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Racing Secretary Peter Hanley has released the condition sheet for the opening weekend of the upcoming 2016 "Summer" Harness meet at Hawthorne Race Course. The condition sheets can be found at http://www.hawthorneracecourse.com/horsemen/condition_sheet.php or at www.ustrotting.com. Racing will kick off on Friday, May 6th and continue on Saturday, May 7th. There will be no racing on Sunday, May 8th for Mother's Day. Hawthorne will then begin its regular four night a week a schedule, Thursday-Sunday on Thursday, May 12th. Post time each night will be at 7:20 p.m. (central). Also please note that any "Late Closing Series Events" that had been scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 8th will now begin one week later on Sunday, May 15th while any other late closing events that had been scheduled for Wednesday nights will now be contested on Thursday nights. The same will hold true for any ICF Stakes that had been scheduled for Wednesday's beginning in June. Qualifiers are scheduled to be held on Wednesday, May 4th at 11:00 am and another round of qualifiers will be held on Saturday, May 7th if need be. Qualifiers will be held throughout the summer on Wednesday's at 11:00 am. Entries will close at 10 am on Tuesday for this Wednesday's qualifiers. Horsemen are reminded that they can begin moving in on Tuesday, May 3rd. From Tom Kelley, for Hathorne Race Course

Stall allocations for the upcoming summer harness meet at Hawthorne Race Course have been assigned by Stall Superintendent - Director of Publicity Jim Miller. The updated list can be found by going to www.hawthorneracecourse.com/horsemen The upcoming summer meet kicks off on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th and will continue through Sunday, Sept. 25th. Post time will be 7:20 p.m. and after the opening weekend of action, Hawthorne will race on a four night a week schedule, Thursday-Sunday beginning on May 12th. Horsemen are reminded that they can begin moving in no earlier than Tuesday, May 3rd and dorm rooms will also become available that day. Rooms may be obtained at the backstretch security office next to the track kitchen. A $150 per room deposit is required. Horsemen who made deposits on rooms during the winter meet will have that deposit carried over to the summer meet for them. "With more than 500 horses scheduled to arrive at Hawthorne for the summer harness meet and more than 800 thoroughbreds heading out of Hawthorne for the summer we are asking for horsemen to arrive as late as possible and to please be patient upon their arrival," said Miller. The first qualifying day is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 4th at 11:00 am and a Wednesday qualifying schedule will stay in effect throughout the remainder of the meet. Racing Secretary Pete Hanley would also like to remind horsemen that there is still time to make nominations for the "Have Em Ready To Roll" Late Closing Series as that deadline has been pushed back to Wednesday, April 27th. All the series information and nomination forms can be found at http://www.hawthorneracecourse.com/hawthorne_news/. ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the 4th oldest racetrack in the nation and the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. Located in Stickney, Illinois on the edge of Chicago's city limits, the 125 year old facility hosts thoroughbred racing in the Spring and Fall/Winter, and standardbred harness racing in January and the Summer. The family-owned and operated business has been an innovator in horseracing for more than 100 years and features the nation's most rewarding players program. For additional information: www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com | Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne | @ClubHawthorne. by Tom Kelley, for Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Race Course would like to remind horsemen that the stake payment for this season’s Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old crop must be postmarked no later than Friday, April 15th. The single staking payment of $1,250 will keep horses eligible to all four legs of the stakes series and the final or consolation which will all be contested at Hawthorne. The top 10 highest point earners in the four legs will make the finals which will be contested on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10th.  The consolations are scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11th. Please make nominating checks payable to:  Hawthorne Race Course C/0 Horseman’s Bookeeper 3501 S. Laramie Ave Cicero, IL 60804 (708) 780-3700 A complete list of the dates for the legs of the stakes and a nomination form can be found at www.hawthorneracecourse.com Racing Secretary Pete Hanley has also decided to push back the deadline for this spring’s “Have Em Ready to Roll” Late Closing Series. Originally scheduled to close on April 15th horsemen will now have until Wednesday, April 27th to get their nominations in for the bevy of series fashioned by the ambitious Hanley. “With April 15th being “tax day” and all the other stakes in Illinois being due that day I just wanted our horsemen to have a few days to catch their breath and take a good look at what we hope will be another well-received Late Closing program,” said Hanley. All of these late closers will carry an entry fee of $200 and nominations will close on April 15th.  The complete late closing series schedule as well as instructions and nomination forms are attached and also available at www.hawthorneracecourse.com. CARDINAL & VIOLET ALSO DUE BY APRIL 15 Hawthorne Race Course, the IHHA and the Illinois Department of Agriculture would like remind horsemen that nominating payments for the 2016 Cardinal and Violet Stakes, to be contested at Hawthorne Race Course in September, are due to the Illinois Department of Agriculture by Friday, April 15th.   The two-year-old Violet and Cardinal Finals are tentatively scheduled to be contested on Sept. 24th and 25th. Eliminations will be held (if needed) the week prior to the finals. (Dates are subject to change). Purses for these races are yet to be determined. Staking payments for the Cardinal and Violent events are made to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  Nomination forms and payment information may be found here: https://www.agr.state.il.us/pdf/genericpaymentform.pdf " Please continue to check the IDOA website or the IHHA website for updates. If you have questions, please call the Bureau of County Fairs & Horse Racing at 217-782-4231.   by Tom Kelley, for Hawthorne Race Course

Racing Secretary Peter Hanley would like to remind all horsemen that stall applications for the 2016 Summer Harness Racing meet at Hawthorne Race Course are due by April 1st. Racing will kick off on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th which is Kentucky Derby weekend. The following week Hawthorne will move to a four day a week schedule with live racing being conducted on a Thursday thru Sunday schedule. Post time each night during the Summer meet will be 7:20 p.m. (central). Qualifiers will be held on Wednesday morning's throughout the summer meet with the first qualifiers tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 4th. The deadline for nominations to all the "Have Em Ready To Roll" late closing series races is April 15th. The entry fee for all those events is $200. More information and nomination forms can be found at www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com. The deadline for the ICF 2yo stakes program is also April 15th. Information on that can be found on the Hawthorne website and also on the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association website at www.harnessillinois.com Tom Kelley  

Although they may be newcomers to Chicago harness racing fans driver Simon Allard and brother-trainer Rene Allard are clearly in the hearts and minds of the local brethren after joining forces with Hawthorne Race Course to spearhead a fundraising drive to help those whose lives were devastated by the tragic barn fire at Classy Lane Farm in Canada on January 4th. Simon, who had a driving double along with several other in the money finishes donated his driving earnings from Saturday's Hawthorne card to the fund which has been set up by Central Ontario Standardbred Association. Rene, who sent out six starters at Hawthorne on Saturday night as well as several others at Yonkers also pitched in by donating his training percentage to help his fellow horsemen. With a great deal of help from horsemen Nicole Agosti and Angie Coleman along with a group of "high energy" youngsters donations were also collected from fans and horsemen throughout the track during the night. Hawthorne President & General Manager Tim Carey also stepped up in a big way to help the fund, promising to match the donations while setting up an account with the horsemen's bookkeeper at Hawthorne for those who still wish to donate to the fund. The account will remain open until Friday, January 22. On-line donations can also be made by using the official Go Fund Me page set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association or by calling (905) 854-2672. Checks can also be made payable to "Classy Lane Barn Fire", Central Ontario Standardbred Association, PO Box 297, Campbellville, ON LOP 180, Canada. Tom Kelley

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sub-zero wind chills could stop the return of live harness racing to Hawthorne Race Course as the "Stickney Spa" enjoyed a very successful opening weekend for its first Standardbred meet in nearly 10 years. With a nice crowd on hand braving day long rain and sleet to witness the live racing card and all the on track festivities on Friday, Jan 8th, Casey Leonard, last season's driving kingpin on the Chicago circuit put on quite a show as he bagged four straight wins to open the 2016 season. Leonard would pick up another victory behind Hudson Jesse in the featured seventh race to wind up with a five-bagger on the night. On Saturday night (Jan 9) local fans had a good look at some of the top stables that have decided to call Hawthorne home for this winter-meet as such national power houses like Rene Allard, Ron Burke and Ken Rucker all sent out winners on the 10-race card. The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi's Ontario Success turned in the most impressive score of the night as he scooted to a front stepping victory in the featured Open pace, tripping the timer in 1:53.4 for driver Sam Widger on a sloppy track after heavy snow fell throughout the late afternoon and evening hours. Casey Leonard continued to weave his magic as well, piloting three more winners on the Saturday program. The up and coming Travis Seekman also had a driving double on Saturday which included the longest price of the weekend as he lit up the board at $75.40 with the Rucker trained Winning Dream in race four. As if Mother Nature had not played enough tricks on the Chicago area, an arctic blast rolled through on Sunday, Jan. 10th plunging temperatures into the single digits. Once again the fabulous work of the track crew had the surface in tip top shape though and driver Robert Smolin started out red-hot as he notched both ends of the early daily double and wound up with a driving triple for the night. Simon Allard began to familiarize himself to the Hawthorne winner's circle with a driving double as did Kyle Wilfong. Leonard posted another victory as well giving him a total of nine wins on opening weekend. The support shown by the horsemen who dropped nearly 500 entries in the box for the opening weekend helped contribute to a 20% increase in the anticipated handle at Hawthorne despite the rough weather conditions. For those "carry-over" seekers, the Jackpot High 5, which is a 20 cent wager, will have a carryover of more than $14,000 as week two of the meet gets started. Live racing resumes on Wednesday, Jan. 13th with first post for the 10-race card at 7:20 p.m. (central) Qualifiers will be held prior to the live card on Wednesday night with that action getting started at 6:00 p.m. (central). Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday thru Sunday schedule until Saturday, Feb 6th. Post time is 7:20 p.m. (central). ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the 4th oldest racetrack in the nation and the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. Located in Stickney, Illinois on the edge of Chicago's city limits, the 125 year old facility hosts thoroughbred racing in the spring and Fall/Winter, and Standardbred harness racing in January and the summer. The family-owned and operated business has been an innovator in horseracing for more than 100 years and features the nation's most rewarding players program. For additional information: www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com | Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne | @ClubHawthorne. Ontario Success came splashing home a winner for Sam Widger in Saturday's featured Open Pace at Hawthorne Race Course.   Tom Kelley

After nearly 10 years away, live harness racing action returns to Hawthorne on Friday evening with a 10 race card of full fields.  With racing returning to Hawthorne, horsemen will see increased purses in Illinois, along with five day a week racing through Saturday, February 6.   Live racing will take place every Wednesday through Sunday evening with a 7:20 PM post nightly.     For the fans, Chicago’s in-town track will provide numerous promotions and many great wagering options with lowered betting minimums and reduced takeout rates.    On the racing end, stall applications for nearly 1,000 horses were sent in for the winter meet.    Horsemen from Illinois will be joined by those from Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and New York as fields are expected to fill well throughout the entire meet.    Hawthorne welcomes Pete Hanley as the racing secretary for the harness meet.  Pete has a long history in the industry, doing nearly every job in harness racing and comes to Hawthorne most recently from his position as racing secretary at Rosecroft Raceway.    While track announcer Peter Galassi recovers from recent stem cell replacement, Mike Bozich from Harrah’s Philadelphia will be in to call races until Galassi’s return.  Bozich will be joined nightly by track handicapper Jim Miller to preview races from the Revel Stoke Box at 6:30 PM as they will provide insight and preview the racing action.  Miller will also have selections nightly on the Hawthorne website, along with on TVG and TVG2 as live coverage of harness racing action in Illinois returns.   For the bettors, the Hawthorne gimmick lineup will offer $.20 minimums on Trifectas, Superfectas, the Jackpot High-5 and all multi-race wagers.  Hawthorne will offer two Pick 5 wagers nightly, starting with Race 1 and the second covering the final five races on the card.  Pick 4’s will be offered starting on Race 2 and for the final four races on the card.  Both the Pick 5 and Pick 4 will have only a 15% takeout as the Pick 4 takeout has been reduced in 2016.  The popular Jackpot High-5 will be offered on the final race nightly as bettors try to cash in on the top 5 finishers in order in the evening’s final race.  Hawthorne is also adding a $.20 Place Pick 10 with a $.20 minimum that begins with race one.    Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey expressed his excitement for the upcoming meet, “We can’t wait to get started!  It has been a lot of hours of hard work to prepare the track as quickly as we have as our thoroughbred meet just ended on January 2.  We were ready to go for training and qualifiers just 4 days later.  We welcome in the Illinois harness horsemen and look forward to a very successful meet all around.”   Tom Kelley

Once again Balmoral Park will be offering some very lucrative guaranteed pools on Friday, Nov. 27th. With the 10 cent Hi-Five 5 going unclaimed last Saturday night, a nice carryover of $14,755 will be added to this Friday's pool. With that in mind, Balmoral Park will offer fans a chance to grab some Black Friday shopping money by posting a $30,000 guaranteed pool on the 10 cent wager. The Hi-Five is on race 12 on Friday Night. In addition to the Hi-Five guarantee fans will have a chance to snag some additional money they can use to expand their tickets earlier in the night as Balmoral Park will also offer up a guaranteed pool of $15,000 on its 50 cent Pick 5 wager. The low cost wager also went unclaimed last Saturday meaning an additional $4,427 in carryover money will be added to the pool on Friday night. The Pick 5, which is on races four through eight on Friday once again features a low 50 cent minimum. As usual on Friday's the $1 Pick 4 with its low takeout of 15% will be offered on races nine through 12. The Pick 4 will have a guaranteed pool of $15,000 as well. 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 Friday's opener at Balmoral is 7:10 pm (central). Don't miss this great last minute opportunity to grab some extra spending money for the Holiday season. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park            

Chicago, IL - Illinois conceived and foaled fillies and mares stepped into the spotlight on a frigid Saturday night at Balmoral Park but things warmed up in a hurry for longshot players as Ronald Phillips and Jesse Ferge's Fox Valley Aubrey, the longest shot in the race at 30-1, lit up the board with a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:53.3 to win the $8,060 Fox Valley Memory Stake. Perfectly handled by driver Travis Seekman, the three-year-old daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Assailed worked out a perfect ground saving trip in third as Rev Me Up (Brian Carpenter) carved out splits of 26.3 56.4 & 1:26.0. With a weary leader beginning to drift off the pylons in the lane, Seekman patiently waited for room in the passing lane while huge favorite Ryleigh's Lilly (Casey Leonard) began to pick off horses from the back of the pack. Securing room at just the right time, the Bob Phillips trained miss shot through an opening at the pylons and quickly drew clear of the big chalk to secure her fifth win of the season. Ryleigh's Lilly was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role on this night while another longshot, Joyful Game (Mike Oosting) rallied late to finish third. The win was the 15th of Fox Valley Aubrey's career and helped propel her over the $90,000 mark in lifetime earnings. Those lucky enough to back the sophomore facing older company were rewarded with mutuels of $63.80, $18.00 & $8.60. The exacta returned a healthy $241.80 with the 2-5 favorite while the trifecta came back at $1,569 for a $2 investment. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

State-bred pacing colts headlined the harness racing action on Friday, Nov 20th at Balmoral Park as a field of six freshmen were sent postward in a $7,980 Xpressbet Stake. When the smoke cleared from this battle it was Caffeine Kid who proved victorious, notching a three-quarter-length victory in 1:55.0 for owner Peter Karras and trainer Rodney Freese.   Confidently handled by driver Mike Oosting the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Rachel Hanover ranged up first over on the final turn drawing right along the pace setting Eddie Eddie Eddie (Sam Widger) as the field turned for home.   After watching a hard charging Party Falls (Brian Carpenter) scoot past the top two in the center of the track a game Caffeine Kid, who was making just his third lifetime start, gamely battled back like a seasoned veteran regaining the lead in the final 50 yards and drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for his second lifetime victory. Longshot Trixsen Gram, (Chris Loney) shook loose late to rally for the place money while Party Falls held on for third.   Sent off as the 9-5 second choice in the wagering Caffeine Kid returned $5.60, $3.60 & $2.60 to his backers. Live racing continues on Saturday, Nov. 21st at Balmoral Park. Once again all the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Saturday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races 9-12) features a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 12) also features a guaranteed pool of $15,000. The live racing action will be headlined by older ICF pacing distaffers as a field of seven are scheduled to go postward in the $8,060 Fox Valley Memory Stake which goes as race three on the 12-race program. Tom Kelley

Despite the fact he tasted defeat for the first time as a three-year-old Dr. Patrick Graham’s Homicide Hunter and his trainer Curt Grummel are coming into Saturday’s American National for 3yo trotting colts at Balmoral Park brimming with confidence as they return to their “home base”.    After stepping into “open” company and finishing a close up second behind Crazy Wow in last week’s Carl Erskine at Hoosier Park the Indiana bred son of Mr. Cantab renewed his camp’s enthusiasm in their Indiana bred champion.   “We were extremely happy with the way he raced against some of the best trotters in the country in the Erskine,” said conditioner Curt Grummel. “It cost us $20,000 to supplement to that race and we wound up earning around $68,000 so we figured we’d roll the dice right back and supplement him to the American National.”    So another check was cut, this time for $21,000, to make him eligible to the richest race on the Saturday night card at Balmoral.   “Even though we felt he had a bit of a home field edge at Hoosier because he had raced there so much and he put together those 16 straight wins this year on that track he may have an even bigger advantage here at Balmoral,” chuckled Grummel. “This is where he’s been based at, this is where he trained down at to get ready for this year and this is where he qualified at so really this is home for him.”    Up until tasting defeat for the first time in last week’s battle there had been 75 trotters in North America who had won 10 races or more in 2015, but only Homicide Hunter was still toting around a perfect record.   Despite that win streak coming to an end his conditioner was still in good spirits heading into Saturday’s American National.    “That win streak was not that big of a deal to me,” Grummel said. “He ranks but when you have to go up against the horses he faced last week and the one’s he’ll be up against on Saturday night it’s an entirely different world.”   Grummel said Graham did not hesitate to put up another large sum of money to make Homicide Hunter eligible to Saturday night’s battle.    “He came out of the Hoosier race in very good shape so we’re going to hope to get our supplement money back and then some,”Grummel laughed. “He’s been unbelievably sound and healthy his entire career and we are not hard on him at all. He  basically gets no training between starts, only his usual light jogging and he seems to enjoy the routine we’ve got him on.”    The first foal out of the mare Evening Prayer, Homicide Hunter enters Saturday’s American National with and an eye catching record of 19-3-3 in 27 lifetime starts with earnings of nearly $540,000.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Freaky Feet Pete will be in search of his 24th win in 27 career starts when he teams up with Trace Tetrick to take on six other 3yo pacing colts in Saturday's $150,000 American National Stake at Balmoral Park. There’s no other sophomore pacer currently racing in North America who has garnered so much attention as Freaky Feet Pete.  And it’s not just because of his name, either. The reason?  This 3-year-old son of Rockin Image has been a terror on the Midwest scene all year and most recently captured harness racing’ s biggest event—the $531,250 Breeders Crown for sophomore pacers. Saturday night he’ll venture postward against six rivals in the $150,000 American National for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.   Trained by breeder Larry Rheinheimer for owners Mary Jo and Marty R Rheinheimer, Freaky Feet Pete will be trying for his sixth consecutive victory from post two. Regular pilot Trace Tetrick will be behind the swift-footed, Indiana-bred side-wheeler. Freaky Feet Pete is a total family horse as the homebred often has Mary Jo at his side as his caretaker whenever he races.  A winner of 14 of 16 starts this season, the bay colt’s connections forked out $62,500 to supplement him to the Breeders Crown on Oct. 24 at Woodbine, a costly investment that more than paid off when the “Pride of Indiana” bested some of the sport’s top male sophomores in 1:50.   That triumph also gave driver Trace Tetrick his first Breeders Crown trophy. “It was exciting,” Trace revealed. “It was something I’ll never forget.” Born May 31, 2012 in LaGrange, Indiana, Freaky Feet Pete is the eighth foal out of the Pilgrim’s Punch mare Skyway Lori p, 3, 1:54.1S ($56,663) and has half siblings in: Dongetinskyway (by Dontgetinmyway) p,6,1:51.2 ($288,458); Virgil (by Always A Virgin) p, 5, 1:51f ($217,803); Dontlookatthesky (by Dontgetinmyway) p,4,1:51.3 ($170,396); Just Fred (by Dontgetinmyway) p,4,1:51.3 ($166,750); Loretta (by Dontgetinmyway) p,5,1:52s ($145,112); Lightninginthesky (by Electric Yankee) p,5,1:52.1s ($129,032); and Good Gum Gertie (by Palone Ranger) p,3,1:53.1 ($43,993), etc.  “Pete,” as he’s known around the Rheinheimer’s barn at the family’s home in LaGrange, IN showed signs of greatness as a freshman, capturing nine of his ten starts in 2014 and earning $261,950.  He won his first career start on July 3, 2014 at Hoosier, pacing in 1:55.1 with Trace at the lines.  One week later he won an Indiana Sires Stake in a blistering 1:51.4 at Hoosier.  As a 2-year-old he went on to win multiple sire stake tests in the Hoosier state before capturing the $220,000 ISS Final on Oct. 18 at Hoosier Park, stopping the timer in 1:50.4 and drawing off from his rivals by 11½ lengths. “He surprises me every time he’s on the track,” Larry stressed. “We don’t give Trace any instructions but he always takes care of him and does what he needs to do.” Freaky Feet Pete has now amassed $1,037,724 from 23 wins and two seconds in 26 trips postward. In fact, he’s only finished off the board once in his career and that was in his third career start as a freshman, when he finished fourth.  The hardy colt thus has never missed a purse check—EVER! The colt really didn’t start to show was he was going to become a superstar though until he made that first career start, Larry recalled. “He won his first race, then his second, and we started to think he might be something special,” Larry said.  “The key to Pete’s success seems to be his attitude. He’s got a playful, goofy demeanor and once he steps out of the trailer at the racetrack, he’s all business. He knows when it’s time to get to work, and he loves his work, yes he does.” Now that’s a point everyone is getting the chance to evidence by the eye popping numbers that he continues to put up! Tom Kelley

Rockin Good carries the hopes of trainer Jared Finn into tonight’s $120,000 American National 3-Year-Old Filly Pace.  The daughter of Rockin Image has amassed $267,914 in her career for Jared—who hails from Wheeler, IL and co-owner Mark Finn of Newton, IL. This speedy sophomore boasts a career mark of 1:48, taken earlier this season over Lexington’s famed Red Mile oval. Jared said he first spied Rockin Good at the 2013 Hoosier Classic Sale. “I was looking for a Rockin Image filly and she just stood out to me,” Jared recalled. “She was the right size, stout and beautiful and we ended up getting her for $9,500—which was a lot less than what I figured she would go for.” Rockin Good was just the third foal out of the Keystone Raider mare Do Me Good p, 5,1:52.4f ($435,346) and has a full sister in the Shadyshark Hanover mare Shady Caroline p,2,1:54.3 ($45,050).  Jared, who trains his horses at the Jasper County Fairgrounds,  quickly discovered what a prize he had in Rockin Good. “She was absolutely perfect from day one,” Jared, who also drives the filly, explained. “The first time I turned her and went a mile with her I knew she was going to be pretty special.  Riding behind her, she was just smooth as silk.” As a freshman, Rockin Good earned $181,250 in 11 starts with five wins and a pair of seconds, recording a 2-year-old mark of 1:53.2s in the $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Final at Hoosier Park with her trainer in the sulky on Oct. 10, 2014. “She was good last year and took that mark of 1:53.2,” Jared said. “Those are good numbers but not ‘killer’ numbers. I thought she would probably go faster this year but never imagined that she would have gone as fast as 1:48.  She had some trouble initially this season with her blood, but we got that straightened out and she has just continued to progress every step of the way as the year has gone on.” After a well-deserved break over the winter months, Rockin Good returned for her sophomore campaign bigger and stouter than ever.  After getting off to a bit of a slow start, she literally blew her competition away on Aug. 22 in a Lexington overnighter when she paced to a career mark of 1:48, drawing off by nearly 20 lengths from her nearest rival. “There were times when she just didn’t have any sire stakes engagements and I didn’t want to lay her off because she was so sharp,” Jared explained.  She’s always given me an indication of what she can do and what she can’t and when she’s feeling right I think she can go with any other 3-year-old in the country. “That mark of 1:48 at the Red Mile was incredible,” he continued. “I never thought we were going anywhere near that fast, as that’s how smooth and effortlessly she was pacing that night.” To date this season Rockin Good has added another $86,664 to her seasonal coffers, with six wins, two seconds and a third in 18 starts.  Lifetime, she has 11 wins, four seconds and a third in 29 career starts.  Jared says the key to his filly is how versatile she can be. “She can race on the front or come from off the pace and it just never seems like she's moving as fast as she is,” he admitted.  After winning the $32,650 City Circle Stake on Oct. 23 at Hoosier Park, Rockin Good put in a dull effort in her last start at that Indiana venue on Oct. 30.  Despite that performance, Jared says he’s confident about his filly’s chances in the American National. “In her last start at Hoosier Park, she wasn’t herself,” Jared said. “We pulled blood and she had some issues going on that we’ve since corrected.  She trained great for the American National and I’m expecting a really big effort from her on Saturday night.” Tom Killey  

Looking to bring his sophomore season to a close the same way that he started his second season James & Teri Blackman's Dixie's Boy came flying through the open stretch to post an impressive neck decision over six other ICF harness racing sophomore's in Saturday's $8,060 Xpressbet Stake at Balmoral Park. The final time was 1:54.2 over the sloppy going.   Reserved through the early stages of the race by driver Casey Leonard as Earndawg (Ridge Warren) zipped through splits of 28.4, 57.3 & 1:25.3 Leonard moved the gelded son of Duneside Perch--Dingy's Model into the outer flow as the field neared the top of the stretch.   Fit, fresh and loaded with pace, Leonard then maneuvered the Joel Smith trainee towards the inside where he spotted a seam along the pylons as the field hit the open stretch. With clear sailing in front of them Dixie's Boy quickly swallowed up the pace-setter with 100 yards to go and began to draw clear in the shadow of the wire to notch his second straight win here and his seventh win in 29 starts this year. Earndawg was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Lucpark (Mike Oosting) rallied late to get the show dough.   After a quick start to his sophomore season then a bit of a "summer lull" Dixie's Boy now boasts career numbers of eight wins, five seconds and eight thirds in 36 starts with earnings of more than $55,000.   Sent off as a close second choice in the wagering Dixie's Boy returned $6.80, $4.00 & $3.20.   Tom Kelley

It was a busy night of stakes action on Friday night at Balmoral Park as the Crete oval played host to a quartet of Illinois conceived and foaled events featuring both harness racing trotters and pacers.   Trotters kicked off the action in race two with a field of seven diagonally gaited 2yo colts and geldings squaring off in the first of two $8,060 Xpressbet Stakes.   When the smoke cleared from this tussle it was Derek and Amy Jacobus's Speedy Rendezvous emerging victorious with a 1½ length wire to wire victory in 1:59.3 for driver Ridge Warren.   Hustled right to the front from post five the Nick Prather trained son of Photo Color--Fox Valley Tryst rattled off splits of 30.0, 1:00.1 & 1:29.4 while uncontested on the front end. With plenty left in reserve the good looking chestnut was on cruise control through the lane as he reported home with his second win in four lifetime starts. Longshot Homershobbyhorse (Mike Oosting) rallied late to be the runner-up while heavily favored Pastor Clint (Casey Leonard) was forced to settle for the show dough.   Next on the docket were freshmen pacing fillies as a field of seven lined up behind the gate to battle for a purse of $8,140 in another Xpressbet Stake.   This race also produced a wire to wire winner as the Hosea Williams owned and trained Lexington Lady sped right to the front and made every call a winning one, holding on to win by a neck in 1:53.4.   Zipped away from post five by regular pilot Brian Carpenter the daughter of Lexington Legend--Stephie Kay sped through splits of 28.0, 56.0 & 1:24.1 while maintaining an open lengths advantage. After "bottoming out" the field of youngsters the speedball was all out through the final sixteenth of a mile as she gamely held off the big late move of Char N Marg (Casey Leonard), who was hung up in traffic while stuck along the pylons on the final turn. Whiskersonkittens (Robert Smolin) enjoyed a pocket sitting trip while grabbing the third place check.   The win was the ninth in 13 starts this season for Lexington Lady who also has four second place finishes to her credit and now boasts earnings of more than $66,000.   Sophomore pacing fillies continued Friday's stakes parade with a field of six state-breds battling it out in the $7,980 Giggles The Clown Stake.   Continuing with her late season charge Peter Karras's Fox Valley Charm cruised to a deceivingly easy one-length victory in a brisk 1:52.0 with driver Mike Oosting at the controls.   After settling in third through an opening quarter in 27.4, Oosting whisked the Mike Brink trained miss to the front as the field moved by the half-mile station in 56.0. The issue was never in doubt from that point on as the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Cherub rolled past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.0 before sealing the deal with a 28.0 final quarter. Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role once again while Fox Valley Brooke (Ridge Warren) used a ground saving journey to finish third.   With the win Fox Valley Charm sports career numbers of 12-5-3 in 28 starts with earnings of more than $64,000 for her proud connections.   Last but not least on the card a full field of 10 two-year-old pacing colts were sent to battle in the $8,300 Crete Stake.   The "chalk" players went down in flames in this event as a pocket sitting JB's Hero used the passing lane to perfection as he went charging by the heavily favored Royale Rose to win by 1½ lengths in 1:53.4.   Perfectly handled by driver Robert Smolin the John Barnard owned son of Hawaiian Cowboy--Paint The Picture sat right on the back of the division leader as he put up splits of 27.3, 56.3 & 1:25.1. Patiently awaiting room in the passing lane, Smolin maneuvered the Bill Crone trained colt to the inside with a sixteenth of a mile to go where he quickly swallowed up the pace setter to notch his second win in 17 starts this year. Royale Rose was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Bayside Tequilla (Mike Oosting) was third.   Live racing continues on Saturday, Oct. 31st at Balmoral Park. Once again all the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Saturday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races 9-12) features a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) also features a guaranteed pool of $15,000. The live racing action will be headlined by ICF sophomore pacing colts as a field of seven are scheduled to go postward in an $8,060 Xpressbet Stake.   Tom Kelley

Harness racing freshman trotting colts stepped into the spotlight on Friday night as a full field of 10 diagonally gaited youngsters squared off in the $21,300 Cardinal Stake for state-breds. When the smoke cleared from this heated battle it was Thomas Pollard and Dirk Simpson Stable's Pastor Clint who emerged victorious as he came flying down the center of the track to record a 2¼ length victory in 2:0.1 over a track rated as "good" after being dulled by rain earlier in the night.   Given a patient steer by leading driver Casey Leonard the gelded son of Powerful Emotion--SS Stardust was kept well off the early pace of 29.3, 59.4 & 1:29.1 which was being set by a headstrong Speedy Rendezvous (Ridge Warren).   Tipping five and six wide from the center of the pack as the field straightened into a brisk headwind the Dirk Simpson trainee began gobbling up one rival after another as he charged home with his fifth win in 15 lifetime starts. Longshot PJ Boy (Mike Rogers), who found a good early spot despite leaving from post 10, turned a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while JD Cheese (Todd Warren) staged a nice rally to get the show dough.   Dispatched as the third choice in the wagering despite a similar come from behind win in his elimination the previous week Pastor Clint returned $9.00, $5.60, $3.60 while upping his record to 5-1-4 in 15 starts with earnings of $31,451.   Tom Kelley  

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