div, Purse $980: Who Called Kellie (Ronnie Gillespie)                  2:05.3 Trainer: Ronnie Gillespie. Owner: John Carver. EIGHTH: Non-Winners of $1,000 or 2 Races LT Pace, 4th Div, Purse $980: American Desire (Ronnie Gillespie)                    2:03 Trainer: Ronnie Gillespie. Owner: John Carver: NINTH: Amateur Driving Race, Purse $580: AR Sissy (Raymond Morgan)                                2:02.3 Trainer: Michele Morgan. Owners: Michele Morgan, Raymond Morgan, Janet Betley and Todd Weinmann.

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