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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

The top state-bred pacers in the Prairie State had the chance to strut their stuff on Saturday, August 22nd at Balmoral Park as a pair stake events shared top billing on a very strong Saturday night harness racing program   First on the docket were the state's top older pacers as a very evenly matched field of eight squared off in the $29,600 Big Tom Stake.   When the smoke cleared after a heated stretch drive it was Megan Rogers Racing Stable Inc.'s Unlocked who once again returned to the local scene in a big way, as he prevailed by a hard fought half-length in 1:49.4 for driver Lewayne Miller.   Given a perfect steer by Miller the four-year-old son of Duneside Perch used his inside post to save ground in third while the speedy Ice Scraper (Brian Carpenter) ripped through splits of 26.0, 54.0 & 1:21.1.   Engaging the pace setter with a first over bid as the field hit the top of the stretch these two prolific pacers battled tooth and nail through the lane before Unlocked finally forged to the front in the closing strides to notch his fourth win of the season. Ice Scraper was hard fought second while 66-1 outsider Cole Heat (Dale Hiteman) rallied to be third.   The win was the 16th in 45 career starts for the Erv Miller trainee who returned $4.40, $2.60 & $2.80 while upping his career bankroll to $310,692.   An overflow field of 11 distaffers, 3yo old and up, closed out the night's stake action as they lined up behind the gate for the $30,200 Parklane Powerful Stake.   Using an aggressive steer and a little "racing luck" to their advantage driver Robert Smolin hustled Jesse Ferge and Ron Phillips Fox Valley Aubry to the front and the speedy three-year-old made every call a winning one, hanging on gamely to score by a head in 1:53.2.   Sprinting away from post seven in the big field the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Assailed made the top without too much trouble leading the ladies through opening splits of 27.4 & 57.1.   That's when disaster struck for most of the field as a first over Joyful Game made a nasty break, taking herself out of the race and severely impeding seven of the trailing horses in this battle.   With things all her own way on the front end Fox Valley Aubry cruised by the three-quarter-mile mark with a two-length lead in 1:24.3.   Through the lane the Bob Phillips trained miss continued to show the way while bracing for the challenge of the pocket sitting Just By Design (Dale Hiteman). With the lead starting to evaporate in the final sixteenth of a mile, Fox Valley Aubry dug in gamely keeping Just By Design at bay just long enough to record her third victory of the year. Just By Design was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role on this night while Financial Effort (Casey Leonard) turned a ground saving trip into the show dough.   The third choice in the wagering Fox Valley Aubry returned $10.80, $6.20 & $4.20 while running her lifetime record to 14-5-5 in 32 starts with earnings of $67,714.   Live racing continues on Sunday, August 23rd at Balmoral Park. Once again all the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races 7-10) features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) also features a guaranteed pool of $15,000 while the highly successful trifecta guarantee on race nine will give fans the chance to play into a $25,000 guaranteed pool. Tom Kelley

With a total of 13 freshmen pacing colts entered for Friday's Fox Valley Barzgar Stake at Maywood Park, harness racing secretary Doc Narotsky was forced to split the youngsters into a pair of $6,000 divisions. Both splits featured heavy favorites and the "chalk" players never had to break a sweat as 1--9 favorite DB captured the opener in 1:55.4 while 6-5 choice Wondrous Sport rolled to victory in 1:56.3 in the nightcap. Confidently handled as a 1-9 favorite should be, driver Pat Curtin sent DB right to the front from post two and the issue was never in doubt as the Herman Wheeler trained son of Yankee Skyscaper--Hopintosh led a single file field through splits of 28.1, 58.1 & 1:27.2. With plenty still in reserve DB sealed the deal with a 28.1 final quarter as he reported home with a 3¼ length verdict in 1:55.4. Fox Valley Aramon (Todd Warren) followed the winner's every move but was second best on this night while Eddie Eddie Eddie (Clifton Bell) was a non-threatening third. With the win DB has two victories and a third in three lifetime starts with earnings of $$5,401 for the partnership of Leroy Hunt and Milton Greer. The nightcap followed nearly the same script as Casey Leonard gunned Wondrous Spirit to the front where he proceeded to "steal" pedestrian like splits of 29.2, 59.1 & 1:28.0 then held firm through the stretch to record a 2¼ length win in a career best of 1:56.3. Dan D Dune (Mike Oosting) did a nice job of overcoming the outside post in the field of seven to finish in the runner-up role while My Man Red (Tim Curtin) was a distant third. The victory was the second in three starts for the Gary Rath trained son of Sportsmaster--Wondrous Grace who has banked $6,000 for owners Stephen Mc MacKin, Marily Kelly and Lorna Rousch. Tom Kelley        

A trio of Illinois conceived and foaled stakes action highlighted a busy harness racing Saturday both on and off the track at the Crete plant.   With the 7th Annual Runnin' With the Horses 5K run held earlier in the day and a large crowd enjoying the live music and fun at the annual "Brewhaha" craft beer festival on the apron fans were able to get their first look at some of this season's two-year-old pacing colts in the $4,000 Bingo Johnnie Stake. Sophomore trotters were also on the docket as a field of 10 met in the $8,000 Southern Rocketop Stake while the top older pacers in training closed out the action in the $14,000 Broadway Preview Stake.   In the Bingo Johnnie, Nicole Potts Royale Rose lived up to his favored status as he rolled to a four-length victory in 1:57.2 for driver Brian Carpenter.   The $3,800 yearling purchase used his inside starting spot to perfection saving ground early as Spending Cash (Todd Warren) led the field through splits of 30.1 & 1:00.1.   After pulling from third midway around the final turn, Carpenter deftly maneuvered the son of Ashlee's Big Guy--Caribe Royale around an off-stride Spending Cash who made a nasty break as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.3. With nothing but clear sailing ahead of him the Lyle Scurlock trained colt sped home in 27.4 to take his career debut. Eddie Eddie Eddie (Clifton Bell) finished third but was moved up to second and Sagebrush Sam (Casey Leonard), who was knocked off-stride in the first turn when My Man Red (Mike Oosting) made a break, finished fourth but was moved up to third. My Man Red originally finished second but was disqualified and placed fourth for the incident in the first turn.   The 4-5 favorite returned $3.80, $3.00 & $2.60 after posting a nice win in his qualifier just four days prior to Saturday's debut.   The Southern Rocketop Stake was not so kind to the "chalk players" as 1-5 favorite Fox Valley Qatar made a break leaving the gate allowing Charles Doehring & John D Finn's Captain Greedy to speed right to the top where he proceeded to make every call a winning one in an easy 5½ length romp while stopping the clock in a career best of 1:56.1.   Hustled away from post eight by driver J D Finn the gelded son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie cruised through splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:27.2 while going along unchallenged on the front end.   With plenty still in reserve and the division leader distanced at the back of the pack Captain Greedy sealed the deal with a 28.4 final quarter to notch his first win in four starts this season. The bay gelding had been second behind Fox Valley Qatar in his first three outings. Longshot Southern Appeal (Pat Curtin) turned a nice ground saving trip into a second place finish while Southern Special (Brian Carpenter) was third.   With the win Captain Greedy now boasts a career record of 10-2-3 in 21 starts with earnings of $72,643. Dispatched as a healthy 8-1 second choice Captain Greedy returned $19.80, $8.00 & $3.80.   Just a compact field of five faced the gate for the Broadway Preview Stake but the top "older" pacers in the Prairie State still produced an eye-catching mile as James Behrendt's Ice Scraper led from pillar to post while recording a 1½ length victory in a snappy 1:50.0 for driver Brian Carpenter.   Hustled away from the outside starting spot the speedy six-year-old son of Yankee Skyscaper was in total control of the proceedings as he zipped through splits of 26.1, 54.0 & 1:21.2.   Despite having the always dangerous Fort Silky sitting right on his back, Ice Scraper casually shrugged off a belated challenge from the pocket sitter through the final sixteenth of a mile as he reported home with fifth win in 14 starts this season. Fort Silky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Brad finished a distant third.   The 3-5 favorite returned $3.20, $2.20 & $2.10 while running his career numbers to 27-26-14 in 124 starts with earnings of $321,983 while under the guidance of conditioner Mike Brown.   The state-bred stake action continues on Sunday, June 14th as a field of 10 freshmen pacing fillies will square off in the $4,000 Misty Misty Misty Stake which goes as race four on the 10-race program. All the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 4 is on races seven through 10 on Sunday night. Tom Kelley

The state-bred stakes action continued on Sunday, May 3rd at Balmoral Park as a pair of Illinois conceived and foaled events for both harness racing trotters and pacers shared top billing on the Sunday night card. In the opening event, the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar, last year's freshman champion, picked up right where he left off, posting an easy 3¾ length wire to wire victory in 1:58.2 over five other sophomore trotting colts in the $8,000 Iggy Magoo Stake. After being hustled away from the outside post in the compact field of six by driver Todd Warren, the bay son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain appeared to be on "idle" while leading the field through pedestrian splits of 30.3, 1:00.2 & 1:30.3.   Still fit and fresh despite the fact it was his first start back after a seven-month layoff, the good looking trotter sealed the deal with a brisk 27.4 final quarter to open his second season on a victorious note. Captain Greedy (J D Finn), the winner's main opposition during their first season of action, once again was forced to settle for the runner-up role after a pocket sitting trip while Fox Valley Theboss (Casey Leonard) staged a mild rally to finish third.   The $7,000 yearling purchase now boasts an eye-catching record of 9-1-0 in 10 career starts with earnings of $88,215. Dispatched as though defeat was out of the question Fox Valley Qatar returned $2.80, $2.40 & $2.10 to his legion of backers.   In the nightcap of Sunday's stake action a field of eight ICF three-year-old pacing fillies met in the $8,000 Betzotic Stake in what figured to be another tune-up in preparation for the first "major" ICF stake of the season, the Violet Stake.   When the smoke cleared it was Ronald Phillips & Jesse Ferge's Fox Valley Aubrey who emerged victorious as she parlayed a perfect pocket sitting journey into a passing lane victory, scoring by a length and a half in a career best of 1:55.0 for Bobby Smolin.   Taking full advantage of the pole position Smolin placed the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Assailed in the garden spot as the headstrong Lex (Kyle Wilfong) sped through splits of 29.0, 57.1 & 1:25.2.   After watching last year's divisional champion Mr Leland's Filly (Casey Leonard) make a break while on the move first over around the final turn, Smolin made the "winning" decision as he elected to sit in and wait for the open stretch. With the leader beginning to get a little leg weary in the final sixteenth of a mile, the Bob Phillips trained Fox Valley Aubrey came charging up the inside for Smolin, blowing right by the embattled leaders to score for the 12th time in 17 career starts. Lex held on gamely to finish second while Southern Girl (Mike Oosting) finished third. The third choice in the wagering from the inside starting spot, Fox Valley Aubrey returned $9.80, $4.40 & $3.00 while running her career earnings up to $32,244. Tom Kelley

One of the major threats in Friday night’s third race conditioned pace feature at Maywood Park is the Don Laufenberg home-bred Financial Effort. The 6-year-old ICF mare joined the Terry Leonard Stable last November. The daughter of Yankee Skyscaper, out of Laufenberg’s broodmare Finance The Farm, has picked things up a notch ever since she was put on Lasix in her final start of last season, a winning 1:54.3 mile at Maywood Park. “We’ve had horses for Don Laufenberg off and on ever since I was a little kid,” sad her driver Casey Leonard. “I drove Financial Effort a little bit for Lloyd (trainer Daulton) and with him back in Kentucky Don sent the mare over for us to race through the winter. “The horse has some class to her. She had some lameness issues a couple of years ago and didn’t make a lot of starts (14) as a 4-year-old. I believe it was her knee.” As a 3-year-old Financial Effort captured the Ohyouprettything Stake at Balmoral Park (see picture) and later was second in her Grandma Ann elimination and the Thrifty Way stake and third in a Hanover under the care of trainer Lloyd Daulton. Her mother Finance The Farm was the 2003 Springfield and Du Quoin 3-year-old filly champion and also took her Grandma Ann elimination. “At times Financial Effort struggled a bit in the last sixteenth and maybe that’s because she might bled a little,” continued Casey. “We put her on Lasix in late December and that has seemed to help her. She has picked things up and really raced well last week.” Financial Effort dropped a nose decision to Muy Caliente a week ago in the Maywood Park feature  despite racing first up outside of the winner most of the last half-mile. Financial Effort drew the outside six-slot in tonight’s third race conditioned pace for non-winners of $8,500 in their last five races and will open as the 5-2 second choice in the program after the 8-5 favorite Feel Like Dancing (Kyle Wilfong). They’ll be challenged by Melodie Hotspur (5-1, John De Long), ER Monica (8-1, Bobby Smolin), Gentle Janet (4-1, Mike Oosting) and Triple Lane Melody (20-1, Brian Carpenter). By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

With last week’s Invite winner Let’s Drink On It racing tonight in a Breeders Crown 3-year-old pace elimination, the ICF speedball Ice Scraper will assume the favorite role in the $15,000 Invitational at Balmoral Park tonight. It’s not very often we have an Invite that isn’t handicapped by the circuit’s Race Office, at least by groups, but that’s the case in the sixth race headliner. However the 5-2 program favorite did manage to land the outside slot in an 8-horse field. Brian Carpenter took over the lines on the 5-year-old Mike Brown trainee back in mid-September and Ice Scraper has won twice in 5 starts with the veteran Indiana native, and both times under 1:49 for his Connecticut owner James Behrendt. On September 27 in a conditioned pace Ice Scraper got down to the three-quarter pole in a sizzling 1:20 flat and carried his speed to the finish wire with a lifetime best 1:48.3 clocking, more than a half-dozen lengths the best.. Two starts alter on October 25 in a high-end conditioned pace Ice Scraper led at every pole, cutting fractions of :26, :53.4, 1:21.2 and coming home in :27.1 for a 1:48.4 victory. In between those starts Ice Scraper was second best to Al’s Hammered (racing tonight at The Meadowlands for his new barn), clocked in 1:49.4. Last week the Yankee Skyscraper gelding gave way in the late going only to Let’s Drink On It at the end of a 1:50.1 on a chilly evening in the mid-30s.   “Ice Scraper got beat by a very good horse last week and while I don’t want to make excuses for him, the horse wasn’t on his game last Saturday even though it was a fast mile for a cold night,” said Carpenter. “Last week was the first time since I’ve been driving him that he never once was on the bit. When he’s at the top of his game I don’t think it makes much difference to him if he gets down the half in 55 or in 53. The horse likes to go out here and roll. All you have to do his put is head on the gate  and he’s off.” With Al’s Hammered recently sold and now racing out east the last two Invites have taken on a completely different look. “I though last week’s Invite field was a well-balanced field, making it good race for bettors. This week field looks very competitive, too,” added Brian. Ice Scraper likely will have to work hard to get command tonight. Time To Roll (7-2, Dale Hiteman), Kanaris (5-1, Dave Magee) and Best Man Hanover (0-2, Todd Warren) all do their best racing up-close. Fort Silky (10-1, Casey Leonard) is another who can leave the gate in a hurry hen asked. The 2014 Illinois Aged Pacer of the Year has been ducked in his last two starts and finished fifth and sixth, respectively in those starts. Fort Silky’s stable-mate In Over my Head (8-1, Kyle Wilfong) can uncork at wicked last panel at times and should be charging late along with Ice Scraper’s entry-mate Lennox Blue Chip (Ridge Warren) and the Mike Brink Stable’s 8-1 longshot Fiveknuckleshuffle (Bobby Smolin) who was given the rail a week ago but has the 6-slot tonight. Also on the Saturday card is the $10,000 Betzotic for ICF 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings and a pair of $11,000 “Winner’s Over” events, one for filly and mare pacers and the other trotters, The Roger Welch Stable’s Earndawg (Todd Warren) looks like an absolutely “lock” in the first race (No Show Wagering) $10,000 stake against 6 foes. The multi-stake champion with a first season bankroll of nearly $215,000 is 2-5 in the morning line and 1-9 in my line. Welch also has the favorite in the five-horse fifth race filly and mare co-feature. Always About Katey (Todd Warren) is at 7-5 first flash odds trying to shed her bridesmaid role that now encompasses her last four starts, Evil Urges (5-2 in my line, Matt Kruger) and Celebrity Hercules (2-1, Casey Leonard) with over a combined $950,000 in career earnings between them, head-up the seventh race “Winner’s Over: Trot. Justice Jet, another Welch trainee driven by his son Ryan, is my 4-1 third choice. The Indiana bred has a $316,319 bankroll in only two seasons of racing and does possess current sharpness. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA   

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   Tom Kelley  

Fresh off a game wire to wire win in her career debut, the Peter Dora owned and trained Lyrics Fall made it two in a row to open what looks like a promising career as the speedy youngster knocked off five other Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old pacing fillies by 2¾ lengths in the $10,000 Juxtaposition Stake on Thursday night at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:57.2. Hustled off the gate from post position four by driver Casey Leonard the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fall Colors led the field through an opening quarter in 28.3. After relinquishing the lead to a hard charging BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) as the field moved by the half in 57.4, Leonard did not wait long before sending his filly back to the front, charging by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1 with a 1 ¾ length advantage. Comfortably in front of their rivals around the final bend and into the stretch, the $1,800 yearling purchased looked like a "million bucks" as she cruised home with her second win in as many tries while under no pressure whatsoever. Duneside Splash (Travis Seekman) finished second while Gracie On My Mind (John De Long) rallied to finish third. Sent off as the odds on choice after the win in her debut, Lyrics Fall returned $3.60 $2.20 & $2.10 while moving her bankroll up to $10,000 for her owner-trainer. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

Continuing to show that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with among this seasons ICF three-year-old colt pacing set Paymaq Racing's Uncle Ugly turned Friday's $92,000 Maywood Pace into nothing more than a stroll in the park as he cruised to a beautiful five-length victory in 1:53.3 for driver John De Long. Gunned away from post position five by De Long, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper---Yankee Blue took an early tuck behind longshot Fox Valley Cupid (Robert Smolin) before looping that rival as the two sped by an opening quarter in a brisk 27.1. "I was a little surprised that horse (Fox Valley Cupid) was able to get away from the gate as quickly as he did," said De Long. "I never anticipated having to take an early tuck but I knew that horse was a longshot and I wanted to be in control of things so I waited for things to settle down just a bit then just sent my horse back on his way." Rolling along through the heavy humid air Uncle Ugly proceeded to put up middle splits of 55.2 & 1:23.3 while his rivals struggled to maintain a deteriorating outer flow. After turning aside a first over bid from PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) and watching the overwhelming 1-2 favorite Unlocked (Dave Magee) make a break while trying to move up three-wide, De Long and Uncle Ugly began to draw away from the pocket sitting Fox Valley Cupid as the field moved into the final turn. "I was a little nervous heading into that last turn because I knew some of Erv's (Miller) other horses were still looming out there but my horse just picked up the bit again and really started to dig in," said a smiling De Long. Dig in he did, quickly sprinting away from the rest of the field as he left no doubt as to who was the best on this night while cruising under the wire with his fifth win in 10 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Cupid, the 28-1longshot did well to hold on for second while Beach Boy Brody (Casey Leonard) overcame a miscue at the half-mile mark to rally for the show dough. The second choice in the wagering, Uncle Ugly returned $4.80 & $4.80. Show wagering was not allowed on the race. Unraced as a two-year-old, Uncle Ugly, who was a $19,000 yearling purchase now boasts a record of five wins, two seconds and two thirds in 10 starts with earnings of $84,012 while under the watchful eye of trainer Erv Miller. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

Illinois conceived and foaled freshmen shared top billing on Wednesday, June 18th at Balmoral Park as a pair of events once again showcased both pacers and trotters from the state-bred ranks. A full field of 10 two-year-old pacing fillies were dropped into the box for the $10,000 Incredible Tillie Stake. With a wicked lighting storm approaching the Crete oval, which eventually wound up delaying the races right after the finish of this event, Peter Dora's Lyrics Fall turned in an electrifying effort scoring by a neck in wire to wire fashion while stopping the clock in 1:56.2 over a "good" racetrack. Speeding away from post position six for driver Ronnie Gillespie, the bay daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Evelyn put up splits of 29.2, 59.0 & 1:28.3 while rolling along unchallenged on the front end. After opening up a four-length advantage by the mid-stretch call the $1,800 yearling purchase was all out to hold off the late charge of Gracie On My Mind (Dave Magee) who came flying home in 27.1 to finish second. Fox Valley Redhead (Dean Magee) also uncorked a big late move to wind up third. A field of six trotting fillies went postward in the $5,000 Star Slinger Stake and when the smoke cleared it was Cynthia Demarlie & Jason Ward's Bi Polar Rose who emerged victorious, scoring by 1 ½ lengths in 2:02.0 over a track listed as "good". Sent right to the top by Travis Seekman the daughter of Polar Winner--I Still Owe rattled off splits of 31.2, 1:03.3 & 1:33.1. After repelling a first over bid from Fox Valley Macy (Ronnie Gillespie) at the top of the lane, the Rod Allums Jr. trained miss trotted home in a sharp 28.4 to make her debut a winning one. Persuasive Look (Dave Magee) overcame a miscue behind the gate to rally for the bridesmaid spot while Patient I D (Dale Hiteman) followed the winner's every move while garnering the show dough.   Bi Polar Rose made her debut a winning one as she scored in wire to wire fashion for Travis Seekman in Wednesday's Star Slinger Stake.   Lyrics Fall (inside) held off a late bid from Gracie On My Mind (outside) to take the $10,000 Incredible Tillie Stake for 2yo pacing fillies in her career debut.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Despite getting off to a nice start in her sophomore season Paula Smith, Lucas Smith, James Runyan and Kathleen O’Neill’s Fox Valley Amanda was a bit overlooked at the betting windows in Friday’s $89,000 Filly Maywood Pace for ICF three-year-olds. The home-bred harness racing filly wound up making her “doubters” pay though as she parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a half-length victory in a career best of 1:55.1 with Dale Hiteman at the controls.   Taking advantage of post position two, Hiteman positioned the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper—Thongundrcolrsoops right on the back of My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) as that filly led the field through splits of 27.3, 56.4 & 1:25.1. After being softened up by a first over bid from Molly Go Lightly (Ryan Anderson), a game but leg weary My Little Bit could not hold off the open stretch move of Fox Valley Amanda as she powered home in 29.3 to post her fourth win in nine starts this season. My Little Bit held to be the bridesmaid while Molly Go Lightly finished third, three-lengths behind the top filly. Dispatched as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering the Joel Smith trained Fox Valley Amanda returned $12.80, $3.60 & $2.20 while running her career record to 5-7-3 with earnings of nearly $139,000. State-bred pacing colts were in action as well on Friday night as a field of eight squared off in a Maywood Pace elimination. The top seven finishers will be back next Friday (June 20) to join Unlocked in one of tracks signature events. Despite a tough trip Megan Rogers Stables Beach Boy Brody posted an impressive 2 ¼ length victory for driver Dave Magee in 1:53.1. He will be joined in the final by Uncle Ugly, PQ Three, R Duneshine, Fox Valley Cupid, Fox Valley Van and Traffic Cop. The 20 cent Pick 6 wager went unclaimed for a third straight card so thanks to a carryover of $4,283 there will be a Guaranteed Pool of $15,000 for Thursday, June 19th. Tom Kelley

Living up to his status as the even-money favorite, Paymaq Racing's Uncle Ugly made it look pretty in Saturday's $48,100 Cardinal Stake Final for ICF three-year-old pacing colts at Balmoral Park as he cruised to a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.2 for driver John De Long.   Zipped away from post position seven by De Long, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper--Yankee Blue was under wraps as he led the field through splits of 27.1, 55.2 & 1:23.0.   "Erv (Miller) told me earlier in the day not to be afraid to leave with him because he was really sharp right now," said De Long. "Once I got him to the top he relaxed perfectly for me through the middle half-mile of the race and he was ready to go again when I asked him at the top of the stretch."   With stablemate PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) making a bid at the pace-setter as the field turned for home Uncle Ugly set sail for the wire finishing up the mile in grand fashion as he paced home in 28.2 for his fourth win in eight career starts. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard), the early season leader among this set, parlayed a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while longshot Fox Valley Van (Brian Carpenter) rallied to finish third.   After the victory De Long was still singing the praises of his charge who was unraced as a two-year-old.   "He's still a little green at times and doesn't even realize just how fast he's going or how easy he's doing it," explained De Long. "He's learning pretty quickly though and when he gets it all figured out he's going to be a pretty serious race horse."   Uncle Ugly looked beautiful to his backers returning $4.00, $2.40 & $2.40 while running his record to 4-1-2 in 8 starts with earnings of $34,856. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park      

Illinois conceived and foaled pacing fillies stepped into the spotlight on Saturday night as a field of nine sophomores were sent to battle in a $10,000 Betzotic Stake. While she may be lightly raced, Pm Investment's Buoncammino looked like a seasoned veteran in this event as she stormed home from the back of the pack to record a three-quarter-length victory in 1:55.0 for driver John De Long. Getting away eighth as last year's top fillies Molly Go Lightly (Dave Magee) and Thesleazyprincess (Todd Warren) battled through splits of 28.0, 57.0 & 1:26.3, De Long moved the Richard Schrock trained miss three-wide as the field turned for the money. Gobbling up one filly after another in effortless fashion, this daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Mcjates Shadow went from eighth to first with a wicked 27.1 final quarter to record her third win in six career starts. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) turned in a hard fought effort to be the bridesmaid while Thesleazyprincess held on for third. Unraced at two, Buoncammino who was pounded at the betting windows despite the outside post, returned just $5.80, $3.80 & $3.60 while upping her bankroll to $11,590. by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

The Harness Racing Museum thanks the donors and bidders for a successful auction. The following breedings not receiving appropriate bids, as well as newly received services, are still available. Interested parties, who have not booked their mares, are urged to contact the Museum at 845-294-6330 or email Joanne Young at Some stallions have more than one breeding available. TROTTERS are indicated with upper case CAPS. DE -Dream Away IL - Yankee Skyscaper IN - Allthatgltrsisgold, Panspacificflight MD - CHARLIE DEVIE, Holy Guacamolie, Nuclear Breeze, Totally Western, Up Front Charlie NY - CONWAY COURT, Deweycheatumnhowe, Lislea, Lucky Chucky, Panther Hanover, Riverboat King, Village Jove OH - BREAK THE BANK K, COLIE'S, Manhardt, Northern Kid, Powerful Toy ON - Angus Hall, Classic Card Shark PA - Lear Jetta, Sierra Kosmos, Tom Ridge, Tuffofthetoughest From the Harness Racing Museum

The Harness Racing Museum would like to thank all of the donors and bidders for a successful stallion breeding auction. Due to several newly received services, as well as some breedings that did not receive appropriate bids, the following is a list of stallions that are still available. TROTTERS are indicated with upper case CAPS.   Delaware - Cr Commando, Dream Away Illinois - Yankee Skyscaper Indiana - Allthatgltrsisgold, GUCCIO, Panspacificflight Maryland - CHARLIE DE VIE, FOUR STARZ ROBRO, GROTON HALL, Holy Guacamolie, Nuclear Breeze, Totally Western, Up Front Charlie New York - Conway Hall, Deweycheatumnhowe, Lislea, Lucky Chucky, Panther Hanover, Riverboat King Ohio - COLIE'S, Manhardt, Northern Kid, Powerful Toy, Valley Victor, Woodstock Ontario - Angus Hall, Artistic Fella, Badlands Hanover, Classic Card Shark Pennsylvania - Lear Jetta, Sierra Kosmos, Tom Ridge, Tuffofthetoughest   In addition, the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is proud to offer a newly acquired breeding to GUCCIO as part of our stallion breeding auction. This is a unique opportunity as his book is sure to be full and closed very shortly.   The world champion and million-dollar winning trotter Guccio 4,1:51.1f ($1,021,809) begins stud duty at Victory Hill Farm, one of the leading farms in Indiana. He will stand for a fee of $5,000 for the 2014 breeding season.   Income raised by the stallion auction, nearly $540,000 over the past 15 years, supports the Museum's General Operating Fund. It helps to ensure quality services, special exhibitions, traveling exhibits, promotional support and educational programming for children and adults. Our efforts also help to encourage new owners and fans!   For additional information on the auction, to donate breedings, or to receive a complete list of stallions and conditions for bidding, please contact Joanne Young at 845.294.6330, or visit, where updates will also be posted. Some stallions have more than one breeding available.   The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, N.Y. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour 4 p.m.). Thanks to USTA support, the Museum is currently offering free admission for walk-in visitors and group docent-guided tours at a minimal charge per person.   From the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame  

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