Day At The Track
Search Results
81 to 96 of 133

With all the preliminary action in the books it’s now “go-time” for everyone involved in Illinois’ biggest night of standardbred racing as Super Night 2013 is just six nights away at Balmoral Park. After a hectic weekend which saw 12 elimination tussles on Saturday the action slowed down just a bit on Sunday night with six more elimination’s contested for a trio of Super Night events. Kicking off the action were three-year-old trotting colts as a total of 17 diagonally gaited sophomores battled in a pair of $15,000 Su Mac Lad Stake elimination’s.The top five finishers in each division will be back on Saturday, Sept. 14th for the $121,000 final. In the first elimination “Bill” Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa continued his domination of this division as he rolled to a one-length victory in 1:56.3 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Sent to the front by Oosting after an opening quarter in 29.1 the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was in complete control the rest of the way as he rattled off middle splits of 58.1 & 1:28.1. With the “soft” middle half under his belt, the Mike Brink trainee had plenty in reserve for the stretch drive, trotting home in an effortless 28.2 for his 11th win in 12 starts this season. Semper Fit (Dave Magee) finished a nice second despite leaving from the outside post while Fox Valley Camo (Jamaica Patton) was third.Happy Balance finished fourth and Riet’s Kid was fifth. The division leader has now banked over $156,000 this year for his proud connections and he figures to be an overwhelming favorite on Super Night. In the second elimination Mystical Marker Farms and Jack & Peggy Hood’sPowerful Poe shed the runner-role he had assumed seven times already this season knocking off eight rivals by two-lengths in 1:56.2 with Todd Warren handling the driving duties. Despite leaving from an outside post the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Fox Valley Poetry landed in a good early spot as Powerful Valor (Jared Finn) and Skyline Road (Marcus Miller) battled through splits of 30.0 58.4 & 1:28.1. After securing racing room in the lane Warren asked the Dirk Simpson trainee for his best and the gelding responded beautifully as he trotted home in a brisk 27.3 to post his third win in 14 starts this year. Fox Valley Legend (Dale Hiteman ) rallied well to be second for red-hot trainer Joel Smith while Fox Valley Dubai (Dave Magee) finished third. Skyline Road and Powerful Valor finished fourth and fifth respectively to earn the last two spots into the Su Mac Lad final. Next up were three-year-old trotting fillies as a field of 10 looked for nine spots in next week’s $106,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake. They will be joined in the finale by Divination who received a bye into the Super Night  tussle. Flashing the form that netted her divisional honors in her two-year-old season, James Bafia, Eugene White and Samuel Daddono’s Trot Fudge Sundae reported home with a half-length victory in a career best of 1:56.0 with “Mr. Super Night”, Dave Magee in the bike. Givena confident steer by Magee the Dirk Simpson trained daughter of American Native—What A Joy shot right to the front from post six putting up splits of 29.1, 59.3& 1:28.1 while under a snug hold from her Hall of Fame pilot. Fit and fresh as she straightened for the money, the long striding bay put up a 27.4 final quarter to secure her 14th career victory in her 26th lifetime start. Little Ms Chrissy (Robert Taylor) finished a game second while Sara The Spy (Todd Warren) was third. Also securing spots in the final were Just For Fun, Fox Valley Yavonne, Powerful Goddess, American Empress, Kelsey’s Star and High Stepper. A total of 25 filly and mare pacers, three-year-olds and up, were entered for the $123,000 Lorna Propes Stake necessitating a trio of $15,000 elimination tussles. The top three in each division along with one fourth place finisher,(drawn by lot) will be back for the big cash next Saturday night. In the first elimination James Strzalka, Nancy Magnus, Norma Schulfer and James Skvarla’s Fox Valley Absolut exhibited the form that has netted her more than $361,000 in career earnings as she shook off a tough first over trip to score by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:52.4 for driver Robert Smolin. Taking advantage of a nice inside draw the seven-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster was able to save ground through opening splits of 27.2 & 56.2 before moving to the outside as the field headed around the final bend. Grinding her way towards the top the Mike Schulfer trainee was right on the pace setting Tamarac Sassy’s flank as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.2. Seemingly finding another gear as the distaffers moved through the lane Fox Valley Absolut swallowed up the pace setter with a 27.1 final quarter as she began to widen her margin while scoring for the fifth time in 25 starts this year. Kimberley R (Dale Hiteman) shook loose late to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) held on for third. Willow Gram finished fourth. In the middle split the Terry Leonard owned and trained Whistle Pig looked like a princess as she pulled off an 18-1 stunner, scoring by a neck in a career best of 1:52.0 with Casey Leonard handling the driving chores. Placed near the back of the pack despite leaving from post position three the six-year-old daughter of Park Place moved into the outer flow on the far turn as Rev Me Up (John Roberts) sped through splits of 27.2, 55.4 & 1:24.0. Moving up with live cover Leonard tipped his mare four deep turning for home and she responded beautifully, speeding home in 27.1 to put up a career best. Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) closed well to finish second while Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting), the 1-9 favorite in the race finished third. Kate The Great was fourth. In the final elimination east coast invader Let’s Go Higher made it known that she will be a force to be reckoned with next week as the Heidi Rohr trained  five-year-old posted an eye catching eight-length romp in 1:50.4 with John DeLong at the controls. Perfectly positioned in third as Party Hangover charged through splits of 26.3 & 54.2 De Long moved the daughter of Park Place to the outside as the field moved mid-way around the final turn. Leaving the others in her wake Let’s Go Higher sped by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.3 as she set sail for the wire. Finishing off the mile in grand fashion Let’s Go Higher sped home in 28.1 to post her eighth win of the year for owner Jesse De Long. Just By Design (Dave Magee) finished second while Tune In (John Roberts) finished fourth but was moved up to third via a disqualification of Fox Valley Hermia who was cited for interfering with several horses near the top of the stretch. Cole Blue finished fifth but was moved up to fourth because of the DQ. Sunday’s 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $10,416 into Wednesday night’s pool. There will now be a $30,000 guaranteed pool on Wednesday’s Pick 5. The Pick 5 entails races 2-6 each night. Handicappers across North America can get a headstart on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pool courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Tom Kelley ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KING MUFASA POSTED HIS 11TH WIN IN 12 STARTS THIS SEASON AS Mike Oosting STEERED THE DIVISION LEADER TO AN EASY WIN IN THE FIRST OF TWO SU MAC LAD STAKE ELIMINATIONS ON SUNDAY NIGHT. TROT FUDGE SUNDAE AND HALL OF FAMER Dave Magee TEAMED UP TO WIN THE LADY ANN REED STAKE ELIMINATION IN 1:56.0 ON SUNDAY NIGHT. LET'S GO HIGHER ROMPED TO AN EIGHT-LENGTH DECISION WITH JOHN DE LONG AT THE CONTROLS IN THE LAST OF THREE LORNA PROPES STAKE ELIMINATION'S ON SUNDAY NIGHT. THE 5YO DAUGHTER OF Park Place STOPPED THE CLOCK IN A BLISTERING 1:50.4. -----Original Message----- From: David Baum To: Tom Kelley ; Mike Paradise Sent: Sun, Sep 8, 2013 9:09 pm  

It’s the second consecutive evening of Super Night eliminations races on Sunday and if I had to pick out two “Locks” they would be King Mufasa in his Su Mac Lad elim and Mystical Victress in her Lorna Propes division. Losing to another Illinois bred horse is just something these two talented horses very rarely do. King Mufasa brings an eight race winning streak into the first race and he’s 10- for 11 since joining the Mike Brink Stable for his 3-year-old campaign. The gelding’s lone 2013 loss came against older trotters early in the season when he was prepping for a stake and drew an outside post. Mystical Victress has lost once to an ICF mare this year, dropping a head decision to Rev Me Up in the $20,000 Sue Fee Stake at Balmoral, and that was the six-year-old mare’s her first loss in state-bred competition since late August of 2010 at Du Quoin in her sophomore campaign. Mystical Victress had won 11 consecutive races against ICF distaffers going into the Sue Fee stake and currently has strung together four straight victories and three were in open company. King Mufasa got his eighth straight win at Du Quoin when Skyline Road was disqualified to second when he went on the pace to get past the Mike Brink trainee. It was the third straight time Skyline Road has been DQ’s for switching over to the pace. King Mufasa didn’t look sharp at all at Du Quoin and I asked Brink if he knew why? “If I had to come with an excuse I would say it was the race track,” Mike answered. “It wasn’t very good and that wasn’t just my opinion. A lot of trainers felt that way. It was too deep. “King Mufasa isn’t a big horse and I think he just struggled on that deep track. A horse doesn’t trot in ‘53’ one week and the next start later has trouble going in ’58’ without a reason. “I had blood work done on him and it all came back clear. He trained really well this week and I think he’ll be just fine for Sunday’s elimination.”- Brink will depend on his help this weekend at Balmoral while he recuperates from reconstructive shoulder surgery in his in Springfield. “Four weeks ago this past week a horse I was driving at the Mt. Sterling Fair went down and I busted up my shoulder pretty bad in the accident. The clavicle was broken in four places and the shoulder was pulled out of its socket. “I’ve got four weeks of physical therapy ahead of me and I’ve been feeling weak so I’ll stay home and take it easy this weekend. Hopefully I’ll feel good enough to go to Balmoral for Super Night.” Brink is having a career year. The 60-year-old veteran had a season-best high 53 racing wins going into this weekend while his horses have won over $482,000, a single-season best. Only a fifth place or better finish is needed to make the Su Mac Lad Final. The third race second elim pits the State Fair runner-up Skyline Road (2-1, Marcus Miller), the consistent Dirk Simpson trainee Powerful Poe (7-2, Todd Warren), the Pronto Don third-place finisher Fox Valley Legend (9-2, Dale Hiteman) and seven other ICF hopefuls. Only the tenth place finisher in the second race Lady Ann Reed elimination won’t move on to the $106,000 final on Super Night. The first nine finishers will advance to meet Divination who drew a bye. Three fillies, Sara The Spy, Little Ms Chrissy and Just For Fum, all have season earnings higher than Divination but since they haven’t raced since August 24, their trainers declined the bye and elected to partake in Sunday’s single elimination. Trainer Nick Prather accepted a bye for Divination who stayed sharp for the Lady Ann Reed with a win on September 1 on the Pana fair track. Mystical Victress needs a third or higher finish to be assured of going after her third consecutive Lorna Propes crown on Super Night. She opens at 8-5 in the second Propes elim. Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) is the 3-1 programmed choice in the fourth race first split, while Brink’s Just By Design is the 3-1 favorite in the sixth race third elimination. “Just By Design is very sharp right now,” said Brink. “I call her a perfect ‘Dave Magee horse’ because he can drive her anyway he wants, depending how the race unfolds, just the way Dave likes to compete.” By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The count down to Illinois biggest night of racing action, Super Night 2013, began in earnest on Saturday, Sept. 7th at Balmoral Parkas 12 eliminations battles were contested by some of Illinois top pacers. Kicking things off were a trio of $15,000 Orange & Blue Stake elimination’s for two-year-old pacing colts. The top three finishers in each elimination as well as one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) will advance to next Saturday’s $200,000 est. final. In the first division Obermeier & Quaid Stable’s PQ Three continued his recent winning streak as the Erv Miller trainee posted a 1 ¼ length decision in 1:54.1. Sent right to the front from his outside starting spot by driver Mike Oosting the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Sweltering cruised through splits of 28.2, 57.3 & 1:26.2 while easily keeping his rivals at bay throughout the mile. Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) sat right on the winner’s back the entire way to earn the place money while Cotton Eyed Joe (Robert Smolin) rallied to be third. Dave’s Skyscaper was fourth. The win was the sixth in 10 starts this year for PQ Three who now boasts $114,399 in career earnings. In the second elimination Paula Smith & James Runyan’s Fox Valley Deuce prevailed in a thrilling three-horse photo, winning by a nose in a career best of 1:54.3 for Dale Hiteman. Perfectly positioned while saving ground in fourth as Fox Valley Cupid (Ryan Anderson)  carved out splits of 28.2, 58.1 & 1:26.4 the Joel Smith (2 wins) trainee pulled as the field neared the top of the stretch. Battling tooth and nail through the lane the son of Sportsmaster—Dodger Girl managed to get a nose in front in the final strides to earn his second win in 10 tries. Fox Valley Cupid held on for second while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) rallied up the passing lane to be third. Manny’s Z Tam was fourth. The final division was taken by Jack & Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop who reported home with a 3 ½ length score in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Zipped right to the front as 4-5 favorite Badger Quinn went off stride right at the start, driver Todd Warren did a nice job of directing the proceedings as he rolled through splits of 28.1, 58.1 & 1:27.3. After turning away a first over challenge from Duneside Art in the lane the son of Sportsmaster-Dixiegirl proceeded to draw away from her rivals for her second win in 10 lifetime appearances. One Sure Apache (Mike Oosting) rallied to be second while Fox Valley Van (John De Long) finished third. Duneside Art was fourth. Next up were sophomore pacing fillies as a total of 18 ladies looked for 10 starting spots in next week’s $173,000 (est.) Grandma Ann Stake. In the first of two $15,000 elimination tussles John Carver’s Auniqueaquistion gave the chalk players a thrill as she shook loose from a precarious position in mid-stretch to win by a half-length in1:53.0. Positioned near the front by driver Mike Oosting as the lead changed hands several time through splits of 28.4, 57.4 & 1:26.1 the daughter of Cole Muffler—Shesoluvabull was desperately searching for racing room behind a tiring leader as the field turned for the money. Maneuvering outside then back inside again with the Donna Lee Ozment trained miss Oosting finally secured racing room with just less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. Responding beautifully, Auniqueaquistion bulled her way to the front and steadily began to draw clear for her 12th win in 21 career starts. Schmatie (John De Long) finished a game second while Aliyah Maria (Dave Magee) was third. Dune In Red & State Street Liz also gained spots in the final. In the second elimination Paula Smith, James Runyan and Frank Pike’s Dallas Jones continued an amazing second season transformation as she came flying home to win by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:53.1. Well-handled by a red-hot Casey Leonard the daughter of Sportsmaster—Cams Bett was reserved through the early stages as Feel Like Dancing (Kyle Wilfong) and Mystical Danica (Marcus Miller) battled through splits of 27.4, 56.4 & 1:24.4.Tipping four deep as the ladies turned for home the Joel Smith trained miss then picked off one rival after another on her way to her eighth win of the season. Mystical Danica held on for second while Thank You Doc (Mike Oosting) rallied sharply to finish third. Feel Like Dancing was fourth while Fox Valley Isabella was fifth. A total of 17 sophomore pacing colts were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial eliminations. Once again the top five will be back on Super Night to go for an estimated purse of $173,000. The first division provided a thrilling finish as Paymaq Racing, D&M Trading & Mystical Marker Farms Mystical Walter emerged with a hard fought three-quarters of a length victory in 1:51.0. Confidently handled by driver Casey Leonard the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Yankee Blue ranged up first over to engage Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) after watching that rival post splits of 27.3, 56.0 & 1:23.3. After battling head and head through the lane Mystical Walter finally began to pull clear in the final one-hundred yards, notching his 10th career win in 20 starts for trainer Erv Miller. Crankin’ It Up was a sharp second while Alequash Hotspur (Dale Hiteman) finished third. Fox Valley Norman was fourth while Big Brad was fifth. In the second Langley elimination Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy, Amy Giberson & Monty Thompson’s Silver Devil parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:52.2. Riding along in the pocket while Monopoly Man (John De Long) strolled through splitsof 28.0, 57.3 & 1:25.1 driver Casey Leonard patiently waited for the passing lane to make his move with the Nick Giberson trainee. Swinging down to the inside with a sixteenth to go the roan son of Duneside Perch—Armbro Wahine came charging home in 26.4 to secure his seventh win in this his first season of action. Monopoly Man held on well to finish second while Ready (Brian Carpenter) used a pylon skimming journey to get the show dough. Fancy Creek Elusiv was fourth while Fox Valley Action was fifth. With a total of 21 three-year-olds and up entered for the Tony Maurello Stake a trio of $15,000 elimination’s were needed. Once again the top three along with a fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) will be back for next week’s $125,000 final. In the first elimination Stevanna Turner’s NJ’s Big Deal rallied in the final strides to win by a head in 1:50.1 for driver Mike Cox. After leading the way through an opening quarter in 28.1, Cox elected to let a hard charging Uncle Smoothie (John De Long) go, winding up in the three-hole as the field sped through middle splits of 55.3 & 1:23.0. The John Fletcher trainee was then moved to the outside at the top of the stretch where he gamely wore down Ice Scraper (Kyle Husted) and Uncle Smoothie (John De Long) for his11th win of the year. Whirlwindiplomacy was fourth The middle elimination provided no surprises as heavily favored Fort Silky cruised to an easy 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1 for owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler. Sent to the front by driver Casey Leonard after a quarter in 27.0 the seven-year-old gelding then went unchallenged through middle splits of 55.4 & 1:24.3.Setting sail for home the Terry Leonard trainee sealed the deal in fine fashion, rattling off a final quarter in 26.3 to notch his 12th win of the year. Cole Heat (John De Long) finished second while Fox Valley Yukon (Marcus Miller) was third. Uncle Bud finished fourth. Chalk players were dancing again in the final Maurello elimination as Paymaq Racing, Mystical Marker Farms, Ken Duffy & Shim Racing’s A Cool Card notched his fourth straight win rolling to a one-length decision in 1:50.4 with Marcus Miller in tow. Working out a perfect second over trip as King’s Legend (Todd Warren) put up splits of 27.3, 56.0 & 1:23.4 A Cool Card tipped three-wide off his cover as the field straightened for home. The Erv Miller trainee then stormed home in a wicked 26.2 to record his sixth win in 10 starts this year. Iam Bonasera (Kyle Wilfong) finished a hard knocking second while Gibbs (Dave Magee) rallied to be third. Sports Fanatic wound up fourth. Freshman pacing fillies closed out the elimination action with a total of 20 youngsters battling in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elimination’s. The top five in each will return on Super Night to slug it out for a $200,000 jackpot. In the first elimination Team Miller clicked once again as Marcus (2 wins) made a successful return to the local scene guiding Obermeier & Quaid Stable’s (2wins) My Little Bit to an easy one-length triumph in 1:54.1, giving his father Erv, his fourth training win of the night. Powering to the front after an opening quarter in 28.1, the daughter of Sportsmaster-Parade Of Love rattled off middle splits of 58.1 & 1:26.1. With plenty still in reserve the good looking filly paced home in 28.0 to win for the fourth time in eight life time starts. Party Hangover Two (John De Long) was second while Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) was third. Fox Valley Amanda was fourth while Simplyirresistible was fifth. In the second division Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly took advantage of a ground saving trip as she charged up the passing lane to win by a half-length in1:55.0. Perfectly handled by Mike Oosting (3 wins) the daughter of Lexington Legend-Waggle was forwardly placed while skimming the pylons through splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:27.3. With the fillies fanning out for the stretch drive, Oosting moved the Nelson Willis trainee up the inside where she rallied gamely for her second win in eight trips postward. Kiwi Party (John De Long) overcame post nine to be the bridesmaid while Mae Flynn (Dave Magee) was third. Tessa finished a hard fought fourth while M A Refling overcame a miscue at the start to finish fifth. The elimination action for Super Night continues on Sunday, Sept. 8th at Balmoral Park as a trio of Lorna Propes Stake elimination’s (three-year-old & up filly & mare pacers), a pair of Su Mac Lad Stake elimination’s (three-year-old trotting colts) and one Lady Ann Reed (3yo trotting filly) will all be contested. Post time on Sunday is 7:10 p.m. (central). Tom Kelley  

It’s a rare sight to see a 2-year-old trotting filly who recently won a State Fair championship competing in the same race as a freshman trotting colt who captured a State Fair crown. Nevertheless, that’s the case in Wednesday’s fourth race at Balmoral Park. Fresh off a 1:59.2 victory in the $33,000 Shawnee at Du Quoin, Fox Valley Hosana steps out of the distaff ranks and takes seven juvenile trotting colts including Springfield champ Tour Hall, the 5-2 favorite in the fourth race.. “It’s not an ideal situation but I wanted to keep Fox Valley Hosana sharp with her American National coming up in two weeks,” said trainer Dirk Simpson. “It’s been a week and a half since she won at Du Quoin and there wasn’t any place else to race her this week.” Fox Valley Hosana (programmed at 7-2) won’t be the only filly in the race. S V Spirit (9-2, Todd Warren), winner of her Springfield elimination and the Downstate Classic at Lincoln in early August, will start to the right of the Dirk Simpson trainee with post 8. Longshot Lorna Lee Breeze (12-1), a Southland Breeze filly, has the three post for her 20-year-old driver Mariyah Mulvey who also trains the freshman. This will be the Effingham, IL native’s first drive in a pari-mutuel race on the Crete one-miler. She competed at Balmoral in amateur driving events the previous past three years starting as a 17-year-old in 2010. Fox Valley Hosana, owned by the Illinois trio of Desyllas Racing (Alexander), Bill Beck (Edinburg) and Carol Riekin (Ashland) was fourth at a 1:01.1 first half before making a strong three-wide move with tonight’s driver Mike Oosting and drawing off by more than two lengths over Springfield freshman trotting filly champion Fox Valley Lotus. “Hosanna seems to like it better coming out of a hole,” said Simpson. “Mike used her that way at Du Quoin and just kept going.” Also going postward in Balmoral’s fourth race trot for freshman of both sexes is Bands Jeeves (10-1), Nino Marino (6-1), Busted Flat (20-1), Photo Surprise (10-1) and the Jared Finn trained entry of Aqua Lung and Leasem For Less at 8-1. He Paid What? My eyes aren’t what they use to be so I had to rub them a couple of times and keep looking to make sure I saw correctly the $31.00 winning mutuel on Mystery Exposed, one of my Sunday night Mike Price Shots at Balmoral. He drew off by three lengths with Casey Leonard in race eight and keyed a $364.60 Exacta. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Friday night’s $30,000 Egyptian stake, the second leg of the Maywood Park Pacing Series, isn’t a “Handicap” race but it may appear that way to some after seeing the draw for the ninth race feature. Fort Silky, all season long this year’s No. 1 state-bred aged pacer, landed Maywood’s dreaded 8-hole that produces the winning horse less than 7 per cent of the time. I asked driver Casey Leonard about Fort Silky’s draw. “We drew the 9-hole in the first leg when we got beat. It’s become a graveyard post at Maywood,” said Casey. ”Now we get the 8-hole with its low percentage of winners but I guess I rather be on the gate with it than start in the second tier.” Casey is well aware of a number of horses in The Egyptian who can sprint out in a hurry and he’s at the lines of one of them. “In Friday’s race I’ve got Uncle Smoothie and NJ’s Big Deal inside of us and they both can get away from the gate real well. I guess I have to leave at least a little bit or I can leave hard with him and hope to get up-close position. “I don’t want anything stupid to happen, especially with Super Night just a couple of weeks away. I guess we’ll just see what happens behind the gate and go from there,” said Casey who will turn 36 on September 11. While the 9-5 morning line favorite Fort Silky has always excelled at Maywood Park he hasn’t had many opportunities to compete there this season. This is only the 7-year-old gelding’s third start of 2013 on the half-miler. Fort Silky did take a $28,534 division of the Cardinal stake at Maywood the last day of May but he needed a 27 flat first quarter to make the front in the Cook County, the Series first leg, and was overtaken in the late going by the pocket horse Fox Valley Yukon who wasn’t entered for The Egyptian. Fort Silky has finished first or second in 15 consecutive starts, going all the way back to mid-March, for his Paw Paw, Illinois owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikler. The horse has already surpassed his previous best earning year (2011) by almost $50,000, a tribute to the Leonard family’s management of the ICF pacer. A $25,000 bonus goes to the owners who’s horse earns the most points in the three series legs, with 50 awarded for first, 25 for second, 12 for third, 8 for fourth and 5 for fifth. After his second place finish in the Cook County plus the absence of Fox Valley Yukon, a win tonight puts Fort Silky in the driver’s seat to become the fourth straight Leonard trainer pacer to capture the Maywood Series. The recently retired Well To Do Guru did it in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In fact the former Illinois kingpin swept all three legs the last two years. When Casey looks in before the starting gate gets ready to spring open he’ll find Fox Valley Mahalo (15-1, Kyle Husted), Whirlwindiplomacy (8-1, Todd Warren) Sports Fanatic (10-1, Dean Magee), Uncle Smoothie (9-2, John De Long), Raging Cam (10-1, Mike Oosting), NJ’s Big Deal (5-2, Mike Cox) and JHS (20-1, John Roberts). By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Harness Racing at the Du Quoin State Fair begins Friday evening with a trio of $9,000 County Fair Championships heading up the 10-race program at gets under way at 7 o’clock. The 2-year-old colt and gelding trot championship, the last race on the card, brings out Come And Tell Pap (Isaac Love) and Big Bill Breeze (Mike Oosting), who have each won five times on the County Fair Circle and have traded wins against each other. Come And Tell Pap got the best of Big Bill Breeze on July 19 at Petersburg by almost three lengths and then 10 days later Big Bill Breeze returned the favor by drawing off in a Illinois Stallion stake at Charleston, leaving Come And Tell Pap nine lengths behind. Big Bill Breeze, a Nick Prather trainee, was the runner-up in Springfield to eventual champion Tour Hall in an elimination race but missed the final due to sickness. John D Finn’s Finnster, who owns a win against both Come And Tell Pap and Big Bill Breeze, has shown ability when he stays flat. The field is completed with Bully Bust Boy, Battleshoe Crown, Swiss Mocha and Bands Jeeves. The first County Fair Championship to be decided Friday night is the third race for 3-year-old ICF filly trotters. The J D Finn Stable’s High Stepper, a seven-time season winner, is the likely favorite. The daughter of High Falls won her season debut at Hoosier Park with a 2:01.4 mile in the slop and then campaigned at Balmoral before going on the County Fair Circuit. High Stepper will face Foxy Polar, Elegant Rosie, Accokeek Aphrodite, Bands Dee Dee and Sherry’s Band, a six-time season winner for Freddie Patton Jr. Patton will guide the morning line favorite Bands Giant Star in the seventh race 2-year-old filly trot championship. She’ll race as an entry with Bands Fancy. Both fillies are owned and bred by Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois. Bands Giant Star has won 4 of her first 7 career starts but did draw the 8-slot in the 9-horse field. Macie Rae, who went off stride in the Springfield State Fair Final after third place finish in her elimination, has made five stops in a winner’s circle in her first season of racing for trainer Mike Rogers who will drive the daughter of Powerful Emotion. Landing the rail makes Macie Rae a solid threat if she can mind her racing manners. Looking to pull off an upset are Sweet Bella Breeze, Shady Maple Feisty, Psychicfinn, Dancingthebreeze and Pistol Annie. Mike Oosting, Todd Warren, John Roberts and Kyle Wilfong all are competing Friday night at Du Quoin and are off their drives at Maywood Park where the feature race is a $10,000 high-level conditioned pace. The 11th race is headed up by Firstclassallthway (programmed 2-1, John De Long), Raging Cam (7-2, Dale Hiteman) and Kansas Wildcat (5-1, Brian Carpenter). It also is the first leg of the track’s 50 cent Pick 4 with a guaranteed $10,000 pool and a less than usual takeout of 15 per cent. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The $12,500 “Winner’s Over” that lured the return of Dandy Farm’s star trotter Celebrity Hercules, along with the $10,700 Champion On Ice Series Final, share the spotlight on Wednesday evening’s card. Celebrity Hercules has spent most of the summer in Minnesota and Indiana, where he chalked up 4 wins in 5 starts. The 7-year-old gelding went 2-for-2 in June up north at Running Acres and later took a pair of “Winner’s Over” at Hoosier Park in July before dropping a fourth place finish in their Invitational 2 and1/2 weeks ago. In between Celebrity Hercules dominated a “Winner’s Over” at Balmoral in early July, proving best by 6 and 1/2 lengths in a career fastest 1:54 mile for trainer Erin Elliott and her Glenview, IL owners. Celebrity Best has been third or better in 18 of 19 season starts, winning 12 of them. If that sounds like a lot of victories for this time of the year, it is. Only four aged trotters throughout all of North American have won more races this year and each of those trotters has made more starts while earning a lot less money. Celebrity Best, who will open at programmed odds of 3-1 when he leaves from the 10-hole with Mike Oosting, has put $107,517 on his season card. His career earnings are over $410,000. Making his Balmoral Park debut is the Erv Miller Stable’s Nonverbal Hanover (5-1), a five-year-old gelding who has gone 2-for-6 in Pennsylvania, including a 1:54.3 mile on the five-eighths track at Philadelphia. He has post nine for Casey Leonard. The first eight slots will be manned by Outlaw (6-1), Evil Urges (4-1), GRC Travel King (12-1), Mad Cow Lisa (8-1), Mischievous Jesse (8-1), Ants Iner Pants (15-1), New Zion (6-1) and Clever Upstart (10-1). The eighth race Series Final Tempus Fugit, winner of his first two series legs for the Kyle Husted Stable is the 9-2 third choice from post eight behind J M Showcat (7-2) a first leg winner with Oosting and We’ve Got It All (4-1, Dale Hiteman) who dropped a head decision last week in his Balmoral debut for trainer Erv Mller. Also making the competitive series final were Speedy Alber (12-1), Perfect Profit (Casey Leonard), Sound And Fury (8-1), Nidaros (6-1), Jailhouse Rockn (6-1), Olives And Caviar (12-1) and Monticello Lulu (Todd Warren). By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

A pair ofstate-bred stakes, each split into two divisions, along with two carry over pools and two big guaranteed pools highlighted a busy Saturday night of harness racing action at Balmoral Park. With a total of 15 distaffers dropped into the box for the Parklane Powerful Stake a pair of $30,000 splits kicked off the “Elvis Night” action. In the first division Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood’s outstanding mare, Mystical Victress cruised to her 44th career victory as she rolled under the wire with a one-length decision in 1:51.2 for driver Mike Oosting. Confidently handled by Oosting the six-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster came away fourth as Rev Me Up rolled through opening splits of 27.4 & 55.1. Tipping to the outside on the final turn, the Erv Miller trained miss quickly pulled alongside the pace setter as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2. With the money on the line Mystical Victress set sail for the wire easily gobbling up the leader with a 27.3 final quarter to post her sixth win of the season. Fox Valley Matinee(Brian Carpenter) turned a ground saving trip into the place check while Whistle Pig (Casey Leonard) was third. Bet as though defeat was clearly out of the question Mystical Victress returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping her career bankroll to $758,973. In the second division Joshua Carter’s Just By Design used a big backside brush to power into command and never looked back as she reported home with a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:52.2 for driver Dave Magee. Reserved early on as Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 Magee pulled from sixth as Leonard tried to put on the brakes with the field moving towards the half-mile mark. Rushing up to challenge the pacesetter as the field hit the half in 57.1, Just By Design easily cleared to the front on the turn as was in complete command as she passed the three-quarter mile mark in 1:25.0. Fit and fresh down the stretch, the Mike Brink trained five-year-old sealed the deal with a 27.2 final split to post her second win of the season. Pardon (John De Long) turned in a solid effort to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy held on for third. The daughter of Sportsmaster returned $6.80, $3.60 & $2.80 while pushing her 2013 record to 2-3-2 in 13 starts. With the win Just By Design now boasts $212,702 in career earnings. A total of 13 older pacing horses were entered for the Big Tom Stake with each division each carrying a jackpot of $30,000. Once again trainer Erv Miller and driver Mike Oosting teamed up to get another prohibitive favorite home as Mystical Marker Farms, Paymac Racing, Shim Racing and Kenneth Duffy’s A Cool Card continued his impressive comeback with a1 ¾ length triumph in 1:51.1. Hustled from fourth to first after watching Park Lane Deputy (Todd Warren) lead the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 A Cool Card was comfortably in front through middle splits of55.4 & 1:23.4. Shrugging off a mild challenge from Whirlwind Diplomacy (Casey Leonard) in the lane, the five-year-old son of Cole Muffler paced home in 27.2 to secure his fourth win in eight starts this season. Park Lane Deputy came on again to finish second while Whirlwind Diplomacy wound up third. After missing part of 2011 and all of 2012 with a cracked knee the bay gelding is showing signs of regaining the form that turned heads here during his three-year-old season. With Saturday’s win A Cool Card boasts career numbers 11-1-2 in 16 starts with earnings of $126,900. He returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10 to his legion of backers. In the nightcap John Prentice and Neva Jane Grevengoed’s Fort Silky continued to enjoy his finest season to date as the seven-year-old gelding scored by a hard fought neck in 1:51.1 with Casey Leonard at the controls. Hustled away from post position six the gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover led the field through an opening quarter in 27.0. Facing immediate pressure from a head strong NJ’s Big Deal (Mike Cox) Leonard briefly released that rival before moving back to the front where he led the field through middle splits of 56.2& 1:24.0. Despite making two moves during the mile the Terry Leonard trainee gamely held off a late bit up the inside from the pocket sitting NJ’s Big Deal with a 27.1 final quarter to post his 37th career victory. Uncle Smoothie (Mike Oosting) finished third. Another heavy favorite of the betting public Fort Silky returned $3.00,$2.20 & $2.10 while upping his career bankroll to $458,834 on the strength of a 2013 record of 11-8-1 in 23 starts. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Cool Card continued an amazing comeback as he rolled to victory in the first of two divisions of the $30,000 Big Tom Stake. Just By Design and driver Dave Magee teamed up to win the second of two divisions of the $30,000 Parklane Powerful Stake. Fort Silky notched his 11th win of the year by knocking off six rivals in 1:51.1 in the second of two divisions of the Big Tom Stake. Mystical Victress posted her 44th career victory as Mike Oosting steered to the six-year-old to a 1:51.2 clocking in the first of two divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake. Tom Kelley

The Illinois State Fair meeting at Springfield came to an end with a bang Thursday afternoon when PQ Three became the fastest Illinois bred 2-year-old pacer in history with a 1:50 flat track record performance for driver Mike Oosting. The Erv Miller trained gelding put an end to Unlocked’s unbeaten streak at six when he went past the front-stepping 4-5 pacesetting favorite in the lane in the meet’s finale, the freshman colt and gelding pace showdown and the last of 8 Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Championships contested. The first of finals came in the 3-year-filly trot division where owner-driver Todd Warren gave his Sara The Spy ($12.20) a perfect two-hole journey and the filly overtook the favored Little Ms Chrissy in the final stride for a head victory. The time of 1:54 flat was a career best for Sara The Spy who will head next to the Du Quoin State Fair that starts a week from today. King Mufasa ($2.10) was all out to capture the 3-year-old colt trotting final, his seventh straight for the driver-trainer combination of Mike Oosting and Mike Brink, just holding off his fast charging entry-mate Skyline Road. King Mufasa, who this year is 9-for-9 in his division, trotted a lifetime best time of 1:53.4 and went over $130,000 in season earnings for owners Bill Wright and Mystical Marker Farms. Fox Valley Lotus ($8.40) made her third career start the charm, taking the freshman filly trot final despite a first-over journey. John Roberts guided the Curt Grummel trainee to her maiden triumph in 1:57.3 over Bailey’s Wish for Pittsfield, Illinois owner Dr. Patrick Graham. My Little Bit ($7.40) led from start to finish when she annexed the 2-year-old filly pace crown with Marcus Miller, pacing a 1:53.4 mile for trainer Erv Miller and her winning Evergreen Park, Illinois owners Obermeier & Quaid Stables. When Fox Valley Veto went off stride in mid-stretch on the lead it made the task easier for eventual winner Tour Hall ($9.40) who flashed past and drew away to the freshman championship for trotting colts and geldings. “Mike (trainer Brink) made some changes on him since last week and he was much better today,” said driver Dave Magee in the winner’s circle. “When he was keeping up at the quarter mile pole I knew we had a good chance. That had been an issue him in his earlier races. He was full of trot when we turned for home and I couldn’t wait to pull him.” Owned by his Springfield based trainer and Loren Tournear of Liberty, Illinois, Tour Hall knocked almost three full seconds off his first winning mile with a 1:57.3 clocking. Brink, who is recovering from major shoulder surgery from an earlier accident at a County Fair track, had a training triple on the day. He won earlier with King Mufasa and with his 2-year-old filly pacer April May Dune. The 3-year-old filly pace final saw the 10-1 longshot Dallas Jones ($23.40) get her nose in front of the pacesetting Mystical Danica at the end of a quick 1:51.2 mile. Capably driven by Casey Leonard for trainer Joel Smith, the filly erased over three seconds from her lifetime mark with season win No. 7 for Hoosier Paula Smith and Illinoisans James Runyan and Frank Pike. Leonard was back in the winner’s circle a third time with a heady drive behind the favorite Mystical Walter ($3.80) in the championship for sophomore pacing colts and geldings. With the field “walking” to a the first half, timed in :59.3, Casey took Mystical Walter out of fourth on the backside and to the lead before the last turn. The Miller trainee came home in 26.1 at the end of his 1:53.4 mile for Illinois owners Paymaq Racing of Long Grove and Mystical Marker Farms of Dwyer, Indiana. Oosting won the Springfield meet’s driver title and Miller successfully defended his trainer’s crown. Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

With Marcus Miller back in his home state this week to handle some of his dad’s horses in stakes races the Illinois State Fair in Springfield the 24-year-old will also visit Balmoral Park Wednesday night to do some catch-driving. Miller has a drive in every event on the 10-race card that includes the well-bred 3-year-old filly trotter We’ve Got It All in the third race, the second of three divisions of the Champion On Ice Trotting Series. We’ve Got It All was scheduled to race in last week’s opening round but ended up a judge’s scratched for “not reported.” A daughter of Yankee Glide out of the Mr. Vic mare Wishingforadream, the filly went unraced as a 2-year-old and in seven starts this season she hasn’t been better than third and that occurred just once. “We’ve Got It All has raced better since dad (trainer Erv) put trotting hobbles on her a few starts ago,” said Marcus. I asked Marcus why the $95,000 yearling buy was shipped to all the way to Illinois to compete in the Champion On Ice Series. “To braven her up,” Marcus replied. “Out east these NW of 1 and 2 trots go in ‘55’ or ’56.’ We thought she would do well against the (softer) competition at Balmoral. A couple of wins could do a lot for her confidence.” We’ve Got It All is owned by Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, Illinois, Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana and Canadian Greg Gillis. She’ll leave from the pole position and will open as the 7-2 morning line second choice. Among her opponents is the 3-1 favorite Tempus Fugit (Kyle Husted) and Liz’s Black Beauty (5-1, Dave Magee), first round series winner in 1:59 flat and 1:59.2, respectively. J M Showcat, the other opening leg winner, is Wednesday’s 3-1 first race favorite and Marcus will take over his lines for Mike Oosting, who is taking Wednesday off along with Todd Warren and John Roberts. Wednesday’s third series division, the fifth race, has Fox Valley Roxy (Dean Magee) and Jailhouse Rockn (Dave Magee) as the 3-1 and 4-1 first flash favorites, in that order. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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

State bred pacers and trotters were front and center on Saturday, July 27th as Balmoral Park presented its Southland Festival of Racing. A total of five championship tilts were contested with more than $290,000 in purse money up for grabs as the Prairie States top two and three-year-old pacers slugged it out in one of 2013’s biggest nights. Trotters kicked off the racing action with a field of seven diagonally gaited three-year-old colts and geldings battling in the $51,000 Kadabra Stake. Just as he’s done throughout his entire second season H. Bill Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa proved to be way too much for this group as he trotted to a 1 ¼ length triumph in 1:55.2 for driver Mike Oosting. Unhurried early the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds settled in sixth as Semper Fit (Dave Magee) led the field through opening splits of 28.1 & 58.0. Oosting then put the Mike Brink trainee into gear as the field headed down the backstretch and the division leader responded beautifully, charging right by the pace setter on the final turn while taking the field by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.2. “We were going into a pretty decent wind there so I just allowed him to trot on as much as he wanted to,” said Oosting. “I didn’t even realize we were going a 28.2 third quarter. That’s how smooth he is.” Under a hand drive through the lane, King Mufasa turned aside a challenge from entrymate Powerful Poe (Todd Warren) as he reported home with his seventh win in eight starts this year. Powerful Poe was forced to settle for the runner-up role for the sixth time this year while Skyline Road (Casey Leonard) was third. “I was a little concerned when Powerful Poe came up alongside us but then he just took off again,” said a happy Oosting. “He knows what he’s got to do and he just keeps going out there and doing it. Not only is that a credit to him but to Mike (Brink) as well. He’s kept him quiet and sound all year long and he’s just as sharp now as he was early in the year.” With the win King Mufasa now has seven wins and one second in eight starts this year with earnings of $95,410. With no place or show wagering King Mufasa returned $2.10. Next up were two-year-old pacing fillies as a field of 10 youngsters squared off in the $65,000 Loyal Opposition Stake. After a furious stretch drive Engel Stable of Illinois ’ Thesleazyprincess gave Oosting his second stakes triumph of the night as she recorded a 3 ¼ length victory in 1:54.3. After rushing to the front after an opening quarter in 27.3 Oosting allowed a hard charging Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) to grab command as the field reached the half-mile mark in 56.2. That pocket sitting journey nearly turned into a nightmare for the Nelson Willis trained miss as Fox Valley Amanda began to tire after passing the three-quarter mile mark in 1:25.1. “Those two up front (Fox Valley Amanda & Western Dame) were starting to tire and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get carried to the open stretch,” said a relieved Oosting. “That’s when I decided to back my filly off a little and we were able to get out of that spot.” Patiently sliding off the pylons with an eighth of a mile to go Oosting maneuvered the daughter of Sagebrush—Da Sleazy One three wide around her rivals and the long striding filly quickly swept past the tiring leaders for her second win in three career starts. My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) shook loose late and rallied to be the bridesmaid while favored Western Dame (John De Long) finished third. “That was a giant effort from a two-year-old filly,” Oosting commented in the winner’s circle. “I really wound up starting and stopping her three different times during that race but she still had an answer for them when she needed it most. That was huge.” The second choice in the wagering returned $5.00, $3.40, & $2.10 while upping her bankroll to $37,450. Oosting did not wait long to strike for a third time taking the $63,500 Mini Me Stake for two-year-old pacing colts in the next event of the night guiding Obermeier & Quaid Stables good looking youngster, PQ Three to a half-length triumph in a career best of 1:54.2. Floating away from post position nine Oosting had the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Sweltering underway as R Duneshine (John Roberts) and Traffic Cop (Todd Warren) battled through opening splits of 27.3 & 56.2. Picking up cover from Badger Quinn (Kyle Wilfong) as the field moved into the turn Oosting did not wait long to attack from his second over position, moving three wide as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.3. “I knew Todd’s horse (Traffic Cop) was going to be tough to beat so I did not want to let them get away from us,” explained Oosting. “I would have loved to have sat in there longer but I wanted to be in top gear when we straightened up for home.” Setting sail for the wire the Erv Miller trainee paced home in 28.3 to secure his third win in five lifetime starts. Traffic Cop was a hard fought second while Badger Quinn held on for third. After the win Oosting was quick to praise Miller for the conditioning job on PQ Three. “Erv has done a nice job with this one,” said Oosting. “He was a nice horse the first time I ever sat behind him but he’s even better now. They’ve taken pretty much all of the equipment off of him and he’s very simply rigged now. He’s just an absolute pleasure to drive.” The 2-1 second choice returned $6.00, $2.80 & $2.20 while moving his record to 3-2-0 in five starts with earnings of $41,874.  Balmoral’s leading reinsman continued his “one-man-show” in the fourth event of the evening, this time guiding John arver’s Auniqueaquistion to a one-length victory in 1:53.1 to take the $60,000 Ann Vonian Stake for three-year-old filly pacers. Confidently handled by her red-hot pilot the daughter of Cole Muffler—Shessoluvabull made a bold move to the front after watching Feel Like Dancing (Kyle Wilfong) lead the field through an opening quarter in 28.0. Rolling through middle splits of 56.1 & 1:24.0 the Donna Lee Ozment trained miss was forced to brace for a first over challenge from her chief rival, Aliyah Maria (Todd Warren) as the field turned for the money. After gamely putting away that challenge Auniqueaquistion held firm the rest of the way for her seventh win in 10 starts this year. Feel Like Dancing came on again to finish a nice second while Dallas Jones (Casey Leonard) was third. “My horse was starting to get a little complacent on me so I had to get after her a little harder than I usually do,” said Oosting. “She really started to dig in at that point and I felt pretty confident we could hold off whoever was going to take a shot at us. That’s the big difference with her this year. She really gets after it in the last 200 yards or so and Donna’s done a great job with her after she had the heart issue a few weeks ago.” Now sporting a record of 10-5-0 in 18 career starts, Auniqueaquistion returned $4.00, $2.60 & $2.60 while upping her career bankroll to $240,985. The final stake of the night provided a bit of an upset as John & Mary Krasnican’s Big Brad, a 5-1 shot came flying through the stretch for driver Robert Smolin to win the $59,000 Incredible Finale Stake for three-year-old colt pacers in 1:51.2. Reserved through opening splits of 28.0 & 55.3 while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee), Sage Ruck (Mike Oosting) and Mystical Walter (Casey Leonard) all took turns on the lead, Smolin finally worked Big Brad into the outer flow as the field reached the halfway point. “Ever since he tried to pull himself up while on the lead a few starts back I’ve been ducking with him,” Smolin explained. “I was hoping  that we were going to catch some decent cover tonight and I was pretty happy with the way he felt on the last turn.” Storming up three wide as Mystical Walter led the way past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2 the son of Henry Clay—One Sure Thing set sail for the wire. Flying home in 27.1 the Bob Phillips trainee picked off one rival after another while bobbing and weaving his way to his sixth win 14 starts this year. Sage Ruck came on again late to finish second while Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) rallied to be third. After the win Smolin seemed a bit relieved that the journey resulted in a victory. “At the top of the stretch I was just hoping to be second or third,” he said. “My horse was running out at that point, then he started diving in on me. He didn’t know which line he wanted to be on. Once he finally decided to go straight he was as fast as he’s ever been!”  Big Brad returned $13.80, $6.80 & $5.40 while running his record to 9-4-7 in 23 career starts with earnings of $166,540. Stakes action continues on Sunday night with the $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake for three-year-old trotting fillies headlining the card. Post time on Sunday is 7:10 p.m. (central). Tom Kelley ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Big Brad and driver Bobby Smolin came flying through the lane to win the $59,000 Incredible Finale Stake in 1:51.2. King Mufasa continued his dominance of the three-year-old colt trotting set with an easy score in the $51,000 Kadabra Stake. Thesleazyprincess knocked off nine other two-year-old pacing fillies to win the $65,000 Loyal Opposition in 1:54.3. PQ Three won for the third time in five career starts as he rolled to victory in the $63,500 Mini Me Stake for two-year-old pacing colts. Auniqueaquistion gave Mike Oosting his fourth stakes win of the year as she knocked off nine rivals in the $60,000 Ann Vonian Stake.  

Balmoral Park hosts its annual Southland Festival of Racing on Saturday evening with five ICF stake championships to be decided. The $51,500 Kadabra for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings was moved to the second race to kick off the track’s Pick 5 which, at least on paper, looks more like a Pick 4 with the powerhouse entry of King Mufasa, Skyline Road and Powerful Poe. King Mufasa has been dominant, breezing to victories in his last four races that included a Hanover and a career fastest 1:54.1 mile two weeks ago and he wasn’t urged to go any faster. “I don’t know how fast he can go,” said King Mufasa’s trainer Mike Brink. “Mike (driver Oosting) told me he never pulled the earplugs in his last start when the horse went in 54. All I can say is that he’s a very nice trotter and that we haven’t found his bottom yet.” “King Mufasa is loaded with talent,” added Oosting. “Mike (Brink) has done a wonderful job with the horse. Last year he was uncontrollable. Now you can do anything you want with him.” Powerful Poe, the runner-up to King Mufasa in the Hanover, went to Michigan earlier this month and was second in hazel park’s $100,000 Connors championship. Regular driver Todd Warren made the trip to drive the Dirk Simpson trainee with over $210,000 on his card in one and a half seasons of racing. While the morning line on the Kadabra has King Mufasa and friends is at 6-5, anything over 2-5 odds would be a gift for the entry supporters. Saturday’s $60,000 Ann Vonian Final Auniqueaquisition (programmed 5-2) and Aliyah Maria (3-1) square off for the fifth time this year with the each filly beating the other twice. Aliyah Maria beat her when the Roger Welch trainee took the Violet title back in May. Auniqueaquisition handled open company fillies in a Hanover, a stake Aliyah Maria wasn’t eligible to. “Donna (trainer Lee Ozment) has just done a heck of a job with Aquiqueaquisiton,” said her driver Oosting “Last year the filly didn’t always want to finish but this year that’s not a problem. “She and Todd Warren’s horse (Aliyah Maria) look like the best in their division. They’ve beaten each other and they figure to battle that way all through the rest of the year.” The other Southland Festival of Racing ICF showdowns are the $65,000 Loyal Opposition for freshman pacing fillies, the $63,500 Mini Me for 2-year-old male pacers and the $59,000 Incredible Finale for second season pacing colts and geldings. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

After a busy weekend of elimination’sthe fields have been set for one of the biggest nights of racing at Balmoral Park and now the count down begins to next Saturday’s (July 27th) Chicago Southland Festival of Racing. After a trio of stakes were filled on Saturday, July 20th the last two elimination tussles were contested on Sunday night with a total of 16 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies squaring off in a pair of $10,000 Ann Vonian Stake elim’s. The top five finishers in each division will be back next Saturday to slug it out for a purse of $60,000. In the first elimination Roy Drevsand Brett & Candice Wilfong’s Feel Like Dancing came charging through the passing lane to win by a length in a career best of 1:52.3 for driver Kyle Wilfong. After leading the field through anopening quarter in 28.3 Wilfong elected to allow a hard charging Dallas Jones(Casey Leonard) take command. That filly proceeded to rattle off middle splitsof 56.2 & 1:25.1 while the Brett Wilfong trained miss enjoyed a perfect pocket sitting ride. After finding room in the passing lane, the daughter of Skydancer Hanover—Fox Valley Funny exploded past the pace setter finishing offthe mile with a 27.1 final panel to post her seventh win in 14 starts thisyear. Dallas Jones held on to be second while the heavily favored Aliyah Maria(Todd Warren) finished third. Incredible Filly (Mike Cox) and My Marissa Clair(Phil Knox) also earned spots in the final. The second elimination was notwithout its anxious moments for “chalk” players but when the smoke cleared it was John Carver’s Auniqueaquistion who came out on top with a hard fought half-length victory in 1:52.2 for driver Dave Magee. Placed well off the pace while DuneIn Red (John De Long) and R Ciao Baby (Casey Leonard) sped through splits of28.2, 55.3 & 1:24.1, Magee had Auniqueaquistion in the outer flow as the fillies turned for the money. Picking off one rival after another, the Donna Lee Ozment trained daughter of Cole Muffler—Shesoluvabull went from fifth to first with a 27.3 final quarter to notch her sixth win in nine starts this year. Dune In Red turned in a solid effort to finish second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) shook loose late to be a fast closing third. The last two spots in the final went to R Ciao Baby and Mystical Danica (Lewayne Miller). Saturday’s action started with a total of 19 state-bred two-year-old pacing fillies battling in a pair of $10,000 Loyal Opposition elimination’s. The top five in each split will return next week to meet for a purse of $65,000. In the opening division Bruce & Mary Alexander’s Western Dame made it two in a row as she cruised to an impressive two-length victory in a career best of 1:54.2 for driver John DeLong. Charging from fifth to first after an opening quarter of 28.2, the daughter of Sagebrush—Dixie Dame left no doubt as to who was the best in this event as she continued on through middle splits of 57.0 & 1:26.0. Rolling home in 28.2, the $14,000 yearling purchase was never seriously threatened through the stretch as she scored for the second time in three starts. Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) rallied late to be the bridesmaid while Anything I Want (Todd Warren) was a game third. My Little Bit (Robert Smolin) finished fourth and Fox Valley Rockn (Kyle Wilfong) was fifth. The second division of the Loyal Opposition elimination’s also provided a sharp winner as Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly posted her maiden breaking win, reporting home with a 2 ¾ length verdict in 1:55.1 with Mike Oosting in tow. The homebred daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle was confidently handled in the race ranging up first over through opening splits of 29.3 & 58.4. After sweeping into the lead as the field moved around the final turn, the Nelson Willis trainee led the fillies by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.4. The issue was never in doubt from that point on as Molly Go Lightly was a cruise control through a 28.2 final quarter to post her first win in four starts. Green Valey (Robert Smolin) came on late to finish second while April May Dune (Dave Magee) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Amanda(Dale Hiteman) and Ms Solongbyebye (Jamaica Patton). Next on the docket were three-year-old pacing colts as a total of 15 state-bred sophomores battled in apair of $10,000 Incredible Finale Stake elimination’s. Once again the top five will be back for the “festival” where they will battle for a purse of $59,000. In the first elimination Paymaq Racing, D&M Trading & Mystical Marker Farms Mystical Walter continued to turn heads in this division as he posted his Third Straight victory, reporting home with a deceptively easy 2 ¼ length score in 1:51.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Fresh off his win in last week’s Hanover Stake, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Yankee Blue put his powerful brush to good use rushing from fifth to first after an opening quarter in 28.0. The Erv Miller trainee never looked back the rest of the way, effortlessly posting middle splits of 56.2 & 1:24.1 before sealing the deal with a wicked 27.0 final quarter for his seventh win in 15 career starts. Monopoly Man (John De Long) followed the winner’s every move after giving way on the backside to finish second while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee) was third. Also grabbing spots in the final were Sage Ruck (Mike Oosting) and Fox Valley Action (Todd Warren). In the second division John & Mary Krasnican’s Big Brad came storming through the stretch to win by a neck in a lifetime best of 1:51.0 for Robert Smolin. Moving up second over as pace setter Silver Devil put up splits of 28.0, 56.3 & 1:23.4 Smolin moved the Robert Phillips trainee off cover as the field turned for the money. Flying home in 26.4, the bay son of Henry Clay—One Sure Thing swept by his rivals and then was game to the wire as held off a final surge by Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) for his fifth win in 13 starts this season. Crankin’ It Up was second while Kostas Wine (Dave Magee) rallied to finish third. Fox Valley Norman (John De Long) salvaged a fourth place finish after a tough first over bid while the last spotin the final went to Darth Quaider (Mike Oosting). Rounding out the Saturday action were Mini Me Stake elimination’s for ICF two-year-old pacing colts. With a total of 17 youngsters dropped into the entry box a pair of $10,000 splits were contested with the top five moving on to next week’s $63,500 final. In the first division Obermeier & Quaid Stables good looking youngster PQ Three lived up to his favored status winning by a well measured neck in 1:54.3 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Ranging up first over as Traffic Cop(Todd Warren) and R Duneshine (Dave Magee) battled through splits of 28.2, 58.27 1:26.4, Oosting had the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Sweltering just off the pace setters flank as the field turned for the money. Quickly swallowing up R Duneshine in the lane, the Erv Miller trainee then held firm to the wire for his second win in four starts. Traffic Cop re-rallied to finish a game second while Fox Valley Cupid (Robert Smolin) turned a ground saving trip into a third place check. Fox Valley Deuce (Dale Hiteman) was fourth while R Duneshine wound up fifth. The last elimination on the Saturday card provided the tightest finish as the Robert Phillips owned and trained Cotton Eyed Joe found racing room in the final sixteenth of a mile then rallied sharply for a head decision in 1:56.4 with Robert Smolin at the controls. After saving ground while Wimpy Doodle (Dean Magee) and Dunside Art (Mike Oosting) took turns leading the field through splits of 29.3, 1:00.3 & 1:29.2 Smolin appeared to be hopelessly locked in at the pylons. Smolin’s patience paid big dividends though as a seam opened up late in the stretch, allowing the son of Big Green Machine—Secret Dial to come roaring home with his first win in five career starts. Badger Quinn (Todd Warren), who made a power sweep to the front from the outside post wound up finishing a tough luck second while Fox Valley Van (John De Long) was third. The last two spots in the final went to Dunside Art (4th) and Wimpy Doodle (5th). Big Brad and Robert Smolin captured an Incredible Finale Stake elimination for 3yo pacing colts in 1:51.0 on Saturday night at Balmoral Park. PQ Three was a well measured winner for driver Mike Oosting in the first of two Mini Me Stake eliminations on Saturday. Cotton Eyed Joe found room late while rallying for a big win in the second Mini Me Stake elimination on Saturday. Western Dame cruised to an easy win for driver John De Long in the first of two Loyal Opposition Stake elimination's on Saturday night. Molly Go Lightly and driver Mike Oosting teamed up for an easy win in 1:55.1 in the second Loyal Opposition Stake elimination on Saturday.  Mystical Walter continued an impressive recent run as he posted his Third Straight victory in the first of two Incredible Finale Stake elim's for 3yo colt pacers.  

Almost half of Saturday’s 13-race card at Balmoral are ICF stake elimination races to decide the finalists for next weekend’s Southland Festival of Racing program. A fifth place finish or higher is needed on Saturday to advance to gain the ICF finals of the $65,000 Loyal Opposition for 2-year-old ICF fillies, the $65,500 Mini Me for freshman pacing colts and geldings and the $59,000 Incredible Finale for second season male pacers. The fifth race first division of the Incredible Finale came up strong with Cardinal champion Fancy Creek Elusive (programmed 3-1, Dave Magee), Hanover winner Mystical Walter (2-1, Casey Leonard) and last year’s freshman division titleholder Fox Valley Action (9-2, Todd Warren) all squaring off. They’ll be challenged by Monopoly Man (6-1, John De Long), Sage Ruck (6-1, Mike Oosting), Colechester (12-1, Dave Magee) and Bazooka (10-1, Kyle Wilfong. Only two of the seven starters will be eliminated. The second Incredible Finale split is headed up by the Cardinal runner-up Crankin’ It Up (5-2, Kyle Wilfong) and four-time season winner Big Brad (9-2, Bobby Smolin), second best to Latest Desire in last week’s Hanover open stake. Also looking for a berth in the final are Darth Quaider (9-2, Mike Oosting), Fox Valley Norman (6-1, John De Long), Silver Devil (6-1, Jamaica Patton), Mr Three Quarters (12-1, Casey Leonard, Kostas Wine (10-1, Dave Magee) and Sweet Water Jack (20-1, Brian Carpenter). As expected, eliminations were not necessary for either of the ICF 3-year-old trotting stakes. In fact only six horses—American Empress, Divination, Just For Fun, Kelsey’s Star, Little Ms Chrissy and Trot Fudge Sundae—will compete in the $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Final for fillies. The reigning colt division leader King Mufasa has eight challengers in the $51,500 Kadabra Championship: Fox Valley Camo, Fox Valley Dubai, Fox Valley Legend, Powerful Mel, Powerful Poe, Semper Fit, Showstopin Monkey and Skyline Road. Saturday I’ll highlight the ICF two-year-old stake eliminations for the Loyal Opposition for the gals and the Mini Me for the guys. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

81 to 96 of 133