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Lexington Lady, a winner of seven of 10 starts this season, looks to be the one to beat in the $155,000 Orange & Blue Filly Championship at Balmoral Park on Saturday.   Trained and owned by Hosea Williams, the daughter of Lexington Legend-Sephie Kay-Sportsmaster was bred by Jerry Graham and was foaled May 18, 2013 in Salem, IL.   A bargain price at just $2,500 at the 2014 Illini Classic Yearling Sale, Lexington Lady is a half-sister to: Captain Obvious p,4,1:55 ($46,914); Stephie Clay p,6,1:56.1 ($36,260); Tornado Henry p,4,1:53.4 ($19,074); and Runinthrudabridle p,4,2:01.1f ($11,686)--all by Henry Clay.   "I always liked her sire, Lexington Legend, and had always followed his career," Hosea explained. "She was the only one by him in the sale and I studied the bloodline and I knew the mare too and I decided to look at the filly."   When Hosea went to take a look at the filly, he wasn't initially impressed.   "I really didn't like her," he offered. "She was sway-backed. But she had a nice barrel on her and her legs were straight and she stood well. I went and looked at a few other fillies, but in the end, I came back to her. I thought she might grow into herself and grow out of being sway-backed, and she just about has."   Being a bit sway-backed sure hasn't affected Lexington Lady's performance on the racetrack.   She began her career by finishing second in a Balmoral 2-year-old test, clocked in 1:56.3 on June 6 and two weeks later broke her maiden in a Balmoral overnighter in 1:55.4.   "John DeLong drove her those first two starts and told me when he won with her, 'Hosea, you can throw these hobbles away.' I thought well, maybe, I do have something here," Hosea remembered.   Five days later she won in wire -to-wire fashion (which would become her mantra) in 1:57.4 by four lengths at Maywood Park, with Brian Carpenter driving for the first time.   "When we first broke her to the cart and she hit the track, she did nothing but pace," Hosea explained. "I kind of thought then she might be a pretty nice filly."   On June 9 Lexington Lady posted a 1:55.4 clocking at Maywood and ten days later won by six lengths with a front-stepping 1:54.1.   On Aug. 2 she prevailed by 3¼ lengths in another wire-to-wire performance at Balmoral, than was a close second at Balmoral on Aug. 8 in 1:53.4.   Hosea then decided to ship his prize filly to Springfield for Illinois State Fair action.   "The morning of her Springfield race I put her grain in her bucket and she walked away from her feed, which wasn't like her.   But I took her temperature and she was fine," said Hosea. "Then, I got a call from Brian (driver Carpenter) who told me he was sick and wasn't going to be able to be there to drive her.   So after a while, I find a driver, but then he doesn't show up to drive and the horses are going out of the paddock, and I have to score her down.   I borrow a race bike and I'm out there warming her up with my knees up to my chin, because the bike was set for a shorter driver, and I'm thinking, 'there's no way I can drive this filly with this bike.'   I go around Springfield and on the backside I see Casey Leonard leaning on the fence and realized that he didn't have a horse in my race, so I get him to drive her at the last minute and he did a fine job with her."   Lexington Lady finished second in 1:54.2 , beaten just a neck, for Leonard.   "Casey told me afterward he thought she was just a little sick, so I gave her some time off before her next start," Hosea related. "But that whole Springfield experience was a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least."   Lexington Lady returned to Balmoral, where she posted a 1:53 score by 2½ lengths on Aug. 29, reunited with Carpenter, before winning her Orange & Blue elimination a week ago in an impressive 1:53.4.   Hosea said he doesn't believe in training fillies too much and that Lexington Lady had an easy week since her last race. "I grew up around Bruce Nickells and he didn't believe in training fillies really hard and I kind of follow his line of thinking," Hosea said.   "We've got the ten-hole, which isn't where I'd like to be, but I'm happy just to have a horse in this race."   Tom Kelley

The countdown to Super Night XXVII began in earnest on Saturday, September 5th at the harness racing meeting at Balmoral Park as a bevy of stake elimination's for Illinois biggest night of racing were contested. The action kicked off with a pair of $12,500 Filly Orange & Blue elimination's for two-year-old pacing fillies . With 16 entered for this stake, the top five finishers in each elimination will return for next week's $155,000 est. final. In the first division the Hosea Williams owned and trained Lexington Lady continued her mastery of this division, gamely fighting back in the closing yards to win by a head in 1:53.4 for driver Brian Carpenter.   Placed on top as the field moved to the half-mile mark the daughter of Lexington Legend--Stephie Kay drifted out a bit through a thrilling stretch drive and appeared headed with 100 yards to go by chief rival Char N Marg (Casey Leonard) before digging in late to hold on for her seventh win in 10 career starts. Char N Marg was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Narcissistic (Brent Holland) rallied to be third. Fox Valley Bailey and Fox Valley Addison also gained spots in the final. In the second elimination Dandy Farms and John Carver's Dandy's Diva took the shortest route around the track to victory as she came rolling through the passing lane to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.4.   Perfectly handled by driver Mike Oosting, the Jim Ellison trained daughter of Sportsmaster--C Suzabelle sat inside throughout the mile as Likeafireballshot (Jared Finn) led the way through pedestrian splits. With plenty in reserve for the stretch battle Oosting secured racing room with a sixteenth of a mile to go and Dandy's Diva reeled in the embattled leaders to notch her second win in career start number five. Fox Valley Gypsy (Clifton Bell) overcame the outside starting spot to wind up second while Sara's Terror (Matt Krueger). Likeafireballshot and Lexirose earned the last two spots in the final with fourth and fifth place finishes respectively. Next up were older pacing colts as a field of 10 battled in a $12,500 Tony Maurello Memorial elimination. The top seven finishers will be joined by Ice Scraper, Fort Silky and Fiveknuckleshuffle in the $95,000 (est.) final. This battle produced another thrilling finish as Hugh Lacey's Cole Heat came storming up the passing lane to stick a head in front in the final strides while stopping the clock in a career best of 1:49.4.   Content to save ground while the heavily favored Unlocked (Brent Holland) led the field through some brisk splits, Cole Heat was shuffled all the way back to fifth as the field turned for home. But veteran reinsman Dale Hiteman never panicked, eventually finding a seam in the passing lane and the Ray Hanna trained seven-year-old responded marvelously as he stormed home in 26.2 to prevail in the blanket finish. Iam Bonasera (Ridge Warren) was a game second while Unlocked held on for third. A Cool Card was a close up fourth while the remainder of the spots in the final went to Uncle Bud (5th), Big Brad (6th) and Gibbs (7th). Sophomore pacing fillies were next on the docket as a field of 10 lined up behind the gate for the $12,500 Grandma Ann elimination. Once again the top seven finishers will move on to next week's $116,000 (est.) final where they will join Lex, Fox Valley Aubrey and Southern Girl. Chalk players were rewarded here as the Peter Karras owned Fox Valley Charm, the 1-5 favorite in the wagering cruised to an easy 1 ¾ length victory in 1:53.0 for driver Mike Oosting.   Confidently handled from post three the Dirk Simpson trainer daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Fox Valley Cherub had things her own way on the "engine" after pulling off an early give and go with Sportsmuffler (Todd Warren). In control of things the rest of the way Fox Valley Charm opened up an insurmountable lead at the top of the stretch and was on cruise control the rest of the way as she recorded her sixth win in 12 starts this season. Fox Valley Brooke (Ridge Warren) shook loose late after getting shuffled back on the far turn to finish second while Luvniecestopieces (Casey Leonard) finished third. Also gaining spots in the final were Mr Leland's Filly, I Y Q Too, BS Tyrichess and Lockport Legend. As usual the Orange & Blue for 2yo pacing colts attracted the most entrants as a total of 29 youngsters were sent out in a trio of $12,500 elimination's. The top three in each elimination and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) will be back for Super Night's richest event with a purse of $186,000 (est.).   In the first division BS Tyriffic, one of the division leaders up to this point, had no trouble overcoming post eight as he scooted home with a 1 ½ length victory in 1:55.4 for driver Kyle Wilfong.   Making a steady advance on the outside of horses despite being parked for most of the mile, the Robert Sanders trained son of Richess Hanover--Fox Valley Tyra mowed down the leaders in the stretch to notch his fifth win in seven career starts. The pride of owners Robert, Jeremy and Louis Buttice and Frank Santilli also has a pair of seconds in his brief career. Goinduneside (Brent Holland) rallied nicely to pick up the place money while Silver Sage (Dale Hiteman) fought through a tough first over journey to get the show dough. Shootin To Kill was fourth. In the second division Frank Chick's Grizzer Bear staged a determined rally in the lane to get up in the final strides, winning by a neck in 1:54.3 with Brent Holland at the controls.   After saving ground through the early portion of this battle the Erv Miller trained son of Sportsmaster--Czarina Katrina appeared to be hopelessly shuffled to seventh at the top of the stretch. After running into another road block in mid-stretch, Holland made an aggressive move to the inside. The lightly raced youngster then gunned through along the pylons like a seasoned veteran to notch his first lifetime victory in start number four. Red Red Redneck (Ridge Warren) was a hard luck second while JB's Hero (Robert Smolin) was third. He Gone Jack went a long mile while finishing fourth. In the final division of the Orange & Blue eliminations Nicole Potts Royale Rose returned from a stint on the "sick" shelf to post a very impressive four-length victory in 1:52.3 for Matt Krueger. Despite facing constant pressure while posting wicked splits of 28.2, 55.1 & 1:23.2 the gelded son of Ashlee's Big Guy--Caribe Royale turned aside every challenge then left his rivals in his wake as he rolled to his sixth win in eight lifetime starts for trainer Lyle Scurlock. Dan D Dune (Mike Oosting) shook loose in time to rally for second while Wondrous Sport (Casey Leonard) was third. Longshot Big Monty finished fourth. A total of 19 distaffers were entered for the $95,000 (est.) Lorna Propes Stake for 3yo and up necessitating a pair of $12,500 eliminations with the top five advancing to next week's final.   In the first split it was John Barnard's Ryleigh's Lilly who lived up to her heavily favored status as she shook off a five week layoff to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:53.1 for Casey Leonard. After making a long first over sweep to the lead as the field moved down the backstretch the Bill Crone trained miss then held off several challenges as she stood tall to the wire for her seventh win in 19 starts this season. Togetherforever (Mike Oosting) turned in a solid effort to finish second while Incredible Filly (Mike Rogers) used a ground saving trip to get the show dough. Also gaining spots in the final were Just By Design and Moon Bay Dancer. In the nightcap the Merle P'Pool leased Rev Me Up overcame a tough trip to post a hard fought three-quarter-length victory in 1:53.1 for driver Brian Carpenter.   Despite being five-wide in the first turn and then having to rough it first over for the final five-eighths of a mile the eight-year-old daughter of Park Place still had enough to wear down the pace setting State Street Liz for her ninth win in 32 starts this season for trainer Mark P'Pool. Party Hangover (Mike Oosting) rallied late to finish second while Kimberly R (Dale Hiteman) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were State Street Liz and Thesleazyprincess. In a "prep" for the $112,000 (est.) Langley Memorial on Super Night, the red-hot Engine One O One continued his winning ways as he teamed up with Mike Oosting to record a sharp 1½ length victory in a career best of 1:52.4. Favored Earndawg (Todd Warren) held on well to finish second after carving out all the splits while Mighty Hot Shot (Ridge Warren) was third. Live racing continues on Sunday, Sept. 6th with a pair of American National Stakes for 2yo trotting colts and fillies sharing top billing while elimination's for the Lady Ann Reed and a Su Mac Lad Stake Prep will also be contested.   All the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night with the $1 Pick 4 (races 7-10) now featuring a $30,000 guaranteed pool.   The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) will feature a guaranteed pool of $20,000 on Sunday's while the highly successful trifecta guarantee on race nine will give fans the chance to play into a $25,000 guaranteed pool.   Tom Kelley

Freshmen pacing fillies were front and center on Thursday, July 9th at Maywood Park as a total of 12 state-bred harness racing youngsters squared off in a pair of $6,000 divisions of the My Metallica Stake. In the first division, the Nelson Willis trained Aunt Ethel took full advantage of the inside starting spot as she grabbed command right from the word go and made every call a winning one with a three-length victory in 1:57.3.   Confidently handled by driver Mike Oosting, the homebred daughter of Sportsmaster--Miller Creek Ethel shot to the top where she put up splits of 29.0, 57.4 & 1:28.0. When called upon on the final turn by Maywood's leading reinsman the bay filly responded with a nice 29.3 final panel while drawing away from her rivals. Burry Me Inthesand (Gary Rath) turned a nice inside trip into a second place check while Thetis (Ridge Warren) rallied to finish third, 5¼ lengths behind the winner.   The win was the first in two lifetime starts for Aunt Ethel who is owned by Rick, Erwin and Vernon Barbre.   In the second division the Hosea Williams owned and trained Lexington Lady continued to impress as she cruised to an easy 4¼ length front stepping score in 1:55.4 for driver Brian Carpenter.   Flashing her high octane gate speed the daughter of Lexington Legend--Stephie Kay zipped right to lead effortlessly posting fractions of 28.0, 58.0 & 1:27.1 while rolling along unchallenged on the "engine".   With plenty still in reserve Lexington Lady left her rivals in her wake on the final bend pacing home in a snappy 28.3 for her third straight ICF stake score. Fox Valley Addison (Todd Warren) finished in the runner-up spot while longshot Our Miss Cami (Mike Oosting) nabbed the show dough.   The 1-5 favorite who was a $2,500 bargain buy as a yearling now boasts three wins and a second in four lifetime starts with earnings of $9,000.   Live racing continues on Friday, July 10th at Maywood Park with two divisions of the Fox Valley Barzgar Stake for ICF two-year-old pacing colts sharing top billing on the card. Those battles will go as races four and six on the 12-race program which also features a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick 4 (races 9-12) and a new $15,000 guaranteed pool on the 10 cent Hi-Five wager (race 12). Post time for the first race is 7:30 p.m. (central).   Tom Kelley

The 2015 Hanover Stake season is officially underway as Balmoral Park played host to a pair of trotting stakes for three-year-olds as part of an action packed harness racing July 4th program.   The action kicked off with a non-wagering event as a field of five colts lined up behind the gate to battle for a purse of $20,600.   The battle between Illinois bred stars Captain Greedy and Fox Valley Qatar resumed in this event and for the third straight meeting between these two it was Charles Dowering and John D Finn's Captain Greedy who came out on top as he reported home with a one-length victory in 1:56.2.   Confidently handled by driver-trainer J D Finn the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie was sent right to the top where he proceeded to stroll through splits of 28.2, 58.3 & 1:28.4.   Sprinting home in 27.3, Captain Greedy shook off the challenge of a pocket sitting Fox Valley Qatar (Todd Warren) to record his fourth win in seven starts this season. Fox Valley Qatar was forced to settle for the runner-up role again while Bulldog Benji (Mike Brink) was third. The victory pushed Captain Greedy's career bankroll up to $90,796.   Sophomore trotting fillies also took to the track for Hanover action as a compact a field of five battled for a purse of $23,900.   After being content to sit near the back in the compact field, Ronald Phillips My Mini Snickers exploded through the stretch to win by a widening 3½ lengths in 1:56.3 for "provisional" driver Clifton Bell.   Content to bide their time near the back as Fox Valley Harrah (Todd Warren) put up pedestrian splits of 29.4, 59.1 & 128.1 Bell moved his filly to the outside as the field neared the top of the lane.   Trotting up a storm as she moved down the center of the track, the Bob Phillips trained daughter of Muscle Mass--Milky Way rolled home in 27.4 to notch her second win in 10 starts this season. In what is believed to be a "first" in harness racing history, Fox Valley Yoko (Kyle Wilfong) and Persuasive Look (Casey Leonard), who finished in a dead-heat for the win in an ICF stake here last week, wound up on even terms once again as they dead-heated for the place spot.   With the victory My Mini Snickers now boasts seven wins in 21 career starts with earnings of $45,319.   A pair of state-bred events were also contested on Saturday night as part of the big 12-race betting card.   In the first of these battles, the $8,000 Hot Head Stake for sophomore pacing colts, James & Terri Blackmon's Dixie's Boy picked a nice time to come up with a career best as he blew by his rivals in the lane to post a one-length victory in 1:52.0 for driver Casey Leonard.   Using a perfect second over trip the gelded son of Duneside Perch--Dingy's Model circled rivals after watching Dinky Dune (Pat Curtin) put up some brisk splits, speeding home in 26.4 while holding division leader Earndawg (Todd Warren) at bay. Longshot Casey At Bat (Mike Oosting) wound up with the show dough.   The Joel Smith trainee now sports a career record of 5-5-5 in 24 lifetime starts with earnings of $31,522 after Saturday's victory.   In the nightcap Kay Willis's Lex had no problem overcoming the dreaded 10-hole as she posted a 1¾ length triumph over nine rivals in the $8,000 Ohyouprettything Stake for ICF three-year-old pacing fillies.   Hustled right to the front by Kyle Wilfong, the Nelson Willis trained daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U put up splits of 28.4, 58.2 & 1:26.4 while relatively unchallenged on the front end.   With plenty left in the tank the division leader in 2015 sealed the deal with a 26.4 final panel to notch her fifth win in nine starts this year. Fox Valley Charm (Tim Curtin) rallied late to be the bridesmaid while Sportsmuffler (John De Long) shook loose to finish third.   With Saturday's victory Lex now boasts a career record of 9-4-4 in 18 starts with earnings of $107,123.   The ICF stake action continues on Sunday, July 5th with a field of six freshmen trotting fillies getting the action underway in a non-wagering test as they battle in the $6,000 Vaporize Stake which will go at 6:45 p.m. (central). The second division of that stake has also drawn a field of six and will go as race three on the regular 10-race card. An overflow field of 11 2yo trotting colts will battle in race four which is the $8,000 Psychic Spirit Stake and a field of seven sophomore trotting fillies will close out the stake action in race six as they battle in the $8,000 Source Ann Stake. Once again the wagering action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 4 is on races seven through 10 on Sunday night.   Tom Kelley

A Sunday night program at Balmoral Park full of Illinois conceived and foaled stakes action which mainly put the spotlight on this year's crop of harness racing two-year-olds kicked off with a non-wagering event as a field of five diagonally gaited fillies met in the Star Slinger Stake.   Powering to the front after an opening quarter in 30.3 Providence West Inc.'s Vengeful never looked back as she put up middle splits of 59.1 & 1:29.4 while cruising to a 1¼ length victory in 1:59.3 for Brian Carpenter. Shez A Devil Woman (Dale Hiteman) followed the winner's every move after relinquishing the lead at the quarter to wind up second while Praise Singer (Casey Leonard) finished third.   The winner, who is a daughter of Powerful Emotion--Over The Top was a $5,000 Illini Classic yearling purchase is conditioned by Kenny Collier.   Their male counterparts kicked off the wagering program with a field of seven trotting colts squaring off in the $4,000 Million Dollar Bye Stake.   Instead of looking like a first time starter Quaid Racing's Wrightwood acted like a seasoned veteran as he completely overwhelmed this group, rolling to an 11¼ length triumph in 1:58.4.   Confidently handled by driver Casey Leonard, the son of Powerful Emotion--Racy Roz was content to trot along in third while watching Iron Band (Jamaica Patton) and Prince Simba (Mike Brink) battle through tough early splits of 29.1 & 57.3.   Still third but on the move behind JD Cheese (Travis Seekman) who grabbed command as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.1, the Nelson Willis trained colt easily reeled in that one, blowing right by with an eighth of a mile to go then quickly drawing away while leaving his rivals in his wake. JD Cheese was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Todger (Todd Warren) finished third.   After prepping for his debut with a pair of sharp second place finishes in his qualifiers Wrightwood was well backed at the windows returning $4.20, $3.20 & $2.40.   With a total of 14 freshmen pacing fillies entered for the Incredible Tillie Stake the young ladies were split into a pair of $5,000 divisions.   In the first division the Hosea Williams owned and trained Lexington Lady used the passing lane to perfection rallying up the inside in the final strides to put a nose in front of Sara's Terror as they tripped the timer in a snappy 1:55.4.   Perfectly positioned by driver John De Long, the daughter of Lexington Legend--Stephie Kay left alertly and wound up landing in the garden spot as Sara's Terror (Brian Carpenter) led the field through splits of 29.2, 59.1 & 1:28.4.   Patiently awaiting room at the pylons as Sara's Terror and Fox Valleytiramisu (Robert Smolin) battled through the lane, De Long maneuvered his charge into the passing lane where she rallied gamely for the hard fought victory. Sara's Terror was a tough luck second while Fox Valley Addison (Todd Warren) rallied to be third. Coming off a second place finish in her career debut last week Lexington Lady, who was a $2,500 yearling purchase returned $6.00, $3.60 & $2.40 to her backers.   In the second division trainer Nelson Willis, Quaid Racing and driver Casey Leonard struck for their second stakes win of the night as Char N Marg came charging between horses to rally for a one-length victory in 1:56.3.   Using an advantageous draw Leonard positioned the daughter of Sportsmaster-Zip Up Your Pans in the coveted two-hole while Fox Valley Bailey (Dale Hiteman) leisurely cruised through fractions of 30.3, 59.3 & 1:29.1.   Saving ground the entire way Leonard began to search for room with Char N Marg as a first over Fox Valley Gypsy (Clifton Bell) and Fox Valley Bailey continued to slug it out through the lane. With less than a sixteenth of a mile to go, Char N Marg found the room she needed and the good looking filly wasted no time splitting rivals to pick up her first lifetime victory in start number two. Fox Valley Gypsy turned in a very solid effort to finish second while Fox Valley Bailey wound up third.   After flashing a big closing kick in her fourth place finish last week Char N Marg attracted plenty of attention at the betting windows on Sunday night returning just $2.80, $2.20 & $2.10.   Sophomore trotting fillies closed out the stake action on Sunday night with a field of seven meeting in the first Xpressbet Stake of the season.   This battle could not have closed out the action in a more exciting fashion as last year's top two money earners in the division, Fox Valley Yoko and Persuasive Look ended on even terms, finishing in a dead-heat for the win while stopping the clock in 1:55.4.   In a race filled with action right from the start Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long) was able to save ground throughout the opening half-mile as Fox Valley Harrah (Todd Warren) trotted through splits of 29.1 & 58.2. The Curt Grummel trained miss then managed to slip to the outside heading around the final bend, picking up the live cover of a second over Persuasive Look (Casey Leonard) who had been grinding away on the outside of horses since the five-eighths pole.   Sitting third and fifth respectively Persuasive Look and Fox Valley Yoko both took dead aim on Bi Polar Rose (Travis Seekman), who had overtaken Fox Valley Harrah as the field sped by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.2.   With the trotters fanning out across the track Persuasive Look and Fox Valley Yoko zipped right by the leaders, drawing clear of the rest of their rivals by 3¼ lengths while finishing in the dead-heat for the win. Tal Wi Wi (Kyle Wilfong), who saved ground throughout the mile finished third.   The win was the fourth in 16 career starts for Fox Valley Yoko (Pizzazzed) who pushed her career bankroll up to $102,240 for owner Patrick Graham. Persuasive Look (Powewrful Emotion) now sports career numbers of 6-5-5 in 20 lifetime starts with earnings of $108,571 for co-owner trainer Homer Hochstetler and partner Robert Buddig. Tom Kelley

Illinois' top sophomore pacing fillies renewed acquaintances again on Friday night at Maywood Park as a field of eight second year distaffers went postward in one of the season's biggest harness racing events on the half-mile oval the $35,600 Filly Maywood Pace.   Taking advantage of a bye into the final of this event a fit and fresh Lex stormed right to the front and made it look easy as she cruised home with an effortless three-length victory in 1:54.2 for driver Kyle Wilfong over a track listed as fast despite day long rains and temperatures in low 50's.   Sent right to the front from post position four by Wilfong the daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U had things her own way as she strolled through opening splits of 28.0 & 56.4.   A first over bid came from Sportsmuffler (Casey Leonard) as the field moved onto the backstretch for the final time but Lex dug in gamely as she continued to lead the field by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.0.   After turning aside the challenge of Sportsmuffler the Nelson Willis trained miss seemed to find another gear, quickly drawing away from the pocket sitting Fox Valley Kit (Pat Curtin) and a tired Sportsmuffler to secure her fourth win in seven starts this year. Fox Valley Kit, a 17-1 outsider turned that perfect two-hole trip into a nice second place check while another longshot Duneside Perttie (Brian Carpenter) shook loose late to finish third at odds of 32-1.   Lex, who also captured this season's Violet Stake at Balmoral Park is enjoying a very nice start to her second season boasting a record of 4-2-1 in 7 starts while adding another $37,363 to her bankroll. For her career the ultra-consistent homebred sports a record of 8-4-3 in 16 tries with earnings of $102,163 for proud owner Kay Willis.   Bet as though defeat was out of the question Lex returned $2.60, $2.40 & $2.10 to her legion of backers. The "boys" were also in action on Friday night as a field of eight sophomore pacing colts squared off in their Maywood Pace Stake elimination. The top six finishers will return next week where they will be joined by Earndawg and Dixie's Boy in the $36,000 final. Using the inside starting spot to perfection driver Mike Oosting put heavily favored Lucpark right on the "engine" and the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best was never seriously threatened as he strolled home with a 2½ length verdict in 1:55.1.   With the exception of a mild first over bid from Gifted By Nature (Todd Warren) as the field neared the three-quarter pole the Erv Miller trained Lucpark was relatively unchallenged while putting up splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:26.1.   Off the mild fractions Lucpark had plenty in reserve, sprinting away from his rivals in the lane for his second win in six starts this season. Rockin Cassanova (Ridge Warren) sat on the winner's back every step of the way to grab the second place check while Frosty Dune (Kyle Wilfong) shook loose late to finish third after a ground saving trip. Also gaining spots in the final were Gifted By Nature, Dupage's Z Tam and Gett'er Done Dune.   With the win Lucpark now boasts career numbers of 6-3-3 in 18 starts with earnings just shy of $90,000 for owner Rocco Ruffolo. The 3-5 favorite in the wagering returned $3.40, $2.20 & $2.10. Tom Kelley    

One of Maywood Park's signature harness racing events, the $35,600 Filly Maywood Pace will put a field of eight Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies in the spotlight as they do battle in race eight on Friday, June 12th. Leading the way in here is this year's Violet Stake winner Lex who comes into this tussle off a third place finish while facing the top "older" distaffers on the grounds at Balmoral Park last time out.   The Nelson Willis trained miss earned a bye into tonight's final giving the daughter of Lexington Legend a week off to freshen up for this tussle. Sporting a career record of 7-4-3 in 15 starts with earnings of nearly $85,000 for owner Kay Willis Lex has been installed as the 9-5 favorite as she leaves from post four. Kyle Wilfong is scheduled to handle the driving duties.   Southern Girl (4-1) turned some heads with a big come from behind victory in last week's elimination and the Homer Hochstetler trained miss could make it two in a row if she's able to uncork another closing move like that.   Unraced as a two-year-old the daughter of Sportsmaster began her career this spring by reeling off a couple of sharp wins before running into stakes company. After a couple of "even" efforts the good looking brown filly regained her form last week, exploding through the final sixteenth of a mile to pick up her fourth win in 10 career starts. Southern Girl will start from post two as she teams up with driver Travis Seekman again.   Last week's elimination favorite Sportsmuffler was victimized by a tough trip from post eight and this ultra-consistent filly also figures to make her presence felt as she starts from post six on Friday.   The Jesse De Long owned and trained miss has put up a sparkling record of 8-3-3 in 15 lifetime starts with earnings of just over $75,000. Installed as the 5-2 second choice in the morning line odds, Casey Leonard will handle the driving chores.   The "boys" will also be in Friday evening as a field of eight ICF sophomore pacing colts will battle in an $8,000 elimination for next week's Maywood Pace. The top six finishers will move on to the final where there will be joined by Earndawg and Dixie's Boy in the $36,000 final. Tom Kelley  

Illinois conceived and foaled stakes action was in full swing on Sunday, May 17th, at Balmoral Park as a pair of state-bred events for harness racing three-year-old trotters and pacers shared top billing on the 10-race program.   Leading the way were ICF pacing fillies as a full field of 10 second season ladies met in the $17,800 Violet Stake. As she did in last week's prep for this tussle, Kay Willis's Lex overpowered her rivals in this event, storming up first over to grab command on the far turn and then drawing clear late to win by 2¾ -lengths in a career best of 1:52.3.   Confidently handled by driver Kyle Wilfong, the daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U left alertly from post five tucking in third as a hard charging Fox Valley Aubrey (Robert Smolin) sped to the top from post 10, leading the field through splits of 27.2 & 56.4.   After cruising along relatively unchallenged through the opening half, things heated up on the last bend as Lex came rolling up first over to challenge while the field charged by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.0.   Quickly overtaking the pace-setter, the Nelson Willis trainee zipped away to a two-length length advantage. The issue was still in doubt though through the final sixteenth of a mile before last season's Filly Orange & Blue runner-up imposed her will on her challengers, drawing clear late to win for the third time in five starts this season. Sportsmuffler (John De Long), who was used hard in the early going from post seven turned in a big effort to finish as the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Aubrey held on for third. A multiple stakes winner during her freshman campaign the homebred bay returned $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while upping her record to 7-4-2 in 14 starts with earnings of $83,100. Sophomore trotting colts were also on the docket Sunday night as a field of nine lined up behind the gate for an $8,000 Betzotic Stake.   Once again the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar showed that he's the one to beat among his peers, rolling to a deceptively easy "neck" decision in a career best of 1:56.0 with Todd Warren at the controls.   Using the inside starting spot to his advantage the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain grabbed control of the proceedings after eyeballing RT Habenero (Kyle Wilfong) and Tricky Nick (Mike Oosting) battle through an opening panel in 28.4.   After allowing a hard charging Captain Greedy (J.D Finn) to grab a short lived lead, Warren had Fox Valley Qatar back out and rolling to the top as the field moved through middle splits of 57.0 & 1:26.4.   Through the stretch, last year's divisional champion appeared to be well in hand despite a shortening margin, casually shrugging off a late challenge from the pocket sitting Captain Greedy to record his 10th win in 12 career starts. Captain Greedy was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) turned in a nice effort to rally for the show dough.   With the win Fox Valley Qatar boasts a record of 10-1-0 in 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $92,215. Bet as though defeat was out of the question, the bargain priced $7,000 yearling returned $2.60, $2.10 & $2.10 to his legion of backers.   Tom Kelley

What a difference a week makes.  Last Saturday’s Direct Balance stake for ICF 3-year-old pacing fillies wasn’t raced when only four distaffers were entered. The Balmoral Park Race Office smartly wrote the stake back for tonight and was rewarded when twice as many horses were dropped into the harness racing entry box. If you want to watch eight-horse field of state-bred sophomores’ slug it out you’ll have to stick around close to the midnight hour because the $8,000 stake was placed as the 12th and final race of the program. The first step to Super Night’s Grandma Ann stake should be worth the wait. Making her second season debut is Kay Willis’ Lex, last year’s Filly Orange and Blue bridesmaid who made nearly $65,000 in her freshman season. Lex finished worse than third only once in 9 tries, winning 4 of those races. This will be the homebred first start since last Super Night. The daughter of Lexington Legend out of the Willis’ Artsplace broodmare I Bet U, had an impressive 1:58.2 winning qualifier on Wednesday morning, drawing off by seven lengths with Brian Carpenter had driving her to the wire. Brian liked what he saw from the Nelson Willis Stable’s filly. “Lex qualified super,” said Carpenter. “She was on idle in her qualifier. The filly is like a Cadillac to drive. “I never drove her in her 2-year-old season. Kyle Wilfong drove her and the filly had a very good year. This was the first time I was ever sat behind her. “At first Nelson wanted to leave out of there with her but when we had a bunch of trotters leaving inside of her who might go out and scatter the field he told me to go easy taking her out. It turned out that nobody left and we ended up on top pretty easily. She was just pacing through the bridle at the finish. She looks like she’s just a push-button filly.” Among the 3-1 morning line favorite seven rivals in the Direct Balance is the fast-improving Southern Girl (Casey Leonard), trained by Bob Rittof, the 7-2 programmed choice, and the Roger Welch Stable’s Galley Wench, a 1:56 flat victor in her initial career start on March 22 at Balmoral. Southern Girl was taken back in her March 22 debut and was tenth and last, some 10 lengths behind at the three-quarters, but when she was asked for pace she delivered a wicked :26.1 last quarter in her fifth place finish. The Sportsmaster filly then served up back-to-back first-over triumphs, the last a 1:56.1 clocking. Galley Wench, a $30,000 yearling purchase by Bo and Pat De Long, went to Hoosier after her strong winning local bow. The filly finished a solid third in her first leg of a Series but was saddled with the 10-hole in the Final, raced on a sloppy track, and was a non-factor. The 4-1 early third choice, Galley Wench, will also take on her Welch-trained stable-mate Sporty Project (6-1, Pat Curtin). She’s also owned by Bo De Long but will race uncoupled on the wagering. Gracie On My Mind (8-1, Bobby Smolin), Duneside Perttie (6-1, Mike Oosting) and The Doe (5-1, John De Long) leave from posts 1, 2 and 3, in that order while Simply Burbon (15-1, Richard Finn)with the outside 8-slot complete the Saturday finale field. Mike Paradise

State-bred pacing fillies will get the 2015 stake season underway at Balmoral Park on Saturday, April 11th as a field of eight sophomoreâs will line up behind the gate for the $8,000 Direct Balance Stake which goes as race 12 on the harness racing card.   Kay Willis's homebred Lex, a multiple stakes winner during her freshman season, has been accorded the morning line favoritism in this event as she makes her sophomore debut after a resounding seven-length triumph in her qualifier here at Balmoral on April 1st. The daughter of Lexington Legend closed out a very successful two-year-old campaign in which she posted a record of 4-2-2 in nine starts with nearly $65,000 in earnings, with a second place finish in the year's richest event for the ladies the $162,000 Filly Orange & Blue on Super Night. Brian Carpenter is scheduled to handle the driving duties for the Nelson Willis trainee as she starts from post position five.   The Rob Ritoff trained Southern Girl has turned home heads with back to back wins coming into this event and the lightly raced daughter of Sportsmaster figures to garner plenty of attention at the betting windows. A $34,000 purchase at the 2013 Land Of Lincoln sale, the good looking brown filly debuted with a fifth place finish here on March 22nd before posting a pair of impressive come from behind scores for the ownership group of Kristopher Heim, Connie Hochstetler and James Michels. Casey Leonard gets the call on Saturday as Southern Girl leaves from post position six.   Another to keep an eye on is Galley Wench who hails from the red-hot barn of conditioner Roger Welch. This filly also fetched a big price at the 2013 Land Of Lincoln Sale bringing a $30,000 bid from William C and William P Delong who have enjoyed plenty of success here in the Prairie State in the last few seasons. This daughter of Sportsmaster debuted with a last to first victory on March 22nd before shipping to Hoosier Park where she posted a third place finish in the opening leg of the Rosie Harness Series. A sloppy track and the dreaded 10-hole combined to do her in in the final of that event as she wound up a disappointing seventh. Todd Warren will be in the sulky behind Galley Wench as the pair starts from post position four.   Rounding out the field from the pylons out are Gracie On My Mind, Duneside Perttie, The Doe, Sporty Project and Simply Burbon. Tom Kelley

Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-olds shared top billing on the Sunday night card at Balmoral Park as a pair of Super Night Stake Consolation's headlined the 10-race harness racing card.   Trotters kicked off the action with a field of seven diagonally gaited sophomores squaring off in the $20,000 Su Mac Lad Consolation. This test turned into a stroll in the park for Ron Marino and David Hermann's Nino Marino as he stormed right to the front and never looked back in a three-length victory. The final time was 1:56.1.   Confidently handled by driver Dean Magee, the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Charger's Affair gunned to the top from post six and proceeded to put up splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:26.1 while opening up a 5 ½ length advantage at the top of the stretch.   On cruise control the rest of the way the Randy Tuftie trainee was threatened as he reported home with his second win in 16 starts this season. Saint Simeon (Rick Schrock) rallied late to finish second while Photo Surprise (Todd Warren) was third.   The $21,900 Grandma Ann Stake Consolation for three-year-old pacing fillies also produced a wire to wire winner as Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly bested six rivals by a half-length in 1:54.0 for driver Dave Magee.   Using an inside draw to perfection Magee put the daughter of Lexington Legend--Waggle right on the front where she proceeded to step through splits of 28.0, 57.4 & 1:26.1.   After opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call the Nelson Willis trainee then held on gamely as a late rushing Fox Valley Shiver (Todd Warren) came charging late to get the place money. Kiwi Party (John De Long) finished third.   The win was the third in 15 starts this season for Molly Go Lightly who now boasts career earnings of just over $98,000. Tom Kelley

Driver Matt Krueger is hoping to secure his first Super Night Championship victory on Saturday at Balmoral Park when he guides the Nelson-Willis trained Molly Go Lightly in the $142,000 Grandma Ann for sophomore pacing fillies. Krueger, 39, of Manteno, IL, did win a consolation event on Super Night one year ago, when he steered Sports Fanatic to a win in the $25,000 Maurello consolation in 1:51.2 for trainer Bruce Pacitti. As well, he piloted the Homer Hochstetler-conditioned American Empress to a fourth-place finish in the $105,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies on Super Night 2013. Krueger is just in his third year of driving horses professionally, but already has reined horses to $442,789 in earnings from 73 career triumphs. Last year he drove 60 winners to $342,875 in seasonal earnings as a part-time reinsman. "I always wanted to drive, but really didn't get motivated until my grandfather passed away a few years ago," Matt said. "I wanted more than ever to carry on his legacy." Krueger's family is immersed in the Illinois harness racing scene--his grandfather, John Finn, conditioned the well-known trotter Ouchy, 8, 1:58M ($176,185), while his uncle J.D. Finn was the trainer-driver behind Illinois million dollar bonus winner Koochie 2, 1:58.3M($699,797). His second cousin Roy Finn is the starter at Maywood and Balmoral. "I took my grandfather's colors," Matt explained. "I got a great break when Ford laid me off for two years and I went to work for Homer Hochstetler. He put me on some of his really good horses, and things have just progressed from there." When Matt isn't driving horses, he's working at the Kansas City-based Ford Motor Company plant as a production assistant, a position he's held for 20 years. "It's a good job, but my passion definitely is with the horses," Matt stressed. Molly Go Lightly, an obscurely-bred daughter of Lexington Legend, took a mark of 1:54.1 as a 2-year-old, earning $56,895 from six wins. This season, she's scored two triumphs, including a 1:55 score in her prep here last week with Matt at the lines. "I had driven this filly earlier in the season in a stake elim, and finished third with her, but hadn't driven her since until last week," Matt explained. "I really get along well with her. She's kind of quirky in that she gets grabby behind the gate, but if you don't fight her and just ease her out of there, she'll be okay. Once you get her ducked over to the rail, she's easy to race." Owned by the Sawgrass Farms of Lockport, IL, Molly Go Lightly is the second of three foals out of the All American Ingot mare Waggle p, 3, Q1:59.1M ($10,813), and is a full sister to the gelding Shotgun Shack p,3,1:56H ($26,168). "She wears a full hood, so she's got some issues, and a bit of a tender mouth, so if you grab into her hard and fight her, she gets anxious," Matt noted. "In her prep race, the two favorites got away dead last and had a breaker in front of them, so they were kind of out of the action until the stretch. We had soft fractions but this filly can go with them regardless." Molly Go Lightly did pace her final quarter in :28.2, after jogging through fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.2 on the front end in her prep race. "Nelson (trainer Willis) is good at teaming drivers up with horses," Matt said. "He's sharp at seeing what drivers get along with certain types of horses. To give me a shot on Super Night is a definite boost of confidence, and I'm very thankful for the opportunity." Matt, donning his red & white colors, with the distinctive cross on the sleeves, with also be behind the sophomore trotting filly Lora Lee Breeze in Saturday's Lady Ann Reed stake. by Kimberly Rinker, for Balmoral Park

State-bred pacers were in the spotlight on a busy Saturday night of harness racing action at Balmoral Park as the Crete plant played host to a pair of ICF Stake eliminations in preparation for next weekends big Southland Festival of Racing.   Freshman pacing fillies kicked off the elimination action as a field of 10 were sent to battle in a $10,000 Loyal Opposition Stake elimination. The top nine finishers will join Lyrics Fall in next week's $43,500 final.   Fresh off back to back victories Kay Willis's good looking filly Lex made it three in a row as she cruised to an easy four-length win in a career best of 1:55.0 with Kyle Wilfong in tow.   Despite having to make three big moves throughout this tussle the bay daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U still managed to pace a back half in a brisk 56.0 to secure her third win in four lifetime starts for veteran conditioner Nelson Willis. Duneside Pertie (John De Long) shook loose to rally for the place money while 80-1 longshot Fox Valley Kit (Pat Curtin) took home the show dough. Also gaining spots in the final were Girls Hunt Too, Angel Demon, Mr Leland's Filly, Duneside Splash, Forsaken Glory and BS Tyrichess.   A total of 13 two-year-old pacing colts were dropped into the box for the Mini Me Stake necessitating a pair of $10,000 elimination tussles. The top five in each division will return next Saturday night to battle for a $48,000 jackpot.   In the first elimination Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark showed a great deal of grit and determination as he overcame a tough trip in route to a 1 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:54.4 with Dave Magee at the controls.   Grinding it out on for the final five-eighths of a mile while trying to reel in the pace setting Earndawg (Todd Warren) as he put up splits of 29.2, 57.1 & 1:26.4 the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best found his best stride in the late going, sealing the deal with a 27.4 final quarter to notch his second win in three career starts for trainer Erv Miller. Casey At Bat (John De Long) finished second while Earndawg held on for third. Also moving on to the final will be Get Your Camo On and Fox Valley Elijah.   In the second elimination William C & William P. De Long's King Of The Swamp made every call a winning one as he held on to record a three-quarter-length verdict in a lifetime best of 1:55.0.   After cruising through splits of 28.4, 58.3 & 1:27.2 the gelded son of Sportsmaster--She's Redhot, who was an $85,000 yearling purchase dug in gamely keeping Thisishowweoll (John De Long--2nd) and Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin--3rd) at bay for his second win in four career starts. Also gaining spots in next week's final were Fox Valley Cadet and Gett'er Done Dune.   Sophomore pacing fillies were also in action on Saturday night as a field of 10 state-bred three-year-olds battled in a $7,000 "prep" for next week's Ann Vonian Stake.   This hotly contested division provided another thrilling finish as Quaid Racing LLC's My Little Bit and driver Casey Leonard wound up prevailing by a hard fought head in a career best of 1:52.3. Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) was second while Molly Go Lightly (Matt Krueger) was third in the tight three-horse photo. The top three finishers were all sent off as odds of 2-1.   The Ervin Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Parade Of Love now boasts nine wins, three seconds and two thirds in 20 lifetime starts with earnings of nearly $160,000.   For more information on the big Southland Festival of Racing please visit      

Coming off an impressive late rushing victory in her second lifetime start at Balmoral Park, Kay Willis's good looking freshman pacing filly Lex showed that a half-mile oval also suits her style as she blew right by her rivals in the lane to record a sharp two-length victory in Thursday's $10,000 My Metallica Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:57.3. Well positioned in third as the heavily favored Lyrics Fall, who came into the race sporting a perfect two for two record carved out splits of 29.2, 1:00 & 1:29.1 driver Kyle Wilfong moved the daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U first over as the field moved into the final turn. Chewing up ground quickly on the outside of her rivals, the Nelson Willis trained miss overtook the pace setter as the field straightened for the money and then began to draw clear of the field while under only mild urging from her confident pilot. Lyrics Fall was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role on this night while BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) shook loose late to rally for the show dough. Sent off as the second choice in the betting Lex returned $7.20, $3.00 & 3.60 while moving her bankroll up to $8,040 for her owner-breeder. Live racing continues on Friday, July 11th at Maywood Park with the 1st Annual Windy City Wiener Nationals providing some great entertainment for both young and old between the first six races on the card. There will also be food and drink specials offered along with some great giveaways as part of the U.S.T.A.'s Back To The Track promotion. Post time for the first race is 7:10 p.m. (central). by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park

After a nasty thunderstorm caused a 35 minute delay to start the Sunday, May 11th card at Balmoral Park the action was hot and heavy the rest of the evening as a pair of state-bred events shared top billing on the program. The stakes action kicked off with trotters as a field seven three-year-old fillies met in a $10,000 Betzotic Stake. Despite being away since last October, Donald Huddleston's Macie Rae looked fit and fresh as she came splashing through the passing lane to post a 1 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:59.1 for driver Ryan Anderson.   Hustled away from the outside starting spot by Anderson, the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry settled perfectly into third through the early going as High Balance (Casey Leonard) led the field through splits of 31.1, 101.2 & 1:30.0.   With High Balance and last year's division Bailey's Wish (Lewayne Miller) battling tooth and nail through the lane, Anderson patiently maneuvered the Mike Rogers trained miss into the passing lane where she quickly gobbled up the embattled leaders to post her ninth win in 20 lifetime starts. Bailey's Wish was forced to settle for the runner-up role while High Balance hung on for third.   With the win Macie Rae, who returned $8.40, $5.20 & $3.40 boasts career numbers of 9-3-3 in 20 trips postward with earnings of $27,867.   A $10,000 elimination for the first "major" stake of the 2014 season was contested on Sunday as well but with the field of 10 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies knocked down to seven because of scratches this wound up being a "prep" for next week's $44,700 Violet Stake.   Nonetheless trainer Nelson Willis had to be happy as a pair of fillies trained by the veteran conditioner wound up in the top two spots with the Sawgrass Farms & Kay Willis owned Cuzimalegend overtaking last season's division leader Thesleazyprincess to score by a half-length in 1:57.2 for driver Dale Hiteman.   Using the inside starting spots to perfection driver Todd Warren put Thesleazyprincess right on the lead from the word go. With Hiteman and Cuzimalegend sitting in the garden spot, Thesleazyprincess paced through splits of 30.3, 1:00.3 & 1:29.2. Fit and fresh after the two-hole journey a determined Cuzimalegend gradually wore down her stablemate with a sharp 27.3 to post her first lifetime victory. Thesleazyprincess was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while favored My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) finished third.   The home-bred daughter of Lexington Legend--Cuzurinittowinit, who was scheduled to be coupled in the wagering with the scratched Molly Go Lightly (sick) returned $7.80, $4.00 & $2.10 while pushing her bankroll up to $10,093.   Live racing continues at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, May 14th win a nine-card card getting underway at 7:10 pm (central). The Wednesday Pick 4 will have a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will entail races six through nine. Past performances for the Pick 4 races, courtesy of Trackmaster can be found at by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

A pair of state-bred stake events for two-year-olds shared top billing on Saturday, Oct. 19th at Balmoral Park as a field of eight freshmen pacing fillies squared off the $12,000 Beecher Stake while seven of their male counterparts met in the $12,000 Crete Stake. Continuing her late season run at divisional honors Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly parlayed a perfect two-hole trip into her fifth straight victory as she prevailed by a well-measured length in 1:54.2.   Perfectly positioned in the pocket behind Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) by driver Mike Oosting, the homebred daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle saved ground the entire way as the pace setter put up splits of 29.1, 57.4 & 1:27.0.   Sitting behind their cover until the eighth-pole, Oosting then maneuvered the Nelson Willis trainee to the outside eventually wearing down the leader with a 27.1 final quarter to post her sixth win in 13 career starts. Fox Valley Amanda was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Thesleazyprincess (Casey Leonard) was third, five lengths behind the winner.   With the win the 1-5 favorite in the betting who returned $2.40 $2.10 & $2.10 now boasts a record of 6-1-3 with $56,895 in career earnings despite missing the division’s richest event of the year, the Filly Orange & Blue on Super Night.             Fresh off an impressive win in a $12,000 Betzotic Stake last week, Jack and Peggy Hood, Mystical Marker Farms and Dirk Simpson Stables Traffic Cop curbed six rivals for the second straight week as the Dirk Simpson trainee cruised to a 2 ½ length score in 1:52.2.       Taking advantage of perfect two-hole trip that driver Todd Warren worked out for the son of Sportsmaster-Dixiegirl the bay gelding was fit and fresh after sitting on the back of heavily favored Unlocked (Mike Oosting) as that colt clicked off splits of 28.0, 57.0 & 1:25.0.   Quickly swallowing up the pace setter in the stretch, Traffic Cop sped home in 27.0 to notch his fourth win in 15 tries. Unlocked was forced to settle for the runner-up role for the second straight week while I Bizel The Shizel (John De Long) finished a distant third, 9 ¾ lengths behind the victor.   The win moved Traffic Cop’s career earnings up to $77,635 on the strength of a 4-4-2 record in 15 starts. The 2-1 second choice returned $6.00 & $2.80. There was no show wagering on the race. by Tom Kelley for Balmoral Park  

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