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Racing resumes at the Springfield State Fair Monday afternoon and coming in from the east coast is the hometown driver Marcus Miller who left for Pennsylvania earlier this year. The 24-year-old Miller will be guiding D R Van Witzenburg’s filly Ideal Helen away from post one in the $26,500 fifth race Review Stake for the Erv Miller Stable. “I’m excited to be coming back to Illinois,” said Marcus when I called him over this past weekend. “I’ll stay with the family until the meeting his over Thursday afternoon and then head back to Pennsylvania. “I’m driving on Balmoral’s Wednesday card as well. Dad (Erv Miller) has some trotters going in their series that I’m familiar with just as I am with Ideal Helen. I drove her number of times at the Meadowlands. She’s got speed. She just had some bad racing luck in her last couple of starts there. Marcus grew up Sherman, Illinois not far away from the state capitol fairgrounds. “I’ve been coming to the Springfield meeting as far back as I can remember,” said Miller. “I was hoping to make it back again for this year and it worked out that I could.” I asked Marcus if he was being pushed in a stroller around the fairgrounds when he first came to the State Fair meeting at Springfield meet. “I probably started coming to the meet even before that,” he replied laughing. “I was probably being carried around the grounds by my mother when I was still a baby.” With only five starters in the Review stake for 2-year-old pacing fillies there will be no Show wagering. Ideal Angel opens as the 3-1 second choice behind the Nelson Willis trained Marzy Bearzy, winner of her last two starts at Balmoral, the latest in 1:54.1 for the Marty (Engel) Stable of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The $20,000 Little Pat (seventh race) also has five betting interests—Keith’s Studio Art (2-1), Theindecentlawyer (4-1), Gator Boy (8-1), Call Me Muddy (10-1) and the Watson family owned entry of Independent Dude and Whatwillhebe at 3-1. Only Win and Exacta wagering will be offered on the stake for open company freshman pacing colts and geldings. Mike’s Springfield Selections Monday Afternoon, August 12 1—I’m A Pop Star, Domitian Hall, The Swan Song 2—Romantic Legacy, Cranberry Muffler, Queen Beatrice 3—Vacation’s Pride, Chantilly Hall, Dancing Dynamite 4—Morgan’s Majestic, Missy’s Misfit, Lucious Lady 5—Marzy Bearzy, Ideal Helen, Hello My Dream 6—Fox Valley Camo, Show Stoppin Monkey, Powerful Valor 7—Keiths Studio Art, Theindecentlawyer, Whatwillbe 8—High Stepper, Elegant Rosie, Dreaming Of Lori 9—Lostintheshuffle, H-Andharleythejet, Loberal Best Bet: Morgan’s Majestic (4th race) 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.

Burgomeister's victory left no dry eyes at the track

Brenda Watson has served on the Illinois Harness Horseman's Association (IHHA) for 13 years and for 13 years she has been lobbying to get slots installed at the State's two major harness racing tracks - Balmoral Park and Maywood Park.

With the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's extensive summer camp schedule just two months away, the HHYF stable of Trottingbreds is being prepped for the season by a group of experienced volunteer harness racing trainers at locations across the country.

He's only 32 but Ryan Anderson has had more setbacks in harness racing than what many trainers twice his age have suffered in a lifetime. Three serious injuries and then a 60-day suspension and $2,000 for clenbuterol have stalled the New York horseman's career but since he's been back driving Anderson has been on fire.

This Week: Grand Circuit events will be held this week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, and at Harrah's Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

This Week: The Grand Circuit is off this week. Harness Racing will resume the week of August 12 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, and Harrah's Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

As the Trottingbreds of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation prepare for their unprecedented 17-stop summer tour, they must get their work in, just like racehorses do. Since very early spring, several harness racing trainers across the country have volunteered their time to make sure the horses, derived from a cross between Standardbreds and ponies, are properly conditioned.

The Illinois House of Representatives has approved legislation that would legalize slot machines at the state's harness racing racetracks.

The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association held their 2011 Hall of Fame banquet dinner Monday night (March 12) at the Double Tree Hotel in Alsip. Turnout was high with over 250 harness racing horsemen attending to support and pay tribute to Illinois' top horsemen and Standardbred horses.

We will give you an informed look at tonight's racing program in Chicago. We have tailored the Players Guide for several types of betting style. What is your style? For me personally, it means being a contrarian and taking some chances. I will bet against the favorite whenever possible, if I think there is VALUE in another selection.

When Tom Kelley frequented harness racing meetings in Illinois as a teenager back in the late 1970s and early 1980s he never envisaged in December 2011 he would be celebrating a quarter of a century's employment with Balmoral Park.

The Grand Circuit rolled into Springfield on Tuesday (August 16) with six Review Stakes on the afternoon harness racing program at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

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