Day At The Track

Bob Phillip's star pacer all done for year

08:53 PM 09 Apr 2013 NZST
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Al's Hammered (Bobby Smolin)
Al's Hammered (Bobby Smolin) - winning the Langley on Super Night in 1:48.4
Balmoral Park Photo

Three-year-old pacers from the barn of Bob Phillips captured the first pair of 2013 ICF stake races when Big Brad breezed in the $12,000 Taurus Bomber and Big Zipper held on in the $12,000 Direct Balance. However when I caught up with the veteran harness racing conditioner I learned that all the news out of Phillips stable wasn't good.

The older state-bred pacing division this season will be without Phillip's star pacer Al's Hammered, the 2012 3-Year-Old Illinois Pacer of the Year.

"It'll be about a year before Al's Hammered will be back racing," Phillips revealed. "He broke down in his last race (in early February. He made a bad step at the top of the stretch and he bowed both tendons in one leg.

"If you look at him now he looks good. He's sound but he hurt his leg so bad they told me it would need at least eight months off."

Al's Hammered finished his sophomore season with over $214,000 for Phillips, who also owns the winner of 11 races in 2012, including the Langley Championship in a very quick time of 1:48.4 with Bobby Smolin at his lines.

"Speed wise Al's Hammered probably is the best horse I'll ever have," continued Phillips. "I could have sold him for a lot of money but I didn't and he did have a very good year for me as a 3-year-old. He made a lot of money, won on Super Night, and showed he could race with older horses in the Balmoral invites. The horse can come home pretty good."

That's for sure.

Al's Hammered regularly closed under 27 seconds and in one of his victories paced a winning :25.2 last quarter.

Phillips State Street Liz isn't far away from her 3-year-old debut. As a 2-year-old she was first or second in 9 of her 10 season starts, finishing her freshman season with a victory on Maywood's $51,000 Violet Final.

"I had State Street Liz about ready to come back," said Phillips. "I raced her in a qualifier a couple of weeks ago but she made a break and pulled a check ligament. We freeze-fired it and it'll be a couple of weeks before she's ready to return."

Bob is high on the Chris Choros homebred.

"I think she'll be in the top three fillies in the 3-year-old Illinois bred division," said Phillips/.

Looking Strong: Celebrity Hercules goes after his third consecutive "Winner's Over" trot victory in Wednesday's $12,500 second race feature at Balmoral with regular driver John De Long in his bike.

The Erin Elliott trainee only has five challengers this week-Mischievous Jesse, Georgeā€˜s Vacation, Herbie L, Hitithard and Fox Valley Arrow-when he leaves from the outside six0-slot as the 3-2 programmed favorite.

By Mike Paradise

The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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