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STICKNEY, IL - A fixture on the Illinois circuit for many years, harness racing driver Tim Curtin passed away last night at the age of 61. Currently tied for second in the driver standings at Hawthorne with 23 wins on the meet, Curtin had an illustrious career that spanned back into the late 1970's. Curtin drove home 3,245 horses to victory during his driving career of over 40 years for $22,749,563 in career earnings. Curtin also trained another 30 winners in that timespan as well. His best season for victories came in 1997 when he drove 219 winners on the year while in 2008 he had a career year for earnings with $1,900,785. In 2019, Tim had been the regular driver for top Illinois-bred Meyer on Fire, along with Jazzie Babe, a winner of four of her first five starts to open her career. Tim's son Pat had driven and trained in Illinois for many years as well. A moment of silence will be held in Tim's memory prior to the start of races on Friday evening at Hawthorne. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller  

STICKNEY, IL - The past weekend at Hawthorne was a big one locally, and for the long term future of the industry in Illinois. As the summer harness racing meet moved into the second month of the season, legislation was being passed in Illinois to allow for an expansion of gaming and sports betting which will lead to a revitalization of racing in Illinois. On the track, Cardinal and Violet races were the racing focus throughout the weekend. Things kicked off on Friday evening as Illinois-bred three-year-old pacers were the focus in two divisions of the Cardinal. The pair of $23,050 events went as races two and five on the Friday card. In race two, a field of seven lined up, led by 3-5 favorite Fox Valley Triton with Casey Leonard in the bike. At the start, the second choice, just to Fox Valley Triton's inside, Maximus was led to the lead with Kyle Wilfong, covering the half in :29.2. Stalked by Fox Valley Triton through a half in :59.0, Maximus was still a length clear into the turn. Shaking loose by two lengths into the lane, Maximus passed three quarters in 1:26.4. Roused by Wilfong mid-stretch, Maximus was all out in the lane to hold off Fox Valley Triton, and just did so, winning by a neck in 1:53.4. Fox Valley Triton was second while Cooter Luke chased and held third. Maximus is owned in partnership by The Panhellenic Stable, Corporation and trainer Ken Rucker. Race five Friday was the second division of the Cardinal with another field of seven, led by heavy favorite Meyer on Fire with Tim Curtin driving. With the 1-9 favorite tucking in early, second choice The Bucket made the lead as he passed the opening quarter in :29.1. Turning onto the backside, Meyer on Fire moved to the front, leading the field through the half in :56.2 and three quarter in 1:26.2 as The Bucket chased the leader. In the lane, Meyer on Fire opened up on The Bucket as longshot Sporty Mcgrew moved forward. On the wire, Meyer on Fire held clear, winning in 1:54.3. Sporty Mcgrew rallied to finish second while The Bucket was third. Meyer on Fire is owned by Engel Stable of Illinois, LLC and trained by Erv Miller. On Saturday evening it was a pair of paces for Illinois-bred three-year-olds in the Violet. Split fields of six contested races two and four. Race two featured 1-9 favorite Perch from the barn of Jay Garrels as she garnered over $60,000 in the show pool on her. Perch was left to work though early as she settled fourth behind the pace of Yankee Joanie through the quarter in :28.0. As the field moved to the backstretch, second choice Lilly Von Shtupp assumed command, opening up a two length lead through a half in :58.3 and three quarters in 1:27.2. Into the lane, Kyle Wilfong was getting after Perch to go as Travis Seekman and Lilly Von Shtupp was still two lengths clear mid-stretch. Mid-stretch, Lilly Von Shtupp started to slow as Perch and Winter Gram closed late. On the wire, Perch was a one length winner in 1:55.4 over Winter Gram. Lilly Von Shtupp held third. Perch is owned in partnership by Del Insko Training Stable, Jay and Susan Garrels. The second division of the Violet featured another heavy favorite in 3-5 shot Fox Valley Torrid from the Rodney Freese stable. Driven by Casey Leonard, Fox Valley Torrid tucked in behind the pace set by Valar Morghulis. After a quarter in :28.2, Valar Morghulis ceded the lead to Fox Valley Halsey as that one opened the lead through the half in :57.0 and three quarters in 1:26.1. On the move into the lane, Fox Valley Torrid ranged alongside the leaders, with a trio in with a chance. Moving forward late, Fox Valley Torrid held on to win in 1:54.1. Longshot Fox Valley Lolo closed late from last to get up for second, while Valar Morghulis held third. Fox Valley Torrid is owned by Fox Valley Standardbreds. On Sunday evening three trots took place with a pair of divisions for the three-year-old male trotters and a full field of female trotters. The night opened with seven trotters to battle for $21,750 as Lousraptor and Casey Leonard were the 1-2 favorite for trainer Roshun Trigg. The early leader through a pedestrian quarter in :30.3 and half in 1:01.2 was longshot Super Betcha as the favorite tucked in just behind the leader. Taking over into the turn was Lousraptor as he passed three quarters in 1:29.2 and opened up a two length lead into the stretch. Nearing the wire, Lousraptor's lead was diminishing though as Frontier Manard closed quickly. On the line, it was Lousraptor holding off Frontier Manard by a head in 1:58.1. Swaneelou closed from last to finish third. Lousraptor is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC. Race four was the second division for the boys as Lourhianon looked for his fifth straight win as he was the 4-5 favorite. While the favorite chose to sit back early, Trixie's Turbo and Tyler Shehan grabbed the lead through the opening quarter in :30.0. With longshot Lous Endeavor chasing, Trixie's Turbo was clear through a half in 1:00.2 and three quarters in 1:29.4. Into the stretch, Lourhianon and Louscardamon took up the chase. With the gap closing late, Trixie's Turbo dug in, holding on to win by a head in 1:58.0. Louscardamon got up for second while Lourhianon finished third. Trixie's Turbo is owned by Charles Doehring and trained by Jill White. Sunday's ninth saw a field of ten line up behind the starter as female trotters were led by 1-9 favorite Louzotic, fresh off a win in leg one of the Beulah Dygert Memorial the week prior. Leading the field through the first turn was Puddin Cheeks as she passed the quarter in :28.2. Wasting no time, Kyle Husted guided the favorite to the front and passing the half in :58.2. With Heidi High taking up the chase from her outside draw, Louzotic was two lengths clear of her through three quarters in 1:27.2. Into the lane, Louzotic opened up, winning by three lengths in 1:56.1. Heidi High finished second while Lou's Paramour closed for third. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and trained by Steve Searle. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.   Jim Miller Virus-free. www.avast.com

STICKNEY, IL - Night of Champions at Hawthorne doesn't culminate until the final week of September, but the harness racing action kicks off early as this past weekend saw the first legs in numerous categories for the top Illinois-bred horses. Friday evening had the first Night of Champions event as Leg one of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for three-year-old male pacers highlighted the evening. A field of 11 lined up, led by 2018 champ Meyer on Fire for owner Engel Stable of IL, LLC and trainer Erv Miller. Sent away as the favorite was Maximus, with Kyle Wilfong in the bike. Leaving for the lead was Coming Up along the inside as he was challenged early by Maximus through a quarter in :29.2. On the backside, Maximus assumed command before facing a fresh challenge by Meyer on Fire and Tim Curtin. After a half in :58, Meyer on Fire took over in the turn, pushed now by The Bucket. Meyer on Fire passed three quarters in 1:25.4 and led the field into the lane. Opening up, Meyer on Fire drew clear under the wire, winning in 1:53.1. Maximus came back for second while Coming Up held third. Saturday night saw a field of 11 Illinois-bred three-year-old filly pacers in the first leg of the Plum Peachy. Sent away as the favorite was Fox Valley Torrid with Casey Leonard driving. At the start, third choice Valar Morghulis was fastest to the front, clearing the lead while passing the quarter in :28.3. Making a quick move on the backstretch was the favorite as Fox Valley Torrid moved to the lead, followed by second-choice Perch. Through the half in :57.1, Fox Valley Torrid led the field into the turn as Perch ranged up to her outside. Hitting three-quarters together in 1:25.1, the duo turned into the lane. In the stretch, Kyle Wilfong urged Perch to the front as she opened a brief gap on Fox Valley Torrid. Nearing the wire, Fox Valley Torrid fought back, coming up just a head short behind Perch in 1:53.3. Valar Morghulis was moved to third after a disqualification of Fox Valley Lolo. Perch is owned by Del Insko Training Stable, Inc., Jay and Susan Garrels and trained by Jay Garrels. On Sunday evening trotters were in the spotlight with two divisions of leg one of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot to go along with the first leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial trot. The Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot is for Illinois-bred, three-year-old colts and geldings. Race three on Sunday was the first division as Lousraptor was sent away favored with Casey Leonard driving. After a recall, Trixie's Turbo was sent to the front, covering the opening quarter in :29.3 and backing down the half in 1:00.1. Moving into the turn, Trixie's Turbo maintained his lead as Lousraptor closed the margin to a length through three quarters in 1:31.0. In the stretch, Lousraptor took over, opening up quickly to win by three-lengths in 1:58.1. Frontier Manard rallied to get up for second while Trixie's Turbo held third. Lousraptor is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and trained by Roshun Trigg. In the second division of the Erwin F. Dygert, another trotter owned in partnership by Flacco Family Farms LLC, along with Dr. Patrick Graham, was sent away favored as Louscardamon led the field of six. In a race that had a lot of movement, longshot Super Betcha led through the opening quarter in :30.1. On the backstretch, second choice For Trots Sakes assumed command, passing the half in 1:00.2 and three quarters in 1:30.1. Into the lane, Louscardamon was on the move, quickly going from last to first and grabbing an open length lead by mid-stretch. At the wire, Kyle Husted guided Louscardamon well clear, winning by two-lengths in 1:58.4. Longshots finished second and third as Big Garcia Vega got up for second while Super Betcha held third. Louscardamon is trained by Steve Searle. The ladies were featured in race six Sunday as the Beulah Dygert Memorial for Illinois-bred three-year-old filly trotters has a field of nine. Favored was another from the Steve Searle stable for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC as Louzotic was sent away as the 3-5 choice with Kyle Husted driving. At the start, Puddin Cheeks got away quickly, covering the opening quarter in :29.2. On the backstretch, Husted wasted no time getting Louzotic to the front as she took over through the half in :57.4. Opening up the lead on the turn, Louzotic led the field through three quarters in 1:26.3 as Heidi High chased her into the lane. Kept to task, Louzotic drew clear, winning by five lengths in 1:55.2. Heidi High held second while Fox Valley Elicit was third. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.   Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - While the boys were featured on Friday evening at Hawthorne, the girls took center stage on Saturday night in a pair of divisions of the $25,700 Violet Stakes. The Violet is for Illinois Conceived and Foaled three-year-old fillies. Race five was the first division as a field of eight lined up behind the starting car. Two horses took all of the action at the windows as Rollin Coal was a slight favorite over Allbeastnobeauty. Sent for the early lead was Rollin Coal as she was able to clear through the quarter in :28.4. On the backside, The Sis Master was hustled up to challenge the pace through the half in :57.1. Rollin Coal broke stride just after the half as Allbeastnobeauty and driver Tim Curtin moved to take over through three quarters in 1:26.3. In the lane, Allbeastnobeauty drew clear to win going away. The Sis Master was able to hold second while Rollin Coal recovered from a nasty break to rally for third. The final time for the mile was 1:54.2. The stewards posted the inquiry sign following the race, focusing on the actions of The Sis Master and Rollin Coal. After review by the stewards, Rollin Coal was disqualified and placed eighth, moving Sportsfashionstar up to third. Allbeastnobeauty is owned by the partnership of trainer Mike Brink and owners Carter, Brown and Crawford. Race nine was the second division of the Violet as a field of nine lined up, led by Fox Valley Jazzy and The New Americana. Leaving for the lead was The New Americana but Fox Valley Jazzy hustled to the front through the quarter in :28.0. On the backside, The New Americana moved back to the lead, passing the half in :56.4. After three quarters in 1:26.0, The New Americana and Matt Krueger led the field into the lane. Mid-stretch, Fox Valley Jazzy and Ridge Warren took over and drew clear, winning by a length over late closing JB's Shooting Star. The New Americana held third. The final time for the mile was 1:54.2. Fox Valley Jazzy is owned by Cathy Finn-Kanitz and trained by Dale Kanitz. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - Sunday night at Hawthorne featured trotters as Illinois conceived or foaled three-year-olds were showcased. Two legs of the Beulah Dygert Memorial for fillies were conducted along with leg one action for the boys in the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial. Race two Sunday was the first leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial as a field of six lined up. Trotting Grace was the even money choice but it was Good Design who dictated the pace. Covering slow early fractions of :29.2 and 1:00.3, Good Design led the field into the far turn. Kyle Wilfong kept her to task through three quarters in 1:30.1 as she led the field into the lane. Good Design was able to fend off late challenges by Trotting Grace and Lous Silver Star, crossing the line a half-length on top in 1:58.2. Good Design is owned by Mr. Lynn Wilfong and trained by Brett Wilfong. Race four was the second division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial as White Pants Fever and Maui Mama battled for favoritism. Breaking before the start was White Pants Fever but she got back onto stride, lagging the gate by five lengths early. At the start, Powerful Temtrist was sent away for the lead and joined early by Fox Valley Unleash through the quarter in :29.4. On the backside, Maui Mama moved first, but White Pants Fever followed on her heels, passing the half a length in front in :58.3. Leading the field through three quarters in 1:28.1, White Pants Fever held the lead into the lane. After a long drive, Maui Mama tipped out late and wore down her rival, winning by a neck in 1:57.0. White Pants Fever finished second while Powerful Temtrist held third. Maui Mama is owned by Bill Wright and trained by Mike Brink. Race seven was the first leg of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial for three-year-old colts and geldings as a field of nine lined up. Illinimight was sent off as the favorite but it was True Detective and Curt Grummel that carved out the fractions of :30.3, 1:00.3, and 1:29.3. for three quarters. Opening up a four length lead into the stretch, True Detective looked to be home free, but the second Grummel trained entrant in the race, Big Lou, was closing strongly with Tim Curtin in the bike. At the line it was a Grummel trained exacta as Big Lou caught True Detective while Majistic Caprice finished third. The final time for the mile was 1:57.3. The one-two finishers were both owned by Dr. Patrick Graham. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim MIller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - On a warm Saturday evening at Hawthorne, leg one series action for Night of Champions races continued as two divisions of the Plum Peachy Series were contested. The Plum Peachy is for Illinois Conceived or Foaled three-year-old filly pacers. The first division of the Plum Peachy went as the sixth race on the Saturday card as the two favorites, even money Fox Valley Jazzy and 7-5 shot Allbeastnobeauty hooked up. Carving out the fractions of :28.4, :58.0, and 1:26 was Fox Valley Jazzy as Ridge Warren guided her to a two length lead to the top of the stretch. Stalking throughout was Tim Curtin and Allbeastnobeauty as she chased the entire way. Mid-stretch, the two were heads apart and at the wire Allbeastnobeauty drew clear, winning by two lengths in 1:53.3. Fox Valley Jazzy was a clear second while JB's Shooting Star finished third. Allbeastnobeauty is owned by the partnership of trainer Mike Brink and owners Carter, Brown, and Crawford. The second division of the Plum Peachy went as the evening's tenth race with a full field of ten. Again it was the two favorites hooking up on the front as 6-5 favorite Rollin Coal and 8-5 second choice The New Americana were left to battle things out. Rollin Coal and driver Casey Leonard were quick to get away from post eight, clearing the lead through the opening quarter in :29.0. After a half in :59.4, Rollin Coal maintained her lead over The New Americana into the second turn. After three quarters in 1:27.4, Rollin Coal was asked for more into the lane and responded, holding The New Americana at an arm's length, winning by one and three quarters lengths at the wire. The final time for Rollin Coal's mile was 1:54.2. The New Americana was a clear second while 54-1 shot Frontier Ginger battled on to finish third. Rollin Coal is owned and trained by Hosea Williams Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

The opening weekend of ICF stakes action continued on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as a field of six state-bred sophomore trotters met in the $8,000 Speedy Rodney Stake. As we've seen in the past these trotting events can provide some surprises and Sunday's test was no different as Phil Langley & Jim Eaton's Divinely Floozy pulled off the 19-1 harness racing shocker, winning by 1¾ lengths in 1:58.   Dismissed by the betting public after making breaks in her only two career starts, the daughter of Yankee Valor--Selma was smooth as silk on Sunday night, getting away third in the compact field for driver Tim Curtin as Meabh (Mike Oosting), the overwhelming 2-5 favorite in the race, led the way through snappy early splits of 28.2 & 57.4.   Moving confidently off the pylons as the field trotted midway around the final bend, the $3,500 yearling purchase looked like a million bucks on this night, zipping right by the pace setter as the field rolled past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.0.   Through the lane the Jim Eaton trainee was straight and strong as she began to draw away from the overwhelming favorite and then calmly held off a late bid from Patient ID (John De Long) to notch her first career victory. Patient ID was a nice second, giving the fillies a 1-2 finish in this race, while Southern Special (Brian Carpenter) came on late to finish third.   Unraced as a two-year-old bigger and better things could be on the horizon for Divinely Floozy who returned a healthy $40.80, $13.60 & $5.80 to her backers. Tom Kelley  

Merle Finn Jr’s mare Wings continued her fairy-tale journey from a one-time horse pulling an Amish cart to her dominance of the Chicago circuit’s older distaff ranks at Balmoral Park with her fourth consecutive harness racing victory in the “Winner’s Over” vents for fillies and mares. With regular driver Tim Curtin at her lines Wings put away six foes in the second race-co-feature and again did it in rather comfortable fashion. The triumph was also Wing’s seventh in her last eight starts for the 23-year-old owner and trainer from Browns, Illinois. Curtin ducked Wings from the outside seven-slot at the start and was seven-plus lengths behind in last when State Street Liz got command at the first quarter in a leisurely 29.1 seconds. Wings was taken out midway on the backstretch and Curtin was contend to race the ultra-sharp Indiana bred mare first up, slowly grinding their way toward the leaders. After another slow second panel (30 seconds flat) by the pacesetter, Curtin got Wings into high gear. The heavy 2-5 favorite got eye-to-eye with State Street Liz half-way into the final turn before drawing away from the field. Wings ($2.60) paced the final quarter of the 1:54.4 mile in 27 flat, finishing two lengths ahead of State Street Liz. Finn acquired Wings in July of 2013 at the age of five with just $40 on her card when Merle “traded a trotter straight-up for the mare from the Amish.” The horse has banked almost $72,000 for him since. Back-To-Back: Patiently handled by John De Long, Firstclassallthway followed last week’s 10-1 upset win in the “Winner’s Over” ranks with a repeat victory last night in the same $9,400 event. As expected the betting favorite Ice Scraper grabbed quick control of the ninth race and took the five horse field to a :56.2 first half with consecutive :28.1 panels with Best Man Hanover in the pocket and Firstclassallthway in third. The field bunched up turning for home and when an inside lane opened for De Long, he ducked the Jim Ellison trainee there and Firstclassallthway ($12.20) went on to outsprint his rivals to the wire with a huge :26.1 last quarter. Best Man Hanover was second best, beaten 2 and 1/2 lengths in the 1:50.3 mile. Ice Scraper held on for third. The victory was the third of year in eight starts for the 8-year-old gelding owned by Dandy Farms of Glenview, Illinois. By Mike Paradise

Last night’s trio of “Winner’s Over” co-features at Balmoral Park saw Justice Jet continue his dominance in the trot division, Fort Silky show is back class against other older male pacers, and Wings bounce back in a big way in the harness racing distaff department, all on a Saturday evening with a wind chill of 14 below zero. Justice Jet’s triumph was his fourth in a row for the combination of driver Ryan Welch and trainer Roger Welch who shares ownership of the 4-year-old Indiana bred with Bo De Long and Pat De Long. Bet down to 30 cents on the dollar Justice Jet ($2.60) was settled into seventh and last in the early going while Ants Iner Pants took the field to a slow 59 first half. Ryan took Justice Jet out on the backside, raced his confident trotter first up and powered past at the 3/4 pole to end up 1 and 1/2 lengths ahead of runner-up Fox Valley Veto in the 1:56 mile. Despite an eight-week layoff the venerable Fort Silky came out in “ready to rumble” in the very next race and handled four other solid male pacers in comfortable fashion with a heady drive from Casey Leonard. The now 9-year-old ICF pacer was hustled out by Casey and grabbed a quick lead before giving it up to Cam B Zipper (John De Long) at the 26.4 first quarter. Fort Silky found himself out of second and into third when Major Monet came out and took over command into a very cold headwind and hit the half-mile pole in :56 flat. Casey then had Fort Silky on the move and the 1-2 favorite rolled into the lead near the 3/4‘s, reached in 1:24.4 and then held off a late-charging Lennox Blue Chip to post a neck victory. It was career win No. 51 in his distinguished career for Paw Paw, Illinois owners John Prentice and Neva Jean Keeler. Next up was the $9,400 “Winner’s Over” for fillies and mares and while Wing’s victory wasn’t a surprise, her $12 winning mutuel was when you consider that the Merle Finn Jr. trainee had won three consecutive top level distaff events before last week’s fourth place finish. Driver Tim Curtin used Wings aggressively and the 7-year-old mare sizzled on a very chilly night with the temperature at 5 degrees. Wings was scooted away from the outside seven-slot and dropped into third in the first turn. Curtin didn’t wait long to make another move with the mare, brushing her to the top and in control before the half-mile pole (:57.2). From there Wings just pulled away from her six rivals, posting a four and one-half length victory in 1:53 flat over the pocket-horse Just By Design. Later in the night two-time Super Night champion Iam Bonasera (Travis Seekman) was very impressive in his return to Illinois, coming from the back of the pack at the half to first at the finish for his new trainer Nelson Willis. The 8-year-old gelding paced a wicked :26.2 last quarter in his 1:54.1 mile. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The winter break layoff didn’t dull Merle Finn Jr’s high-flying Wings. The now 7-year-old harness racing mare powered her way to a third consecutive victory Saturday night with her regular driver Tim Curtin. The 2-1 like-warm favorite was given an advantageous second-over journey by Curtin and came flying through the snow flakes to finish a half-length ahead of Just By Design in the co-featured $9,400 “Winner’s Over” for filly and mare pacers. Just By Design was the quickest from the gate and grabbed the early lead but her driver Dave Magee was contend to take the pocket trip behind Rev Me Up soon after a snappy :27.2 first quarter paced on a “good” racing surface. Rev Me Up was able to get away with a soft :29.1 second quarter despite some pressure from the first-over Seeyouatthefinish. Meanwhile Curtin was right behind Seeyouatthefinish, just biding his time with his 1:53.2 winning mare. Tim swung Wings ($6.20) out at the top of the lane and the daughter of His Mattjesty shifted into a higher gear and chalked-up up another win. Wings last race five weeks ago on Saturday, December 27, when she also captured a “Winner’s Over” pace for trainer and owner Merle Finn Jr. of Browns, Illinois. Justice Served: A second over journey was also the right recipe for a victory in the “Winner’s Over” trot as Justice Jet ($4.00) came on strong in the late going for Ryan Welch and posted his second in a row after four-weeks off. Celebrity Hercules was sent to the front by Casey Leonard while the 23-year-old Welch ducked his trotter at the start and was contend to be seventh in the eight-horse field through the early going After a modest :29.2 first panel and a :29.1 second quarter, Mike Oosting took Master Of Excuses from the back of the pack and went after the 5-2 second choice Celebrity Hercules with Ryan and Justice Jet right on their heels. When the field hit the blowing snow at the top of the lane Justice Jet remained behind Master of Excuses until the final eight of the mile when Welch took his trotter down the middle of the lane and the 4-year-old Indiana bred blew past with authority with a 1:57 clocking trotted on a racing strip changed to “sloppy.” Celebrity Hercules was second best, beaten two lengths, while Master Of Excuses was third. Justice Jet is owned by Bo De Long, Pat De Long, Glenn Wright and trainer Roger Welch. The gelding has earned $345,659 in his 40 career starts.  Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Just a day after celebrating his 57th birthday, veteran harness racing reinsman Tim Curtin had reason to celebrate again on Saturday, Dec.27th as he guided Wings to a convincing score in the co-featured seventh race, giving the Crete, IL resident his coveted 3,000th driving victory.   A longtime fixture here at Balmoral and earlier in his career at Fairmount Park Curtin headed East in 2002 putting together five straight years with earnings of more than $1.5 million. His biggest year win wise came in 1997 when he visited the charmed circle 219 times while campaigning on the Illinois circuit. That season also marked the first time Curtin eclipsed the $1 million mark in earnings.   Horses driven by Curtin have currently earned more than $21,000,000.   Friends, family and members of the Balmoral Park driving colony joined Tim Curtin the winner's circle to celebrate the veteran reinsman's 3,000 career victory on Saturday night at Balmoral Park. David Baum

Ladiesith a total of 15 state-bred filly and mare pacers dropped into the entry box, Saturday's Sue Fee Stake was split into a pair of $13,250 divisions. The stake had been scheduled to go back on June 21st but was washed out when torrential rains caused the remainder of the card to be cancelled that evening. In the opening split Paula Smith, James Runyan and Frank Pike's Dallas Jones regained her early season form as she came charging through the lane to score by 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1 over a sloppy track for driver Tim Curtin. Unhurried early as Just By Design (Dave Magee) and then Auniqueaquistion (Dale Hiteman) put up splits of 27.3, 56.0 & 1:25.0 Curtin moved from fifth at the half-mile pole. Moving into a perfect second over spot in fourth as the field turned for home the Joel Smith trained four-year-old set sail for the wire, quickly gobbling up the tired leaders while slicing through a strong headwind. In full flight, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Cams Bett confidently cruised under the wire with her sixth victory of the year. Just By Design shook loose late at the pylons to finish second while Whistle Pig (Casey Leonard) rallied for the show dough. Sent off as the 9-2 choice in the wagering Dallas Jones returned $11.00, $4.40 & $3.60 while running her record to 6-3-3 in 29 starts with earnings of nearly $47,000. In the nightcap John Barnard's Ryleigh's Lilly came flying through the lane to post an impressive 1 ¾ -length victory in 1:53.0 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Ducked off the gate by Oosting, the four-year-old mare settled in fifth as Party Hangover (Todd Warren) led the field through splits of 27.4, 56.2 & 1:24.1. After getting caught up in a stalled outer flow as the field neared the top of the stretch, a confident Oosting tipped three and then four-wide around the tired challengers. Effortlessly picking off one rival after another the Bill Crone trained daughter of Western Hero--Fox Valley Chosen zipped past them all for her sixth victory of the season. State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) turned a ground saving trip into a second place check while Party Hangover held on for third. Sent off as the second choice in the wagering Ryleigh's Lilly returned $5.20, $3.20 & $2.20 while moving her record to 6-3-6 in 29 trips postward with earnings of just over $41,000. Live racing continues on Sunday, Nov. 23rd at BalmoralPark with a 10-race card getting underway at 7:10 p.m. (central). Sunday's $1 Pick 4 features a guaranteed pool of $25,000. With no racing on Thursday, Nov. 27th at MaywoodPark (Thanksgiving) BalmoralPark will present an 11-race card on Wed. Nov. 26th as well. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

It may have been a nasty night for all those participating in the rain at Rosecroft Raceway on Saturday night (April 28), but harness racing owner David Kinee was all smiles as Art's Chic (Artiscape-Chicane Hanover) broke her maiden in her fourth career start.

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