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When Bobby B Breeze captured his $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination here last week at Balmoral Park, trotting easily to a career 1:57 triumph for driver Todd Warren, it came as no surprise to his trainer Roger Welch. "Herman Wheeler had him last year and I'd see him on the track every day and I fell in love with him," Roger said. "I ended up buying him and he won his first start for us. He got sick at Springfield and we fought health issues with him the rest of the year. I could never get him healthy enough." The son of Southwind Breeze earned $44,051 at two, with two wins and two seconds in nine starts. He captured the $50,000 Plesac stake in his first start for Welch, trotting in 1:59.1 and besting his rivals by 6¾ lengths. He followed that up with a victory at Springfield in a $8,000 State Fair elim, clocked in 1:59 on Aug. 9, 2013. "He was a ridgling and at the end of the season we gelded him and that helped him a lot," Roger said. "He had one testicle that was really big and it would pinch him in the turns. So after taking care of that and getting him healthy, he's come back a lot stronger this year." Bobby B Breeze has finished off the board only twice all year and missed only one purse check in 14 starts, with statistics of 2-4-6 and $35,712 in seasonal earnings. He is owned by Bo Delong of Clinton, WI; Pat DeLong of South Beloit, IL; Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI and Welch. "He doesn't like a lot of training, and it's been work trying to peak him at the right time," Roger offered. "But he is fresh and sound and gives 100%, and is the nicest mannered horse." On Aug. 27, the gregarious gelding scored in a Balmoral overnight, cruising to a 1:57.2 triumph just a week prior to his Su Mac Lad elim victory. "I said at the beginning of the year that we may race all season and never win a race and still make $50,000, because I knew he'd be chasing Fox Valley Veto and Tour Hall," Roger noted. Bred by Fair Meadow Farm, Welch's trotter is the fifth foal out of the Lindy Lane mare Lindy's Fireball 3, 1:56F ($89,617), and is a half-brother to the Windsong's Legacy gelding Fire And Wind p,1:58.2 ($8,698). Bobby B Breeze will be going up against Fox Valley Veto in the $100,000 Su Mac Lac Final on Saturday night, who opted for a bye in last week's elim. The winner of $164,574 in his career has been a whirlwind in Illinois this season, earning $100,058 from six wins and four seconds in 11 starts. His only off-the-board effort came in mid-May in his first start when he made an uncharacteristic break to finish fourth. Otherwise, the son of Pizzazzed's 2014 record is nearly unblemished. Among Fox Valley Veto's top efforts were his five consecutive victories beginning June 25 through his win at Springfield on Aug. 14 in 1:56. During his streak he captured the $41,000 Kadabra Stake on July 26 at Balmoral in 1:55.3 and the $25,000 Mikes A Mystery Stake at on Aug. 3 in 1:55.1 at the Crete one-miler. Trained and co-owned by Curt Grummel of Carrollton, IL, Fox Valley Veto bested a field of aged horses last Sunday, clocked in 1:55.4 for driver John DeLong in a $10,500 Balmoral overnight. Craig Grummel of Carrollton, IL co-owns the gelding, who was bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds. This 3-year-old trotting whiz is the third foal out of the Valley Victory mare Yankee Victory OM 3, 1:58.1M ($19,915), and is a full sister in the 2-year-old filly Fox Valley Yoko 1:59M ($55,375). He also has half-siblings in Overandovervictory (by Andover Hall) 5, 1:53.4f ($257,219); and Fox Valley Yavonne (by Vaporize) 4, 1:56.3 ($37,562). Tour Hall, a sophomore son of American Native who captured an Illinois State Fair Colt Stake at 2 in 1:57.3 and a $25,900 Hanover Stake this season, has earned $130,301 in his career for trainer Mike Brink of Springfield, who co-owns the gelding with Loren Tournear of Liberty, IL. "He raced well coming from off the pace last week," said his driver Dave Magee, on the gelding's sixth-place finish in his Su Mac Lad elim. "He seems to be coming back to himself (with that :28.2 last quarter) and just needs a flat mile to be competitive." by Kim Rinker, for Balmoral Park

Elimination races for Wednesday night were not necessary for both American National 2-year-old paces. The initial American National championships of the season will be raced at Balmoral Park next week, September 17. The $57,000 American National for freshman colts and geldings will have a field of nine headed up by Shoot The Thrill and Poseidon, a pair of locally owned horses with stakes triumphs on the east coast. The Dirk Simpson trained Shoot The Thrill won a $21,000 division of rhe Arden at The Meadows and a $33,026 PASS stake at Philadelphia for Illinois owners Jim Bafia (Minooka) and Gene Smith (Chicago). The Erv Miller trainee Poseidon, owned and bred by Paymac Racing of Long Grove, IL and Shim Racing of Deerfield, comes off a 1:57.1 victory in the $41,004 Reynolds at Tioga Downs in New York. Also going postward will be Air Force Blue, Hanover champion Cruisin Valor, Iron, recent Balmoral winner Jake Quaider, Ky Lucky, Orchids And Ale and Stickem Buck. The American National for filly pacers carries an estimated $60,000 pot and will be comprised of Fox Valley Yoko, winner at both Springfield and Du Quoin, Fox Valley Harrah, Jazzie Mermaid, Lima Pizzaz, Nanars, Powerfulebrowning and Fox Valley Flan champ Persuasive Look. On The Bubble: A drawing in the Balmoral Park Race Office Wednesday afternoon will determine which the fourth place finishers (Fox Valley Touche, Zumba or Auniqueaquisrion) in Saturday’s three Lorna Propes elimination divisions will move on to that $120,000 Final. Third elimination division longshots Just By Design (8-1), Fox Valley Absolut (9-1) and Toshie Spefcial (50-1) were one-two-three while the race’s three betting favorites Ryleigh’s Filly, Dallas Jones and Whistle Pig ended up non-factors in 6th, 7th and 8th, and will race in a $25,000 Consolation. Pre-stake favorites, Let’s Go Higher, Dune In Red, Party Hangover and State Street Liz all moved on to championship. Sure Thing ? Unlocked (Dave Magee) is looking more and more like a “lock” in the Langley Final. The Duneside Perch colt has breezed against other 3-year-old ICF pacers in the Incredible Finale (1:50.2), Springfield (1:49/1), Du Quoin (1:51.3) and last Saturday’s Langley elim (1:50.3) with an average winning margin of almost six lengths Early Start: A reminder that first post for Super Night Saturday will have an earlier-than-normal time of 6:30 pm (Chicago Time).. As usual the $187,000 Orange and Blue Colt Final is the14th and last race on the card and usually goes off around midnight when about three-quarters of the festive crowd are long-gone. Worth the Wait: If your able to stay to the end you should see a heck of a horse with race Governor’s Cup champion Lucpark talking on the powerful Roger Welch Stable’s three-horse entry of Mini Me victor King Of The Swamp, Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova, along with Springfield champ Thisishowweroll, DuPage’s Z Tam, Dakota Roadster, C Note, Mighty Hot Shot and Fox Valley Ellijah.  Missing the final and likely competing in the $25,000 O&B Colt Consolation are The Big Sleazy, Pathologist, Lotta Riches. Parity and Engine One O One from Saturday’s first elimination and Uncle Si, Casey At Bat, Joel’s Z Tam, Get Your Camo On and Better Done Dune from the second. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

The elimination action for Super Night 2014 came to a close on Sunday, September 07 at Balmoral Park as a field of 10 sophomore trotting colts looked for nine starting spots in next Saturday's (Sept. 13) $98,000 (est) Su Mac Lad Stake final which will be part of the big Super Night Card at Balmoral Park. Despite the fact that he was coming off an impressive win in a "conditioned" event against older company here at Balmoral Park last week, Bo & Pat De Long, Gordon Wright and Roger Welch's Bobby B Breeze slipped by the betting public once again as he trotted to a 1 ¼ length victory in 1:57.0 for driver Todd Warren. Sent forward from post position four as the wings of the gate folded by Warren, the gelded son of Southwind Breeze--Lindy's Fireball settled into a perfect spot as stablemates Nino Marino (Dean Magee) and Fox Valley Cicero (Brian Carpenter) battled through an opening quarter in 29.2. Content to sit inside and save ground through middle splits of 58.2 & 127.1 the Roger Welch trainee was just waiting for his chance to pounce on the embattled leaders as the field straightened for the money. Setting sail for the wire the Bobby B Breeze zipped right by the top pair, drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for his second win in 14 starts this season. Fox Valley Cicero held on for second while 30-1 longshot Cardinal Wind (Dale Hiteman) staged a nice late rally to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Photo Surprise, Nino Marino, Tour Hall, Gray N Cloudy, Swiss Mocha and Big Bill Breeze. They will be joined by Fox Valley Veto, who elected to take a "bye" into the final but was victorious in a snappy 1:55.4 while facing "older" company earlier in the night. For more information regarding the big Super Night card on Saturday, September 13th, please visit www.balmoralpark.com by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

The countdown to the biggest night of the year for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a bevy of elimination action brought out some of the Prairie State's best. Freshmen pacing fillies started the Saturday night action with a total of 15 youngsters entered in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elim's. The top five will be back on Super Night to battle for a $163,000 (est) jackpot. In the opening split Jesse De Long & Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler made her local debut a winning one as she rolled to an easy 4 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.3. Perfectly placed In The Pocket by driver John De Long, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatifthere'smore exploded past the pace setting Cowgirl Chic in the lane as she rolled to her sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Cowgirl Chic held on well to finish second while Girls Hunt Too (Dale Hiteman) was third and Star Gram (Brian Carpenter) was fourth. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson), the 1-2 favorite in the field of eight, stopped badly after a first over bid on the far turn but still managed to gain a spot in the final with her fifth place finish. In the second division Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing's Mr Leland's Filly continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Sent from third to first after a tepid opening quarter the Erv Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Katie appeared to have plenty in reserve through the lane as she toyed with her rivals while posting her fifth win in seven lifetime starts. BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the show dough after a bold first over bid at the top of the stretch. Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) was fourth while Fox Valley Redhead (Dale Hiteman) finished fifth. A field of 10 was sent postward in the $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts with the top nine finishers joining Fox Valley Cupid, who opted for a bye, in next week's $147,000 (est) final. Living up to his overwhelming 1-9 favoritism Megan Rogers Racing Stables Unlocked completely dismantled this field as he reported home with an effortless 6 ¼ length victory in 1:50.3 for driver Dave Magee and trainer Erv Miller. The issue was never in doubt in this one as the good looking son of Duneside Perch--Miss Major Power worked his way to the front after the opening quarter and proceeded to widen his margin at each call while posting his fourth straight victory over these rivals. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) followed the winners every move after relinquishing the lead on the backstretch but was no match for the heavy favorite while garnering the second place check. Svaya Knows (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Van, Uncle Ugly, Overloaded, Cotton Eyed Joe, BlueRiver and Sleazeburgernfries. The older pacers renewed acquaintances as a total of 16 veterans were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Tony Maurello Stake elimination's. Once again the top five finishers will be back for what should be a very entertaining $112,000 (est) final next week. In the first division the Bob Phillips owned and trained Al's Hammered came flying down the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a seasons best of 1:49.1 with Bobby Smolin at the controls. Content to bide their time near the back of the pack through some quick early splits, Smolin put the five-year-old son of Droppin'thehammer--Alberts Magic into contention at the top of the lane. Uncorking the big late kick he's come to be known for Al's Hammered proceeded to wear down FortSilky (Casey Leonard) in the final sixteenth of a mile for his 13th win in 19 starts this season. FortSilky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Daddy Woo Woo (Ridge Warren) was third. Ice Scraper (Todd Warren), who carved out the fast fractions held on for fourth while Ricky Bobbie (Pat Curtin) was fifth. In the nightcap Bert Hochsprung and the Erv Miller Stables classy veteran Iam Bonasera picked a nice time to grab his first win of the season as he rolled to an easy 1 ½ length victory in 1:51.3 with Travis Seekman at the controls. Perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Big Brad (Robert Smolin) carved out pedestrian splits of 27.4, 57.0 & 1:25.1, Seekman maneuvered the seven-year-old Cole Muffler--Shesoluvabull gelding to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime winner of more than $670,000 did the rest, storming home in 26.1 to get the win. Big Brad settled for second while another Miller trainee, A Cool Card (Dave Magee) was third. Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) was fourth while Doubletrouble (Todd Warren) was fifth. Next up were the two-year-old pacing colts as a total of 19 hopeful's met in a pair of $15,000 battles. The top five in each race will return for what is expected to be next week's biggest purse of the night at $187,000 (est). The first split provided a thrilling finish as the Roger Welch trained entry of Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova finished one-two with Earndawg getting the 1 ½ length score in a career best of 1:54.0 for the partnership of Bo & Pat De Long and E.J. Miller Jr. Sitting near the back of the back of the pack after starting from post position eight, driver Todd Warren did a magnificent job of guiding the altered son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K through the lane charging from eighth to first in the final quarter-mile for his third win in nine lifetime starts. Rockin Cassinova (Dale Hiteman) parlayed a nice ground saving journey into the place check while Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) rallied for third. Also gaining spots in the final was the pace setting Dupage's Z Tam (Casey Leonard) and Thisishowweroll (John De Long). The second elimination was also a barnburner and when the smoke cleared it was Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark who prevailed by the slimmest of noses in 1:55.1 for driver Dave Magee. Given a Hall of Fame steer by Super Night's leading driver, Lucpark left quickly from post nine and settled in nicely at the pylons until the top of the stretch. That's when Magee went to work with the Erv Miller trained son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best, deftly maneuvering off the cones then squeezing through a tight hole with an eighth of a mile to go before wearing down the pace setting King Of The Swamp (Todd Warren) in the last stride for his fourth win in eight lifetime starts. C Note (John De Long) shook loose late to finish third. The last two spots in the final went to Mighty Hot Shot (Brian Carpenter) and Fox Valley Elijah (Dale Hiteman). A total of 23 distaffers were dropped into the box for a trio of $15,000 Lorna Propes Stake elimination's with the top three and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) advancing to next week's $120,000 (est) championship. In the first division Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher, the defending champion in this event, returned to town for trainer Heidi Rohr and promptly served notice that she's going to be tough to dethrone as she posted a 4 ¼ length wire to wire victory in 1:52.1. Confidently handled by driver John De Long, the six-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed shot right to the top and promptly rattled off splits of 28.3, 57.1, & 124.4 before sealing the deal with a brisk 27.2 final panel for her 22nd win in the past two seasons. No Respect (Kyle Wilfong) followed the winner every step of the way but was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) was third. Fox Valley Touche finished fourth. In the middle split Wilson Racing Stable, Norm Neff and Mark Eichberger's Dune In Red parlayed a perfect trip into a 2 ½ length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Dave Magee. Sent hard from post five, the chestnut daughter of Duneside Perch--She Has The Look elected to let a hard charging Party Hangover (Todd Warren) go just after the quarter. That put the Tim Wilson Jr trained miss in a perfect spot the rest of the way. Magee then maneuvered the four-year-old out of the pocket and she responded beautifully as she zipped right by the odds on favorite for her fourth win of the season. Party Hangover held on for second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) was third. Zumba finished fourth. In the final elimination of the night fittingly went to another Dave Magee driven mare as he guided Joshua Carter's Just By Design to a one-length victory in 1:52.3. As was the case for nearly all of the night Magee had the roan six-year-old perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Fox Valley Absolut carved out splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:25.0. Fit and fresh as she waited for the passing lane, the Mike Brink trained miss cruised right by the pace setter for her third win of the season. Fox Valley Absolut held on for second while Toshie Special (Dean Magee) finished third. Auniqueaquistion finished fourth. The elimination action continues on Sunday, Sept. 7th with a $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination. That tussle will go as race six on the 10-race card which begins at 7:10 p.m. (central). No eliminations were needed for the Lady Ann Reed for three-year-old trotting fillies or the Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies. The latter did have a "prep" on Saturday night which was taken by Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly and driver Matt Krueger in 1:55. By Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

When the draw came out for Maywood Park’s Friday program I was more than a little surprised to see the Roger Welch Stable’s Indiana champion Always About Katey in-to-go on the circuit’s half-miler. The 5-year-old Indiana bred mare has put over $736,732 on her card in 2 and 1/2 years of racing for owners William De Long (Clinton, WI), Pat De Long (South Beloit, IL) and her namesake Katey McClymont (Janesville, WI). It’s rare to see Always About Katey not racing in Indiana Invites and it’s even rarer to see the mare at Maywood Park. She finished second in last year’s Cinderella, the only time she’s competed on a half-mile track. “She’s hasn’t been racing well,” said her trainer Roger Welch. “She hasn’t been trying and I was looking for a softer spot to drop her in and maybe braven her-up. There wasn’t anything in Indiana for her and nothing at Balmoral. So I thought I’d shake things up and race her at Maywood. “She’s no lock in Friday’s race. There are some nice mares in it and Katey hasn’t been good lately.” However, Always About Katey is the class of the race and the heavy 6-5 morning line favorite. She was the 2012 Indiana Filly of the Year when she won 10 of 12 races, including a pair of $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Gold events, the $75,800 Circle City at Indiana Downs, and both Balmoral’s $53,900 Hanover and $113,000 American National, racking up $406,545. Last season as a 3-year-old Katey added another $284,657 to her bank account, capturing 7 of 17 starts including another $200,000 Indiana Gold stake in a career best time of 1:51.3. This year Katey is 3-for-16 and while 2 of those wins came earlier in Hoosier Park Invites, the mare has dropped 10 of her last 11 decisions and has a modest $45,530 on this year’s card. Kayey did draw well Friday with the 3-slot for Todd Warren, the stable’s regular Illinois driver. Inside of Katey are Weekend Update (programmed 8-1) and Whistle Pig (10-1). The 4 through 8 slots will be manned by Sealark Hanover (15-1), Poco Granny (9-2), Sleazy Does It (6-1), Auniqueaquistion (12-1) and Mu Caliente (12-1). Windy City Diane (20-1) has the second tier 9-post. The $9,100 eighth race distaff event for non-winners of $9,500 in their last five starts, will share of Maywood spotlight with the same conditioned ninth race for colts and geldings. Bob Phillips Holdingallthecards is listed at 8-5 despite the seven-slot. The Tom Simmons Stable’s Kansas Wildcat is next at 3-1, followed by Dandy Farms Rhombus (4-1) who will make his first career start on a half-miler. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

Indianapolis, IN --- Harfo Hanover brushed to the lead at the three-quarter pole and was never caught on his way to a 1:54.3 score in the $55,462 Fox Stake for harness racing 2-year-old open pacers on Wednesday (Aug. 13) at the Indiana State Fair. The Always A Virgin-Harlow Hall colt is owned by Randy Bendis, William Varney and Reed Broadway. Jeff Cullipher is the trainer and Tyler Smith was in the sulky. Harfo Hanover sat third for the opening half-mile of the race while Allstar Energy was in front at the :30.2 opening quarter and This Baby Rocks took over the lead at the :59.3 half-mile marker. But Smith pulled Harfo Hanover out to take over the lead by the 1:27.1 three-quarter pole and he paced a final panel in :27.2 in drawing off to a 3-1/4 length margin over This Baby Rocks. Cantescapemydesire rallied to be third. The win was the third in seven season's starts for Harfo Hanover, who has now banked $93,981 in his freshman campaign. Also on the all-stakes card was the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong Memorial Trot for freshman open trotters. In that event, William De Long and William Patrick De Long's Stickem Buck came first over at the three-quarter pole, grabbed the lead by the head of the stretch and went on to a 1:59.1 victory for driver Ed Hensley and trainer Roger Welch. The Big Stick Lindy-Aunt Lane gelding won for the third time in five lifetime starts, improving his 2014 bankroll to $70,540. Mance Hanover was second, 3-1/2 lengths behind the winner, while Cool Judgement finished third. Also on the card were eight divisions of the Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and four divisions of the Horseman Stake for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Complete charts for all these races can be found at this link. USTA Communications Department Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

A busy night of state-bred stake action is in the books as Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters starred in six stake finals as part of the Crete plant's Southland Festival of Racing. With more than $250,000 in purse money up for grabs for this year's two and three-year-old crops these battles kick off the richest and busiest time of the season for these state-breds. Freshman pacing fillies started the non-stop action with a field of 10 ladies squaring off in the $43,500 Loyal Opposition Stake. This raced provided the most dramatic finish of the night as Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing's Mr. Leland's Filly rallied from ninth at the top of the stretch to win by a length in a career best of 1:53.2. Patiently handled by leading driver Casey Leonard the daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Kate sat near the back of the pack throughout the mile while heavily favored Lex (Kyle Wilfong) mixed it up with several different rivals through splits of 28.4, 56.1 & 1:24.2. Bobbing and weaving his way through traffic Leonard maneuvered the Erv Miller trained miss into a clear path with an eighth of a mile to go and the filly absolutely exploded, charging home in 26.3 to secure her first lifetime win in start number three. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson) came flying through the passing lane to finish second while Lex held on for third. The winner returned $45.20, $15.00 & $5.80 while helping to key a $577 exacta and $909 ten-cent Superfecta payout. Next up were sophomore trotting fillies as a field of eight diagonally gaited ladies met in the $42,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake. This race also provided a milestone moment as Dr Patrick Graham, Flacco Family Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Say No Mo gave Dirk Simpson his 1,000th training victory by trotting to a two-length upset for driver John De Long. The final time was a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Perfectly positioned at the pylons in third as favored Bailey' Wish (Dave Magee) cruised through splits of 28.4, 57.0 & 1:25.4 De Long angled the daughter of Band's Gold Chip--Not So Kosher to the outside for the stretch drive and the filly responded beautifully, wearing down the pace setter in the final 100 yards to post her third win in 12 starts this season. Bailey' Wish held on for second while Graceful Spirit (Robert Smolin) was third. Sent off at a nice price of 7-1 Say No Mo returned $17.20, $3.40 & $2.40 while running her career numbers to 7-2-3 in 26 starts with earnings of $59,492. It was back to the pace for the next tussle as a field of 10 sophomore fillies battled in the $48,500 Ann Vonian Stake. Once again it was the duo of driver Casey Leonard and trainer Erv Miller who came out on top as Quaid Racing's My Little Bit used the passing lane to perfection in route to a 1 ½ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:52.2. Leaving alertly from post five Leonard positioned his filly perfectly on the back of the hard leaving Cuzimalegend (Travis Seekman) as that filly put up splits of 27.3, 57.1 & 1:24.2. Fit and fresh for the stretch drive the daughter of Sportsmaster--Parade Of Love zipped right by the pace setter with a little less than a sixteenth of a mile to go as she scored for the fifth time in nine starts this season. M A Duty (Ryan Anderson) rallied to finish second while Molly Go Lightly (Kyle Wilfong) turned a ground saving journey into the show dough. Proving once again that when the big money is on the line she comes up big My Little Bit returned $4.00 $2.60 & $2.20 while improving her record to 10-3-2 in 21 career starts with earnings of $183,147. A compact field of six sophomore trotting colts were up next as they battled in the $41,000 Kadabra Stake. Continuing along with an impressive second season Curt & Craig Grummel's Fox Valley Veto powered past rivals in the lane to win by a widening three-lengths in a career best of 1:55.3. John De Long was in the bike for his second championship score of the night. Content to save ground while co-favorite Tour Hall (Dave Magee) and Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) took turns strolling through splits of 30.0, 59.0 & 1:27.4, Fox Valley Veto was raging with trot as De Long pulled from third as the field straightened for the money. Charging right by his main nemesis the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Yankee Victory Om was on "idle" as he crossed under the wire with his third win in seven starts this year. Cardinal Wind (Dale Hiteman) rallied to be second while Bobby B Breeze held on for third. Tour Hall made a late break in the race and wound up last in the field. After posting just one win in 2013, Fox Valley Veto now boasts a record of 4-6-0 in 17 lifetime starts with earnings of $114,694. The even-money co-favorite returned $4.00, $3.00 & $3.20. Next up were freshmen pacing colts as a full field of 10 were sent postward in the $48,000 Mini Me Stake. This test turned into a showcase for conditioner Roger Welch as the veteran conditioner sent out the top two finishers in the race with William C & William P De Long's King Of The Swamp proving best by a length and a half in 1:55.0 for driver Todd Warren. Hustled right to the front the gelded son of Sportsmaster--She's Redhot carved out splits of 29.1, 58.2 & 1:27.0. Showing the grit and determination he exhibited in last week's elimination win, the $85,000 yearling purchase dug in through the lane, keeping his pocket sitting entrymate at bay through a spirited stretch drive. Earndawg (Pat Curtin) was a hard trying second while Lucpark (Dave Magee) benefitted from a disqualification to move up to the show spot. Thisishowweroll (John De Long) had finished third but was disqualified for causing interference while on a break in the first turn. With the win King Of The Swamp, who returned $7.40, $8.60 & $3.80, now sports three wins, a second and a third in five career starts with earnings of $32,858. The last of the six championship tilts on Saturday featured three-year-old pacing colts as a field 10 was sent postward in the $48,000 Incredible Finale Stake. Once again an Ervin Miller trainee found his way to the winner's circle as Megan Rogers Racing Stable's Unlocked lived up to his half-money favoritism with a resounding 5 ½ length romp in 1:50 for driver Dave Magee. Working his way to the front after a quarter in 28.0 the speedy son of Duneside Perch--Miss Major Power effortlessly cruised through middle splits of 56.0 & 1:23.4. With plenty still in reserve the good looking colt sprinted away from his rivals, pacing home in 26.3 while under very minimal urging from his Hall Of Fame pilot. Longshot Fox Valley Cupid (Dale Hiteman) who led at the opening call held on nicely to finish second while another outsider, Fox Valley Van (Brian Carpenter) was third. With the win Unlocked, who has spent a large portion of his second season chasing some of the top sophomores in the country, now sports a record of eight wins and six seconds in 22 career starts with earnings of $142,672. Bet as though defeat was out of the question Unlocked returned $3.00, $2.40 & $2.10. The Southland Festival of Racing action continues on Sunday with a pair of big money events for two-year-old trotters. Post time is 7:10 p.m. for the Sunday card. For entries and more information please visit www.balmoralpark.com. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

ANDERSON, Ind.-July 5, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino highlighted their 21st season of live harness racing with a stakes filled card on Saturday, July 5. Four new Indiana Sires Stakes champions were crowned on the evening that featured the first of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the freshman competitors and the second round of the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the three-year-old divisions. It was Hoosier Park's leading driver, Trace Tetrick, who stole the show with five winners on the evening's 14-race card, four of which came in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals. In the opening division of the two-year-old stakes action, Crunchess Finale and Darrel Wright continued their winning ways to score their third consecutive victory in the $75,000 two-year-old trotting filly final with a 1:58 final time. Using the same front-running tactics as she has in her previous two starts, Crunchess Finale looked every bit the part of an 8-5 favorite and left alertly from post eight. The freshman filly easily secured the lead and clicked off fractions of :28.3, 1:00, and 1:28.2 before finding another gear. As the field turned for home, the daughter of ABC Garland-Crunchess looked poised on the front and began to trot away from the rest of the field. Using a :28.4 final quarter, Crunchess Finale coasted on to the wire to finish five lengths in front of Golden Big Stick and Brad Hanners. Heavily backed at the window, Crunchess Finale returned $5.40 to her backers. The 1:58 victory was a lifetime best mark for the Dan O'Mara trainee who remains undefeated this season. Owned by Joseph Hess, Crunchess Finale has now earned $50,500 from three lifetime outings. In the very next race, Stickem Buck, driven by Ed Hensley, staged a big rally late in the lane to score his maiden breaking win in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old trotting colts in 1:58.2. After a miscue at the start by the heavily favored, Airman Batten the race appeared to be a wide open affair. Flashy Cantab and Trace Tetrick left aggressively to set first half fractions of :29.2 and :59.2 before making a costly break around the final turn. Swan on One and Dave Magee inherited the lead after the break by the front-runner and appeared to be up to the task but Stickem Buck loomed large in the background. Under urging from Hensley, Stickem Buck was able to track down Swan On One in the final strides of the mile to win by a nose. Slightly dismissed at the windows, Stickem Buck returned $12.60 at to his backers. From the first crop of Big Stick Lindy, Stickem Buck is trained by Roger Welch and owned by William C. Delong and William P. Delong. Stickem Buck has now earned $42,500 from two career starts. On the pacing side of the two-year-old stakes action, Hoosier Park's leading driver Trace Tetrick doubled up in both the two-year-old pacing filly final and two-year-old pacing colt final. First, Tetrick guided Flight Cancelled to her second consecutive win as a freshman in the $75,000 pacing filly final with a final time of 1:55. Leaving from the trailing post ten, Flight Cancelled was eased off the gate and settled along the rail in fifth while HeyHey Mahanah and Peter Wrenn carved out first-half fractions of :28.4 and :57.4. Approaching the final turn, Tetrick gave his mount the green light and she reached the leader's wheel at the third station in 1:26. As the field turned for home, the top pair was neck and neck but Flight Cancelled wasn't finished. Using a :28.3 final panel, Flight Cancelled was able to wear down HeyHey Mahanah late in the lane to grind out the victory. As the betting publics' second choice, Flight Cancelled returned $13.00 for the victory. Trained by Steve Carter, Flight Cancelled remains undefeated at two for owners Steve and Tammy Carter. The daughter of Panspacificflight-Goa BB now sports a career bankroll of $37,500 from two lifetime outings. Just a few races later, Tetrick continued his winning ways and scored with Tom Simmon's Kelly D in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing colts in 1:52.4. Kelly D remains undefeated at two and equaled the national's season mark for two-year-old pacing colts with the win. Kelly D left aggressively from post two to get the first call in :27.4 but quickly yielded the lead to Harfo Hanover and Ed Hensley. Harfo Hanover led the way through the middle splits of :56.3 and 1:25.2 before feeling pressure on the outside from Camturo Rock and Dave Magee. Harfo Hanover was able to put away Camturo Rock and dug in gamely down the lane but could not hold off Kelly D who exploded from the pocket. With a final quarter in :27, Kelly D finished two lengths in front of the hard-charging Toni's Affection and Sam Widger. As the publics' third choice, Kelly D returned $7.40 at the betting windows. The homebred son of Panspacificflight-U Olive is owned by Larry Breed and has won all three of his lifetime outings. Kelly D now sports a career bankroll of $51,525. Tetrick also scored with Brian Brown's Color's A Virgin in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies and Scott Galloway's Double A Cash Hall in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting colts. His first win of the night came in the $25,000 consolation for two-year-old pacing fillies with Do U Mind for trainer Brian Brown. Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, July 8 with a 14-race card. Live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will be conducted through November 15. Emily Gaskin Racing Commentator, Publicist and Marketing Specialist

ANDERSON, Ind.-May 2, 2014 - Always About Katey returned to her winning ways and captured the featured event, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, May 2. After a third place finish at this level last week, Always About Katey used a gritty, gate-to-wire performance to win in 1:53.1 for driver Tyler Smith. Leaving from post four, Smith switched up his driving tactics this week and sent Always About Katey firing from the gate. Blissful Romance and Ricky Macomber Jr. also left alertly to secure a pocket seat while Ole Miss and Jason Dillander settled along the rail in third. Always About Katey was able to dictate early fractions of :27 and :56.1 while the field remained in single file order down the backside. Andy Shetler was the first to commit to the outer flow and had House of Pleasure out and firing approaching the final turn. American Girl and Peter Wrenn quickly grabbed the cover and were well placed second-over while No Respect and Sam Widger followed suit. Always About Katey, still three-parts of a length to the good, reached the third station in 1:25 while the rest of the field closed in. Blissful Romance tipped from the pocket and made a strong bid at the leader but Always About Katey dug in gamely to win by a nose. Igottafeelinfran and Brad Hanners, trailing the field at the top of the stretch, staged a big rally late in the lane to round out the trifecta. As the publics' choice, Always About Katey returned $5.40 to her backers. Trained by Roger Welch, the two-time Indiana Sire Stakes champion won her 19th start from 33 lifetime outings. With the win, the daughter of Always A Virgin-Topville Cyberwave sent her lifetime earnings over the $700,000 mark for her connections of William C. DeLong, William P. DeLong, and Katey McClymont. The victory was the second win of the season and a seasonal best performance. Live harness racing continues on Saturday, May 3and will begin at its regularly scheduled post of 5:15 p.m. with an action-packed 13-race card. Additionally, Churchill Downs' full racing card will be shown throughout the Hoosier Park property. Racing fans at Hoosier Park can enjoy convenient wagering for all races held at Churchill Downs including the Kentucky Derby, a full simulcast race schedule, official Derby merchandise, and entertainment throughout the day. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park

With a busy weekend of two-year-old action in the books the countdown to one of Balmoral Park’s biggest events in history, American National Stake Night will begin in earnest. A pair of American National elimination tussles for freshmen pacers headlined the Saturday, Nov. 2nd action with 10 two-year-old pacing fillies battling for a purse of $18,530. The top eight finishers will return on Saturday, November 9th to battle for $115,000.   Using a two-hole trip to perfection, driver Todd Warren guided the Roger Welch trained Always Electric to a one-length victory in 1:54.2.   After being used hard to grab control of the proceedings Warren elected to allow a hard charging Shell Bell (Dale Hiteman) go after pacing through an opening quarter in 28.0.   Sitting in the garden spot through middle splits of 56.4 & 1:26.0 the Roger Welch trained miss was locked and loaded as the field turned for home. Maneuvering his charge into the passing lane, Warren sent the daughter of Always A Virgin—Miss Yankee Doodle on her way and the filly responded beautifully as she swallowed up her rivals with a 28.1 final quarter to post her sixth win in 13 starts. Shell Bell held on for second while Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Jaded Dream, Boxed Chocolates, One Jazzy Lady, Game of Dreamers and Tough Rose.   Another field of 10 was sent postward in the $17,330 colt elimination with the top eight again moving on to next week’s $113,000 final.   Once again a perfect two-hole journey proved to be the winning ticket as the Chris Ryder trained Bushwacker zipped by his rivals in the lane to score by a deceptively easy length in a career best of 1:51.4 with Mike Oosting at the controls.   Taking advantage of an inside starting spot Oosting positioned the son of Rocknroll Hanover—Dolphins Can Talk, who was a $135,000 yearling purchase, in the garden spot as Somesizesomestyle (Brett Miller) ripped through splits of 27.0, 54.1 & 1:22.1.   Moving out of the pocket at the top of the lane Bushwacker overpowered the pace setter with an eighth of a mile to go then drew clear in the shadow of the wire for his second win in five lifetime starts. Somesizesomestyle held for second while Wicked Business (Travis Seekman) finished third. Also gaining spots in the final were Odds On Rhodonite, Archetto Hanover, Rocknroll Reality, Unlocked and Traffic Cop.   State-bred trotters were in action on Sunday, Nov. 3rd as a field of nine diagonally gaited fillies met in the $10,000 Monee Stake. After struggling with breaking problems in two of her last three outings Dr. Patrick Graham’s Fox Valley Lotus was on her best behavior on Sunday and the filly showed the type of ability she has with a sharp 2 ½ length come from behind win in 2:00.4.             Patiently saving ground as Bailey’s Wish (Dave Magee) put up splits of 30.0, 59.1 & 1:29.0 the daughter of Pizazzed—Love You More shook loose in the lane and zipped right by the pace-setter for her second win in 11 lifetime starts. Bailey’ Wish held on for second while Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) finished third. The win helped push the Curt Grummel trainee’s career bankroll over the $50,000 plateau.   by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park  

ANDERSON, Ind.—October 18, 2013—Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will once again highlight the 2013 Standardbred season on Saturday, October 19 with Indiana’s finest trotters and pacers convening on Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval for the annual Hoosier Champions Night, an evening with purse totals topping the $1 million mark. A total of 14 races have been established and after the dust settles, four new Indiana Sires Stakes champions will be crowned. The first race will line up behind the starting gate at 5:30 p.m. All two-year-old Indiana Gold Sires Stakes finals will go for purses of $200,000 while two $40,000 Indiana Silver Sire Stakes finals will also be contested on the evening. “Our Hoosier Champions Night has become a much-anticipated event among horseman and racing fans alike,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing noted. “The 2013 season has already exceeded my expectations and I am excited to offer racing fans another stellar night of racing. To have horses of this quality racing at Hoosier Park speaks volumes to where our racing program has come and where it is going.” In its’ 20th season of live harness racing, Hoosier Park is in the midst of its’ fastest season to date. Hoosier Park’s track surface continues to sizzle as 24 track records have been re-established this season. Each of the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes finals will feature a current track record holder at Hoosier Park. Justice Jet and driver Ed Hensley will look to sweep the two-year-old trotting colt division with a win in the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final from post five for trainer Roger Welch. Justice Jet was victorious in the first $200,000 final and will look to overcome the morning line favorite and current Hoosier Park track record holder, Rose Run Parker from post nine. Hudson Jesse will look to extend her win streak to five in the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final for two-year-old trotting fillies with Jason Dillander at the lines. Starting from post five, Hudson Jesse is trained by William Crone and will face off with the current track record holder for two-year-old trotting fillies, Andi’s Alana who starts from post two for driver Marcus Miller . Hoosier Park’s leading trainer Ron Burke will look to score with his freshman fillies, U R It BB and Always Dee One in the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final for two-year-old pacing fillies. Just one race later, Speed Trap will look to score his first Indiana Sire Stakes final win in the two-year-old pacing colt division for the Ron Burke Stable as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Speed Trap recently re-established the track record for two-year-old pacing colts after a 1:50.4 romp in Sire Stakes action. In addition to the racing program that boasts lofty purses, racing fans will have the opportunity to venture out for a night of German-themed fun with a rock ‘n’ roll twist. Starting at 5 p.m., traditional German foods and a biergarten featuring international brews and hard ciders will be available as part of a special evening tagged “Rocktoberfest”. The first 200 guests will receive free pumpkins and a painting station will be conveniently located in the Yard. Activities like cornhole, horseshoes and a high striker strongman game will add a competitive nature to the night. A live band will be on hand to accompany all the activities taking place throughout Hoosier Park’s Yard. Guests can also enter to be a part of the popular “I Win, You Win” promotion. Just as it sounds, the “I Win, You Win” promotion gives patrons the chance to win a $25 Hoosier Park gift card if one of the All-Star Drivers wins a race on the Friday or Saturday night’s card. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday-Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:30 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet began on April 2 and will be conducted through November 9. by Emily Gaskin for Hoosier Park  

The $21,750 Lady Lincoln Land Consolation is for ICF 2-year-old filly trotters who didn’t finish in the top four in last week’s $105,000 championship so it’s somewhat surprising to find a trio of past stakes winners in Wednesday’s starting field. Nonetheless that’s the case. Going postward in the third race feature is S V Spirit, a Springfield elimination winner and the Downstate Classic champion at Lincoln, Du Quoin’s Shawnee victor Fox Valley Hosana, along with Vienna who won the Fox Valley Flan Final at the end of July at Balmoral. “Hosana” was fifth best in the Lady Lincoln Lane Final for trainer Dirk Simpson, Bob Phillips’ Vienna broke and ended up seventh, and S V Spirit went off stride in contention and finished eighth for the Roger Welch Stable. The trio could get the bulk of the money bet in Wednesday’s Consolation event. S V Spirit, the 8-5 beaten favorite in the final, will open as the 5-2 choice with Todd Warren Wednesday. Fox Valley Hosana (Mike Oosting) is at 5-1, while Vienna (Kyle Wilfong) is at first flash odds of 6-1. They’ll be challenged by Say No Mo (Dale Hiteman), another Simpson trainee who will race un-coupled with Fox Valley Hosana and is the 4-1 second programmed choice, Green Acres (8-1, Jon Anderson), High Balance (12-1, Lavern Hostetler), Macie Rae (8-1, Mike Rogers) and Graceful Spirit (10-1, Casey Leonard). Macie Rae, a first-time Lasix user, was an eight-time winner with past summer fair circuit and took the Country Fair Challenge at Do Quoin by over 13 lengths in 2:00.4 with Rogers. Stakes Aplenty: There are a half-dozen more stakes raced to be contested this week starting with a pair of $12,000 Betzotic’s at Maywood. The ICF 3-year-old filly pacers vie on Thursday night while the state-bred sophomore colts tangle on Friday. Grandma Ann champion Auniqueaquistion makes her first start since Super night in the eighth race Thursday feature. Fox Valley Norman and Silver Devil, the 1-2 finishers in the recent Bye Bye Byrd at Balmoral are in Friday's ICF stake. There’s another $12,000 Betzotic Saturday at Balmoral and it’s for Illinois bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. The freshman filly version goes on Sunday evening where it’ll be joined by the last two Hanover stakes for this season. Both the 2-year-old colt and filly Hanover’s have estimated purses of $60,000. Recent Lady Lincoln Land champion Bailey’s Wish will head up the local contingent of freshman distaff trotters Muscle Network, a 1:53.2 winner last Friday, the fastest of a trio of $86,000 International Stallion stakes decided at The Red Mile, is eligible for Sunday’s Hanover colt trot and is a likely starter for trainer Tony O’Sullivan. Photo Surprise and Fox Valley Veto, the one-two-finishers in last Sunday’s $105,000 Lincoln Land Final, are both expected to also enter. Oosting Moves Up. With 10 winning drives over the weekend at Balmoral Mike Oosting is now at 447 for the season, moving him into sixth place in dash winners throughout the country and Canada. The Michigan native entered this week only one winner out of fifth. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Continuing a nice late season surge towards divisional honors James Bafia and Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish completely dominated nine rivals in the year’s richest race for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies, winning Wednesday $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake by 3 ½ lengths at Balmoral Park. The final time was1:59.4. Given a perfect steer by driver Dave Magee the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen was hustled to the front after landing in fourth through an opening quarter in 29.4. “I knew we had to gain some early position since we were leaving from the eight-hole,” explained Magee. “Once they started to slow down just a little bit on the front end I asked her to go and she moved up to the front very easily for me.” Rolling through middle splits of 59.3 & 1:28.4 the Dirk Simpson trainee began to put daylight between herself and her struggling rivals as the field neared the top of the stretch. On cruise control the rest of the way Bailey’s Wish effortlessly trotted under the wire with her third win in her last four starts and her fourth win in 11 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) rallied up the inside to finish second while Bands Pippa (Casey Leonard) was third. “She was doing that all on her own,”said the Hall of Famer. “I don’t like to pressure her if I don’t have to. She just trotted right away from them and glided home with no urging from me whatsoever.” The 8-5 co-favorite in the race returned $5.40, $3.20 & $3.00 while upping her career bankroll to $93,383. Earlier in the night trainer Roger Welch reached a career milestone as he sent out his 1,000th career winner. The 50-year-old Beecher, IL resident was extremely jubilant since son his Ryan was the owner-driver for the milestone event, guiding Monticello Lulu to victory in the first race night of the night. “I couldn’t have asked for more than this to have my son Ryan driving the horse that gives me a 1,000 wins,” said the proud father. “Couple that with the fact that this is a horse that belongs to our family and it’s more than I could have ever imagined.” Approximately three minutes later Welch struck again, this time at Hoosier Park as his fine two-year-old trotting colt Justice Jet gave the veteran conditioner his 1,001st win taking a Sire Stake event. “We were watching the two races side-by-side on the televisions down in the paddock,” said Welch. “I didn’t want to miss either one of them. Luckily I was still able to get down to the winner’s circle here at Balmoral to celebrate!” David Baum   

Quantity and quality is often a successful combination and that’s what trainer Dirk Simpson has going for him in Wednesday’s $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Championship at Balmoral Park. The Springfield based trainer has 4 of the 10 finalists in the richest stake race of the season for ICF 2-year-old trotting fillies; including the 7-2 second morning line favorite Bailey’s Wish in the fourth race feature. Owned by James Bafia of Minooka, IL and his co-worker Gene White of Chicago, Bailey’s Wish was much the best in last week’s Lady Lincoln single elimination for the two brokers at the Chicago Board of Trade. Bailey’s Wish led at every pole and was more than four lengths the best at the end of her winning 1:59.4 mile. National Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee was all smiles talking about the Simpson trainee. “She was really good the other night, probably as good as she has ever been,” said Dave. “Bailey’s Wish was straight and she was solid. She really raced well and she comes into this championship very sharp. “The filly is great gaited. While she’s not big she’s filling out nicely. I think she has the potential to be a very good trotting filly.” Bailey’s Wish didn’t draw well, landing the 8-slot in the 10-horse field, but she has shown she has the gate speed to leave for position if asked. Du Quoin champion Fox Valley Hosanna leaves (8-1) from the middle of the pack for driver Mike Oosting, while Bands Pippa and Say No Mo, two fillies that Dirk also shares ownership with have the one and three slots, respectively. Casey Leonard will be behind Bands Pippa (6-1) for the first time after the filly drew a bye into the Land Lincoln land Final. John De Long (10-1) is back to guide Say No Mo, who had a big effort in last week’s elimination. Say No Mo left from the 10-hole and got good up-close position, She raced third on the inside most of the way, following her two more successful stable-mates Bailey’s Wish and Fox Valley Hosanna but when the latter stalled in the lane, Say No Mo was pushed back before finishing strong. All four fillies Wednesday will race un-coupled. The Roger Welch Stable’s S V Spirit (Todd Warren), moves to the inside two-slot for the championships where she looks very dangerous for her driver Todd Warren and opens as the 3-1 morning line favorite. She didn’t have the easiest of trips when she was third in last Wednesday’s elimination. Also looking for pull off an upset in the Lady Lincoln Land are Green Acres (15-1, Jon Anderson), Lora Lee Breeze (15-1, Matt Krueger), Graceful Spirit (12-1, Brian Carpenter, Fox Valley Skylar (9-2, Dale Hiteman) and Fox Valley Flan champion Vienna (8-1, Kyle Wilfong) who has the 10-slot. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Springfield based trainer Dirk Simpson will send out a trio of fillies in Wednesday’s Lady Lincoln Land stake single elimination and has a fourth already in next week’s $110,000 final via a bye. Only an eighth place or higher finish is needed in the 10-horse first race field to advance and therefore many trainers turned their thumbs down for a free pass into the 2-year-old ICF trotting deciding instead to keep their filly sharp and take their chances in the elim. Division’s leading money earner Fox Valley Lotus ($40,615), the Springfield champion and the Du Quoin runner-up, took the bye and Simpson’s Bands Pippa will by-pass her way into the final as well. “All the other top money earner trainers passed on the bye before I took it with Bands Pippa,” said Simpson. “She’s earned less ($11,636) than the three of my other fillies racing in the elimination and less than several others entered.” Simpson’s top two freshman fillies, Bailey’s Wish, the Springfield runner-up, and Du Quoin champion Fox Valley Hosanna, disappointed in last week’s elimination. Bailey Wish made a break and was distanced while Fox Valley Hosana also finished far up the track in seventh. Simpson’s other elimination starter is Say No Moe who was third in the Shawnee. “I was totally surprised by the break from Bailey’s Wish,” continued the Illinois Harness Hall of Fame trainer. “We did some things we believe will take care of the problem and I expect her to race just find in the elimination. “Hosana displaced a palate so it wasn’t her fault she did so poorly. We worked on taking care of that issue and with the rail Wednesday instead of the 10-hole she had in the American National, she should do just fine, too. “Say No Moe landed the 10-hole Wednesday but she should be all right to move along to the final where hopefully she’ll draw better.” Bailey’s Wish ($33,338), programmed as the 4-1 second choice with Dave Magee, drew the two-slot Wednesday while here stable-mate Fox Valley Hosana (6-1, Mike Oosting), with $30,495 in earnings landed the one. The 7-2 morning line favorite is the Roger Welch Stable’s S V Spirit (p.p. 6, Todd Warren), a four-time season winner in 10 starts. Starting to her right is Fox Valley Flan champion Vienna (5-1, Kyle Wilfong). Also looking to advance to the Lady Lincoln Land showdown are Green Acres) 15-1, Jon Anderson), Fox Valley Skylar (12-1, Dale Hiteman), Lora Lee Breeze (15-1, Matt Krueger), High Balance (15-1, Lavern Hostetler), Macie Rae (10-1, Brian Carpenter) and Say No Mo(8-1, John De Long). Simpson’s Super Night champ Trot Fudge Sundae is racing in Thursday’s Hoosier Park Invitational where the 3-year-old ICF filly landed the 9-hole against older trotters. “She’s got some stakes still coming up and I wanted to keep her sharp so that’s why she’s there,” said Dirk. “There was nowhere else to race her.” By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Trainer Roger Welch’s super night came a few days earlier than the 25th edition of Illinois festive evening of racing last weekend at Balmoral Park. The Belvedere, IL native sent out four horses at Hoosier Park on the track’s “Night of Champions” September 11 program and they delivered $228,800 in purse earnings to the stable, thus far this year the most lucrative payday on a single card by any an Illinois based trainer. Welch’s Always About Katey and Justine Jet each won a $200,000 Indiana Sire Championship and his two other starters finished third. Racing at both his home track at Balmoral with a 3 and 1/2 hour drive to Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana, sometimes on the same night, has got to be awfully tough on Welch and his employees. “It’s not an easy thing to do and it takes a lot of traveling but when you can race for 3 or 4 times more money than you can in Illinois, it can be worth it,” said Welch, who celebrates his 50th birthday today. “Plus, the stake payments to Indiana sire events are a quarter of what they are in Illinois, so it can be a profitable business if you have the right horses.” In 2012 over 4,000 Standardbred horses were bred in Indiana, about 10 times more than in Illinois where the breeding industry has been hit hard through the past decade with the exodus of so many horsemen and their owners. For the last 20 years in Indiana the breeding industry has grown leaps and bounds with the influx of money derived from on-track Casino gambling. Meanwhile, it’s been mostly broken promises for the last 10-plus years to the horsemen and the racetracks in our state with still no slots at the racetracks. “In our industry in Illinois there haven’t been any new sires in years and that’s also the case for broodmares,” said Welch. “When you go to a yearling in our state it’s a cross of the same old broodmares and the same old sires. “Half the babies in the sale are the brothers and sisters of horses you’ve trained and the other half are brothers and sisters of horses you’ve raced against. It’s the same old bloodlines. There aren’t any new faces at our Illinois sales. It’s been stagnant that way for a long time.” While the Standardbred breeding industry is prospering big-time in Indiana and lucrative purses are offered to horsemen and owners, that hasn’t translated into booming mutuel handles. Far from it, the wagering on Balmoral programs is two to three times greater on any given night than at Hoosier Park. Indiana’s $1.88 million Night of Champions program handled only $470,783, compared to Balmoral’s $1.3 million Super Night card where $1,758,945 poured through its betting windows with the same number of races. In fact the same Wednesday when Hoosier Park held its “Night of Champions,” Balmoral handled $700,730, over $200,000 more, with four less races and a paltry $43,600 in total purses, that’s $1,836,400 less than horsemen raced for in Indiana that night. I asked Roger why he thought the mutuel handle in Indiana has never caught up to the caliber of horses racing nightly in the Hoosier state. “There do have better horses with full fields and their marketing department does a very good job,” he answered. “The track has plenty of giveaways and special events but what they don’t do is cater to the big gambler. They do a number of things that keep that person away. I’ll give you a half-dozen of them: “First, Hoosier has 10 horse fields but unlike Balmoral, it’s not 10 horses across. It’s nine behind the (starting) gate with a trailing horse and most gamblers don’t like trailers. “Second, they have a no whipping rule in Indiana. A driver can’t whip at all. You’re fined if you do. Gamblers like to see drivers get after their horse. Most hit the bike or the disk wheel, anyway “Next, unlike Illinois they don’t use a staggered starting gate there and the gambler knows that hurts the chances of horses with outside posts. “They don’t have a passing lane at Hoosier like they have on the Chicago circuit. Most tracks do and big players like it. They don’t want to see their horse stuck inside with no chance of getting loose race after race. “Also, Indiana starts its races at a bad time. They start at 5:30 pm. Most harness tracks start at 7 or 7:30 in the evening. Indiana begins its races going against some major thoroughbred tracks in California and it’s at a time that is too early for most harness racing fans. “Lastly, Hoosier is a 7/8’s oval while Balmoral is a full mile track. Every poll taking in the county says players prefer a big track and they prefer it by a wide margin. “If Hoosier Park’s Super Night card were raced at Balmoral Park on a Saturday night it would set a new record handle," added Roger.” It makes you ask yourself what kind of handle numbers Balmoral Park could put up on a regular basis if the slots-at-the-racetracks bill ever gets passed and signed in Illinois. It definitely would be huge, that’s for sure. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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