By Mike Paradise
There were no major surprises in Saturday night’s $12,500 trio of Incredible Finale stakes for ICF freshman pacing colts and geldings. In fact all three winners were also victorious in the opening legs of the stake series.
Fox Valley Nemitz was second in the 1:55.1 mile and Fox Valley Sparty took third.
The Jim Eaton Stable’s Fox Valley Jeter ($8.40, Casey Leonard) powered past the early leaders soon after the quarter mile pole, took command before the 59 half, and went on to hold off the 6-5 public’s choice Tiny Laramie by one length in a 1:56.4 mile.
Fox Valley Scampi took third in the second Incredible Finale Split.
Owned by Phil Langley (Frankfort, IL), Christine Buttice (Leesburg, FL) and Eaton, Fox Valley Jeter is now 2-for-2 in his young career.
The 7-5 favorite Gabe Henry ($4.60) had to work hard to reward his backers in the third division. Todd Warren hustled him out from the 8-hole but a number of other horses also left the gate trying to make the top.
Spirited Encounter James Lackey) eventually took command and Warren was content to take the pocket behind the pacesetter for a while. Todd pulled Gabe Henry out of the pocket mid-way through the last turn and these two slugged it out all the way down the stretch.
The Tom Graham Jr. trained winner, a home-bred owned by Carol Graham of Salem, IL, wore down Spirited Encounter and won by a half-length in 1:56.1. Fox Valley Inferno rallied strong to grab the third place share of the $12,500 pot.
Gabe Henry was the fourth of five winners for Warren on the card.
Earlier Todd steered Holdonwe’rolling ($3.00) to his winning1:54.2 mile in the first Cardinal pace elimination for ICF 3-year-old males. The second elim went to BS Tyrrific ($12.60), driven by Kyle Wilfong., in a lifetime best time of 1:52 flat.
A Baker’s Dozen: Hawthorne will host a 13-race card Sunday with a pair of $10,000 Open Paces, one for the gals and one for guys, as the headliners.
The distaff pace goes as race eight with the past two Open winners, Feetonthedashboard (Dale Hiteman) and Seeyouatthefinish (Kyle Husted) handicapped with the outside 8 and 8 slots, respectively.
They’ll be challenged by Fox Valley Charm (Todd Warren), Ryleigh’s Lilly (James Lackey), Rocknroll Hoochcoo (Kyle Wilfong), Timmylynn (San Widger), Triple Lane Melody (Travis Seekman), Nat A Virgin (Casey Leonard) and OK Heavenly (Pat Curtin).
The tenth race $10,000 Open for colts and geldings night be the most wide-open event on the program.
Take your pick from (in post-position order) Extravagant (Casey Leonard), That Man Of Mine (Matt Krieger), Smoke Rings (James Lackey), Dinky Dune (Pat Curtin), Best Man Hanover (Todd Warren), Fiveknuckleshuffle (Travis Seekman), Lyons Jimmydean (Kyle Husted), Yankee Bounty (Dale Hiteman), Sunset Dreamer (Kyle Dreamer) and last week’s victor Mr. Coolie (Sam Widger) who popped at 19-1 odds.