Day At The Track

Fox Valley Touche wins Maywood Pace

09:21 AM 18 Jun 2011 NZST
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A cool card cruised to an easy win in Dale Hiteman and Fox Valley Touche
A cool card cruised to an easy win in - the first of three Maywood Pace stake eliminations
A cool card cruised to an easy win in the first of three Maywood Pace stake eliminations giving Marcus Miller his 1,000th career victory.
Dale Hiteman and Fox Valley Touche - were in complete command
Dale Hiteman and Fox Valley Touche were in complete command at the wire in Friday's $101,000 Filly Maywood Pace Final.

Flashing the form that netted her a perfect three for three record coming into Friday's $101,000 Filly Maywood Pace final Paula Smith and James Runyan's Fox Valley Touche had no trouble dispatching of seven other Illinois conceived and foaled harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies as she cruised to a three length victory in 1:54.0 for driver Dale Hiteman.

After allowing a hard leaving Little Maeve (Ridge Warren) to grab command early driver Dale Hiteman sent Fox Valley Touche out for the re-take and the speedy daughter of Sportsmaster-Thongundrcolorsoops was back in front just after the field hit the quarter in 28.1.

“She was the heavy favorite in the race, she has good speed and she gets around the half mile oval with no problems,” said winning driver Dale Hiteman after the victory. “She’s like a little race car on this track so I figured I’d leave hard, see who came after us and then just send her back to the front and take command again.”

Tapping the brakes a bit as the field moved around the turn Fox Valley Touche was able to get a bit of a breather as she led the field through a half-mile in 57.0.

“Even though we had a horse coming after us on the outside (#3-Nina Coleada) I was able to shut her down a bit and give her a break through those middle splits,” explained Hiteman. “She still had a big hold of me on the backside and she was starting to pull away from her rivals as we moved towards the three-quarter-mile pole.

Heading down the backstretch the Joel Smith trainee was in complete control of the proceedings and was beginning to put daylight between herself and the field as they moved by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.1.

The issue was never in doubt from that point on as Fox Valley Touche left her competition in the dust on the final turn. On cruise control the remainder of the way for Hiteman Fox Valley Touche continued to increase her margin as she posted her ninth win in 19 career starts. Cuzimademymindup (Dean Magee) rallied to finish second after being shuffled to sixth at the three-quarter-mile mark while the pocket sitting Little Maeve (Ridge Warren) held on for third.

In the winner’s circle but trainer Joel Smith and driver Dale Hiteman were more than a little impressed by their filly’s effort.

“We had a bye into the final but I wanted her to be sharp for it so qualified her and we had a specific time in mind and she wound up hitting it right where we wanted,” explained trainer Joel Smith.

“We probably could have won this race by a much larger margin as well,” said driver Dale Hiteman. “It’s a long season though and you never want to empty the tank unless you absolutely have to and she wasn’t even close to that tonight so I feel that she’s got a lot more left in her,” he said.

The win was the ninth in 20 career starts for Fox Valley Touch who now boasts a career bankroll of $233,150 for her proud connections. The 2-5 favorite in the betting returned just $2.80, $2.10 & $2.10 to her legion of backers.

A total of 16 state-bred colts were also in action on Friday night as they competed for spots in next Friday’s $131,000 Maywood Pace. The top two finishers in each elimination as well as two third place finishers (drawn by lot) will return for Maywood’s signature event next week.

In the first of the three elimination tussles Mystical Marker Farms, Mark Anderson, Shim Racing and Ken Duffy’s highly regarded sophomore A Cool Card parlayed a perfect two-hole trip into his sixth win in seven career starts as the 1-5 favorite in the betting rolled to a 1 ¼ length victory in a national seasons mark of 1:53.4.

The win was also the 1,000th of 22-year-old Marcus Miller’s career, making him one of the youngest drivers in the sport to hit that plateau.

Given a perfect steer by Miller the gelded son of Cole Muffler-Annie Your A Card, who was unraced as a two-year-old, sat in the pocket throughout as AJ Get’s The Money (John De Long) carved out splits of 27.3, 56.4 & 1:25.3. Miller then patiently guided his charge into the passing lane and the Erv Miller trainee then kicked it into high gear as he reeled off a 28.0 final quarter to blow right by the pacesetter. AJ Get’s The Money held on for second while Flowmaster (Dean Magee), who made a first over bid heading to the three-quarter-mile mark, finished third.

Miller, who posted his first win at the age 15 while driving Prissy Lady in a non-wagering event at Springfield credits his father Erv with getting him interested in the business and patiently teaching him throughout the years.

“Dad taught me everything I know so to be able to do this right before Fathers Day is great,” said Marcus. “Even though we had some very nice horses he always put me up and just going to the barn with him each morning really taught me some valuable lessons. A lot of other trainers also showed faith in me once I came up to Chicago to drive and I’ll always be thankful to them for having the confidence in me and give me live horses to drive.”

Embarking on his driving career on a full-time basis in 2007 Miller enjoyed the best year of his budding career in 2010 with 393 wins and more than $2.3 million in purse earnings. He’s also shown quite a knack for coming up big when the money is on the line.

“The biggest thrill I’ve had since I started driving full time was winning the Orange & Blue on Super Night two year’s in a row,” said Miller. “That’s pretty much the biggest money race we have here in Illinois and to be able to win that and celebrate it with my entire family is something I’ll never forget.”

In the middle split L& L DeVisser’s Fox Valley Griffin scored in front stepping style as knocked off five rivals by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:56.0 with Jamaica Patton at the controls.

After getting away second as Hitailit (John De Long) showed the way through an opening split of 28.2 Patton inherited the lead midway around the turn as Hitailit made a costly break. In control of the proceedings the son of Sportsmaster-Fox Valley Gale paced through middle splits of 59.0 & 1:27.1 while battling a first over Sporty Gypsy (Dale Hiteman) tooth and nail.

After putting away the bid from that colt as the field moved around the turn the 2-5 favorite of the betting public began to pull away from his rivals. On cruise control the rest of the way the Nick Giberson trainee reported home with his second win in six starts this season. King Z Tam (Casey Leonard) rallied up the inside to finish second while Sporty Gypsy held on for third.

In the final elimination the national seasons mark for a three-year-old gelding wound up being lowered once again as Jodi Siamis’s Boi took full advantage of the inside starting spot as he posted a 1 ¼ length wire to wire triumph while lowering the national seasons mark to 1:53.0.

Hustled to the front by driver Marcus Miller the son of Sportsmaster-Rachel Hanover grabbed command early and proceeded to roll through splits of 26.4, 56.1 & 1:25.0 while keeping his rivals at bay.

The Richard Schrock trained gelding then sealed the deal with a 28.0 final quarter to post his first win in three starts this season. Fox Valley Mercury (Casey Leonard) turned a pocket sitting trip into a spot in the final with his second place finish while Rockin Rumble (Dale Hiteman) will be forced to head into the draw after finishing third, five lengths behind the winner.


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