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State-bred trotting colts were back in action on Wednesday, May 14th as a field of seven diagonally gaited specialists gathered for a $10,000 Betzotic Stake. After a tough luck loss in his last appearance Mike Brink and Loren Tournear's Tour Hall returned to his winning ways as he "gutted" out a nose decision over Bobby B Breeze in 1:58.1 over a track listed as "good". After battling the hard leaving Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) through an opening quarter in 29.3, driver-trainer Mike Brink worked the give and go to perfection reclaiming the top spot as the field raced by the half-mile mark in 1:00.2.   Continuing to show the way by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:30.1, the gelded son of American Native--Broadway And Fifth set sail for home with Bobby B Breeze sitting right on his back. With his chief rival drilling through in the passing lane, a game Tour Hall dug in with all he had, trotting home in a brisk 28.0 while just managing to hold Bobby B Breeze at bay. Big Bill Breeze (Nick Prather) finished third, 4½ lengths behind the top pair. Vin, who came into the race off back to back scores and drew plenty of attention at the betting windows as the 3-5 favorite, made a break behind the gate and was never a factor in the race.   With the win Tour Hall now boasts six wins, four seconds and one third in 16 career starts with earnings of $86,301. The winner returned $5.20, $3.40 & $2.20. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park     -    

After a nasty thunderstorm caused a 35 minute delay to start the Sunday, May 11th card at Balmoral Park the action was hot and heavy the rest of the evening as a pair of state-bred events shared top billing on the program. The stakes action kicked off with trotters as a field seven three-year-old fillies met in a $10,000 Betzotic Stake. Despite being away since last October, Donald Huddleston's Macie Rae looked fit and fresh as she came splashing through the passing lane to post a 1 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:59.1 for driver Ryan Anderson.   Hustled away from the outside starting spot by Anderson, the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry settled perfectly into third through the early going as High Balance (Casey Leonard) led the field through splits of 31.1, 101.2 & 1:30.0.   With High Balance and last year's division Bailey's Wish (Lewayne Miller) battling tooth and nail through the lane, Anderson patiently maneuvered the Mike Rogers trained miss into the passing lane where she quickly gobbled up the embattled leaders to post her ninth win in 20 lifetime starts. Bailey's Wish was forced to settle for the runner-up role while High Balance hung on for third.   With the win Macie Rae, who returned $8.40, $5.20 & $3.40 boasts career numbers of 9-3-3 in 20 trips postward with earnings of $27,867.   A $10,000 elimination for the first "major" stake of the 2014 season was contested on Sunday as well but with the field of 10 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies knocked down to seven because of scratches this wound up being a "prep" for next week's $44,700 Violet Stake.   Nonetheless trainer Nelson Willis had to be happy as a pair of fillies trained by the veteran conditioner wound up in the top two spots with the Sawgrass Farms & Kay Willis owned Cuzimalegend overtaking last season's division leader Thesleazyprincess to score by a half-length in 1:57.2 for driver Dale Hiteman.   Using the inside starting spots to perfection driver Todd Warren put Thesleazyprincess right on the lead from the word go. With Hiteman and Cuzimalegend sitting in the garden spot, Thesleazyprincess paced through splits of 30.3, 1:00.3 & 1:29.2. Fit and fresh after the two-hole journey a determined Cuzimalegend gradually wore down her stablemate with a sharp 27.3 to post her first lifetime victory. Thesleazyprincess was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while favored My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) finished third.   The home-bred daughter of Lexington Legend--Cuzurinittowinit, who was scheduled to be coupled in the wagering with the scratched Molly Go Lightly (sick) returned $7.80, $4.00 & $2.10 while pushing her bankroll up to $10,093.   Live racing continues at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, May 14th win a nine-card card getting underway at 7:10 pm (central). The Wednesday Pick 4 will have a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will entail races six through nine. Past performances for the Pick 4 races, courtesy of Trackmaster can be found at www.ustrotting.com. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Illinois conceived and foaled pacing fillies stepped into the spotlight on Saturday night as a field of nine sophomores were sent to battle in a $10,000 Betzotic Stake. While she may be lightly raced, Pm Investment's Buoncammino looked like a seasoned veteran in this event as she stormed home from the back of the pack to record a three-quarter-length victory in 1:55.0 for driver John De Long. Getting away eighth as last year's top fillies Molly Go Lightly (Dave Magee) and Thesleazyprincess (Todd Warren) battled through splits of 28.0, 57.0 & 1:26.3, De Long moved the Richard Schrock trained miss three-wide as the field turned for the money. Gobbling up one filly after another in effortless fashion, this daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Mcjates Shadow went from eighth to first with a wicked 27.1 final quarter to record her third win in six career starts. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) turned in a hard fought effort to be the bridesmaid while Thesleazyprincess held on for third. Unraced at two, Buoncammino who was pounded at the betting windows despite the outside post, returned just $5.80, $3.80 & $3.60 while upping her bankroll to $11,590. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

The sophomore trotting set was back in the spotlight on Wednesday night at BalmoralPark as a field of seven diagonally gaited state-breds tangled in the $10,000 Iggy Magoo Stake.   After a thrilling stretch long duel, it was Tom L. Graham & Tom L. Graham Jr's Vin who prevailed by the slimmest of margins over 1-9 favorite Tour Hall in 1:59.1 for driver Casey Leonard.   Positioned in mid-pack as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) and Tour Hall (Dave Magee) led the field through splits of 29.4 & 1:00.0 Leonard sent the Thomas Graham trained colt on a power sweep around the far turn, pulling to within a head of Tour Hall as the two passed the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:31.0.   With the two sophomores battling tooth and nail through every inch of the 1,360 foot stretch, Vin was able to hold off one final surge from the division leader to record his first win in 12 career starts. Tour Hall was a tough luck second while Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) finished third.   Dispatched at odds of 8-1, the son of Powerful Emotion--Valli Gram returned $18.80, $4.60 & $2.60 while pushing his career bankroll up to $9,000.   With a carryover of $7,665 the wagering public once again showed a great deal of support for the Balmoral Park signal pushing another $45,166 into the pool for a total of $52,831 in the 50 Cent Pick 5 pool to get the Wednesday night card underway!   by Tom Kelley, for Harnesslink.com

Taking advantage of mid-race speed duel, driver John De Long slid 24-1 longshot Silver Devil to the outside of horses on the backstretch the final time then rallied sharply in the lane to post a half-length upset in Friday's $34,380 Cardinal Stake for older state-bred pacers at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:53.3. Using post position two to perfection De Long positioned the handsome roan son of Duneside Perch along the pylons while Elkhorn Damien (Todd Warren) and Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) battled through a 27.3 opening quarter.   After letting the field settle into position through that opening split driver Casey Leonard sent 4-5 favorite Fort Silky on his way from fifth as the field headed into the stretch the first time prompting some strong urging from Warren with Elkhorn Damien. With these two quickly engaged in a speed duel the dominant Fort Silky made a very uncharacteristic break as the field moved to the half-mile mark in 56.1.   Quickly righting the ship with Fort Silky, the top two continued to battle tooth and nail as the field raced by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.3. By this point De Long had slipped to the outside with Silver Devil and had the four-year-old gelding powering up three wide around the top pair as the field moved into the final turn.   Sweeping around the tiring leaders as the field turned for home, the Nick Giberson trainee paced home in 28.3 for his first win of the season, holding off a big late move from another longshot, Fancy Creek Elusiv (Ryan Anderson) who made a huge four-wide surge around the last bend. Elkhorn Damien held on for third.   After an impressive 11-win campaign in his first season of action in 2013, Silver Devil who returned $50.80, $20.40 & $7.40 now boasts career earnings of nearly $105,000 for the ownership group of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson.   The two longshots helped produce a $435.00 return on a $2 exacta wager and a whopping $1771.00 trifecta payout. The 20-cent Pick 6 wager also went unclaimed for the second straight night so there will be a carryover of $2,242.15 in the pool when live racing resumes next Thursday night at Maywood Park. Post time will be 7:10 p.m.   John De Long guided the good looking Silver Devil to an upset score in Friday's $34,380 Cardinal Stake at Maywood Park. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

State-bred pacers took center stage on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as trainer Robert Phillips and driver Robert Smolin teamed up for a pair of impressive victories with two of the stables stars as Al's Hammered romped to a 5¾ length victory in the $15,000 Rambling Willie Stake while Cotton Eyed Joe rolled to a 2¾ length win in the $10,000 Betzotic Stake.   With a compact field of five of the state's top older pacers facing the gate for the Rambling Willie Stake, Al's Hammered found himself much closer than usual to the early action as Ice Scraper (Todd Warren) rattled off splits of 27.0, 56.0 & 1:23.4.   Smolin then maneuvered the son of Droppin'thehammer off the pylons as the field turned for the money. As he's done so often, the bay five-year-old absolutely exploded through the stretch, charging home in a wicked 25.4 to secure the victory in 1:50.1 for his owner-trainer Phillips. Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) parlayed a perfect pocket sitting journey into a second place check while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee) finished third.   With the win Al's Hammered who has overcome serious injury to return to stardom now boasts a career record of 25-8-11 in 64 starts with earnings of more than $340,000   Sophomore pacing colts were also in action on the chilly Saturday night card and when the smoke cleared from the $10,000 Betzotic Stake the Phillips-Smolin pairing were back in victory lane as Cotton Eyed Joe turned a two-hole trip into an easy win over seven other state-breds, stopping the clock in 1:54.1.   Perfectly positioned on the back of odds-on favorite Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) as he clicked off splits of 27.3, 57.1 & 1:26.4, Smolin patiently waited for the passing lane as the field headed for the wire. After securing room with a sixteenth of a mile to go, the gelded son of Big Green Machine--Secret Dial flew home in 27.0 to nab his second win in four starts this season. Fox Valley Deuce held for second while Dune Dude (Dean Magee) turned in a late rally to finish third, four lengths behind the winner.   A four-time career winner, last season's Orange & Blue champion now boasts career earnings of more than $121,000 for owner-trainer Bob Phillips.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park     COTTON EYED JOE AND DRIVER Robert Smolin CHARGED THROUGH THE PASSING LANE TO SECURE VICTORY IN SATURDAY'S $10,000 BETZOTIC STAKE.     AL'S HAMMERED UNCORKED A WICKED 25.4 TO BLOW BY HIS RIVALS IN SATURDAY'S $15,000 RAMBLING WILLIE STAKE.       -----Original Message----- From: David Baum <baum.photography@gmail.com> To: Tom Kelley <tkelleyatbal@aol.com>; Mike Paradise <michaelfparadise@hotmail.com> Sent: Sat, Apr 26, 2014 9:31 pm        

After closing out his freshman campaign with a stakes victory here at BalmoralPark back in November, Tour Hall picked up right where he left off on Saturday night as the talented youngster cruised to an easy 1 ½ length triumph over three other sophomore trotting colts in the $10,000 Speedy Rodney Stake. The final time was 1:59.3. Given a confident steer by co-owner and trainer Mike Brink, the gelded son of American Native grabbed command right from the start leading the field through leisurely splits of 29.3, 1:00 & 1:31.2.   With plenty still in reserve Tour Hall sprinted home in 28.1 while easily keeping his rivals at bay for his fifth career win in 14 starts. Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) parlayed a pocket sitting journey into a second place finish whileVin (Casey Leonard) was third.   With the win Tour Hall now boasts a career record of 5-3-1 in 14 starts with earnings of $78,801 for Brink and co-owner Loren Tournear.   With the Easter holiday on Sunday, April 20thBalmoralPark will be "dark" for live racing.   However, Wednesday night action will return at the Crete oval on April 23rd with a nine-race card getting underway at 7:10 p.m. (central). There will be a $10,000 Guaranteed Pool on Wednesday's Pick 4 which will entail races six through nine.   Program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster and the USTA at www.ustrotting.com. Just click on the handicapping section of that website. Also, the 50 Cent Pick 5 wager will begin on the first race of the night on Wednesday.

State-bred pacing fillies took center stage on Saturday, April 5th at Balmoral Park as a field of seven three-year-olds squared off in the $10,000 Direct Balance Stake. After an adventuresome mile it was the Perry Smith owned and trained Susan Sarandune who wound up prevailing by three-lengths in a career best of 1:57.0. Hustled to the front by driver Kyle Wilfong, the daughter of Duneside Perch--Magical Kit led the field through an opening quarter in 29.2.   Heading down the backside, a hard charging Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) swept from third to first leading the field past the halfway point in 58.1.   Around the far turn Fox Valley Amanda continued to show the way while Buoncammino (Dave Magee) came calling first over as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.2.   That's when disaster struck for Buoncammino as the lightly raced filly went off-stride for the second time in the mile leaving Fox Valley Amanda alone on the lead. That advantage was short lived though as the pocket sitting Susan Sarandune quickly began to cut into the leader's margin. With the effects of a 22-week layoff finally starting to get the best of her a tired Fox Valley Amanda surrendered at the sixteenth pole while a fit and fresh Susan Sarandune zipped right on by for her second win in four tries this season. Fox Valley Amanda held on for second while Bright Light (Todd Warren) finished third.   Overlooked at the windows despite a 7-2 morning line Susan Sarandune returned a healthy $16.40, $4.60 & $2.80 while pushing her career bankroll up to $27,721.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Just as she’s done so often throughout her illustrious career Mystical Marker Farms Mystical Victress proved to be too much for her state-bred rivals as she confidently reported home with a two-length triumph over nine other ICF distaffers in Saturday’s $15,000 Fox Valley Memory Stake. The final time was an effortless 1:54.0.    Hustled away from post position eight by driver Lewayne Miller, the six-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster was parked through an opening quarter in 28.3.   Continuing her march to the top Mystical Victress grabbed command as the field moved into a stiff headwind on the backstretch. In complete control of the proceedings Mystical Victress proceeded to rattle off very comfortable middle splits of 57.4 & 1:27.0 while keeping a first over Dune In Red (Todd Warren) at bay.   Through the lane Mystical Victress put away the challenge of her main rival easily drawing clear through the final sixteenth of a mile to notch her 49th career victory. Fox Valley Absolut (Robert Smolin) rallied up the passing lane to finish second while Dune In Red held on for third.   The win was 11th of the year for Mystical Victress who is now in the barn of conditioner Jill Arnold. The 3-5 choice of the wagering public returned $3.40, $2.40 & $2.10 while upping her career bankroll to a whopping $846,713.     Mystical Victress and driver Lewayne Miller knocked off nine other state-bred filly and mare pacers in Saturday's $15,000 Fox Valley Memory Stake.   David Baum

Pertty Music used a three-wide move around Maywood’s final turn to win the $73,000 Cinderella Stake for freshman pacing fillies in 1:53.2. John DeLong piloted the Tom Harmer trained, owned and bred daughter of Jereme’s Jet-My Metallica to her fifth win of the season and sixth career victory She went off at odds of 8-1 and paid $19.40 to win.. “I got away fourth but didn’t want to be first over against Always About Katey,” said DeLong. “I raced her over here a couple of weeks ago but she bled pretty bad, but she was much better tonight and this is her home turf. She had the nine-hole in the American National and the field was a bit softer this week. She’s a very nice filly. I was a little nervous for a few seconds in the stretch but she’s a professional and got the job done tonight.” Pertty Music sat in the middle of the field of seven fillies while Always About Katey (Todd Warren) led the field through fractions of :27.2 and :56. Auniqueaquisition (Mike Oosting) pulled first over with a mild bid but failed to gain ground as thef ield went by the 1:24.2 three-quarter marker. Pertty Music then stormed to the outside around the final turn and stormed by her rivals, winning by half a length over Always About Katey, with State Street Liz (Robert Smolin). The victory pushed Pertty Music’s seasonal earnings to$110,236 and her career earnings to $134,292. by Kimberly Rinkler for Maywood Park  

When trainer-driver Tom Harmer speaks of his homebred filly Pertty Music, he does so with the beaming pride of a proud parent.  And with good reason. Harmer not only bred, trains and owns the 3-year-old brown lass, but he also owned, trained, and drove the filly’s parents, Jereme’s Jet and My Metallica.   Harmer conditioned and drove Jereme’s Jet to earn $1,519,321 from 35 starts, with 16 wins, five seconds and one third.  The bay stallion took a time trial mark of 1:47 at Lexington’s Red Mile on Sept. 9, 2007.      Harmer also bred, trained and owns My Metallica, a daughter of Partyatartsplace who earned $287,851 from 13 wins, ten seconds and nine thirds in 60 career starts.  She took a mark of p, 3, 1:51.1 en route to winning a $40,000 Hanover Stake by nearly nine lengths on Aug. 2, 2006.   Even more unique is the story behind the pairing of Jereme’s Jet and My Metallica that produced Pertty Music, who’ll go postward in Friday’s $73,000 Cinderella Stake for sophomore pacing fillies.   On Sept. 17, 2005, My Metallica entered the Balmoral Park winner’s circle after capturing the $260,000 Orange & Blue Filly Stake in 1:52.3 for driver Tony Morgan.   The celebrating Harmer just happened to glance up at a TV at that precise moment, and saw his other charge, Jereme’s Jet, leaving the Mohawk winner’s circle in Canada, after just winning the $840,000 Metro Stake with driver Paul MacDonell in 1:50.4.   “I didn’t think about breeding them to each other at that moment, but then later when I thought about, I thought about how cool it was that one was coming in the winner’s circle and the other was leaving at the same time and I told (my wife) Debbie that we just had to breed them someday,”  Harmer explained.   Another coincidence:  Pertty Music is from Jereme’s Jet second crop, and she is also My Metallica’s second foal.   “Jereme’s Jet was a trainer’s dream,” Harmer acknowledged. “I don’t think anybody could have messed him up, he was a no brainer. I qualified him and drove him in his first start. He was absolutely gorgeous, and all of his babies are gorgeous, and they’re all good gaited, smart, and pleasant. None of them are mean.”   Pertty Music raced ten times as a freshman, earning $24,056.  She took a mark of p, 2, 1:56.2 on Aug. 5, 2012 en route to winning a Balmoral overnight for driver Todd Warren.    “She was a perfect filly to train down; the kind of filly you dream about.  She did everything you asked her to do,” Harmer recalled. “I qualified her at Maywood as a freshman, and then sent her up to Canada to trainer Greg McNair.”   Pertty Music began her sophomore campaign by qualifying at Maywood on April 4, winning in 1:57 for driver John DeLong.  She won her first two starts in Balmoral overnighters with DeLong at the lines—in 1:53.12 (on April 20) and in a career best 1:52.1 (on April 27), before heading to Canada.   “She qualified well and had a couple of good wins before I sent her north to Greg (trainer McNair),” Harmer said. “She won her first start up there for him in 1:53, but after that really didn’t race was well as I was hoping. She’s never had a lameness problem of any kind, but just hasn’t been as good as I thought she’d be.”   Pertty Music has won four starts this season in 19 tries, with two seconds and two thirds, with $72,736 added to her coffers this season. Prior to finishing sixth in last Saturday’s $161,000 American National 3-Year-Old Filly Pace at Balmoral, she scored a 1:54 triumph for DeLong at the Crete one-miler in a conditioned test. Lifetime she’s amassed $97,792 from 29 starts.   “It’s really exceptional when you’ve raced both the parents of a youngster, and then you get the thrill of being the breeder, because you figured out the right combination,” Harmer admitted. “They, it becomes double-special when they turn out to be something that you’ve trained and driven, and gotten to the races.  It’s just a great feeling.”   by Kimbery Rinker for Maywood 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  

A pair of state-bred stake events for two-year-olds shared top billing on Saturday, Oct. 19th at Balmoral Park as a field of eight freshmen pacing fillies squared off the $12,000 Beecher Stake while seven of their male counterparts met in the $12,000 Crete Stake. Continuing her late season run at divisional honors Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly parlayed a perfect two-hole trip into her fifth straight victory as she prevailed by a well-measured length in 1:54.2.   Perfectly positioned in the pocket behind Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) by driver Mike Oosting, the homebred daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle saved ground the entire way as the pace setter put up splits of 29.1, 57.4 & 1:27.0.   Sitting behind their cover until the eighth-pole, Oosting then maneuvered the Nelson Willis trainee to the outside eventually wearing down the leader with a 27.1 final quarter to post her sixth win in 13 career starts. Fox Valley Amanda was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Thesleazyprincess (Casey Leonard) was third, five lengths behind the winner.   With the win the 1-5 favorite in the betting who returned $2.40 $2.10 & $2.10 now boasts a record of 6-1-3 with $56,895 in career earnings despite missing the division’s richest event of the year, the Filly Orange & Blue on Super Night.             Fresh off an impressive win in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake last week, Jack and Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop curbed six rivals for the second straight week as the Dirk Simpson trainee cruised to a 2 ½ length score in 1:52.2.       Taking advantage of perfect two-hole trip that driver Todd Warren worked out for the son of Sportsmaster-Dixiegirl the bay gelding was fit and fresh after sitting on the back of heavily favored Unlocked (Mike Oosting) as that colt clicked off splits of 28.0, 57.0 & 1:25.0.   Quickly swallowing up the pace setter in the stretch, Traffic Cop sped home in 27.0 to notch his fourth win in 15 tries. Unlocked was forced to settle for the runner-up role for the second straight week while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) finished a distant third, 9 ¾ lengths behind the victor.   The win moved Traffic Cop’s career earnings up to $77,635 on the strength of a 4-4-2 record in 15 starts. The 2-1 second choice returned $6.00 & $2.80. There was no show wagering on the race. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park  

A busy stakes-filled night of action was contested on Sunday, October 13th as the Crete plant welcomed Grand Circuit action back to town. On tap was a pair of $27,950 splits for two-year-old filly trotters while their male counterparts slugged it out later in the night for a $46,700 jackpot. In the first Hanover split for the freshman trotting fillies Bobby Brower and Mystical Marker Farms Petticoat Affair had no trouble living up to her favored status as she cruised to a 4 ¾ -length triumph in 1:57.1 with Brad Hanners at the controls. Sweeping from fifth to first on the backside after watching Dancing Dynamite (Dean Magee) cruise through an opening quarter in 28.2, the daughter of Valley Victor—Katie Hall was in complete control of the proceedings as she rolled through middle splits of 58.0 & 1:27.3. With plenty still in reserve the Bobby Brower trained miss trotted home in 29.3 while continuing to put daylight between herself and her five rivals to notch her fifth win in eight starts this year. Dancing Dynamite held on for second while Fox Valley Lotus (John Roberts), who made a break leaving the gate, rallied to finish third. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite Petticoat Affair returned $3.60, $2.40 & $2.40 while upping her career bankroll to $185,124. In the second division the Brower-trained, Hanners-driven connection clicked again as Victory Hill Farms and Bobby Brower’s Pray With Me demolished six rivals by seven-lengths in 1:58.4. After saving ground in third while Dress For Success (Dale Hiteman) carved out leisurely splits of 30.0 & 1:00.1, Hanners set the daughter of Broadway Hall—Hail Mary Hanover on a mission for the lead heading into the final bend.  Effortlessly sweeping past her foes on the turn, the Brower trained miss was in front by a length and starting to leave her rivals in her wake as she stepped by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.4.  Leaving no doubt as to who was the best in this group Pray With Me trotted home in 29.0 to post her third win in eight lifetime starts. Simply Class (Joe Putnam) finished second while Pinking Of You (Casey Leonard) was third. Bet as though defeat was out of the question Pray With Me returned $2.40, $2.20 & $2.10 while upping her bankroll to $64,026. A field of nine two-year-old trotting colts was sent postward for the $46,700 Hanover and when all was said and done it was last week’s Lincoln Land Stake winner Photo Surprised who emerged victorious as he trotted to a one- length victory in a career best of 1:57.4 for driver Mike Oosting. Gamely “toughing it out” first over as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) put up splits of 28.2 & 58.1 the Nelson Willis trainee swept past his rivals on the far turn and began to draw away from the field as he rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1. Continuing in full stride as he headed for the wire the state-bred son of Powerful Emotion—Gloria Wyoming was straight and strong as he continued his late season surge with his third win in eight career starts. Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) rallied late to finish second while Explosive Cash (Casey Leonard) was third. Fresh off that win in the biggest event of the year for diagonally gaited Prairie State freshmen the Jerry Graham owned gelding returned just $3.80, $2.40 & $2.10 while running his career bankroll up to $76,725. State-bred pacing fillies were also in action on the busy Sunday night card as a field of eight youngsters squared off in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake. In a re-match of the Violet Stake at Maywood Park last week, Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly once again proved best as she reported home with a three-quarter-length triumph in 1:54.1 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Content to bide her time in the middle of the pack as Mae Flynn (Ryan Anderson) put up splits of 28.3, 57.2 & 1:26.1 Oosting maneuvered his charge into a live outer flow as the field moved around the final turn. Tipping three and then four wide from her third over position, the Nelson Willis trained miss then uncorked a blistering 27.0 final quarter to blow right by her rivals for her fifth win in 12 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) came up with a solid effort to finish second while Fox Valley Shiver (Todd Warren) was third. With the win the daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle sports a record of 5-1-3 in 12 career starts with earnings of $50,895.  David Baum

Freshmen pacing colts received top billing on Saturday, October 12th at Balmoral Park as a field of eight state-breds gathered for the $12,000 Betzotic Stake. When the smoke cleared it was Jack and Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop who came away with the top honors as he rallied for a three-quarter-length victory in 1:52.1. Given a perfect steer by driver Todd Warren the gelded son of Sportsmaster—Dixiegirl came away third while heavily favored Unlocked (Mike Oosting) rattled off splits of 27.3, 56.3 & 1:24.3. Things looked bleak for the rest of the field as Unlocked sped away to a 3 ½ length lead at the mid-stretch call but Warren angled his charge to the outside where the Dirk Simpson trainee began to cut into the leader’s margin. With a six-week layoff finally beginning to take a toll on Unlocked, a hard charging Traffic Cop curbed the pace setter with 100 yards to go and eventually drew clear with a 27.0 final quarter to notch his third win 14 lifetime starts. Unlocked held on for second while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) finished third, 5 ½ lengths behind the winner. With the win Traffic Cop now sports a record of 3-4-2 in 14 starts with earnings of $71,635. David Baum

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

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