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Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (March 28) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Matt Krueger, Austin Siegelman, Derick Giwner, and Janine Gesek. Krueger is recovering from injuries sustained last week at Pompano Park, he will join the program this week to talk about his accident and how he is recovering from those injuries. The pair will also find out about his career in the sport of harness racing. Siegelman will join to talk about his career and what he is looking forward to doing next in the sport of harness racing. Siegelman had a stellar week and he looks to continue to add on to his winning ways. Giwner joins Mike and Mike to talk about the 2019 George Morton Levy Series taking place at Yonkers Raceway. The trio will discuss the various angles bettors can approach throughout each leg this weekend. The monthly Pacing for the Cure segment continues this month as Janine Gesek joins the program. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website or on the archive at   Michael Carter Social Media and Publicity Coordinator U.S. Trotting Association       

Pompano Beach, FL...March 19, 2019...Driver Matt Krueger was injured on Monday night at Pompano Park after a serious accident involving four horses occurred during the first harness race of the card. Krueger was piloting Persephonie and in third place midway on the backstretch when the leader, Open Skies, driven by James Hysell, suddenly went down with Krueger, Andy Shetler and Aaron Byron unable to avoid the fallen horse. Hysell, Shetler and Byron were, subsequently, cleared to participate but Krueger suffered a broken elbow, broken shoulder and punctured lung and is expected to have multiple surgeries to repair the damage. Driver Andy Santeramo, driving the eventual winner, Watchwhatmyfeetdo, remarked, "You know there are photo finishes at the wire every night at the races. Well, this was a photo finish--for me, anyhow--on the backstretch because, if I had been a split second slower, two more of us (including Mike Simons) would have been involved. This incident came without warning and, when I pulled from fifth on the backside, I just wanted to move alongside the leader around the final bend but my horse had a lot of momentum and a little voice in my head said 'just keep going.' We are all saying prayers for Matt (Krueger), that's for sure." by John Berry, for the FSBOA & Pompano Park

Hollywood Sign A, given a very heady drive by Matt Krueger, earned the marquee headline at Pompano Park on Sunday night, hitting the wire in 1:51.2 in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace. Leading from first long stride to that long final one, the nine year-old Aussie bred Life Sign gelding held off the courageous effort by Dee's Rocketman, handled by Andy Santeramo, to score by three-parts-of-a-length. The Onlyest One, with John MacDonald in his sulky, finished third after a garden journey. Drachan Hanover finished fourth while Kotare Yael picked up the nickel in the talented sextet. With the advantageous five post position, Hollywood Sign A pushed the wings out of his way at the start and zipped through an opening panel of :26.4 with The Onlyest One next and Drachan Hanover third. Meanwhile, Dee's Rocketman had no choice but to let the chips fall where they may while the war was going on up front. But, there was no war during the second quarter as Krueger guided his charge through that next panel in :30.2, reaching the half in :57.1. Thinking of thwarting any challenges on the backside, Krueger sent Hollywood Sign A on his second :26.4 binge, reaching the third station in 1:24. While this was going on, Santeramo had Dee's Rocketman in high gear, as well, as Dee's Rocketman went on a :26 binge of his own and just a tad more than a length away around the final bend. In the lane, these two duked it out through a :27.2 finale with Hollywood Sign A not giving a single inch during the drive home. After the race, driver Matt Krueger lamented, "Hollywood (Sign A) has raced well every start here and tonight was no exception. As you saw, he can fly off the wings and that second quarter was a big help with nobody making a move on him. I gave him a tap on the backside (backstretch) and he went into another gear. It's tough to gain on a :54.1 final half but Andy's (Santeramo) horse (Dee's Rocketman) must've come his last half in :53 and a piece, so the post positions made a big difference here." For Hollywood Sign A, it was his second win in 10 starts this semester, good for $28,485 so far this young season. Lifetime, he's banked $228,193 for Krueger, who owns and trains the winner, as well. Off as the fourth choice in this evenly matched field, Hollywood Sign A paid $10.40. In the $13,200 Open II Pace, American Hustle, with Bryce Fenn in the bike, scored a sharp win in 1:51.2--his margin also a bit less than a length over Annihilator, driven by Wally Hennessey. The latter chased the eventual winner after yielding at the :27 opener but couldn't quite get to him through subsequent panels of :55.4 and 1:23.1. Pointsman, handled by Rick Plano, was next, followed by Rebellious and Fritzie Pic Up Man. American Hustle now has a 2-2-0 scorecard in six starts for owner-trainer Bryan Lawrence with earnings now at $19,275 in 2018. He paid $5.40 to win. Also of note, when Andy Santeramo piloted Team Captain to a photo finish win in Sunday's fifth race in 1:52.3, it triggered a 50 cent Pick-5 payoff of $10,156.55 to the one lucky player who had the correct 1-2-1-1-5 combo. This followed a fourth race 20 cent pentafecta payoff of $7,611.42 after Ron Cusimano guided Extracurricular to a handy win in Florida Amateur Driving Club competition. Monday's program features the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace for Mares featuring Ubettorbeturlife (2-1) and All Charged Up (8-5) and Galarina (9-2), among others. The $18,000 Pop-Up Final is also carded as the nine race and features Surge Seelster (7-5) and Arsenal (7-2) in the marathon 1 1/4 mile distance. In the "better for the bettor" department, the Super Hi-5 carryover of $34,554.82 is featured in the 10th race finale. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...February 26, 2018...Rocky's Z Tam and Hollywood Sign A took the opening legs of the Fred Monteleone Memorial Series at Pompano Park, each covering the abbreviated distance of five-eighths of a mile in 1:08.2. Moneteone, a long time patron of the sport who bred and owned many notable horses, passed away last October after a lengthy battle with cancer. Rocky's Z Tam, the six year-old gelded son of World of Rocknroll, went a game first over journey for driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. to score by a neck over the pace-setting Drachan Hanover, handled by Wally Hennessey. Lyons Johnny closed stoutly for John MacDonald to finish third, just a half length away, while the favorite, Dee's Rocket Man, finished fourth. Fritzie Pic Up Man, last and far back early from his outside post, actually closed fastest of all to pick up the nickel in the classy field of seven. The early fractions of :27 and :54.3 were put up by Drachan Hanover with Rocky's Z Tam away fourth but on a first over binge engaging the leader in war around the final bend. These two raced as a team all the way home with Lyons Johnny joining the fray in deep stretch. On the line, Rocky's Z Tam, an 18 to 1 proposition, got the nod, scoring his second win of the year in seven starts. In a post race interview, trainer Jamie Macomber was proud of the pacers performance relaying, "He (Rocky's Z Tam) had been giving hints in his recent races, so I was expecting him to be competitive tonight. Ricky (husband Macomber) drove him with confidence and the horse raced with confidence. He kept digging right to the wire...very happy!" Owned by Z Tam Stables LLC, Rocky's Z Tam won for the 14th time in 99 career starts with the major share of the $12,000 purse sending his lifetime bounty to $162,196 to go along with his Hoosier Park mark of 1:50.1. Off as fifth choice, Rocky's Z Tam paid $38.20 to win. Hollywood Sign A, the nine year-old gelded Aussie bred son of Life Sign, was given very smart handling by owner-trainer Matt Krueger to pin a one length defeat on track record holder Panocchio--the latter making his 2018 debut for trainer Jim Mattison and driver Wally Hennessey. Uncmprmising Z Tam, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr., was third, threr lengths back, while Sing For Me George and Doo Wop Hanover earned the minors in the sharp octet. At the bell, Hollywood Sign A, leaving from post seven, left smartly with Panocchio (post 8) in hot pursuit with the latter taking command through an opening panel of :27.1. Panocchio continued to lead through a half in :55.1 and seemed to have things under control. Straightening away for the drive home, Hollywood Sign A tilted out of his cozy pocket and began gnawing away until taking command a sixteenth from the wire. Hollywood Sign, with Matt Krueger in his bike              -Skip Smith Photo Second in his last four outings, Hollywood Sign A picked up his first win of the year in seven starts, vaulting his seasonal bounty to $17,385. Lifetime, it was win number 29 in 145 starts, good for $217,293. Off as the 2 to 1 second choice, Hollywood Sign A paid $6.20 to win. The Fred Monteleone Memorial Series continues with the next leg being at one mile and the $30,000 final slated for 1 1/4 miles. The $10,000 Open II pace went to American Hustle, smartly handled by Bryce Fenn. This four year-old son of American Ideal wired his opposition by stringing together panels of :26.2, 55.3 and 1:23.4 before a :27.3 finale held The Onlyest One, with George Napolitano, Jr. handling the line,  at bay by a half length in a lifetime best 1:51.2 Pointsman, driven by Rick Plano, was third while Bestinthebusiness and No Bad Dreams also picked up checks in the field of six. It was the 10th career win in only 22 career starts for owner-trainer Brian Lawrence. Third choice at 5 to 1, American Hustle paid $12.40 to win Racing continues on Monday night with a Pick-5 carryover of $10,556.70 igniting a $40,000 guarantee. The Pick-5 begins on Race 1. The Super Hi-5 Jackpot is also at record territory with a carryover of $251,878.96 going into the Monday program. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   John Berry

STICKNEY, IL - A little bit of pre-race rain didn't dampen the evening at Hawthorne as six races of stakes action took place on Thursday evening. Two divisions of leg two of the Fox Valley Flan Stakes and Kadabra Stakes for Illinois-bred two-year-old trotting females and males respectively took place early in the evening. Later in the card were the three-year-old female and male trot eliminations for the Violet and Cardinal Stakes. First up on the evening was the first division of leg two of the Fox Valley Flan Stakes with a field of nine Illinois-bred two-year-old filly trotters lined up. Favored was Beatrice for trainer James Eaton and driver Casey Leonard. Getting away quickly was She's Savvy and driver Matt Krueger as she covered the opening quarter in :30.4 while favored Beatrice broke stride. On the backside, She's Savvy continued the lead while Fox Valley Elana tracked the pace. After a half in 1:02, Lucy Quaider moved to challenge She's Savvy on the turn. At the top of the stretch in three quarters in 1:32.1, She's Savvy continued to lead. She's Savvy held firm in the lane, holding off Lucy Quaider. Fox Valley Elana was a tough luck third. Final time for the mile was 2:01.4. Owned by Lyle Scurlock and Nicole Potts and trained by Lyle Scurlock, She's Savvy returned $5.40, $3.80, and $3.00. Lucy Quaider came back $9.20 and $4.60 while Fox Valley Elana returned $4.80 to show. Race three on Thursday brought out the Illinois-bred boys in the first division of leg two of the Kadabra Stakes. A full field of ten faced off with Trixie's Jethro as the heavy favorite. Making the early lead was the favorite as he set the opening quarter in :30.2. On the backstretch, Louscipher moved to challenge the favorite but was unable to make the top after a half in 1:00.3. On the turn, the 1-9 favorite Trixie's Jethro and Jared Finn continued to lead. After three quarters in 1:31.4, Trixie's Jethro was challenged and passed by Totally Pazzazzed and Casey Leonard as that one flew by late. Totally Pazzazzed stopped the clock in 2:01.1, Trixie's Jethro was second, Marching to Zion finished third. Owned by James and Tracey Walker and trained by Nick Giberson, Totally Pazzazzed paid $54.60, $7.00, and $5.00. Trixie's Jethro returned $2.10 and $2.10 while Marching to Zion paid $6.00 to show. Race four Thursday was the second division of leg two of the Fox Valley Flan Stakes as Lous Game N Match was a late scratch. Favored was Scarlet Ribbons and driver Casey Leonard. Leaving quickly from the outside was Hannah's Lil Prayer and Betsy B Breeze but Sis's Ellie Mae held the lead through the quarter in :30.4. At the half, Betsy B Breeze moved to take over in 1:01.2 as she was followed by Lous Credit Report. After three quarters in 1:30.3, Betsy B Breeze held the lead but Dandy's ESP and Todd Warren rallied to win by six lengths in 2:00.4. Sent off at 26-1, Dandy's ESP is owned by Dandy Farms Inc., Linda and Robert Grider and trained by Rob Rittof. She returned $55.00, $21.60, and $7.40. Betsy B Breeze paid $10.20 and $5.20. Sis's Ellie Mae returned $4.40 to show. Race six was the second division of the Kadabra Stakes as Matt Q was looking to repeat his victory in leg one of the stakes. Looking for the lead early was longshot Jungleland through a quarter in :31.1. With little movement on the backstretch through the half in 1:03.2, Jungleland led but Matt Q moved on the turn and took over through three quarters in 1:33.3. In the stretch, Matt Q led as Cassisandfifth moved into second but Matt Q was well clear, winning in 2:02.3. Cassisandfifth held second while Photo Phred was third. Photo Phred was disqualified for violating the breaking rule and placed fifth, moving New Pay up to third. Owned by Quaid Racing LLC and trained by Nelson Willis, Matt Q was driven by Casey Leonard and returned $2.80, $2.60, $2.60. Cassisandfifth came back $9.40 and $8.00. New Pay paid $8.40 to show. Race eight was the Violet Stakes elimination for three-year-old filly trotters as the top eight finishers were set to join Powerful Princess and Surviver Di in next week's final. Favored was Vengeful as post time as that one got away well through the quarter in :29.0. After a half in :58.2, Vengeful held the lead while longshot Fox Valley Mirage tracked. Covering three quarters in 1:28.1 for Todd Warren, Vengeful opened the lead and drew clear. Vengeful won by three lengths over More Than Likely, Fox Valley Bugatti finished third. Final time was 1:58.2. Owned by Providence West Inc. and trained by Kenny Collier, Vengeful returned $3.40, $2.40, and $2.40. More Than Likely paid $4.20 and $4.40 while Fox Valley Bugatti returned $11.60 to show. Three-year-old Colt and Gelding trotters were on hand for the Cardinal Stakes elimination as the top seven finishers were set to join Mr Strata, Primed N Powerful and Hail Caesar in next week's final. Sent away as the favorite was Fear for Todd Warren. Fear headed straight for the lead through the opening quarter in :28.4 and opened up a four length lead. After a half in :57.2, Fear maintained the large lead into the turn. Once around the turn, Wrightwood began to move but Fear was still up through three quarters in 1:26.4. In the lane, Fear maintained his lead and won by eight lengths. Wrightwood finished second while Powerful Father was third. Fear won in a career best time of 1:57. Owned by Providence West Inc and trained by Kenny Collier, Fear paid $2.40, $2.10, and $2.20. Wrightwood returned $2.20 and $2.40 while Powerful Father paid $6.20 to show. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Raceway

STICKNEY, IL - On a nice Saturday evening at Hawthorne, two divisions of Illinois-bred three-year-old colts and geldings took to the track in leg two of the Robert F. Carey Memorial Stakes. Each race carried a purse of $12,500. The first division of the Carey had a field of seven as IYQ YQR was sent off as the favorite in his first race back in four weeks. Moving to the lead from the outside was Red Dog Ryan as IYQ YQR rated in second after a quarter in :29.3. On the backstretch, Sagebrush Sam moved to the front through a half in :58 while challenged by IYQ YQR. With the lead changing hands numerous times, IYQ YQR covered three quarters in 1:26.1. Up three lengths in the stretch, IYQ YQR tried to hold off He Gone Jack's late move and held on to win by a length. He Gone Jack was second while Bowedfortyova finished 3rd. The final time for the mile was 1:54.2. Owned by Watson Stable and driven and trained by Trenton Watson, IYQ YQR returned $5.40, $2.60, and $2.20. He Gone Jack paid $2.60 and $2.40 while Bowedfortyova paid $3.40 to show. The second division of the Carey had a field of eight as Royale Rose took late action and was sent away as the favorite. Numerous pacers were sent away as BS Tyrrific made the lead through a quarter in :28.3. After a half in :58.1, BS Tyrrific was challenged by Royale Rose. Those two were together through three quarters in 1:26.1. Battling through the lane, the two on the lead battled gamely as Royale Rose and Matt Krueger prevailed by a neck over BS Tyrrific in 1:53.3. Dan D Dune finished third. Owned by Nicole Potts and trained by Lyle Scurlock, Royale Rose returned $4.60, $3.20, and $2.40. BS Tyriffic paid $5.60 and $3.40. Dan D Dune returned $2.40 to show. Special Post, Sunday, July 3 On Sunday, July 3, Hawthorne will have a special 14 race card with a first post of 7:00 PM. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Raceway    

STICKNEY, IL - Thursday night at Hawthorne kicked off the opening legs of the Beulah Dygert Memorial Trot and Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot. The Beulah Dygert is for Illinois-bred harness racing three-year-old fillies while the Erwin F. Dygert is for Illinois-bred three-year-old colts and geldings. The Thursday opener was the first division of leg one of the Beulah Dygert as Powerful Princess was sent off as the 4-5 favorite. Breaking at the start was Powerful Princess, leaving Vengeful to lead the field around through fractions of :29.0, :58.2, and 1:28.1 for three quarters. Tracking the entire way was 24-1 shot Roma Falls for driver Matt Krueger. Moving late, Roma Falls took over and drew clear by four lengths, stopping the clock in 1:58.3. Trained by Ray Hanna for owners Mary Jeffers and Adele Everett, Roma Falls returned $51.80, $9.00, and $4.80. Vengeful held place, coming back $3.20 and $2.10 while More Than Likely finished third and returned $3.00 to show. The second division of leg one of the Beulah Dygert went as race three on Thursday night with Rocknprincessabbie as the even money favorite. At the start, second-choice Awfully Emotional left for the lead through the opening quarter in :29.2. Moving quickly on the backstretch to the lead was the favorite Rocknprincessabbie and driver Todd Warren. Following a half in 1:00.1 and three quarters in 1:29.4, Rocknprincessabbie and Surviver Di battled the length of the stretch. Prevailing in the end was the favorite Rocknprincessabbie over Surviver Di with Fox Valley Bugatti a late closing third. Owned by Danny Graham and trained by Nelson Willis, Rocknprincessabbie returned $4.00, $2.60, and $3.00. Surviver Di came back $7.20 and $4.80 while Fox Valley Bugatti returned $9.80 to show. The boys were the focus later in the evening as two divisions of leg one of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot took place. In the first division, Mr Strata was the 4-5 favorite, coming off a victory in the recent late closer series final. Driver Casey Leonard wasted no time getting early position with Mr Strata, leading the field through the opening quarter in :29.3. On the backstretch, second-choice Fox Valley Diamo took over through a half in 1:00.1. Into the lane, longshot Storm Winds led briefly before breaking stride while Mr Strata took over a two-length lead late. All out to the wire, Mr Strata held on by a nose over Wrightwood in 1:59.1. Psychic Survior finished third. Owned by Cynthia Willis and trained by Nelson Willis, Mr Strata returned $3.80, $2.60, and $2.60. Wrightwood returned $4.60 and $4.40 while Psychic Survior came back $7.80 to show. The second division of the Erwin F. Dygert, Primed N Powerful was the even money choice. Immediately from the start though it was Casey Leonard and Fear setting the early fractions through :29.1 and :59.1. Primed N Powerful made a move to contend through three quarters in 1:28.4 but Fear responded and opened up, winning by nine lengths at the wire in 1:57.2. Owned by Providence West Inc. and trained by Kenny Collier, Fear returned $6.20, $5.20, and $4.20 as the 2-1 second choice. Bands Ariston got up for second, coming back $8.00 and $6.20 while Dr Venkman was third, paying $14.80 to show. Jim Miller

Illinois' top two-year-old pacers were in action on Friday night as a pair of state-bred stake events helped bring the curtain down on the 2015 harness racing season at Maywood Park.   Fillies kicked off the night's action with a compact field of five lining up behind the gate for the $20,500 Violet Stake.   Fresh off her win in the Filly Orange & Blue on Super Night division leader Char N Marg had no trouble disposing of this group as she hustled to the front from post three and made every call a winning one in a leisurely 1:58.0 for driver Casey Leonard.   Taking advantage of a break by Sara's Terror (Matt Krueger) as the wings of the gate folded Leonard sent the daughter of Sportsmaster-Zip Up Your Pans right to the top where she strolled through pedestrian like splits of 29.1, 1:00 & 1:29.1.   After shrugging off a first over bid from Sara's Terror as the field moved around the final bend the Nelson Willis trained miss was on cruise control through the lane as she paced under the wire with a 1¾ length decision. LK's Nancy Lee (Kyle Wilfong) turned a pocket sitting journey into a second place check while Sara's Terror did well to finish third after the miscue and the first over trip.   The win was the sixth in 12 starts this year for Char N Marg who returned $2.20 & $2.10 to her legion of backers while upping her career bankroll to $106,541 for Quaid Racing LLC.   A full field of eight freshmen pacing colts were entered for the $23,900 Cardinal Stake and once again the public was right on in this tussle as Nicole Potts' Royale Rose, the 2-5 favorite in the wagering went "right down the highway" for driver Matt Krueger posting a three-length triumph in 1:56.2.   Zipped away from post position two by Krueger the gelded son of Ashlee's Big Guy--Caribe Royal sped through the opening quarter in 28.2 before slamming on the brakes while leading the field through an opening half-mile in 59.2.   With pressure coming from a first over Dan D Dune (Mike Oosting), the top two were neck and neck as they raced by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.4. That's when the Lyle Scurlock trainee found another gear, quickly leaving his rivals in his wake on the final turn and then drawing away to his eighth win in 11 career starts. JB's Hero (Robert Smolin) shook loose late to rally for the place money while Wondrous Sport (Casey Leonard) finished third. Bet as though defeat was out of the question Royale Rose returned $2.80, $2.40 & $2.10 while upping his career earnings to $53,879. A couple of familiar faces toted home the 2015 driving and training awards as Mike Oosting, who is rapidly approaching 6,000 career driving wins, took home the driving title while David Mc Caffrey led the training ranks.   Tom Kelley

Crete, IL --- A pair of American-Nationals for 2-year-old trotting colts and fillies will be contested Wednesday night (Sept. 17) at Balmoral Park. In the $57,200 Am-Nat for fillies, trainer Homer Hochstetler will harness a pair of contestants, while in the $73,000 colt division, two youngsters will carry the colors of conditioner Erv Miller. Fresh off a trio of championship victories on Illinois Super Night (Sept. 13) at the Crete, Ill., one-miler, Miller sends out two lightly-raced freshmen: the gelding Jake Quaider and the colt SS Poseidon. This pair will face off against seven rivals in the one mile test, slated as the fifth race on the program. The latter is a son of Muscle Hill-Silverstar Volo who has earned $56,460 to date for the partnership of Paymaq Racing and Shim Racing LLC. Most recently he finished third, beaten only two lengths, in a $10,000 Kindergarten leg at The Red Mile on Sept. 11, clocked in 1:57.2 for driver LeWayne Miller. “They got away with cheap fractions early at Lexington and he was too far back and really didn’t get into the race until late,” Erv Miller said. “His best race was definitely the Reynolds at Tioga (Downs).” In the Reynolds on Sept. 4, Miller’s son Marcus steered SS Poseidon to a 1:57.1 lifetime best in wire-to-wire fashion, utilizing a :28.3 final brush to secure his first career triumph. “This colt is a homebred that Mike (Anderson of Paymaq Racing) and the Shim partners bred,” Miller offered. “They own the mare. He’s been a real easy colt all along to deal with. He does his work right and has a super attitude.” In just seven career starts SS Poseidon also has a trio of second-place finishes and one third to his credit, and has never missed getting a purse check for these connections. He also had two fifth-place finishes in his first two pari-mutuel starts at the Meadowlands, in a $20,000 Peter Haughton Memorial elimination and the $355,500 Haughton final. SS Poseidon is the first foal out of the unraced Andover Hall mare Silverstar Volo. Miller’s other youngster, the Photo Color-Grace Elizabeth gelding Jake Quaider, is owned by Quaid Racing LLC and has amassed $11,780 in three starts. He won his Balmoral debut on Aug. 31 in 1:57.4 by 2-1/2 lengths for driver Casey Leonard, and also has one second and one third-place finish to his credit. “The owners bought him as a weanling right off the farm from Kevin Miller,” Erv explained. “A few years ago they owned his sister, Maevey Gravy, who was a very nice 3-year-old. This colt was small and immature and we’ve been waiting on him a little bit. (Trainer) Mike (Arnold) got some jog miles into him over the winter and he’s just now learning how to trot. I think he’s got speed, but he just needs some more time to mature.” Jake Quaider is the fifth of six foals out of the Credit Winner mare Grace Elizabeth 2,2:09.2h ($19,503), and is a half-sister to Maevey Gravy (by Northern Kid) 3,1:55 ($190,110) and Graceful Spirit (by Psychic Spirit) 3,1:58.3 ($29,981). To date Miller has conditioned 4,541 winners to $66,845,174 in career earnings. Most recently he added an additional three Super Night Championships to his tally, bringing his crown total to 25, more than any other trainer in Illinois history. Trainer Homer Hochsteter sends out two fillies in the seven-horse distaff division, slated as race four. Fox Valley Harrah, owned by the Hunter family’s South Of The Track Racing, Inc. is a daughter of Pizzazzed-Hallie Rose who has earned $13,930 to date and will be looking for her first career triumph from the rail in the seven-horse field. Purchased for $5,700 from the 2013 Walker Standardbred Sale, Fox Valley Harrah has one second and one third in six lifetime trips postward. “Dr. Hunter and his son looked at her at the sale and she was not expensive, so we bought her,” Homer explained. “She’s been alright to work with and has had a few issues but overall she’s been okay. Her strong suit is racing off a helmet and she’s able to finish her miles very well. She’s not big on leading the parade but she’ll follow all day long. Her best race so far was at Springfield.” At the Illinois State Fair at Springfield on Aug. 14, Fox Valley Harrah trotted to a strong, second-place finish in rein to Matt Krueger, clocked in 1:58.1, with a :28 final brush. This filly is out of the unraced Sir Taurus mare Hallie Rose, and is a full sister to Fox Valley Hosana 2,1:59.2 ($52,530) and has half-siblings in Demeter (byCredit Winner) 2,1:59.2 ($75,346) and Fox Valley Helena 2,1:59.2 ($58,385). Hochstetler’s other charge is a homebred daughter of Powerful Emotion-Black N Bluegenes that the trainer and co-owner Robert Buddig christened Persuasive Look. A winner of $36,630 from just six starts, Persuasive Look has been on the board every time, with one win, two seconds and a trio of thirds. “She’s been sound all year,” Homer offered. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best out of her yet. She’s just been ultra-consistent and steady and you can do about anything with her. At this point she’s probably better tagging along rather than leading, but she’s a very nice trotting filly.” Persuasive Look’s lone but impressive win came on July 27 at Balmoral, when she captured the $44,000 Fox Valley Flan Stake in 1:58.2 for driver Casey Leonard. She used a :28.1 final brush to nudge between a pair of rivals, including Fox Valley Yoko, who is also in this event, to prevail by a length. Persuasive Look is the third foal out of the Muscles Yankee mare Black N Bluegenes, and is a half-sister to the mare American Empress (by American Native) 4,1:58.2f ($57,171). Hochstetler, 62, of Crete, Ill., has conditioned 1,663 winners to $18,919,443 in his career. He’s also driven 1,407 winners to $11,695,279 in career earnings and is recognized as one of the top trotting trainers in the Prairie State. by Kimbery Rinker, for Balmoral Park

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

Most horsemen tend to be cautious about their horses’ chances when Super Night rolls around and don’t want to appear to be too optimistic. After all anything can happen in a horse race and it often does on Illinois most anticipated racing evening of the year. “I have to admit my hopes are up a little bit more for Super Night than they were the week before the eliminations,” said owner and trainer Jesse De Long who has had a Super Night champion in his barn the last two years.” And well they should be. De Long’s mare Let’s Go Higher, the 2013 Lorna Propes champion, breezed in 1:52.1 in her Propes elimination for trainer Heidi Rohr. His 2-year-old filly Sportsmuffler (1:54.3) was much the best in her Orange and Blue Filly elimination, and Jesse and John De Long’s 3-year-old Party Hangover Two finished a strong fourth in  the Grandma Ann stake prep. “Jimmy Richard and Heidi Rohr had Let’s Go Higher out east. I don’t think she came in a sharp this time around as she did last year but they told me ‘don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’ I was a little worried but they were right, she did race really well. “It’ll be kind of strange racing against Party Hangover Saturday. I still cheer for the mare but I don’t want to cheer for her too much when she’s racing my mare. It should be interesting race. “Party Hangover is a very good mare and so is the mare (Dune In Red) that beat her last week. It’s a tough field and it should be a very good horse race. “I have Party Hangover’s little sister (Party Hangover Two) also racing Saturday in the Grandma Ann. Like (my son) John always says about her: ‘We always seem to finish fourth, about a length and a half out of first, and we seem to always draw outside the horse and have to come from way back. Maybe things will be different Saturday.” I told Jesse he can probably count on much quicker fractions in the Grandma Ann Final and its $142,000 purse than he saw in the $10,000 prep when Molly Go Lightly (Matt Krueger) cruised to a  :57.2 half-mile time and got away with a:29.third quarter enroute to her 1:55 flat victory. “I hope you right,” replied Jesse. That would help our filly a ton. She’s close now to being near the top of her game like she was earlier in the summer when she paced in 1:52.3) in a Hanover. “I thought our 3-year-old pacing filly (Sportsmuffler) raced super last weekend in her division of the filly Orange and Blue. “I’m really excited about her now. She had two things that were wrong with her at Du Quoin and they are perfect now. She should be good for the final.” First Super Night post on Saturday will be at 6:30 pm Chicago time. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

The countdown to the biggest night of the year for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a bevy of elimination action brought out some of the Prairie State's best. Freshmen pacing fillies started the Saturday night action with a total of 15 youngsters entered in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elim's. The top five will be back on Super Night to battle for a $163,000 (est) jackpot. In the opening split Jesse De Long & Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler made her local debut a winning one as she rolled to an easy 4 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.3. Perfectly placed In The Pocket by driver John De Long, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatifthere'smore exploded past the pace setting Cowgirl Chic in the lane as she rolled to her sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Cowgirl Chic held on well to finish second while Girls Hunt Too (Dale Hiteman) was third and Star Gram (Brian Carpenter) was fourth. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson), the 1-2 favorite in the field of eight, stopped badly after a first over bid on the far turn but still managed to gain a spot in the final with her fifth place finish. In the second division Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing's Mr Leland's Filly continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Sent from third to first after a tepid opening quarter the Erv Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Katie appeared to have plenty in reserve through the lane as she toyed with her rivals while posting her fifth win in seven lifetime starts. BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the show dough after a bold first over bid at the top of the stretch. Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) was fourth while Fox Valley Redhead (Dale Hiteman) finished fifth. A field of 10 was sent postward in the $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts with the top nine finishers joining Fox Valley Cupid, who opted for a bye, in next week's $147,000 (est) final. Living up to his overwhelming 1-9 favoritism Megan Rogers Racing Stables Unlocked completely dismantled this field as he reported home with an effortless 6 ¼ length victory in 1:50.3 for driver Dave Magee and trainer Erv Miller. The issue was never in doubt in this one as the good looking son of Duneside Perch--Miss Major Power worked his way to the front after the opening quarter and proceeded to widen his margin at each call while posting his fourth straight victory over these rivals. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) followed the winners every move after relinquishing the lead on the backstretch but was no match for the heavy favorite while garnering the second place check. Svaya Knows (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Van, Uncle Ugly, Overloaded, Cotton Eyed Joe, BlueRiver and Sleazeburgernfries. The older pacers renewed acquaintances as a total of 16 veterans were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Tony Maurello Stake elimination's. Once again the top five finishers will be back for what should be a very entertaining $112,000 (est) final next week. In the first division the Bob Phillips owned and trained Al's Hammered came flying down the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a seasons best of 1:49.1 with Bobby Smolin at the controls. Content to bide their time near the back of the pack through some quick early splits, Smolin put the five-year-old son of Droppin'thehammer--Alberts Magic into contention at the top of the lane. Uncorking the big late kick he's come to be known for Al's Hammered proceeded to wear down FortSilky (Casey Leonard) in the final sixteenth of a mile for his 13th win in 19 starts this season. FortSilky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Daddy Woo Woo (Ridge Warren) was third. Ice Scraper (Todd Warren), who carved out the fast fractions held on for fourth while Ricky Bobbie (Pat Curtin) was fifth. In the nightcap Bert Hochsprung and the Erv Miller Stables classy veteran Iam Bonasera picked a nice time to grab his first win of the season as he rolled to an easy 1 ½ length victory in 1:51.3 with Travis Seekman at the controls. Perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Big Brad (Robert Smolin) carved out pedestrian splits of 27.4, 57.0 & 1:25.1, Seekman maneuvered the seven-year-old Cole Muffler--Shesoluvabull gelding to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime winner of more than $670,000 did the rest, storming home in 26.1 to get the win. Big Brad settled for second while another Miller trainee, A Cool Card (Dave Magee) was third. Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) was fourth while Doubletrouble (Todd Warren) was fifth. Next up were the two-year-old pacing colts as a total of 19 hopeful's met in a pair of $15,000 battles. The top five in each race will return for what is expected to be next week's biggest purse of the night at $187,000 (est). The first split provided a thrilling finish as the Roger Welch trained entry of Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova finished one-two with Earndawg getting the 1 ½ length score in a career best of 1:54.0 for the partnership of Bo & Pat De Long and E.J. Miller Jr. Sitting near the back of the back of the pack after starting from post position eight, driver Todd Warren did a magnificent job of guiding the altered son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K through the lane charging from eighth to first in the final quarter-mile for his third win in nine lifetime starts. Rockin Cassinova (Dale Hiteman) parlayed a nice ground saving journey into the place check while Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) rallied for third. Also gaining spots in the final was the pace setting Dupage's Z Tam (Casey Leonard) and Thisishowweroll (John De Long). The second elimination was also a barnburner and when the smoke cleared it was Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark who prevailed by the slimmest of noses in 1:55.1 for driver Dave Magee. Given a Hall of Fame steer by Super Night's leading driver, Lucpark left quickly from post nine and settled in nicely at the pylons until the top of the stretch. That's when Magee went to work with the Erv Miller trained son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best, deftly maneuvering off the cones then squeezing through a tight hole with an eighth of a mile to go before wearing down the pace setting King Of The Swamp (Todd Warren) in the last stride for his fourth win in eight lifetime starts. C Note (John De Long) shook loose late to finish third. The last two spots in the final went to Mighty Hot Shot (Brian Carpenter) and Fox Valley Elijah (Dale Hiteman). A total of 23 distaffers were dropped into the box for a trio of $15,000 Lorna Propes Stake elimination's with the top three and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) advancing to next week's $120,000 (est) championship. In the first division Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher, the defending champion in this event, returned to town for trainer Heidi Rohr and promptly served notice that she's going to be tough to dethrone as she posted a 4 ¼ length wire to wire victory in 1:52.1. Confidently handled by driver John De Long, the six-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed shot right to the top and promptly rattled off splits of 28.3, 57.1, & 124.4 before sealing the deal with a brisk 27.2 final panel for her 22nd win in the past two seasons. No Respect (Kyle Wilfong) followed the winner every step of the way but was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) was third. Fox Valley Touche finished fourth. In the middle split Wilson Racing Stable, Norm Neff and Mark Eichberger's Dune In Red parlayed a perfect trip into a 2 ½ length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Dave Magee. Sent hard from post five, the chestnut daughter of Duneside Perch--She Has The Look elected to let a hard charging Party Hangover (Todd Warren) go just after the quarter. That put the Tim Wilson Jr trained miss in a perfect spot the rest of the way. Magee then maneuvered the four-year-old out of the pocket and she responded beautifully as she zipped right by the odds on favorite for her fourth win of the season. Party Hangover held on for second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) was third. Zumba finished fourth. In the final elimination of the night fittingly went to another Dave Magee driven mare as he guided Joshua Carter's Just By Design to a one-length victory in 1:52.3. As was the case for nearly all of the night Magee had the roan six-year-old perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Fox Valley Absolut carved out splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:25.0. Fit and fresh as she waited for the passing lane, the Mike Brink trained miss cruised right by the pace setter for her third win of the season. Fox Valley Absolut held on for second while Toshie Special (Dean Magee) finished third. Auniqueaquistion finished fourth. The elimination action continues on Sunday, Sept. 7th with a $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination. That tussle will go as race six on the 10-race card which begins at 7:10 p.m. (central). No eliminations were needed for the Lady Ann Reed for three-year-old trotting fillies or the Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies. The latter did have a "prep" on Saturday night which was taken by Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly and driver Matt Krueger in 1:55. By Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

After a big Saturday night of stakes action it was time for freshmen trotters to bring the Southland Festival of Racing to a close with a pair of big money events for Illinois conceived and foaled youngsters sharing top billing on the Sunday night card in Crete.               The ladies kicked off the Sunday night stake action as a field of eight were sent postward in the $44,000 Fox Valley Flan Stake.   After coming close in each of her first three career starts Homer Hochstetler & Robert Buddig’s Persuasive Look picked the right night to break into the win column as she shook loose late and then proceeded to overpower her foes in the lane in route to a one-length victory in 1:58.2 for driver Casey Leonard.             Patiently handled by Balmoral’s leading reinsman, the home-bred daughter of Powerful Emotion—Black N Bluegenes left alertly, then settled into a pocket spot as Jazzie Mermaid (Nick Prather) led the field through an opening quarter in 29.1.             Electing to sit inside as Bi Polar Rose (Travis Seekman) stormed to the front to lead the field through middle splits of 59.4 & 1:29.3 Persuasive Look wound up getting shuffled all the way back to fifth as the field turned for home.   That’s when Leonard began to work his magic with the Homer Hochstetler trained miss. After angling his filly to the outside, Leonard then knifed through a small seam between horses and a fit and fresh Persuasive Look rewarded her pilot as she charged home in 28.1 to secure her maiden breaking victory. Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long), the 6-5 favorite in the wagering despite drawing the outside post turned in a big effort to finish second while 32-1 outsider Fox Valley Harrah (Matt Krueger) rallied to be third.     Sent off as the third choice in the wagering Persuasive Look returned $7.00, $3.20 & $2.80 while moving her record to 1-1-2 in 4 career starts with earnings of $25,050.   The final stake race of the weekend was the $48,000 Plesac Stake for two-year-old trotting colts and this race wound up being another showcase for owner-trainer Herman Wheeler’s division leader Fox Valley Qatar as the good looking gelding kept his perfect record intact with an effortless four-length victory in 1:59.1 with Todd Warren in the bike. After getting away an unhurried fifth as RT Habanero (Robert Taylor) led the field through an opening quarter in 30.0, Warren moved to the outside with the altered son of Pizzazzed—Armbro Bahrain and quickly rolled to the top, leading the field through splits of 59.4 & 1:30.   Leaving nine rivals in his wake, Fox Valley Qatar set sail for home leaving no doubt as to who was the best in this event as he sealed the deal with a 29.1 final quarter to notch his fourth straight victory.  Southrncomfortzone (John De Long) uncorked a belated rally to finish in the runner-up role while his entry mate Fox Valley Theboss (Dave Magee) was a distant third, 10 ¾ lengths behind the winner.   Sporting a perfect four for four record with earnings of $29,625, Fox Valley Qatar was bet as though defeat was out the question returning just $2.60, $2.20 & $2.10.      Live racing continues at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 30th,  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 and the U.S.T.A. can be found at     by Tom Kelley, 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      

Jubilation quickly turned to heartbreak in a pair of trotting events at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 9th as a pair of diamond gaiters looked to be home free only to have late miscues cost them what looked to be sure victories in these state-bred stake events.   In what looked like it was going to a replay of their last two encounters Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) carved out splits of 28.0, 58.1 & 1:27.3 and appeared to be holding firm to the wire before going off stride with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. That allowed the pocket sitting Bailey's Wish and driver Dave Magee to capitalize on their good fortune as they zipped right on by for the victory in the $10,000 Fox Valley Diva Stake for state-bred three-year-old trotting fillies. Macie Rae settled for the place spot while Lora Lee Breeze (Matt Krueger) was a distant third.   The three-quarter-length triumph in a career best of 1:56.1 pushed the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen's career record to 7-6-3 in 22 starts for owners James Bafia and Eugene White. The good looking brown filly has also banked a hefty $151,983 while under the guidance of conditioner Dirk Simpson who is zeroing in on the 1,000 victory plateau.   In the first of two $5,000 divisions of the Psychic Spirit Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts Southrncomfortzone (John De Long) looked to be home free after a pocket sitting journey behind Captain Greedy and driver-trainer J.D. Finn. That's when disaster struck for that colt as he "jumped it off" allowing Captain Greedy, who had put up splits of 29.3, 1:00.2 & 1:31.2 to reclaim the lead and cruise to a six-length triumph in 1:59.4. Cardinal Yankee (Mike Brink) rallied to be second while Pizzalicious (Dale Hiteman) was moved from fourth to third because of the disqualification of Southrncomfortzone.   The win was the third in four starts for the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie who now has $6,692 in career earnings.   The second division of the Psychic Spirit proved to be far less dramatic as the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar made it three in a row to open his career posting an impressive 2 ¾ length victory in a career best of 1:58.3.   After saving ground while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) put up splits of 30.1, 1:00 & 1:29.2, driver Todd Warren eased Fox Valley Qatar through the passing lane and the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain responded beautifully as he charged right by the tiring pace setter for an easy score. Allpowernoemotion held on for second while RT Habenero (Robert Taylor) rallied to be third.   Fox Valley Qatar now sports career earnings of $5,625 and looks like he'll be the one to beat heading into the State Fair Stakes at Springfield in August.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

Fort Silky and driver Casey Leonard went wire-to-wire to capture the $30,000 Lester McKeever Stake in 1:53.3 on Nov. 15 at Maywood Park. The 7-year-old son of Ft. Apache Hanover is trained byTerry Leonard for owners John Prentice and Neve Jan Ikeler of Illinois. After sweeping through fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.4, Fort Silky held off second-place finisher Uncle Smoothie (Matt Krueger)by three-quarters of a length. Mystical Walter (Lewayne Miller) finished third. Fort Silky added the $15,000 winner’s share to his seasonal bankroll of $237,795. “This race worked out exactly the way we wanted it to,”Leonard said. “My horse left well as I had him pretty reved up and I was a little surprised nobody left. Going into the last turn my horse felt really good. He doesn’t finish as well here as he does at Balmoral, but he was good enough to get the job done. I love horses that just get it, like he does. Sometimes the fastest horse doesn’t always win the race—sometimes it’s just the horse that keeps on trying.” Fort Silky scored his fourth consecutive victory andpushed his career earnings to $551,935. by Kimberly A. Rinker for Maywood Park  

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