Balmoral Park has announced that Wednesday's (Jan. 29th) qualifiers have been cancelled due to the severe cold that continues to grip the region. Balmoral will conduct qualifiers on Friday, Jan 31st. Entries for that qualifying day will close at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30th. Starting time for that day is scheduled for 10 a.m. (central). Maywood Park will conduct qualifiers on Thursday, Jan. 30th. Entries will close at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29th. Qualifiers will begin at 10 a.m. The first draw for the anticipated Wednesday, Feb. 5th start date at Balmoral Park will be held on Friday, Jan. 31st. A 45-day qualifying standard will be in effect at both ovals. For complete information on both tracks visit www.maywoodpark.com and www.balmoralpark.com by Tom Kelley for Balmoral and Maywood Park
Balmoral Park has announced in advance of another impending "Polar Vortex" that the first of two qualifying days, originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28th, will now be moved to Wednesday, Jan. 29th due to the extreme cold that is expected to grip the region early next week. The starting time will also be moved back to noon (central) for the Wednesday, Jan. 29th qualifiers and entries will now be due by Tuesday, Jan. 28th at 10 a.m. (central). Balmoral will also conduct qualifiers on Friday, Jan 31st. Entries for that qualifying day will close at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30th. Starting time for that day is still scheduled for 10 a.m. (central). Maywood Park will conduct qualifiers on Thursday, Jan. 30th. Entries will close at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29th. Qualifiers will begin at 10 a.m. The first draw for the anticipated Wednesday, Feb. 5th start date at Balmoral Park will be held on Friday, Jan. 31st. A 45-day qualifying standard will be in effect at both ovals. For complete information on both tracks visit www.maywoodpark.com and www.balmoralpark.com by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park
Racing Secretary "Doc" Narotsky has announced qualifying dates for both Balmoral Park and Maywood Park in anticipation of a February 5th starting date to kick off the 2014 harness season in the Prairie State. Balmoral Park will hold qualifiers on Tuesday, Jan. 28th and Friday, Jan 31st. Entries for each qualifying date will close at 10 a.m. the day prior to each qualifying date. Starting time for both days will be 10 a.m. as well. Maywood Park will conduct qualifiers on Thursday, Jan. 30th. Entries will close at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29th. Qualifiers will begin at 10 a.m. The first draw for the anticipated Wednesday, Feb. 5th start date at Balmoral Park will be held on Friday, Jan. 31st. A 45-day qualifying standard will be in effect at both ovals. For complete information on both tracks including the continuing Meadowlands Handicapping contest taking place at Maywood Park and the Illinois O.T.B.'s visit www.maywoodpark.com and www.balmoralpark.com by Tom Kelley for Balmoral & Maywood Park
Cal Expo will be backup host track if Meadowlands can't go
With the 2013 racing season in the books a couple of very familiar faces on the Chicago circuit toted home top honors in the training and driving ranks as veterans Perry Smith and Mike Oosting each completed “daily doubles” by sweeping the training and driving titles respectively at Maywood and Balmoral Park. The 62-year-old Smith who is a Crete, Illinois resident began his career back in the mid-1970’s as a driver-trainer before becoming a full-time trainer in 1989. Since then Smith trained- horses have racked up 1296 victories and more than $8.3 million in purse money. Currently, Smith has 35 head in training at Sawgrass Farms. “I did a lot of racing at both tracks this year,” said Perry. “The key to being successful is knowing where your horses fit and getting them in those spots. If you’re realistic about them and put them in the right spots you can be successful and make money with them.” In the Maywood standings Smith recorded 69 victories from 347 starts for a 19.9% win ratio. David Mc Caffrey finished second with 56 winners from 426 starters while Angie Affrunti was third with 50 wins in 221 starts. The Balmoral title came down to the final weekend but when the smoke cleared it was Smith edging out another veteran, Nelson Willis by a 71-69 margin. Smith sent out 422 starters at the Crete oval for a 16.8% win ratio. Mike Brink finished third with 52 trips to the winner’s circle. On the driving side of the docket, Mike Oosting continued to dominate the ranks defeating Casey Leonard by a margin of 219-201 at Maywood Park and 270-197 at Balmoral Park for his “daily double”. John De Long finished third in the Maywood standings while Dave Magee was third at Balmoral. The Balmoral title was the eighth in the last nine years for the Beecher, Illinois resident who now sports 5,651 career wins and more than $35.5 million in purse earnings. It also marked the eighth straight year the 52-year-old Oosting has finished with a U.D.R. of higher than .300. For complete stats and information on both tracks including the big Meadowlands Handicapping contest taking place at Maywood Park and the Illinois O.T.B.’s which starts on Friday, Jan. 3rd visit www.maywoodpark.com and www.balmoralpark.com. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral and Maywood Park
After a day off to celebrate the Christmas holiday, the Chicago racing circuit gets back in action on Thursday, Dec. 26th and the 10 cent Pick 6 wager at Maywood Park could give players a chance to make a nice score heading into the New Year. The 10 cent wager went unclaimed last Thursday, (Dec. 19) & Friday, (Dec. 20th) so there will be a two-day carryover of $2,789 for tonight's action. With the help of Maywood Park management and the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative, Maywood Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 6 pool of $7,500 on Thursday, Dec. 26th. Once again the Pick 6 can be played for as little as a .10 cent investment giving all gamblers, regardless of the size of the their bankrolls, a chance to play for a nice payday tonight. There will also be a $7,500 guaranteed Pick 4 pool on races 10-13 this evening. Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Post time for the opener on Thursday, Dec. 26th at Maywood Park is 7:10 p.m. (central) and the fifth race, which kicks off the guaranteed pool action in the Pick 6, is expected to go sometime around 8:30 p.m. (central). by Tom Kelley for Maywood Park
Balmoral Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 5 pool of $30,000 on Sunday, December 22nd. Because the 50 cent minimum wager was not hit on Saturday, December 21st, a carryover of $4,860 will be added to Sunday's wagering pool. The popular low cost Pick 5 wager is offered on races 2 thru 6 each racing night. In addition to the Pick 5 guarantee fans will have a chance to walk away with a big payday later in the night as Balmoral will also offer a $25,000 guaranteed pool on their $1 Pick 4 wager. The Pick 4, which is on races 7-10 on Sunday night features a low takeout of just 15%. Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Post time for Sunday's opener at Balmoral is 7:10 pm (central). With Balmoral being closed on Wednesday, Dec. 25th for the Christmas Holiday this will be your last chance to grab some Holiday cash! by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park
A pair of carryover pools and a low 15% take-out on the $1 Pick 4 wager at Balmoral Park created a nice spike in handle on Wednesday, Dec. 18th at Balmoral Park. The total handle for the 10-race card was $841,102, up more than $115,000 from the two previous Wednesday programs at the Crete oval. The final pool on the $1 Pick 4 was a whopping $135,375 while the 10 cent Hi-Five wager generated more than $53,000 in money through the windows. Below is a breakdown of the Pick 4 and the advantage that players throughout the country were more than happy to take advantage of. PICK FOUR SYNOPSIS NEW MONEY $ 107,138 CARRYOVER $ 28,237 FINAL POOL $ 135,375 15% TAKEOUT WEDNESDAY $ 16,070 NET POOL $ 119,305 MINUS NEW MONEY $ 107,138 EQUALS SURPLUS $ 12,167 IN OTHER WORDS, AFTER ALL WEDNESDAY PICK FOUR BETS WERE MADE, THE NEW MONEY OF $107,138 WAS PLAYING FOR $119,305. PLAYER ADVANTAGE 11.3 PER CENT ONE DOLLAR PAYOUT $ 496.50 WIN PRICES 6.00 4.60 10.40 9.20 $2 PARLAY 330.10 $1 PARLAY 165.05 LESS THAN ONE THIRD OF THE $1 PICK FOUR PAYOUT HORSEPLAYERS ----- KNOW THE GAME UNDERSTAND THE INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITIES IN RACING THAT MATHEMATICS CREATES.
Balmoral Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 5 pool of $35,000 on Sunday, Dec.8th. Because the 50 cent minimum wager was not hit on Saturday night, a carryover of $5,728 will be added to Sunday's wagering pool. The 50 cent bet is offered on races two through six on Sunday's card. In addition to the Pick 5 guarantee, fans will have a chance to add to their bankrolls later in the in the night as Balmoral will also offer a $25,000 guaranteed pool on their $1 Pick 4 wager. The Pick 4, which is on races seven through 10 on Sunday night features a low takeout of 15%. Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Post time for Sunday's opener at Balmoral is 7:10 pm (central). Don't miss your chance to take home a big jackpot for a minimal investment as Balmoral Park continues to provide horse players with plenty of chances to grab some holiday "cheer".
The late season surge of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson’s Silver Devil continued on Friday, Nov. 22nd as the handsome roan gelding completely dismantled five other Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts in a 6 ¼ length romp while taking the $15,000 Cole Muffler Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:54.0. Taking full advantage of a nice inside draw and the defection of his main rival, Mystical Walter who was a “Judges Scratch”, the altered son of Duneside Perch—Armbro Wahine swept from third to first after watching Golden Nugget (Jason Brewer) and Fox Valley Norman (John Roberts) battle through an opening quarter in 27.4. In command of the proceedings the rest of the way the Nick Giberson trained sophomore rattled off middle splits of 56.4 & 1:25.4 while putting daylight between himself and his competition. Leaving his rivals in his wake on the final turn Silver Devil sealed the deal with a 28.1 final quarter to post his 11th win in 26 starts this season. Monopoly Man (John De Long) rallied to be second while Colechester (Sam Widger) finished a distant third. Unraced as a two-year-old, the 1-5 favorite of the betting public returned $2.40, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping his record to 11-2-1 in 26 lifetime starts with earnings of $84,614. The .10 cent Pick 6 wager went unclaimed for a third straight racing card on Friday night so there will be a carryover of $15,026 for the Friday, Nov. 29th program at Maywood Park. There is no racing on Thursday, Nov. 28th because of the Thanksgiving holiday. With the three card buildup in the Pick 6 Maywood Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 6 pool of $50,000 on Friday, November 29th. That should provide some lucky “player” with plenty of extra “shopping” money for the Holiday season! Once again the Pick 6 can be played for as little as a .10 cent investment giving all gamblers, regardless of the size of the their bankrolls, a chance to play for a nice payday next Friday night. Post time for the opener on Friday, Nov. 29th at Maywood Park is 7:10 p.m. (central) and the fifth race, which kicks off the guaranteed pool action, is expected to go sometime around 8:30 p.m. (central). by Tom Kelley for Maywood Park
If having the top pacers and trotters in harness racing at their track tonight (Saturday), Balmoral Park has sweeten their program even more! Balmoral Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 4 pool of $100,000 this Saturday, Nov. 9th. Because the $1 minimum wager was not hit on Wednesday, Nov. 6th, a big carryover of $19,006 will be added to Saturday night’s wagering pool. The popular Pick 4 wager is offered on races 10 thru 13 on Saturday’s card. Once again the Pick 4 which has a low 15% takeout has a one dollar minimum and features a guaranteed pool each night. In addition to the Pick 4 guarantee fans will have a chance to pad their pockets early in the night as Balmoral will also offer a $20,000 guaranteed pool on their 50 cent Pick 5 wager. The Pick 5, which is on races 2-6 will be comprised of all American National events giving fans the chance to keep a close eye on the stars of the sport. Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Post time for Saturday’s opener at Balmoral is 7:10 pm (central). Don’t miss the chance to watch and wager on one of the biggest and best cards in Illinois racing history! by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park
After getting off to a fast start in his first season on the track Mike Brink and Loren Tournear’s Tour Hall looked like he was going to be the one to beat in the Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old colt trotting ranks. Unfortunately breaking problems plagued the gelding through late August and September. Now trainer Mike Brink appears to have the son of American Native—Broadway And Fifth back on course as the long striding youngster trotted to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:59.2 while capturing Wednesday’s $10,000 Betzotic Stake at Balmoral Park. Taking advantage of a perfect two-hole trip that was worked out by Hall of Famer Dave Magee, Tour Hall saved ground throughout as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) put up splits of 29.0, 59.1 & 1:29.4. After securing racing room in the lane Tour Hall reeled in longshot Gottaluvaredhead (Casey Leonard) who had had overtaken a tiring Nino Marino at the top of the stretch. Drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for Magee, Tour Hall was on cruise control as he scored for the fourth time in 13 lifetime starts. Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) rallied to be second while Gottaluvaredhead held on for third in the field of six. Morning line favorite Photo Surprise was scratched sick prior to the start of this event. Wednesday’s $1 Pick 4 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $19,006 for Saturday’s big American National card. Balmoral Park has announced there will now be a $100,000 guaranteed pool for Saturday’s Pick 4 which entails races 10-13, adding even more excitement to what will be one of this season’s biggest nights of racing anywhere in the country! by Tom Kelley for Balmoral 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
Thursday’s $12,000 Life’s A Holiday Stake at Maywood Stake turned into quite a nail biter for chalk players as the heavily favored entry of Skyline Road and King Mufasa both made breaks during the mile. The 1-9 favorites still made good on their favored status though with Skyline Road prevailing by 3 ¼ lengths in 2:00.4 over a sloppy track. After speeding to the top from post position eight King Mufasa (Mike Oosting) appeared to take a bad step just after leading the field through an opening quarter in 28.0. After making a nasty break, Oosting did a magnificent job of gathering up the division leader on the turn but not before they had dropped all the way back to seventh as Riet’s Kid (Dean Magee) led the field through a half in 59.2. Circling around rivals as the field moved onto the backstretch the Mike Brink trainee, who had won 14 of 15 starts this season, was back in front as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:30.2. Meanwhile, entry mate Skyline Road and driver Casey Leonard, who made a break early in the race and was last at the opening call, was circling up from th eback of the pack picking off one rival after another as he moved up to challenge as the field moved into the final turn. In full flight as the diagonally gaited sophomores moved around the final turn Skyline Road trotted right by his entrymate as the field straightened for the money, eventually drawing away for his fourth win of the season. King Mufasa turned in an unbelievable effort to finish in the runner-up role while Mack’s Gold Band (John De Long) was third. Sent off at odds of 1-9 the overwhelming favorites returned $2.20 & $2.10. There was no show wagering on the race. With the win Skyline Road now sports a record of 4-3-2 in 17 starts this season with earnings of $54,775 for “Bill” Wright, Geis Enterprise and the Ervin Miller Stable. by Tom Kelley for Maywood Park
Fresh off the two biggest wins in his career, Jerry Graham’s Photo Surprise continued his late season surge towards divisional honors among the Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old colt trotting set as he cruised to an easy 3 ¾ length victory in Wednesday’s $42,200 Cardinal Stake at Balmoral Park. Confidently handled by driver Mike Oosting the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Gloria Wyoming was unhurried early from his inside post content to trot along in third as Nino Marino (Dean Magee) and Tour Hall (Dirk Simpson) battled through an opening quarter in 30.0. Heading up the backstretch Oosting moved the Nelson Willis trainee to the outside where hemade a steady advance to the front finally taking command just as the field moved by the half-mile in 59.0. Heading around the far turn Photo Surprise continued to show the way past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.4. Leaving the field in his wake as he splashed through the lane, this year’s Lincoln Land & Hanover Stake winner was on cruise control the rest of the way widening his margin all the way through the wire while posting his fourth win in nine starts. Fox Valley Veto (John Roberts) rallied from far back to be a sharp second while Nino Marino held onfor third. The even-money favorite returned $4.00, $3.00 & $2.60 while upping his career bankroll to $96,825. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park
State-bred trotting fillies took center stage as the ICF stakes season continued to wind down on Sunday, October 27, with a field of nine diagonally gaited freshmen taking to the track to slug it out in the $42,500 Violet Stake. With the move back into the state-bred ranks after finishing fifth against “open”company in the Hanover Stake last time out, James Bafia & Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish continued to solidify her spot as the “queen” of this division as she rolled to an easy 2 ¼ length victory in 2:00.2 for driver Dave Magee. Using the same tactics that netted them a victory in the Lady Lincoln Land on Oct. 2nd, Magee allowed the daughter of Southwind Breeze—Jen to settle in early before moving her to the top after longshot Macie Rae (Mike Rogers) led the field through an opening quarter in 29.0. Effortlessly sweeping into control on the backside, the Dirk Simpson trained miss led the field through middle splits of 58.1 & 1:28.2 as her rivals struggled to stay within striking position of the good looking brown filly. Through the lane, the issue was never in doubt as Bailey’s Wish received only mild urging from her Hall of Fame pilot while easily keeping her rivals at bay for her fifth win of the season. Fox Valley Hosana (Mike Oosting), who tried to make a first over bid to challenge the winner at the top of the stretch wound up in the bridesmaid role while Wacko (John De Long) rallied late to finish third. With the win Bailey’s Wish now sports a record of 5-2-2 in 13 lifetime starts with earnings of $108,210. The 6-5 favorite of the betting public returned $4.60, $3.20 & $2.60 to her legion of backers. David Baum