By Mike Paradise
Mother Nature didn’t cooperate for the scheduled Friday opening of racing at the Springfield State Fair so instead we’ll double up today with two Saturday programs.
The postponed Friday card due to a rain-soaked track will instead get under way at 10 in the morning and the scheduled Saturday Springfield card will follow. Hopefully there will be plenty of sunshine.
I don’t know about you but I will be glued to my computer watching Springfield races today for what likely will be several hours of entertainment. Plenty of coffee and snacks will be consumed, that’s for sure.
While the first card of racing at Springfield pretty much is fixed on ICF 2-year-old, the second will be focused on sophomores and older pacers and trotters. Since we spent yesterday’s column on the freshmen events today is devoted to three-year-olds and up
With 15 state bred pacing colts and geldings entered for Saturday’s Illinois State Colt Fair Stakes, a pair of $6,000 elimination races were needed. The top five finishers in each will move along to Wednesday’s $44,000 Final.
The Tom Simmons Stable’s Fox Valley Herbie (Mike Oosting), last year’s freshman colt pace champ, is the 6-5 morning line choice in the seventh race first division. The son of Yankee Skyscraper is a two-time winner of Hawthorne’s Kadabra stake series and landed the advantageous one-post.
Inside of him are Mississippi Rabbit (Kyle Wilfong), Causay (Bobby Smolin), Decent Lawyer (Casey Leonard), Ima Scrappy Scaper (Tim Curtin), Slzburgerslzburger (Juan Franco) and Odd Job (Kyle Husted).
Fox Valley Nemitz (Casey Leonard), the 5-2 morning line betting favorite in the eighth race second split, also secured the rail. The Nick Giberson trained gelding made a break in the third leg of the Carey stake however he captured his first two series starts and took the $27,400 Cardinal.
Also looking to move on to the championship are Gabe Henry (Ridge Warren), Captain Rhett (Kyle Husted), Fox Valley Reggie (Freddie Patton Jr.), Sullivan (Mike Oosting), Uptown Sleaze (Bobby Smolin), Zone Blitz (Kyle Wilfong) and Ima Skydancer (Tim Curtin).
No eliminations were needed for the 3-year-old Springfield filly stake when 11 pacers passed the entry box. Instead the ninth race prep will have a crowded field with two horses, Fox Valley Maya (Freddie Patton Jr.) and Fox Valley Dandy (Tim Curtin) starting in the second tier with slots 10 and 11.
All starters are eligible to come back for next Wednesday’s $44,000 championship.
Here’s how the front nine will line-up in Saturday’s ninth and final race: Boogie On Down (Kyle Wilfong), Lady’s Party (Casey Leonard), Beamer N Bud (Bobby Smolin), Razzleme Dazzleme (Ridge Warren), A Real Doozie (Mike Oosting), San Antonio Rose (Kyle Husted), Dee Tumbleweed (Cornelius Cavett), Fox Valley Charliz (Jamaica Patton) and Fox Valley Jolene (Matt Avenatti).
A quartet of $8,000 Illinois State Colt Fair Stake championships in the aged division will be decided and all of last year’s champions are back to defend their crowns: Macie Rae in the mare trot, Rock Hollywood in the male trot, Dinky Dune in the male pace and Fox Valley Charm in the mare pace, a non-wagering event.
Entries are being taken Sunday morning (10 am) at the Hawthorne Race Office for Wednesday’s Springfield program. Eight Illinois State Fair Colt Stake Championships will be decided on the final day of racing of this year’s Springfield meeting.
A Thirst-Quencher: Let’s Drink On It ($3.80, Travis Seekman) came roaring down the stretch last night and overtook the pacesetting Coal Hanover (Kyle Husted) for his second straight $13,500 Open Pace victory.
The Joe Seekman trained gelding unleashed a 26 flat last quarter in his 1:52.4 mile for his seventh win in 13 season starts.
The Kim Roth trained ERE Zach Attack ($8.80) captured the $9,000 Open III a few races later for driver Ridge Warren. Vintage Babe was second, beaten 1 and 1/4 lengths in the 1:51.4 mile.