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With Hawthorne dark on Friday and Saturday while the Du Quoin State Fair takes over the Illinois harness racing spotlight, Thursday racing returns to the Chicago circuit tonight with a bigger-than-normal 13-race program.
The Thursday headliner is the $12,000 Open Pace and tonight the two-time Illinois Harness Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) will have company when goes to the starting gate with his third straight assigned 10-hole.
Banished to the nine-slot in Thursday’s six horse field is “Gemini’s” Terry Leonard trained stable-mate Stuckey Dote (Kyle Wilfong) after holding off the star of the barn last week with a 1:51.1 clocking.
Stuckey Dote now has three Opens victories at Hawthorne since joining the Leonard stable in early July. In between those starts the six-year-old home-bred went up north to Minnesota and captured a $25,000 Preferred event at Running Aces, that one in 1:51.2.
Stuckey Dote spent most of the earlier part of the year in Ohio where he made the bulk of his $75,000-plus season bankroll. Among his wins competing in the Buckeye State was a 1:50.3 career fastest mile at Scioto Downs, a five-eighths oval.
Fox Valley Gemini was close to unbeatable at Hawthorne but that’s not the case anymore after he shipped to Running Aces for their $50,000 Dan Patch Free For All. Since July the five-year-old ICF pacer is on his current longest losing streak that now is at four in a row.
Nevertheless Fox Valley Gemini still boasts a gaudy record of 26 in 35 lifetime starts and almost $325,000 in purse earnings for Atwater, Illinois owner Jim Ballinger.
Trying tonight to upset the Leonard stable’s “Dynamic Duo” are Dash Of Danger (Kyle Husted), Crash And Burn (Robert Smolin), Feelnlikearockstar (Travis Seekman) and Lincolnjames (Kyle Husted).
Two weeks ago the Perry Smith stable’s Feelnlikearockstar knocked off both “Gemini” and Stuckey Dote in the August 9th Hawthorne Open. The seven-year-old gelding Feelnlikearockstar was only one length behind the pair with his third place finish in last Open.
All of the Chicago circuit leading drivers will be competing both Friday evening and on Saturday when that daytime card gets under way at noon.
The last five races on Friday night’s card are $27,500 ICF stakes races for either two three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, Saturday’s trio of $27,250 Illinois bred stakes are races 10, 11 and the 12th race finale.
By Mike Paradise
Harness racing may be the only sport where the participant is penalized if he or she has too much success and not surprisingly that doesn’t sit well with some people.
One of those individuals is long-time Illinois owner Danny Graham of Salem, Illinois after learning that his prize five-year-old mare Anna’s Lucky Star was assigned the 10-hole in Sunday’s seven horse Open Trot field.
Springfield champion Anna’s Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong) has to buck the assigned 10-hole in Sunday’s seven horse Open Trot. (Four Footed Fotos) ” width=”450″ height=”253″ class=”size-full wp-image-6360″ /> Springfield champion Anna’s Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong) has to buck the assigned 10-hole in Sunday’s seven horse Open Trot. (Four Footed Fotos)
“I would have been okay with it if we were given the seven and Pine Dream got the six,” continues Danny. “But Sunday’s assigned posts seem a little ridiculous to me,”
Anna’s Lucky Star and Pine Dream have met in three of their last six starts with “Anna” winning twice, once by a head and then by three-quarters of a length while Pine Dream took a nose decision over the Illinois-bred mare on July 7.
“If I remember right they did this to us one time before,” said Danny. “We won a few Opens in a row and they gave us the 10-hole and we finished third that day.
Mr. Graham’s recall was right on target.
Last summer “Anna” won three straight Hawthorne Opens and then ended up third with a 10-hole start. Ironically that race went to Walter White, who starts from post five Sunday in the third race $12,000 feature.
Anna’s Lucky Star wasn’t the first ICF trotter to be punished by the Hawthorne Race Office for doing too well. Earlier in the 2018 summer meeting the late Picky Picky Valor was riding a five race winning streak, one came in a conditioned trot, a pair in Open III events and two in Open 1 trots, when the Gerald Hansen trainee was dispersed to the 10-hole with less than a 10-horse field.
And yes “Picky’s” winning streak abruptly ended with a fourth place finish.
I’ve been around a long time (some might think forever) and I can’t remember an Illinois bred trotting mare reprimanded with a 10-hole start with less than a full field against older, more seasoned open company trotters.
“Anna” has made 52 lifetime starts. Only the four-year-old Talk About Valor, assigned the one-slot Sunday has made less trips to the gate. All of the other male trotters in the race have gone postward at least TWICE as many times in their racing careers as the “Queen” of the Illinois trotting ranks.
And while the Nelson Willis trained mare has notable career purse earnings of $311,625, that’s still only fourth highest in Sunday’s seven horse field.
Call For Justice (pp 2, Kyle Husted) has $594,107, Walter White (pp 5, Josh Delong) has $461, 136 and Trouble A Cash Hall (Luke Plano) has $344,630. Pine Dream has 301,477 while Mandeville (pp 6, Robert Smolin) has made $196, 616.
When informed that his mare wasn’t the only trotter with the assigned post Sunday since Mandeville was allocated the six, Graham said: “That’s got to be a mistake. That horse hasn’t been doing well the last few weeks. If anybody should have been assigned the six Sunday it should have been Pine Dream.”
Mandeville nosed-out “Anna” back in the June 23rd Open trot and hasn’t won since. In his last three Open starts the Dean Eckley trained gelding has finished fifth, fourth and fifth, beaten four-plus lengths, almost five lengths, and close to eight lengths.
I doubt that Mandeville’s owner is delighted with the horse’s designated Sunday post.
“We weren’t planning on taking “Anna” to Du Quoin but now I’m not so sure,” said Danny. “Let’s see how she does Sunday and how she comes out of the race. “Then we’ll make the decision on Du Quoin.
“I’m not saying she can’t win Sunday but I certainly would like her chances a lot more if she wasn’t starting so further outside than the other horses.”
Race Schedule Juggled: With the Du Quoin State Fair meet coming up next weekend there are some major changes on the Illinois harness racing schedule.
Hawthorne will race this upcoming Thursday night. They won’t on Friday and Saturday. Instead Du Quoin will conduct its abbreviated meet both nights with a 7 pm post time on Friday and at noon on Saturday. Hawthorne is then back with its live racing on next Sunday with a 7:20 first post.
Having Fun Winning: The Brett Wilfong trained mare It’s Time For Fun got back on the winning track Friday night with a compelling victory in the $12,000 filly and mare Open Pace.
Driver Kyle Wilfong dropped the public’s choice into fifth in the early going when there were three lead changes with Boogie On Down (Casey Leonard) on top at the 27.4 first quarter. Kyle tipped It’s Time For Fun out soon thereafter and the four-year-old mare zoomed past her stable-mate and took command before the 55.4 half.
It’s Time For Fun ($4.20) had a big enough lead in the lane to hold off the late-charging Sweetshadyshark (Ryan Anderson by three-quarters of a length. The win was the home-bred mare’s fourth in five starts at Hawthorne’s summer meet for owner and breeder Mr. Lynn Wilfong of Kentland, Indiana.
The following are the results from the IHHA Board of Directors election which took place today, Saturday, August 17, 2019. The top five vote getters will serve three year terms as directors.
1. Casey Leonard
2. Marty Engel
3. Merv Chupp
4. Angie Coleman
5. Gerry Hansen
6. Ronnie Roberts
7. Shelley Steele
Congratulations to all the candidates that participated in this election. At the upcoming Board of Directors Meeting on Monday, August 19th, the IHHA Board will elect the officers that will serve during the 2019/2020 cycle.
Thanks to all members who participated in the election process. It is through your voice and support that the IHHA can continue to address and work on the issues of concern to our industry.
By Mike Paradise
With the Springfield State Fair meet behind us and Du Quoin still six days away from its opener, the focus on Illinois harness racing shifts back to Hawthorne for this weekend.
It’s Saturday night and that means its front and center time for the local filly and mare colony. The $12,000 Open for distaffers is once again the headliner and this time around the feature looks more competitive with the absence of Rockin N Runnin who has been given this week off.
The Terry Leonard Stable’s Rockin N Runnin came in from Indiana a couple of weeks ago and was much the best in back-to-back Hawthorne Opens.
With Rockin N Runnin away for the weekend a pair of Brett Wilfong stablemates, It’s Time For Fun (pp 3, Kyle Wilfong) and Boogie On Down (pp 7, Casey Leonard) figure to get the lion’s share of the public’s wagering dollars.
It’s Time For Fun rattled off three consecutive wins at Hawthorne last month and two came in Opens. The four-year-old mare then became sick and missed her scheduled July 22nd start. She was a non-threating second to Rockin Runnin last week when she paced a 27.1 last quarter however was beaten by 5 and 1 /2 lengths.
Boogie On Down, her five-year-old stable-mate, captured consecutive Hawthorne Opens less than a month ago. The homebred mare then tailed off for a few starts but rebounded in a big way at Springfield when she won the aged pacing mare championship with a career fastest 1:51.4 mile. Casey Leonard will be at her lines for the first time tonight.
You can expect the Ronnie Roberts stable’s Sweetshadyshark (pp 6, Ryan Anderson) t0 also get good play. The five-year-old mare has been a consistent factor in the local Open ranks all summer long and it’s no secret she has a fondness for Hawthorne’s racing surface.
April Deo (pp 4, Kyle Husted) comes off her best race in a while with a third place finish a week ago and Skeeter Machine (pp 5, Ridge Warren) has been the model of constancy for a couple of months. The Alan Bowen trained four-year-old ICF mare has been first or second in 7 of her 8 season starts and was only a nose behind Boogie On Down at Springfield last week when she was also clocked in 1:51.4
Posts one and two were drawn with Rollin Coal (Juan Franco) landing the pole position and Fox Valley Jazzy (Robert Smolin) the two.
The often late charging Rollin Coal is a five-time winner at Hawthorne this season. The four-year-old Sagebrush mare annexed the June 22nd Open and has missed just one purse check in her 15 Illinois races this year for Chicago owner and trainer Hosea Williams.
No Passing Zone: Driver Kyle Wilfong perfectly rated Stuckey Dote ($10.20) to a front-stepping half-length victory in last night’s $12,000 Open Pace over his Terry Leonard trained stable-mate Fox Valley Gemini.
Wilfong urged Stuckey Dote out from the 8-slot and the pacer shot to the lead while the 6-5 favorite Fox Valley Gemini was floated out of the 10-hole and was dropped into seventh by Casey Leonard.
Wilfong took Stuckey Dote to a :27.4 first quarter and on his way to a :55.1 half Fox Valley Gemini was grinding out a first-over trip and taking a lot of air.
The Terry Leonard trained duo were heads apart at the three-quarters (1:23.2) and Stuckey Dote dug in and never did let his stable-mate get past, stopping the timer in 1:51.1. It was season victory No. 7 for the eight-year-old gelding owned by his Iowa breeder Merlin G. Van Otterloo.
Feelnlikearockstar (Juan Franco), the pocket horse, was another half-length back to be third.
Besides terrific racing at this year’s State Fair in Springfield, horsemen also enjoyed the company of Governor Pritzker, who spent about 30-40 minutes in the paddock enjoying the festivities. Also, on hand was Rick Heidner, who is the developer of the proposed Tinley Park Racino, as he spent the day working the horsemen’s grill and getting to know us a little better. Thanks to all who helped make this a successful event.
By Mike Paradise
Springfield wrapped up its 2019 harness racing meet Thursday afternoon with eight Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Championships.
The string of those eight consecutive champions events started with a fifth race $32,500 showdown for ICF two-year-old trotting fillies and it turned out to be a battle between the two Steve Searle trained fillies with Bee See ($9.20), upsetting 3-5 favorite Los Abigail.
Driver Kyle Husted had to take the winning filly three-wide on the backside to get around the tiring pacesetters, Really Ralee and Celone Hall, while Casey Leonard had Lous Abigail in great shape second over at the 57 half.
Lous Abigail had dead-aim on Bee See in the stretch but the Cassis filly held firm, fighting off her stablemate’s bid and winning with a new lifetime mark of 1:56.1 by three-parts of a length, for owners Mandy Baldes (Urbana, IL), Michael Paloma (Chicago, IL), Chris. Paloma (Cedars Rapids, Iowa) and trainer Steve Searle (Grant Park, IL).
Lauren Hall (Mike Brink), came on to be third.
Sleazy Gal (Kyle Wilfong), overcame the 9-hole in a 10-horse second tier field, to capture the two-year-old filly pace final for (Marty) Engel Stable of Northbrook, Illinois. The gutsy winning mile was in 1:54.1, another new lifetime mark.
Sleazy Gal ($12.00), was hustled out from the outside post and was parked out three-deep much of the way to a rapid 26 flat first quarter. Sign Her Up (Juan Franco), came out of third to get command and the 4 to 5 favorite Double Parked, was sent from fifth to try and get the lead, but she stalled on the outside of the leader.
At the half, the 13-1 longshot Ashlee’s Fine Girl (Luke Plano), put her neck in front, however Wilfong slid Sleazy Gal between the two leaders and the winning Sagebrush filly showed no quit, making the front by the three-quarter pole and holding off Ashlee’s Fine Girl by one length, while the 10-longshot Amazon Princess came on well to be third.
The juvenile colts and gelding finals were next, with the two-year-old trot championships and again a heavy favorite went down to defeat as On High Ground (Ridge Warren), stalked the front-stepping Fox Valley Quest (Casey Leonard) and out-closed the 3 to 5 public’s choice in the lane.
The Mike Brink trained, On Higher Ground ($9.20), knocked three and three-fifth seconds off his previous fastest mile with a 1:55.1 clocking for Illinois owners H.H. Wright (Morton) and Brink (Springfield), who drove Desert Sheik to a third place finish in the race.
Fox Valley Wren (Kyle Wilfong), became the first favorite of the day to win an ISFCS championship, but it didn’t come easy in the two-year-old colt and gelding final. Wilfong urged Fox Valley Wren away from the nine slot and dropped him into fourth, when RS Racer (Travis Seekman), zipped to a 26.1 first panel.
Wilfong had Fox Valley Ren on the move on the backstretch and on top before the half (54.2). The winner had to fight off a bid by Chick Magnet (Kyle Husted), through the third quarter with RG’s Racer in the pocket and poised for the stretch drive.
RG’s Racer gave the Nelson Willis trainee all he could handle, but was a neck behind at the finish. The 1:52.3 mile shaved a full second off the previous best time for Fox Valley Wren, who now has won five in a row.
The last four races on the card were the ICF 3-year-old finales.
Kyle Husted gave the prohibitive a 1 to 5 favorite Louzotic a heady drive and the star of the Steve Searle stable won for the eighth time this season in the three-year-old filly trot championship.
The winning time of 1:54.2 was a new mark, ho-hum, for Louzotic ($2.40), who went from third to first, after a 27.4 first quarter and grabbed the lead from Heidi High (Juan Franco).
Husted was able to give Louzotic some middle quarter breathers of 29.2 and 29.4 and the filly had more than enough off to keep Heidi High from overtaking her. Louzotic is owned and bred by Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois.
The Flacco Family Farms also own and bred Lousraptor (Casey Leonard), who came from far back to zip past in the three-year-old colt and gelding trot final. The time of 1:54.4 was two full seconds faster than the Lou’s Legacy gelding had previously trotted.
The 22-1 longshot, Super Betcha (Mile Brink), took the field to a quick 56.3 half before retreating. The two-hole trotter Lourhianon (Luke Planno), then took control and led in the lane before he went off stride. The break took place just as Lousraptor ($3.40), was powering past for his fifth win of the year.
Next up was the three-year-old filly pace and once again it was Kyle Wilfong in the winner’s circle. Kyle’s fourth winner of the day was the late-charging Perch ($11.60).
Wilfong (pp 8), took his talented filly back at the start as the 12-1 longshot Fox Valley Kim (Kyle Husted), cut sizzling fractions of 25.3 and 53.2. Casey Leonard tipped the 1-2 favorite Fox Valley Torrid out off third, overpowered the tiring leader and was on top at the three quarter pole, reached in 1:22.1.
However, Perch was gaining on “Torrid” with every stride and Wilfong’s well-timed move saw the Jay Garrels trained filly roll past and prevail in 1:51.1 by more than one length.
You guessed it, another new lifetime mark.
Perch is owned by the Del Insko Training Stable (Beloit, IL), Susan Garrels (Shipshewana, IN) and trainer Jay Garrels (Clinton, WI).
The three-year-old colt and gelding pace championship saw Meyer On Fire pull away in the lane with driver Kyle Husted enabling owner Marty Engel’s return to the winner’s circle to receive a trophy from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.
Earlier Engel’s Sleazy Gal, won the freshman filly pace final title with First Lady Kathryn Pritzker making the trophy presentation.
Meyer On Fire scooted to a career best time of 1:51.2 and that meant that ALL 12 winning horses on the card set new lifetime marks.
Fox Valley Triton nosed out the pace-setting Maximus for second.
The victory was Kyle Husted fourth winner on the day and his third championship drive, matching Kyle Wilfong’s Thursday closing day performance.
Wilfong captured the Springfield driver title with 11 dash winners, one better than Casey Leonard. Roshun Trigg’s six victories netted the Mississippi native the trainer’s crown, edging Steve Searle who sent out five winning horses at the four-day meet.
The 2019 Illinois State Fair harness meet at Springfield comes to a close this afternoon, but not before eight ISFCS champions are crowned.
The Illinois State Fair Colt Stake finals for ICF two and three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits are the last eight events on a 12-race card. Each freshman championship has a $32,500 pot on the line, while the sophomore showdowns go for $31,500 apiece. First post is 12 noon.
Let’s take a look at the eight ISFCS contests, starting with the fifth race final for two-year-old filly trotters. Trainer Steve Searle, sends out his elimination winners: Bee See (pp 6, Kyle Husted) and Lous Abigail (pp7, Casey Leonard), currently riding a three-race winning streak.
Lous Abigail has lost only once in six career starts and that was to the Mike Brink stable’s Celone Hall in their July 14th Fox Valley Flan match-up. Since then Lous Abigial has turned the tables on Celone Hall (pp 5, Brandon Bates), the last two races they’ve met.
Bee See has breezed the last three times she’s raced on a mile track and was dominant in last weekend’s Springfield elimination, four-plus lengths the best in a 1:59 flat mile. Lauren Hall (pp 8, Mike Brink), another Brink trainee, hasn’t missed a purse check in her first five starts, four of them second place finishes.
Fox Valley Lush, Olympic Hopeful, Reign And Shine, Really Railee and Lous Cover Girl are the longshot hopefuls in the race.
The two-year-old filly pace follows and division leader Double Parked(Travis Seekman), will have to start in the second tier with the 10-post. She’s been hammered down in the wagering in every start and has rewarded her backers in five of those races for trainer and owner Leroy Hunt of Jackson, MS.
Double Parked starts behind Amazon Princess (pp 1, Casey Leonard), who did show gate speed with a third place finish in her debut. The consistent fillies Ashlee’s Fine Girl (pp 8, Luke Plano and Sleazy Gal pp 9, Kyle Wilfong), should also get good play.
Sign Her Up (pp 4, Juan Franco), was a surprise winner at 10-1 in her elimination. Tropical Fruit (pp 6, Brandon Bates), went off stride early in her first start and made make up five lengths on the field to finish second last weekend.
Locked On it, Jimmy’s Gal, Castielle and Guru Vee Girl complete the sixth race field.
The draw couldn’t have gone any poorer for the 2-year-old colt and gelding pace pre-stake favorite Fox Valley Ren (Kyle Wilfong), with the outside nine post.
The Nelson Willis trainee has shown she can sprint out in a hurry from the starting gate and likely will this afternoon, seeking her sixth consecutive triumph for the Megan Rogers Racing Stable of Chicago.
RG’s Tracer (pp 5, Travis Seekman), second best to Fox Valley Ren the last three times they’ve encountered each other, is also expected to show early speed and so could last week’s elimination winner Canadian Mountie (pp 2, Casey Leonard), and maybe others.
Chick Magnet, Ryans Ambassador, KB Two, Hello Rooster, Patton Plus, and Western Perch all are looking to pull off a surprise victory today.
The ninth race 3-year-old filly trot appears to be, at least on paper, a slugfest from last year’s freshman champion filly Louzotic (pp 3, Kyle Husted), trained by Steve Searle, and Heidi High (pp 2, Juan Franco). If you’re keeping score its 3 to 2 in favor of Louzotic in their last five meetings.
Heidi High’s shift from the seven slot to today’s two post is very significant. The New Balance filly is at her best on/or close to the front and wasn’t there last week. She will be this afternoon.
Puddin Cheeks, Joes Joe Violet, Skippymalou, Loussoltaire and Lous Paramour will also be going to the gate.
The three-year-old colt and gelding trot is pretty much up for grabs. You can make a case for a number of these ICF sophomores: Lousraptor (pp 5, Casey Leonard), who took last week’s prep from the 10-hole. Lourhianon won the most recent leg of the Erwin F. Dygert stake series, his fifth triumph of the year. Trixie’s Turbo (pp 1, Kyle Wilfong), who made a break last week, but was never headed against most of these same trotters in her early June Cardinal stake victory and Louscardamon who is a Dygert leg victor and plenty dangerous with a flat mile.
Trainer Mike Brink sends out the trio of For Trots Sake (pp 3), Prince Cassius (pp 4) and Super Betcha (pp 9). Fox Valley Cruise (pp 7), My Dreamweaver (pp 8), and Big Garcia Vega (pp 10), in the second tier are potential high payoff aspirants.
Veteran trainer Nelson Willis has a strong steady trio of Lilly Von Shtupp, Valar Morghulis and last year’s Springfield champion Fox Valley Halsey) in the three-year-old filly pace championship and they landed posts 2, 3 and 4, in that order.
The filly to beat is the Rodney Freese trainee Fox Valley Torrid (pp 1, Casey Leonard), almost two lengths the best in last week’s prep. The Yankee Skyscraper filly was the 2018 Incredible Tillie champion.
A likely brisk pace could set things up for the capable Jay Garrels late charger Perch (pp 8, Kyle Wilfong), who has 9 career wins in 21 tries and almost $80,000 on her card.
The race’s longshot candidates are: Brienne The Beauty, Winter Gram and Fox Valley Lil Kim.
The Springfield finale is the often called “glamour division” of horse racing, a 3-year-old colt and gelding championship. In this case it’s for ICF male pacers.
Thus far three horses have pretty much dominated this year’s division—Maximus, Meyer On Fire and Fox Valley Triton. The threesome will grab a large portion of the public’s wagering dollars today.
Maximus (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong), while under a hold, won for fun in 1:54.4 last weekend. Freshman champ Meyer On Fire (pp 5, Kyle Husted), uncorked a 26.2 last quarter in his 1:53 elimination victory, while Fox Valley Triton, was raced easy before, exploded with a 26.1 final panel against the above to be second.
You can expect inviting double-digit odds on the other 12th race contestants: Frontier Muffler, Fox Valley Oscar, Fox Valley Julius, The Bucket, Coming Up and Master Sage.
MIKE’S SPRINGFIELD SELECTIONS
For Thursday, First Post 12 Noon
1—Fox Valley Extacy, Lous Flashy Dancer, El Oh Governor
2—Sports McGrew, Super Park, Fox Valley Jude
3—Fox Valley Exploit, Fox ValleyNia, June Dale Gram
4—Fox Valley Kobe, Lou Pachal, Coach Cougar
5—Lous Abgail, Bee See, Celone Hall
6—Double Parked, Ashlees Fine Girl, Tropical Fruit
7—Fox Valley Quest, Desert Sheik, On Higher Ground
8—Fox Valley Ren, RG’s Tracer, Canadian Mountie
9—Louzotic, Heidi High, Puddin Cheeks
10—Lousraptor, Lourhianon, Trixie’s Turbo
11—Fox Valley Torrid, Perch, Fox Valley Halsey
12—Meyer On Fire, Fox Valley Triton, Maximus
Best Bet—Double Parked (6th race)
2019 Springfield State Fair replays are available. DuQuoin will be as well. Just click on the box on the right hand side of this page.
By Mike Paradise
Under a bright and sunny sky and temperatures in the high 80’s a quartet of aged ICF horses earned their way into the Springfield State Fair winner’s circle Saturday afternoon.
For Danny Graham’s gifted five-year-old trotting mare Anna’s Lucky Star it was an expected visit to get her picture taken with her Salem, Illinois owner and his friends and family.
After all, Anna’s Lucky Star has been perfection in her Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes appearances for trainer Nelson Willis.
The home-bred daughter of Cassius out of Danny’s fruitful broodmare Queen Jamie won her Springfield division championship as a two, three and four year-old and this time around she only had two other trotters too beat, which she did Saturday by strolling to an almost eight length victory in a training mile time of 1:59.2.
It was career victory No. 30 for “Anna” and it came in just 52 lifetime starts. That’s a dazzling 57 winning percentage and for the last two seasons the mare has been taking on rugged Open Trot foes at Hawthorne and also at Hoosier Park.
Anna’s Lucky Star ($2.10) now has career earnings of over $310,000 with the upcoming Du Quoin Aged Trot Championship State Fair next up, a stake race she won as a four-year-old and yep, you guessed it, in as a freshman and sophomore trotter as well.
Now That’s Fast: A few races before Anna’s Lucky Star did her thing, Kyle Wilfong steered the Wilfong family’s four-year-old home-bred You’rmyhearthrob to a very quick 1:49.4 career fastest mile in the ISFCS championship for aged pacing colts and geldings.
Kyle hustled You’myhearthrob out from the five-post and to a blistering 26.1 first quarter. The son of Some Heart Throb went to the half in 53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:22.1 with He Gone Jack on his back but there was no catching You’remyhearthrob who also captured the 3-year-old Springfield championship. He Gone Jack (Ridge Warren) raced big to be only a neck short at the finish wire.
Your’remyheartthrob, trained by Brett Wilfong, was the third betting choice in the race and gave his supporters a fair $7.00 return on a two dollar wager.
Valiant Effort: The Gerald Hansen trained 4-year-old Talk About Valor (Casey Leonard) made every pole a winning one for owner Shelly Steele of Monee, Illinois in the $7,000 aged male trot championship
Talk About Valor ($4.00) went right to the top from the get-go, took the field to a 28.2 first quarter and to the half in 57.4 with the 4-5 favorite Primed N Powerful (Jamaica Patton) in the two-hole. The latter came out in the last turn however Talk About Valor was up to the challenge. Casey asked the winner for another gear and the gelding responded by drawing off and proving best by about six lengths.
Longshot (13-1) Majistic Caprice (Ronnie Gillespie) rallied for second while Primed N Powerful faded to third. The 1:55.1 mile was a new career mark for Talk About Valor.
Boogie Fever: The Wilfong family was back in the winner’s circle after their 5-year-old mare Boogie On Down ($4.00), nicely rated by Kyle Wilfong, held off a late move by Skeeter Machine (Ridge Warren) in the aged pacing mare championship.
The Brett Wilfong trained home=bred took a full second off her previous best winning mile when she was timed in 1:51.1, a neck better than Skeeter Machine. Boogie On Down is owned by Mr. Lynn Wilfong and Barbara Wilfong of Kentland, Indiana and by Brett and Candice Wilfong of Pendleton, Indiana.
Easy Does It With 11 horses going to the gate in two ISFCS elimination divisions of the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace only Fox Valley Stuart, sixth in the first split, won’t advance to next Thursday’s $29,000 Final.
Hawthorne’s Carey series point leader Maximus ($2.10) pulled away to an easy 1:54.4 victory with driver Kyle Wilfong in the first division for trainer Ken Rucker who shares ownership of the Sportsmaster gelding with The Panhellenic Stable Corp of Oyster Bay, New York.
Fire Drills Foes: In the second division driver Kyle Husted took the 3-5 favorite Meyer On Fire out of the third in the final turn and the Erv Miller trained pacer worn down the pace-setting The Bucket, winning in 1:53 flat for Northbrook, Illinois’ (Marty) Engel Stable LLC.
Fox Valley Triton made a strong surge in the late going to nip The Bucket for second.
Another New Mark: The Saturday finale was a nine horse prep race for Thursday’s $29,000 championship for ICF 3-year-old pacing fillies. When the dust cleared it was the even-money favorite Fox Valley Torrid ($4.20) taking advantage of a pocket trip provided by driver Casey Leonard) and going on to pace a new lifetime mark of 1:52 flat.
Rodney Freese trains the winning Yankee Skyscraper filly for Fox Valley Standardbreds, the filly’s owners and breeders.