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Continuing her quest to lock up divisional honors among the ICF two-year-old trotting filly set, Dr. Patrick Graham's Fox Valley Yoko took another step towards securing those honors on Sunday night at Balmoral Park as she came charging through the lane to record a 1 ¼ length victory over five rivals in the $40,050 Violet Stake. The final time of 1:58.2 was a new career mark for the good looking youngster. Masterfully handled by driver John De Long, the pair was content to save ground near the back in the compact field of five while Bi Polar Rose (Travis Seekman) strolled through splits of 29.4, 1:00.4 and 1:30.0. After watching their chief rival, Persuasive Look (Casey Leonard) overtake the pace setter as the field moved into the lane, De Long quickly maneuvered the Curt Grummel trained miss into position with a sixteenth of a mile to go. The daughter of Pizzazzed--Yankee Victory Om responded beautifully, finding her top stride in the blink of an eye as she roared home in 27.4 to blow right by her opponents for her fifth win of the year. Persuasive Look was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role for the second straight week while Bi Polar Rose held on for third. With the win Fox Valley Yoko, who was the second choice in the wagering returned $4.40, $2.20, & $2.10 while running her record to 5-3-2 in 11 starts with earnings of nearly $95,000. Also on Sunday night, the $1 Pick 4 went unclaimed so a carryover of $23,792 will be added to Wednesday's (Oct. 29th) pool. Because of the large carryover, there will be a $50,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool on Wednesday's card. The Pick 4 will be contested on races six through nine on Wednesday night. 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 by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Once again Balmoral Park will offer a lucrative guaranteed Pick 5 pool of $25,000 on Sunday, October 26. Because the 50 cent minimum wager was not hit on Saturday night's card a nice carryover of $5,677 will be added to Sunday night's pool. The popular low cost Pick 5 wager will be offered on races two through six on Sunday night. In addition to the Pick 5 guarantee fans will have a chance to walk away with a big payday right after that as Balmoral will also offer its usual Sunday $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 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). The racing action is highlighted by the $40,050 Violet Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting fillies which goes as race four. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

With the help of a nice $33,277 carryover from the big American National card on Saturday night and racing fans throughout the country pouring another $106,318 into Sunday's $1 Pick 4 wager at Balmoral Park the popular bet with its low 15% takeout produced a record setting payoff with a single winner taking home a whopping $121,533.70 payout, a new record for a Pick 4 payout in harness racing. The 2-1 favorite State Street Liz (#7) captured the first leg of the wager. Next up 17-1 longshot Nitty Gritty (#2) prevailed by a neck. After that it was the mid-priced 10-1 shot Fox Valley Shiver (#5) who toted home top honors. That set up the big payoff as 7-2 choice Ready (#5) prevailed by a head over 6-5 favorite Rex Passus in the nightcap to give one lucky patron a night to remember. The winning ticket combination of (7,9)-2-5-5 was purchased at an OTB in Brooklyn, New York. The previous record of $67,998 was set in 2010 at the Meadowlands. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 4 pool of $75,000 this Sunday, Oct. 12th. Because the $1 minimum wager was not hit on Saturday's American National card, a big carryover of $33,277 will be added to Sunday night's wagering pool. The popular Pick 4 wager is offered on races seven thru 10 on Sunday'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. 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 the chance to cash in on a big payday at Balmoral Park. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Market Share, the 2013 Hambletonian winner and victor in the $235,000 American National for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, returns to Balmoral Park on Saturday night in Race 9 to defend his harness racing crown in the $166,300 American National Aged Trot. The son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt-Yankee Glide was clocked in 1:53.3 with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for the Linda Toscano-trained, then-sophomore. Owned by Richard S. Gutnick of Pennsylvania, TLP Stable and J Augustine of New Jersey, Market Share will leave from post five in the field of eight trotters. "Never, never in a million years did we dream that Market Share could be this kind of horse," Toscano offered. "He's just one of those horses that enjoys his work and tries real hard. It's surprising, but that's a good thing." Bred by Hayley Moore of Paris, Kentucky, Market Share, a $16,000 yearling purchase from the 2010 Lexington Selected Sale, won all five of his 2-year-old starts over Freehold Raceway's half-mile oval. Toscano and principal owner Richard Gutnick were uncertain if he could excel at the bigger tracks, such as the Meadowlands. So it was up to Market Share to show them. In 2012, at age 3, Market Share won the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk en route to earnings of $2 million. He also trotted the fastest mile in the history of Maywood Park when he captured the $108,000 Galt in 1:54.4, erasing Green Day's previous track record of 1:55.1, set in 2007. As a result, he was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. Last season, his wins included the Breeders Crown Open Trot, Maple Leaf Trot, TVG Free For All Series Championship and American-National Stakes. He led all older trotters with $1.07 million in purses and received the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. "It's a treat to be able to bring one back like that as a 5-year-old," Toscano said. "By bringing back the older horses, people recognize the names and the horses become the stars again. I think that's what is missing in our industry. I think it's a real good thing." This year Market Share has added another $357,296 to his bank account, pushing his career earnings to $3,471,308 via a $37,200 Maple Leaf elimination at Mohawk, the $250,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Chester--when he set a new world record and career best clocking of 1:50.2 for an aged gelding trotter on a five-eighths mile oval--and a victory in a $40,000 Cutler elimination in 1:50.3. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Market Share surpassed the previous world mark of 1:50.3 that was co-held by Uncle Peter and Sevruga, both set in 2013 when he scored that record clocking in the Maxi Lee. Market Share now has 24 wins, seven seconds and 12 thirds in 53 career starts. On Oct. 5, he was race-timed in 1:52, finishing fifth by three lengths in the $173,000 Allerage Trot at Lexington's Red Mile. Market Share is the fourth of six foals out of his unraced dam Classical Flirt, and is a half-brother to Photogenic Legs (by Classic Photo) 3, 1:57.2h ($102,892) and to Broadway Legs (by Broadway Hall) 3, 1:55 ($57,225). By Kimberly Rinker

Illinois conceived and foaled trotting fillies stepped into the spotlight on Wednesday night at BalmoralPark as a field of seven diagonally gaited youngsters battled in a $20,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake Consolation. On paper it appeared to be a "one-horse race" and it turned out to be just that as Homer Hochstetler & Robert Buddig's Persuasive Look romped to an easy five-length victory in 2:00.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Reserved through the early stages, Leonard moved the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Black N Bluegenes into contention while following cover on the far turn. The Homer Hochstetler trained miss then simply blew right by the field while under no urging whatsoever from Balmoral's leading driver as she widened her margin all the way to wire while posting her third win in 10 career starts. Band's Muse (Rick Magee) turned in a nice effort to finish second while Butterthantherest (Pat Curtin) was third. Bet as though defeat was out of the question Persuasive Look returned $2.10, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping her bankroll to $79,924. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

After finishing in the runner-up role behind the undefeated Fox Valley Qatar the last two weeks Taylor & Robert Rietveld and Robert Taylor's RT Habenero picked the right night to turn the tables on the division leader.   He turned in a sterling effort to win the year's richest event for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting colts taking Sunday's $97,000 Lincoln Land Stake by a widening four-length margin in 1:58.0 for driver Dave Magee. Firing off the wings of the gate from post seven for his Hall of Fame reinsman the gelded son of Armbro Tropicana--Heather Jenna grabbed control of the early proceedings leading the field through opening splits of 28.3 & 58.0. "With Fox Valley Qatar drawing outside of us I knew I needed to get my horse out of there in a hurry," explained Magee. "I wasn't necessarily dead-set on being on the front end but it worked out that way when another leaver made an early break so that's where we wound up landing." Moving around the far turn the unbeaten Fox Valley Qatar (Todd Warren) came flying up on the outside of horses, zipping right by the pace setting RT Habenero as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1. Never one to panic, Magee kept after RT Habenero through the stretch and the Robert Taylor trained youngster responded beautifully, reeling in the heavy favorite with a sixteenth of a mile to go and quickly drawing clear heading to the wire for his second win in nine career starts. Fox Valley Qatar was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Jake Quaider (Casey Leonard) shook loose late after a tough trip to rally for the show dough. When asked in the winner's circle if he was worried when the undefeated odds-on choice flew right by him nearing the top of the stretch the always calm and cool Magee responded in his typical laid back fashion. "My horse really wanted to "race" that horse when he came up alongside of us but I didn't want to use him up right then and there," said Magee. "I knew my horse still had plenty of trot left in him and it seemed like Fox Valley Qatar was really all out to get around us so maybe he wasn't at his best tonight. This horse has really been sharp in his last three starts and while he's not all that big he's got a great deal of grit and desire which he definitely showed out there tonight." With the win RT Habenero who returned $19.20, $4.60 & $2.80 now boasts a career record of 2-3-2 in nine starts with earnings of just over $67,000. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Illinois conceived and foaled two-year=old pacers shared top billing on the Friday, Oct. 3rd card at Maywood Park as some of the state's top fillies gathered for the $43,600 Violet Stake while their male counterparts battled in the $43,350 Cardinal Stake. Both races left no doubt as to who was best on this night as Jessie De Long & the Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler romped to a 6½ length victory in the Violet while Bo & Pat De Long and Ernest Miller's Earndawg continued his recent dominance of his division with a devastating 4 ½ length romp in the Cardinal. Taking advantage of a perfect pocket sitting journey as Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) rattled off splits of 28.0 & 57.1 driver John De Long moved Sportsmuffler to the outside as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.1. Fit and fresh as the fillies moved around the final bend the Jessie De Long trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatthere'smore overpowered the pace setter as the field turned for home then drew off impressively, tripping the timer in 1:56.3 for her seventh win in 11 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Charm (Kyle Wilfong), who picked up brief cover from the winner turned in a nice effort to be the bridesmaid while Luvniecestopieces held on to be a distant third. A close second choice in the wagering Sportsmuffer returned $5.00, $3.20 & $3.20 while upping her career bankroll to more than $67,000. Using the "give and go" to perfection in the Cardinal Stake driver Todd Warren allowed entrymate King Of The Swamp (Ridge Warren) to grab command through a quick opening split of 27.2. Sweeping back to the top after the opening panel Earndawg proceeded to pace through fractions of 57.2 & 1:26.2 while keeping Lucpark (Dave Magee) hung on the outside. With the difficult trip finally taking a toll on that one, the Roger Welch trained son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K simply sprinted away from the rest of his rivals leaving them in his wake as he cruised under the wire in 1:55.4 for his fifth win in 12 tries this season. King Of The Swamp followed the winner all the way but was simply second best on this night while C Note (Travis Seekman) shook loose late to finish third, 8 ¾ lengths behind the winner. This year's Orange & Blue champion may have put a stamp on divisional honors with Friday's win as he now boasts a record of 5-2-2 in 12 starts with earnings of more than $141,000. Bet as though defeat was out of the question the Welch trained coupling returned $2.20, $2.40 & $2.10. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park  

After going unclaimed on Thursday night, horseplayer's will have a shot at a big payoff on Friday night at Maywood Park as the 10 cent Hi-Five will have a carryover of $6,210.47. Thus with the help of Maywood Park management and the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative, Maywood will offer a guaranteed Hi-Five pool of $30,000 on the Friday night finale! Once again the Hi-Five 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. The wager is often referred to as the "ultimate get out bet" by handicappers throughout the country. There will also be a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool on races 10-13 this evening. The Pick 6 also has a carryover of $719.38 for Friday night's action. The Pick 6, which features a low 20 cent minimum wager is on races four through nine. 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 Friday, Oct. 3rd at Maywood Park is 7:10 p.m. (central). The racing action is headlined by a pair of two-year-old pacing events as the $43,600 Violet Stake (Race 7) & the $43,350 Cardinal Stake (Race 9) share top billing on the 13-race program. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park  

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters were back in the spotlight on Wednesday night with a pair of stakes highlighting the nine-race card. Freshmen fillies had the chance to grab their biggest payday of the year for the state-bred set as a field of nine went postward in the $90,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake while a compact field of six sophomore trotting fillies gathered in a $10,100 Betzotic Stake to start the Wednesday night action. The Betzotic proved to be a walk in the park for Super Night winner Bailey's Wish as the pride of owners Jim Bafia and Eugene White demolished her rivals with a 7 ½ length score in 1:57.3 for driver Dave Magee. Sent to the front by Magee after an opening quarter in 29.0 the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen made the top easily and was unchallenged through middle splits of 57.4 & 1:27.3. Quickly putting daylight between herself and the rest of the field, the Dirk Simpson trained miss left her rivals in her wake as she cruised under the wire with her fifth win in 13 starts this season. Band's Alexis (Todd Warren) rallied late to finish second while Say No Mo (John De Long) was third. Even-money co-favorite Macie Rae made a break in the lane and finished last in the field of six. Bailey's Wish returned $4.20, $2.80 & $2.20 while upping her career record to 10-8-3 in 27 starts with earnings of $243,938. With the scratch of last week's elimination winner Jazzie Mermaid (injured) the LadyLincolnLand looked like it would be a showdown between Fox Valley Yoko and Persuasive Look. Unfortunately a break behind the gate took out the latter and the former made a break while challenging in deep stretch allowing a game Bi Polar Rose to post a front stepping half-length victory in 1:59.3 for Travis Seekman. Confidently handled by Seekman the daughter of Polar Winner--I Still Owe trotted right to the top from post five, putting up leisurely splits of 29.4, 59.3 & 1:29.0 while cruising along unchallenged. In the lane the Ronnie Roberts trained miss dug in gamely, turning back a "passing lane" challenge from 29-1 longshot Fox Valley Harrah (Kyle Wilfong) who had enjoyed a perfect pocket sitting trip while also keeping Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long) at bay to notch her third win in eight tries. Fox Valley Harrah was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Fox Valley Yoko did well to salvage a third place finish after the miscue. Sent off at 7-2 by the betting public Bi Polar Rose returned $9.20, $4.00 & $3.00 while running her record to 3-2-1 in eight starts with earnings of $60,515 for owners Cynthia Demarlie and Jason Van Winkle. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park  

The Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar made it eight straight wins to open his career as the good looking youngster cruised to a 3½ length victory over nine other Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting colts in Sunday's $10,000 Lincoln Land Stake elimination at Balmoral Park. The final time was 1:57.4. Placed in mid-pack after floating away from post seven for driver Todd Warren the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain worked out a picture perfect journey moving up second over as the diagonally gaited youngsters moved around the far turn. Sitting just three-lengths off the leaders as the field turned for home Fox Valley Qatar unleashed a 28.3 final quarter, storming down the center of the racetrack to keep his unblemished record intact. RT Habanero (Dave Magee) used a nice ground saving trip to finish second while Captain Greedy (John Finn) rallied from far back to be a distant third, 7 ½ lengths behind the winner. Also gaining spots in the final were Powerful Above All, Vick Valor, Cruisin Valor, Arcs Conquest and Beginning Balance. They will be joined by Southerncomfortzone and Jake Quaider in next Sunday's $97,000 final. With the win Fox Valley Qatar, who returned $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 now boasts career earnings of $65,375. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-olds shared top billing on Friday's Maywood Park card as a pair of elimination tussles for freshmen pacers were contested. Fillies kicked off the action with a field of eight gathering behind the gate for a $10,000 Violet Stake elimination. The top five finishers will get the chance to join Sportsmuffler, Angel Demon and Duneside Perttie in next Friday's $43,600 final. With the defection of division leaders Mr Leland's Filly and Lex, the final should be a wide-open event but the betting public was right on for the elimination as 7-5 favorite Luvniecestopieces posted a two-length wire to wire victory in 1:57.1 for driver Todd Warren. Sent right to the front from post six by Warren the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Dujour cruised through splits of 27.4, 58.2 & 1:27.3 while never being challenged. With plenty in reserve and an outer flow that was going nowhere, the Hart Walker trained miss rolled home in 29.3 to notch her third win in 10 starts this season. Fox Valley Charm (Kyle Wilfong) shook loose late to wind up as the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Kit (Brian Carpenter) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Girls Hunt Too and Lyrics Fall. The public's choice returned $4.80, $3.60 & $2.60 while moving her record to 3-4-1 in 10 starts with earnings of $19,551 for the partnership of Hart & Robert Walker, Robyn Klingler and Homer Henke. The Cardinal elimination also brought out a field of eight youngsters and produced another front stepping winner as Engel Stable of Illinois The Big Sleazy reported home with a half-length win in 1:56.4 with Dave Magee at the controls. After working hard to gain control of the proceedings the gelded son of Sagebrush--Decent Lawyer stepped through splits of 28.3, 58.3 & 1:27.4 for his Hall of Fame reinseman. The Nelson Willis trainee appeared to be well within himself through the lane turning back a brief bid from the pocket sitting Mighty Hot Shot (Todd Warren) as he notched his second win in seven lifetime starts. Mighty Hot Shot was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while C Note (Travis Seekman) took the "overland" route to a deceptively strong third place finish. With the top four in this event moving on the last spot in next week's $43,350 final went to Thisishowweroll. They will be joined by Dupage's Z Tam, Earndawg, King Of The Swamp and Lucpark. Bet to even-money favoritism The Big Sleazy returned $4.00, $2.40 & $2.10 while pushing his lifetime slate to 2-2-1 in 7 starts with earnings of $23,070. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park  

Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds shared top billing on the Sunday night card at Balmoral Park as a pair of Super Night Stake Consolation's headlined the 10-race harness racing card.   Trotters kicked off the action with a field of seven diagonally gaited sophomores squaring off in the $20,000 Su Mac Lad Consolation. This test turned into a stroll in the park for Ron Marino and David Hermann's Nino Marino as he stormed right to the front and never looked back in a three-length victory. The final time was 1:56.1.   Confidently handled by driver Dean Magee, the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Charger's Affair gunned to the top from post six and proceeded to put up splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:26.1 while opening up a 5 ½ length advantage at the top of the stretch.   On cruise control the rest of the way the Randy Tuftie trainee was threatened as he reported home with his second win in 16 starts this season. Saint Simeon (Rick Schrock) rallied late to finish second while Photo Surprise (Todd Warren) was third.   The $21,900 Grandma Ann Stake Consolation for three-year-old pacing fillies also produced a wire to wire winner as Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly bested six rivals by a half-length in 1:54.0 for driver Dave Magee.   Using an inside draw to perfection Magee put the daughter of Lexington Legend--Waggle right on the front where she proceeded to step through splits of 28.0, 57.4 & 1:26.1.   After opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call the Nelson Willis trainee then held on gamely as a late rushing Fox Valley Shiver (Todd Warren) came charging late to get the place money. Kiwi Party (John De Long) finished third.   The win was the third in 15 starts this season for Molly Go Lightly who now boasts career earnings of just over $98,000. Tom Kelley

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters and pacers were back in the spotlight on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as the Crete plant played host to four stakes or consolations for Super Night participants as part of the big 13-race harness racing program.   Freshmen pacing fillies kicked off the action with a field of nine going postward in the $13,900 Thrifty Way Stake.   Avenging a pair of recent tough trips that led to sub-par efforts Quaid Racing's Angel Demon came steamrolling down the center of the track to record a 3 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.2 for driver John De Long.   Saving ground the entire way, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Miss Swift appeared to be hopelessly shuffled out of contention before De Long managed to shake loose from the pylons.   Storming down the center of the track Angel Demon blew right by a leg weary Girls Hunt Too to pick up her first career victory. Longshot Desi Dune (Todd Warren) turned in a nice effort to finish second while Girls Hunt Too was third.   Now in the barn of conditioner Erin Elliott, Angel Demon returned $5.00, $3.60 & $3.40 while pushing her bankroll to $48,113.   Trotters were next to hit the track as a field of seven diagonally gaited three-year-old fillies battled in the $20,000 Lady Ann Reed Consolation.   Making amends for her costly break in the rich Super Night final of this event, Donald Huddleston's Macie Rae was on her best behavior as she made every call a winning one, reporting home by 4 ¾ lengths in 1:57.1.   With trainer Mike Rogers climbing into the bike for this battle the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry stormed right to the front, putting up splits of 29.1, 58.1 & 1:27.0.   After opening up a big lead at the top of the stretch, Rogers let his filly drift a bit through the stretch and she responded beautifully to that careful handling as she widened her margin while notching her 11th victory in 15 starts this season. Bands Alexis (Todd Warren) tried to follow the winner's every move but was forced to settle for a runner-up role while Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) finished third.   Heavily backed off her sparkling record Macie Rae returned just $2.80, $2.80 & $2.20 while upping her career earnings to $89,520 with career win number 19.   Freshmen pacing colts jumped into the fray with a field of nine youngsters battling in the $13,900 Yates Eagle Stake.   Taking advantage of a perfect two-hole trip, Fox Valley Elijah came rolling through the passing lane to win by 1 ½ lengths in a career best of 1:54.2.   Perfectly positioned by driver Todd Warren, the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Eternal Gift had all the best of it while C Note (Travis Seekman) carved out splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:27.0.   Fit and fresh off that journey the Nelson Willis trainee gradually wore down the pace setter, drawing clear in the shadow of the wire for his second lifetime win for the partnership of Kay Willis, Engel Stable Of Illinois and Haugen Stables. C Note held on gamely to finish second while Casey At Bat (Dean Magee) found room late to rally for the show dough.   Part of a Willis owned entry Fox Valley Elijah returned $9.60, $4.20 & $4.00 while moving his bankroll to $15,890.   Last but not least were sophomore pacing colts as a field of nine three-year-olds squared off in the $22,400 Pete Langley Memorial Consolation. This race provided the biggest shocker of the night as 19-1 longshot Fox Valley Cupid parlayed a perfect trip into a thrilling nose decision in a career best of 1:52.3.   Hustled off the wings of the gate by Robert Smolin the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Cherub landed in the garden spot right on the back of favored Uncle Ugly as that one put up hot splits of 26.3, 55.1 & 1:23.2.   Moving into the passing lane the Mike Schulfer trainee gradually wore down the favorite and then held on for dear life as Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) came flying late to just miss. The other half of that Tom Simmons trained entry; Fox Valley Van (Dale Hiteman) was a fast closing third.   The win was just the second in a 34-race career for Fox Valley Cupid who has still managed to earn a "cool" $115,830 for owner James Strazlka, Mike Schulfer, James Skvarla and Nancy Magnus. Those lucky enough to back the bay sophomore were rewarded with mutuels of $40.80, $12.80 & $5.80.   Saturday's 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $6,168 added to Sunday's pool. Thus, there will now be a GUARANTEED POOL OF $50,000 for Sunday's Pick 5 wager. The Pick 5 is contested on races 2-6 on Sunday's.   Past performances courtesy of Trackmaster for the 50 Cent Pick 5 and the $1 Pick with its $25,000 guaranteed pool can be found at ustrotting.com   Tom Kelley  

Veteran harness racing horseman Todd Warren joined another rank of elite reinsmen to reach the 4,000 mark in career driving victories on Thursday, September 18th at Maywood Park when the Beecher, IL resident guided the three-year-old pacing filly Stage Star to a decisive 5 ¼ length victory in Maywood Park's 10th race. The milestone victory was part of a big five win night for the 49-year-old veteran of the Illinois circuit.   Born in Mattoon, IL on New Year's Day, 1965 Warren was introduced to the sport at an early age by his father and embarked on his driving career on the county fair circuit in 1981.   Like a fine wine, Warren has been getting better with age, notching more than 200 driving victories in five of the past seven years in the bike. The career winner of $17.7 in purse earnings while in the bike has also been doing "double duty" as a trainer, posting an amazing U.T.R.S. of more than .300 in all but one year dating back to 2000 with 875 career training victories.   "It makes for some very long days like today (Sept.18)," said Warren. "I started training horses before 8 a.m. this morning, caught a quick break and some lunch before shipping to Maywood with my horses. Now after getting these horses put away and back home it will be at least 1 a.m. so it makes for a pretty quick turnaround. But I'm not complaining. If I don't have that kind of workload I get a little bored really."   When asked if he knew that he was getting close to reaching another milestone the superstious Warren was quick to "tune-out" to his impending mark.   "I had heard from a trainer or two that I was getting close to the mark," he said. "But after winning the first two on Thursday night and not hearing anything else it just sort of left my mind. The next thing I know I won with Stage Star and here comes everybody down to the winner's circle and the sign comes out. It was really a great feeling I have to say."   Tom Kelley

The prestigious American National Stakes returned to Balmoral Park on Wednesday night with a pair of trotting events for two-year-olds sharing top billing on the nine-race program. The ladies opened the action with a compact field of six diagonally gaited specialists battling for a purse of $57,200. Returning to the scene of her lone victory to date was just what the doctor ordered for Homer Hochstetler and Robert Buddig's Persuasive Look as the filly reported home with a half-length victory in a career best of 1:58.0 for driver Casey Leonard. Content to sit near the back of the pack in fifth as heavy favorite Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long) cruised through splits of 29.2, 58.3 & 1:28.3 Leonard finally put the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Black N Bluegenes into contention as the field neared the top of the stretch. "They were going fast enough for my liking so I wasn't concerned about being back there," said the patient Leonard. "I had plenty of horse left and I managed to pick up some very good cover to bring us to the top of the lane so it worked out perfectly." Gradually starting to reel in a leg weary Fox Valley Yoko and the pocket sitting Jazzie Mermaid (Dave Magee) with a sixteenth of a mile to go, the Homer Hochstetler trained miss trotted by that pair in the closing yards in what looked like a replay of her big Fox Valley Flan Stake win here in late July. Jazzie Mermaid turned in a solid effort to finish second while Fox Valley Yoko held on for third. Sent off as the third choice in the wagering Persuasive Look returned $10.20, $5.20 & $2.20 while running her career slate to 2-2-3 in 7 seven starts with earnings of $66,374. Next up were the colts and geldings as a field of eight youngsters faced the starting gate with a purse of $73,000 on the line. Despite an eventful journey K R Breeding & Robert Rudolph's Iron prevailed by a hard fought head in 1:58.1 for driver Domenico Cecere. Hustled to the front from post four by Cecere the royally bred son of Cantab Hall-Ivory Lindy strolled through an opening quarter in 29.3. After allowing a hard charging SS Poseidon (Dan Shetler) to grab command on the backside a headstrong Iron was nearly climbing into the bike with Shetler as the field reached the half-mile mark in 59.0. "Things just kind of came to a very quick stop out there," said a relieved Cecere. "We were very lucky that my horse didn't run or worse yet have an accident." Things straightened themselves out heading around the far turn with SS Poseidon proceeding to lead the field past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.1. Through the lane SS Poseidon continued to show the way as Cecere swung to the outside with Iron. That allowed a locked a loaded KY Lucky (John De Long) to move through in the passing lane, making for a thrilling three-horse stretch duel. With the three trotters spread out across the track Iron regained his best stride in the closing yards getting up the final strides to get his first win in his second career start. KY Lucky and SS Poseidon wound up in a dead-heat for second behind the victor. After the win a very happy Cecere explained his strategy in the lane. "My horse is still very green but he's a very talented horse as well," he said. "He's never been in the passing lane so I didn't want to take a chance at going down there with him which is why I swung outside. It took him a little bit to get his momentum going again but I didn't really urge him until the very end and he was just super tonight." After a third place finish in his division of the Kindergarten Stake at the Red Mile Iron was a bit overlooked in the wagering returning $13.00, $4.80 & $4.00 while moving his bankroll to $36,240. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park  

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