Day At The Track

Pressure-packed Saturday ahead

05:59 AM 06 Sep 2014 NZST
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PQ Three
PQ Three winning on last year's Super Eliminations Night

Ask any Illinois Standardbred trainer which night of harness racing do they feel the most pressure and most would say Super Night elimination Saturday.

As one Illinois trainer once told me: “You can’t race for the big money on Super Night unless you do well in your elimination.”

Tomorrow is that pressure-packed evening for trainers and their owners with eliminations slated for all the Super Night paces except the Grandma Ann. With ten ICF 3-year-old fillies passing the entry box a $10,000 “Prep” with go as race five with all 10 fillies staying sharp for that $142,000 Championship.

Most years it takes a third place finish or higher in an Orange and Blue elimination to assure a starting berth in those 2-year-old finals. In fact, there have been times when four O & B elimination divisions were raced and only the one-two finishers in each were guaranteed a start in the final.

This year with just15 fillies entered for their division and 20 colts and geldings for the O & B male division, only a fifth place finish or higher is needed in those eliminations to become a Super Night finalist.

The Orange and Blue Filly final’s purse is estimated at $163,000 while the Orange and Blue Colt championship has a projected $187,000 pot.

The toughest stake to make the final is the Lorna Propes for ICF fillies and mares, ages three and up. There were sufficient entries for three $15,000 elimination divisions. Only the first three finishers in each, and one fourth place finisher drawn by lot, make that $120,000 Final.

The Tony Maurello for horses and geldings ages three and up will have two elimination groups with the first five finishers in each moving on. All of the division’s big guns like Al’s Hammered, Fort Silky, Mystical Walter, Iam Bonasera and last year’s Maurello champion A Cool Card are racing Saturday evening.

The Pete Langley Memorial has just one-single elimination with only a ninth place finish in the 10-horse field needed to advance to its $147,000 championship.

Interestingly the owners or trainers of the top three season money winners in the division—Unlocked, Uncle Ugly and Fox Valley Deuce—all declined the bye and will compete in Saturday’s third race. Fox Valley Cupid, who did take the bye, is staying racing-ready against older horses in Saturday’s 12th race.

We’ll see most of the top ICF 3-year-old trotters in action Sunday.

The Su Mac Lad has a single elimination with the first nine finishers joining Fox Valley Veto in its $98,000 Final. Fox Valley Veto took his bye and will race against older trotters Sunday in the fourth race $10,500 conditioned trot.

Ten fillies passed the entry box for Super Night’s Lady Ann Reed but a prep race won’t be contested. Instead, Bailey’s Wish, Macie Rae and Graceland Spirit will take the week off while the other entrants—Bands Alexis, Fox Valley Lotus, Green Acres, High Balance, Lora Lee Breeze, Rollette and Say No Mo—will stay sharp by competing in various conditioned trots on the card.

Price Shot of the Year: On a Thursday night at Maywood Park where one heavy favorite after another won their respective races Mike’s Price Shots came up with an eighty-two dollar winnerwhen Serious Style, driven by Kyle Wilfong, got his neck in front at the end of the fourth race.

Sent off at 40-1 odds, Serious Style paid a surprising $82.60 for a $2 wager, keying the $252.60 Exacta, the $654.60 Trifecta and the $1,422.20 Supefecta 10 cent wager.

By Mike Paradise

The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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