State-bred filly and mare pacers headlined the final night of the 2014 racing season at Balmoral Park as a field of seven distaffers squared off in the $15,000 Fox Valley Memory Stake. In what has been a very competitive division all season long John Barnard's Ryleigh's Lilly came up with a big effort to close out her four-year-old season as she powered to the top after the quarter and never looked back in route to a 1 Â½ -length victory in 1:53.4 for Balmoral's leading driver Casey Leonard. Confidently handled by Chicago's leading reinseman, the daughter of Western Hero--Fox Valley Chosen came away fourth in the field of seven as Party Hangover (Ridge Warren) and State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) battled through an opening quarter in 28.2. Quickly hitting top gear as the field settled on the backstretch the Bill Crone trained miss charged from fourth to first in a flash, leading the field through middle splits of 57.2 & 1:25.2. With plenty in reserve for the stretch drive, Ryleigh's Lilly sealed the deal with a 28.2 final quarter while keeping her rivals at bay for her eighth victory of the season. State Street Liz held on for second while Just By Design (Dave Magee) turned a ground saving trip into a third place finish. With the win Ryleigh's Lilly closed out the 2014 season with a record of 8-4-6 in 35 starts while adding another $59,000 to a career bankroll which now stands at $82,538. Heavily backed at the windows the 4-5 betting favorite returned $3.80, $3.00 & $2.10. Balmoral also honored Leonard as the 2014 driving champion while longtime veteran Nelson Willis took home the 2014 training title at the Crete oval. Leonard, a third generation horseman who did not start driving regularly until 2009 ended the 2014 season with 204 victories at Balmoral Park easily outdistancing second place finisher Todd Warren by more than 60 victories. Leonard put up a U.D.R.S. of .330 at Balmoral while horses driven by him earned more than $1.38 million in purses. Willis, who also captured the training title here in 2012, finished up the 2014 season with 71 victories, 23 win ahead of runner-up Erin Elliott. With more than 500 starts at the meet, Willis put up a U.T.R.S. of .266 while his horses earned more than $563,000 in purses. Live racing resumes on Saturday, Jan 3rd. Post time is 7:10 p.m. (central). Balmoral will also race on Sunday, Jan. 4th before heading to a short break. Live racing will then return on Saturday, Jan 31st. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park
Ladiesith a total of 15 state-bred filly and mare pacers dropped into the entry box, Saturday's Sue Fee Stake was split into a pair of $13,250 divisions. The stake had been scheduled to go back on June 21st but was washed out when torrential rains caused the remainder of the card to be cancelled that evening. In the opening split Paula Smith, James Runyan and Frank Pike's Dallas Jones regained her early season form as she came charging through the lane to score by 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1 over a sloppy track for driver Tim Curtin. Unhurried early as Just By Design (Dave Magee) and then Auniqueaquistion (Dale Hiteman) put up splits of 27.3, 56.0 & 1:25.0 Curtin moved from fifth at the half-mile pole. Moving into a perfect second over spot in fourth as the field turned for home the Joel Smith trained four-year-old set sail for the wire, quickly gobbling up the tired leaders while slicing through a strong headwind. In full flight, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Cams Bett confidently cruised under the wire with her sixth victory of the year. Just By Design shook loose late at the pylons to finish second while Whistle Pig (Casey Leonard) rallied for the show dough. Sent off as the 9-2 choice in the wagering Dallas Jones returned $11.00, $4.40 & $3.60 while running her record to 6-3-3 in 29 starts with earnings of nearly $47,000. In the nightcap John Barnard's Ryleigh's Lilly came flying through the lane to post an impressive 1 ¾ -length victory in 1:53.0 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Ducked off the gate by Oosting, the four-year-old mare settled in fifth as Party Hangover (Todd Warren) led the field through splits of 27.4, 56.2 & 1:24.1. After getting caught up in a stalled outer flow as the field neared the top of the stretch, a confident Oosting tipped three and then four-wide around the tired challengers. Effortlessly picking off one rival after another the Bill Crone trained daughter of Western Hero--Fox Valley Chosen zipped past them all for her sixth victory of the season. State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) turned a ground saving trip into a second place check while Party Hangover held on for third. Sent off as the second choice in the wagering Ryleigh's Lilly returned $5.20, $3.20 & $2.20 while moving her record to 6-3-6 in 29 trips postward with earnings of just over $41,000. Live racing continues on Sunday, Nov. 23rd at BalmoralPark with a 10-race card getting underway at 7:10 p.m. (central). Sunday's $1 Pick 4 features a guaranteed pool of $25,000. With no racing on Thursday, Nov. 27th at MaywoodPark (Thanksgiving) BalmoralPark will present an 11-race card on Wed. Nov. 26th as well. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park
Maryland Standardbred Race Fund registered 35 stallions for 2014. Moving to Maryland from other states are Total Truth, Sand Vic, Nuclear Breeze, Great George Two, and Groton Hall also Up Front Charlie and Western Hero are returning to Maryland after an extended absence. First time stallions standing in Maryland will be trotters Charlie De Vie, GooGoo GaaGaa (book full) and pacers Dr. Dreamy, P H Bestman, Rusty's All In, Rusty's For Real and Wynnfield Scamp (breeding restricted/racing). All 21 stallions from last year will also be returning. The complete list with contact info, stud fees and full pedigrees is available on the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund website at http://www.msrfonline.com/. This website contains all stallion and staking information, including forms, payment dates, eligible lists, racing info when available and regulations. Please contact the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund if you have any questions at 410-775-0152 or 240-285-0326, our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org by Cheri Stambaugh for MSRF
State-bred trotting colts were in the spotlight on Sunday, Sept. 29th as a field of eight youngsters looked for spots in next week’s $105,000 Lincoln Land Stake final and 46-1 long shot Ryleigh's Lilly scored a major upset in the Direct Dottie final. With four of the eight starters making early breaks in the race things were up for grabs from the word go. When the smoke cleared it was Ron Marino & David Hermann’s Nino Marino who emerged with a three-quarter-length victory in 1:59.3 for driver Dean Magee. Benefiting from a perfect pocket sitting trip as Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) put up splits of 29.3, 58.2 & 1:29 the Randy Tuftie trained son of Pizzazzed—Never Ms Still overtook the pace setter with an eighth of a mile to go and eventually drew clear for his second win in five lifetime starts. Big Bad Bob held on for second while Battleshoe King (Buddy Simpson) was third. Also gaining spots in the final where they will be joined by Tour Hall, Bobby BBreeze and Fox Valley Veto were Photo Surprise, Battleshoe Crown, Polars BigSpender and Finnster. Sophomore pacing fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a field of 10 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds battled in the $14,000 Direct Dottie Stake. This test produced the biggest surprise of the night as John Barnard’s Ryleigh’s Lilly lit up the tote board at odds of 46-1 with a half-length victoryin a career best of 1:54.1. Reserved through the early going by driver Robert Smolin the daughter of Western Hero—Fox Valley Chosen moved up third over through the final five-eighths of a mile. Exploding off her cover in the lane, the Bill Crone trained miss flew home in 27.1 to secure her second win in 16 starts this year. Aliyah Maria (John DeLong), who provided live cover for the winner was a game second while Zumba (Matt Krueger) rallied from far back to be third as the early speed collapsed in the lane. Returning $95.20, $30.00 & $15.60, Ryleigh’s Lilly helped key a $7,394.00 trifectapayout. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park
Yonkers Raceway's pair of Ides of March, $35,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps--for trotters along with petite pacers--were won by Calchip's Brute (George Brennan, $12.40) and a season-debuting Krispy Apple (Matt Kakaley, $29.20).
This time last year, St Elmo Hero, a winner of $461,300, was arguably the most talked about harness racing standardbred in North America.
She was both the star attraction and the biggest question entering Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open pacing mares. Friday night featured the 4-year-old debut of See You at Peelers (Brian Sears), and, even though she only came away with half a loaf, she a was whole lot better.
Breakheart Pass (Jason Bartlett) set it up from second-over Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $33,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. Leaving from harness racing post position No. 5, Breakheart Pass watched the early action as Qucksilvercandy A (Larry A (Larry Stalbaum), 10-10 favorite Mystical Diva (Jim Pantaleano), Bunny in the Bank (George Brennan) and Mud Pie Hanover (Cat Manzi) all wanted in.
Breakheart Pass, in the hands of harness racing driver, Jason Bartlett, needed every bit a perfect pocket trip Friday night (February 17), winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $33,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace.
Yonkers Raceway opened its 2012 harness racing season Friday night, with its usual pair of $33,000 co-features at the returned-to distance of a mile. The Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace saw Breakheart Pass (Jason Bartlett) pay a stiff price to grab the big chair, then hold sway.
Pocket-sitting Breakheart Pass and harness racing driver Yannick Gingras authored the upset Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $38,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.
Western Hero five year old St Elmo Hero got back to winning form tonight Saturday 24th of September at Mohawk Raceway in the $50,000 Open to record his 28th win from just 38 starts in 1:49.2. The win took St Elmo Hero, driven by harness racing super driver Jody Jamieson, total stakes to $386,760.
One of the most interesting newcomers to the Canterbury breeding scene this harness racing season will be the young sire Rob Roy Mattgregor, a well performed son of influential sire Matt's Scooter. He was bought by Bromac Lodge and Queensland breeder Steve Clements and will stand at Barra Equine, Ohoka near Christchurch, of Johnathan McNeill at a fee of $NZ2,500 plus GST. Semen transport is available throughout Australia with the owners meeting the transport costs.
Pocket-sitting Breakheart Pass (Jim Pantaleano) proved best Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing co-featured $52,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play early from an assigned post position No. 3, Breakheart Pass went around Monochromatic (Cat Manzi), taking over before a 27-second opening quarter.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will host the second round of the guaranteed $5,000 Pick 4 Wednesday, May 25. The harness racing promotion is part of the U. S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering program, which now includes specialty wagers at 10 racetracks across the United States.
After posting his 25th consecutive harness racing victory in his most recent start two-weeks ago at Woodbine, St Elmo Hero has been entered into the $45,000 Open Pace this Saturday at the Toronto oval.