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The harness racing meet at the Du Quoin State Fair wraps up today with a number of ICF championships to be decided on the 11-race card that will get under way at 12 noon. The showcase event is the $40,000 Governor’s Cup for ICF 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Springfield champion Thisishowweroll (John De Long) is the 2-1 morning line favorite to capture the 10th race headliner. The Nick Giberson trainee did draw the outside 7-slot. Trainer Erv Miller sends out a pair of major threat in the Governor’s Cup, Lucpark (Dave Magee) and Engine One O One (Casey Leonard). Lucpark has been no worse than fourth in six career starts, winning twice. Engine One O One earned a trip to Du Quoin with an impressive 1:54.4 victory (:27.1 last panel) debuting at Springfield in an Illinois Department of Agriculture event. The Sportsmaster gelding sold for $42,000 as a yearling to Quaid Racing and Paymaq Racing and is a half-bother to King’s Legend (1:51), the runner-up in the 2012 Incredible Finale and Hanover for Team Miller. A pair of overwhelming favorites should be Herman Wheeler’s Fox Valley Qatar in the first $17,000 Darn Safe for ICF freshman males (No Show Wagering) and Megan Roger’s Unlocked in the $22,000 Dudley 3-year-old colt and gelding pace (No Place or Show Wagering). Fox Valley Qatar (1-1, Todd Warren) is unbeaten in five career starts and comes off easy victories in the Plesac and Springfield championships. Unlocked (4-5, Dave Magee) was dominating in both his Incredible Finale (1:50.2) and Springfield (1:49.1) championships. In the latter he motored his last quarter in a sizzling 25.4 seconds. The most intriguing stake race of the afternoon could be in the second Dudley Hanover split with rematch of Captain Greedy (2-1, J D Finn) and Cruisin Valor (5-2, Brian Carpenter), the one-two at Springfield in a division of the Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes. After a second place finish behind Fox Valley Qatar in Balmoral’s mid-June Million Dollar Bye stake Captain Greedy has strung together six consecutive victories. He held off Crusin Valor by a neck at Springfield. The Gerald Hanson Stable’s Cruisin Valor (Brian Carpenter) was much the best in a Hanover, drawing away by five lengths in 2:00.1 for Illinois owners (Sam) Lilly Racing Stables (Downers Grove), Shelley Steele (Monee) and Payton Ode (Joliet). They’ll be challenged by Bulldog Benji (programmed 15-1, Dave Magee), Jake Quaider (9-2, Casey Leonard), Southerncomfortzone (9-2, John De Long), RT Habenero (7-1, Robert Taylor) and Broadway Emotion (25-1, Mike Brink). Also on the line Sunday afternoon are a couple of $8,000 Championships for older ICF pacing mares and pacing horses or geldings. The fifth race distaff stake lines up with Just By Design (9-2, Dave Magee), Springfield champion Dallas Jones (3-1, Casey Leonard), Parkland Powerful victor No Respect (9-5, John De Long); Rev Me Up (7-2, Todd Warren) and Incredible Filly (6-1, Ronnie Gillespie). The ninth race championship brings out Sadies Art (15-1, Tom T. Tetrick), Mystical Walter (6-5, Casey Leonard), Big Daddy Woo Woo (5-2, Dale Hiteman), My Boy Luke (20-1, Dave Magee) and Fancy Creek Elusiv (2-1, Ryan Anderson). There is no Show wagering on either of the older ICF pace championships. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

After a two-week hiatus live racing returned to BalmoralPark with a pair of state-bred stakes for older pacers sharing top billing on the 13-race program. The ladies kicked off the action with a pair of $21,400 divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake. In the first division Kenneth Rucker's Party Hangover continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 3 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:51.1 for driver Todd Warren. After leaving alertly from the outside starting spot, Warren sent the five-year-old daughter of Party At Artsplace on her way from fourth after an opening quarter of 27.0. Quickly moving to the front, the Catrina Rucker trained miss proceeded to lead the field through middle splits of 54.1 & 1:22.2. Through the lane the only thing in doubt was who would pick up the minor spoils as Party Hangover effortlessly reported home with her sixth straight victory. Just By Design (Dave Magee) rallied from last to finish second while Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) was third. With the win Party Hangover boasts a record of 7-3-2 in 21 starts this season. The overwhelming favorite returned just $3.20, $2.60 & $2.10 while upping her career earnings to $292,511. The second division provided an upset as Mark Winship's No Respect took advantage of a miscue in the lane by favorite Dallas Jones in route to a 2 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:51.4 for driver John De Long. Settling near the back as the action up front was hot and heavy De Long was happy to watch Incredible Filly (Ronnie Gillespie), The Bruzilian Blur (Todd Warren) and then Dallas Jones (Kyle Wilfong) all trade blows through red-hot splits of 27.3, 54.1 & 1:23.1. In the lane, State Fair Stake winner Dallas Jones made a very uncharacteristic break jamming up several rivals while leaving a fit and fresh No Respect with clear sailing to the wire. The Nick Giberson trained daughter of Sportsmaster then proceeded to uncork a 28.0 final quarter to notch her seventh victory of the season. Dune In Red (Dave Magee) who inherited the lead after the miscue by the favorite held on for second while Kimberly R (Dale Hiteman) finished third. Sent off at 9-1 the brown five-year-old returned $22.80, $4.00 & $3.20 while pushing her career earnings up to $314,428. A full field of 10 pacers went postward in the $35,200 Big Tom Stake and when the smoke cleared in this wild and wooly affair it was John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler's FortSilky who emerged with an impressive 6 ¾ length victory in 1:49.3 for driver Casey Leonard. With even money favorite Al's Hammered saddled with a starting spot in the second tier Leonard left quickly with Fort Silky sitting right on the back of the hard leaving Ice Scraper (Ross Leonard) through splits of 27.2 & 55.0. Deftly averting disaster when the pace setter made a break approaching the top of the stretch, Fort Silky was in full in stride as he sailed by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:22.3. Leaving his rivals in his wake the eight-year-old Ft. ApacheHanover gelding sealed the deal in grand fashion, pacing home in 27.0 to post his 20th win over the past two seasons. Iam Bonasera (Kyle Wilfong) turned a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while Al's Hammered was forced to settle for third on this night. The Terry Leonard trainee returned $9.20, $5.60 & $3.20 while upping his career bankroll to an eye popping $650,650. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Jubilation quickly turned to heartbreak in a pair of trotting events at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 9th as a pair of diamond gaiters looked to be home free only to have late miscues cost them what looked to be sure victories in these state-bred stake events.   In what looked like it was going to a replay of their last two encounters Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) carved out splits of 28.0, 58.1 & 1:27.3 and appeared to be holding firm to the wire before going off stride with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. That allowed the pocket sitting Bailey's Wish and driver Dave Magee to capitalize on their good fortune as they zipped right on by for the victory in the $10,000 Fox Valley Diva Stake for state-bred three-year-old trotting fillies. Macie Rae settled for the place spot while Lora Lee Breeze (Matt Krueger) was a distant third.   The three-quarter-length triumph in a career best of 1:56.1 pushed the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen's career record to 7-6-3 in 22 starts for owners James Bafia and Eugene White. The good looking brown filly has also banked a hefty $151,983 while under the guidance of conditioner Dirk Simpson who is zeroing in on the 1,000 victory plateau.   In the first of two $5,000 divisions of the Psychic Spirit Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts Southrncomfortzone (John De Long) looked to be home free after a pocket sitting journey behind Captain Greedy and driver-trainer J.D. Finn. That's when disaster struck for that colt as he "jumped it off" allowing Captain Greedy, who had put up splits of 29.3, 1:00.2 & 1:31.2 to reclaim the lead and cruise to a six-length triumph in 1:59.4. Cardinal Yankee (Mike Brink) rallied to be second while Pizzalicious (Dale Hiteman) was moved from fourth to third because of the disqualification of Southrncomfortzone.   The win was the third in four starts for the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie who now has $6,692 in career earnings.   The second division of the Psychic Spirit proved to be far less dramatic as the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar made it three in a row to open his career posting an impressive 2 ¾ length victory in a career best of 1:58.3.   After saving ground while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) put up splits of 30.1, 1:00 & 1:29.2, driver Todd Warren eased Fox Valley Qatar through the passing lane and the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain responded beautifully as he charged right by the tiring pace setter for an easy score. Allpowernoemotion held on for second while RT Habenero (Robert Taylor) rallied to be third.   Fox Valley Qatar now sports career earnings of $5,625 and looks like he'll be the one to beat heading into the State Fair Stakes at Springfield in August.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Illinois conceived and foaled freshmen shared top billing on Wednesday, June 18th at Balmoral Park as a pair of events once again showcased both pacers and trotters from the state-bred ranks. A full field of 10 two-year-old pacing fillies were dropped into the box for the $10,000 Incredible Tillie Stake. With a wicked lighting storm approaching the Crete oval, which eventually wound up delaying the races right after the finish of this event, Peter Dora's Lyrics Fall turned in an electrifying effort scoring by a neck in wire to wire fashion while stopping the clock in 1:56.2 over a "good" racetrack. Speeding away from post position six for driver Ronnie Gillespie, the bay daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Evelyn put up splits of 29.2, 59.0 & 1:28.3 while rolling along unchallenged on the front end. After opening up a four-length advantage by the mid-stretch call the $1,800 yearling purchase was all out to hold off the late charge of Gracie On My Mind (Dave Magee) who came flying home in 27.1 to finish second. Fox Valley Redhead (Dean Magee) also uncorked a big late move to wind up third. A field of six trotting fillies went postward in the $5,000 Star Slinger Stake and when the smoke cleared it was Cynthia Demarlie & Jason Ward's Bi Polar Rose who emerged victorious, scoring by 1 ½ lengths in 2:02.0 over a track listed as "good". Sent right to the top by Travis Seekman the daughter of Polar Winner--I Still Owe rattled off splits of 31.2, 1:03.3 & 1:33.1. After repelling a first over bid from Fox Valley Macy (Ronnie Gillespie) at the top of the lane, the Rod Allums Jr. trained miss trotted home in a sharp 28.4 to make her debut a winning one. Persuasive Look (Dave Magee) overcame a miscue behind the gate to rally for the bridesmaid spot while Patient I D (Dale Hiteman) followed the winner's every move while garnering the show dough.   Bi Polar Rose made her debut a winning one as she scored in wire to wire fashion for Travis Seekman in Wednesday's Star Slinger Stake.   Lyrics Fall (inside) held off a late bid from Gracie On My Mind (outside) to take the $10,000 Incredible Tillie Stake for 2yo pacing fillies in her career debut.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

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

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.

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

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

Ronnie Gillespie is the epitome of a self-made harness racing driver/trainer. And what a driver/trainer he has made himself into. The 40-year-old Gillespie was born in Chicago but raised in Mississippi. He returned to Illinois in his late 20s and this summer is enjoying a breakout season.

It was a very busy weekend of harness racing stake elimination action on Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd at Balmoral Park as some of the state's top two & three-year-old pacers and trotters met in Southland Festival of Racing stake eliminations.

Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds were front and center on Saturday, July 7th at Balmoral Park as a total of 15 harness racing sophomores battled in a pair of $10,000 Ohyouprettything Stake splits while seven of their male counterparts squared off in the $12,000 Hothead Stake.

A pair of state-bred stake events were contested on Friday's (July 6th) Maywood Park harness racing program but the "King" of the state-bred pacing set stole all the headlines as James Gorman's Well To Do Guru continued his dominance with an easy 1:51.4 wire to wire victory over seven rivals in the $30,000 Cook County Stake.

Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old harness racing pacing colts took center stage on Friday, June 22nd at Maywood Park as a field of eight gathered for one of Maywood Park's signature races, the $123,000 Maywood Pace.

The first six-figure event of the harness racing season in the Chicagoland area took place on Friday night at Maywood Park as a field of eight Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies met in the $112,000 Filly Maywood Pace.

The states top sophomore pacers will all be in harness racing action on Friday evening as a field of eight Illinois conceived and foaled fillies square off in the featured $112,000 Filly Maywood Pace final while 13 of their male counterparts will meet in a pair of $10,000 Maywood Pace elimination's.

Trotters and pacers were both in action on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as a pair of state- bred events highlighted the 11-race harness racing program.

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