The I.H.H.A. honored the top driver, trainer, owner and breeder of our County Fair circuit last Sunday, closing day of harness racing at the Du Quoin State Fair. The leading driver trophy was presented to Ronnie Gillespie who brought home 48 winners on the fair circuit, two more than his fellow Mississippian Freddie Patton Jr. last year’s champion. Patton did successfully defend his county fair circuit leading trainer title by conditioning 42 winners, far and away the best. John D Finn was second with 27. The leading owner and leading breeder awards both went to Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois. Dr. Richard Flacco and his wife Arlene accepted the awards in Du Quoin’s “Victory Lane.” The Flacco Family were the owners 23 victorious horses on this summer’s fair circuit and bred the winners of 39 races. Mary Jeffers and Fox Valley Standardbreds each had 32. Big Numbers for Casey: With four months of racing still left for 2013 Casey Leonard has already surpassed his best year for winning drives by 33 and his best season for money won by over $200,000. Going into Wednesday’s Balmoral program Casey has 268 dash winners in 2013. His previous highest was 238 in 2011 and that was with 250 more drives than his current 1616 for this season. Horses Casey has driven have earned $1,825,302 this far this year. The 35-year-old’s previous best was $1,620,445 last year when he had 444 more opportunities than he has had thus far in 2013. Herculean Effort Not Needed: Celebrity Hercules was written out of this week’s Wednesday feature when instead of another “Winner’s Over” event the headliner for trotters is for non-winners of $10,500 in earnings in their last five starts. Homer Hochstetler’s Evil Urges (p.p. 3, Dave Magee) was installed as the 3-1 first flash favorite in the ninth race feature after he was second best to Celebrity Hercules by ¾’s of a length. Brad Moffit’s New Zion (p.p. 6, Ridge Warren), a six-time season winner, is next at 4-1, with the Erv Miller Stable’s Nonverbal Hanover (p.p. 8, Casey Leonard) at 5-1. While the latter was beaten by more than 7 lengths last week, the Yankee Guide gelding did trot a :27.4 last quarter when he rallied from ninth to third in the lane. Mischievous Jesse (8-1), Classy Chassy (10-1), Big Sky Revenue (10-1), KK’s Bandit (8-1), New Zion (4-1), Ants Iner Pants (8-1), Squonk (12-1), and Itz Alive (15-1) complete the trotting feature. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association
COLUMBUS, MN. - Drivers Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen and Ridge Warren both scored hat tricks on the Saturday night program at Running Aces. Svendsen won a $7250 race for Minnesota-sired three-year-old colts with Reds Place in 1:55.4. The colt, owned by Ron Emerson and Mark Holtan and trained by Bob Lems, now has seven wins and two place finishes in nine seasonal starts. The green and gold clad reinsmans other two triumphs were behind the trotter Flameon and the pacer A Stitch In Time, both owned and trained by Mark Anderson. Warren won a pair of races for trainer Joe Mapes when he scored behind Taffy Towne and Allusive Annie. Between those two races he guided Love My Terror to an impressive maiden victory for trainer Scott Banitt. Gregg Keidel
A pair of minor stakes events for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-olds headlined another busy harness racing weekend at the Crete oval. On Saturday night, Sawgrass Farms Uncle Smoothie rallied from far back to take the $10,500 Crete Stake while Ciara Stables and John Carver's good looking filly No Respect cruised to an easy score in Sunday's $10,200 Beecher Stake.
Big Daddy Woo Woo had the harness racing driver with the right philosophy in the $120,000 Tony Maurello. Dismissed at 23/1, Big Daddy Woo Woo, from Nick Prather's barn, was driven by Ridge Warren. The key was finding early position. Ride Warren left with Big Daddy Woo Woo and was able to duck and be sixth passing a 27.4 opening quarter.
It was a gutsy decision but when Kyle Husted made the choice to shift to from his home town of Altamont to Chicago in January this year it was career move that could have easily back-fired. After-all the 19-year-old's mother Pam Coleman wanted her son to firstly get a degree to fall back on.