Day At The Track

A parade of longshots in the Koochie Stake

03:12 PM 30 Apr 2012 NZST
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B Fly McQueen Gumcorner Hustle
B Fly McQueen - Quickly swallowing up her rivals
Gumcorner Hustle - A daughter of Elk Creek-Miss Noble Hustle

A pair of upsets in the three-year-old filly trotting ranks had harness racing fans scratching their heads as two divisions of the $10,000 Koochie Stake were contested and a shocking upset in the final race of the night led to a big carryover for Wednesday's Hi-Five.

With that carryover the USTA and Balmoral Park management has announced that there will be a guaranteed pool of $50,000 on Wednesday’s finale!

In the first of two $10,000 splits of the Koochie Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old trotting fillies Eric Collier and Delbert Burkett’s Gumcorner Hustle came up with the best effort of her life as she fought back gamely in the lane to win by a half-length in 2:00 for driver Dean Magee.

After watching Tsunamichick (Brian Carpenter) lead the field through an opening quarter in 30.4 Magee used a backside brush to send Gumcorner Hustle to the top.

Leading the field through middle splits of 1:00.3 & 1:30.1 the Delbert Burkett trained miss looked like she was in serious trouble as a hard charging first over Tsunamichick, who vacated the pocket mid-way around the final turn, came charging up on the outside of horses.

With these two battling tooth and nail through the stretch it looked as though Gumcorner Hustle was starting to tire as the field set sail for home. The daughter of Elk Creek-Miss Noble Hustle then dug down deep, finding something extra as she gamely fought back to re-take the lead in the closing yards and then proceeded to hold off late challenges from Powerful Star (Dale Hiteman) and the heavily favored Ants Iner Pants (Steve Searle) for her first lifetime victory.

Powerful Star was the bridesmaid while Ants Iner Pants was forced to settle for the show dough.

The homebred filly was overlooked at the betting windows returning a hefty $46.40, $10.00 & $3.20 in her maiden breaking victory.

After a “spring shower” turned the track into a muddy mess for the second division M& J Stables 7-1 shot B Fly McQueen shook loose late after a ground saving journey, uncorking a 28.4 final quarter to rally for a half-length triumph in 2:00.3 over a sloppy surface.

Sitting fourth with the field strung out as Fox Valley Helen (Todd Warren) led them through splits of 30.1, 100.0 & 1:30.3 driver-trainer Mike Reading had B Fly McQueen glued to the pylons as the field started to spread out turning for home.

With plenty of racing room in on the inside part of the track the daughter of American Native-Blank Check then kicked it into high gear quickly swallowing up her rivals in route to her second win in five starts this season. Fox Valley Velvet (Marcus Miller) turned a perfect pocket sitting trip into a second place check while the pace setting Fox Valley Helen held on for third.

The victory was the third in 15 lifetime starts for this brown filly who now boasts $15,049 in career earnings. Continuing with the longshot theme of the night B Fly McQueen returned $17.60, $5.60 & $2.20.

In the final race of the night 25-1 outsider Winthisone Hanover led a parade of longshots home in the 10 cent Hi-Five. With no winning tickets on the combination of 5-9-3-10-1 (35-1, 50-1, 10-1 & 30-1) a total of $18,490.93 will be added to the pool on Wednesday, May 2nd. That led the USTA and Balmorals management to announce that Wednesday’s Hi-Five will carry a guaranteed pool of $50,000!

The 10 cent Hi-Five wager is always on the final race of the night at Balmoral Park.

Tom KELLEY

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