Day At The Track

Shocker in the $200,000 Orange & Blue

06:17 PM 15 Sep 2013 NZST
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The Robert Phillips owned and trained Cotton Eyed Joe
The Robert Phillips owned and trained Cotton Eyed Joe

Saving the biggest fireworks of the night for the last race of the night the Robert Phillips owned and trained Cotton Eyed Joe pulled off a 16-1 shocker in the nightcap winning the $200,000 Orange & Blue by a neck in a career best of 1:54.3.

Well handled by driver Robert Smolin the son of Big Green Machine—Secret Dial appeared to getting hopelessly shuffled out of contention as the lead changed hands several times through some brisk splits.

With Fox Valley Cupid (Ryan Anderson), Overloaded (Kyle Wilfong) and 1-5 favorite PQ Three (Mike Oosting) all taking turns on the lead through splits of 27.4, 56.4 & 1:25.1 Cotton Eyed Joe was all the way back to eighth while trying to move up three wide as the field turned for home.

With the heavy favorite and several others near the front end starting to collapse from the fast fractions Smolin continued to pick off one rival after another while racing down the grand stand side. A game Fox Valley Cupid, who was 37-1 was starting to come on again in the passing lane but the hard charging Cotton Eyed Joe managed to blow by them all with a 28.0 final quarter to post his second lifetime win in start number 13. Fox Valley Cupid turned in a super effort to finish second while Traffic Cop (Todd Warren), who barreled up first over to challenge the pace setting PQ Three on the far turn was third, just a 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner.

“Things set up pretty well for somebody to come from out of in this race,” said Smolin who posted his first two Super Night wins on last year’s card. “He likes to run out in the stretch when he hits his top gear so you have to stay after him pretty good. Tonight he went straight enough long enough to go by them.”

Sporting a modest record of 1-1-2 in12 starts coming into Saturday’s Orange & Blue Cotton Eyed Joe now boasts a bankroll of $108,054. While the mutuels of  $35.20, $12.40 & $40.00 indicate that Cotton Eyed Joe’s win was quite a surprise his driver did not seem that shocked by his effort.

“I actually thought coming into this we had a decent chance to get a big piece of it,” laughed Smolin. “We had been babying him for most of his starts and he raced very well in his elimination last week despite getting jammed up by a breaking horse. This is even more special for me because my first pari-mutuel win came while driving his dam Secret  Dial.”

“Where did ya come from? Where did ya go? Where did ya come from Cotton Eyed Joe?

That’s what a lot of people were wondering as the big crowd exited after another exciting Super Night at Balmoral Park!
With all the longshots coming through in the $25,000 guaranteed Hi Five wager nobody correctly selected the top five finishers in the race. That means a whopping $24,159 will be carried over into Sunday’s 10 Cent Hi-Five so there will be a guaranteed pool of $50,000 on Sunday night at Balmoral. Post time for the Sunday opener is 

David Baum

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