“Anna” Looks to Continue to Sparkle

By Mike Paradise

When Danny Graham’s gifted ICF trotter Annas Lucky Star does make her season debut at Hawthorne the seven-year-old mare will put on the line a sparkling career record, especially in her home state.

The homebred trotter has gone postward 61 times and finished first a remarkable 34 of those races, a 55 per cent winning clip. And when it comes to racing in Illinois, the mare has proven best an amazing 71 per cent of the time.

Annas Lucky Star has earned $359,825 for her Salem, Illinois owner and breeder Danny Graham with more than $320,000 of those earnings in the last three years, mostly in Opens or ICF stake races under the care of veteran trainer Nelson Willis.

“She’s been training better than ever,” said Graham. “She would be ready to qualify in the next couple of weeks if we had a place to race her but we don’t. We’ll just have to wait and see how things will turn out.”

 Anna’s Lucky Star (Four Footed Fotos)

Anna’s Lucky Star (Four Footed Fotos)

As a two-year-old the only state bred stake races “Anna” competed in was at the Illinois State Fairs, where she captured the $35,000 Springfield Championship and the $20,000 Shawnee at Du Quoin while going a perfect six-for-six in her first season.

“We messed up our paperwork for nominations and she wasn’t eligible for any of Hawthorne’s stakes that year,” added Graham.

Danny did stake his talented filly as a three-year-old both in Illinois and in Indiana and was rewarded with a $153,350 windfall.

Graham’s filly rattled off eight consecutive victories that again included both State Fair titles, along with all three legs of Hawthorne’s Beulah Dygert stake series, plus its $120,000 final on the 2017 Night of Champions.

The four-year-old season can be troublesome for some pacers and trotters but it wasn’t for Annas Lucky Star. The mare proved best in five Hawthorne Opens and was second or third in five others. She also stayed flawless at the State Fairs by securing the ICF aged trot showdowns at both Springfield and Du Quoin.

“Anna” had to settle for the bridesmaid role as the co-favorite with Picky Picky Valor on the 2018 Night of Champions Plesac final when the 50-1 longshot Spirit O’Mar shocked the crowd by rallying past with trainer Steve Searle, paying $108.80 for a $2 winning ticket.

Nevertheless, Annas Lucky Star came back one start later and bagged first place money in a $17,000 Open Trot at Hoosier Park, ending the 2018 season with $72,525 more in earnings.

Last year the mare continued to make frequent stops at the winner’s circle (10 times) and rake-in plenty of more dough ($97,000). “Anna” went to the gate in eight more Hawthorne Opens and greeted the track photographer five times after those nightly features were over. The mare was second in her trio of losses.

Annas Lucky Star was tons the best in the $45,000 Plesac on the Night of Champions and captured a $12,000 Open Two at Hoosier Park in early November, her last start in 2019.

The daughter of Cassis, out of Graham’s broodmare Queen Jamie, awaits her 2020 debut. Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later in this difficult time.
By Mike Paradise

When Danny Graham’s gifted ICF trotter Annas Lucky Star does make her season debut at Hawthorne the seven-year-old mare will put on the line a sparkling career record, especially in her home state.

The homebred trotter has gone postward 61 times and finished first a remarkable 34 of those races, a 55 per cent winning clip. And when it comes to racing in Illinois, the mare has proven best an amazing 71 per cent of the time.

Annas Lucky Star has earned $359,825 for her Salem, Illinois owner and breeder Danny Graham with more than $320,000 of those earnings in the last three years, mostly in Opens or ICF stake races under the care of veteran trainer Nelson Willis.

“She’s been training better than ever,” said Graham. “She would be ready to qualify in the next couple of weeks if we had a place to race her but we don’t. We’ll just have to wait and see how things will turn out.”

As a two-year-old the only state bred stake races “Anna” competed in was at the Illinois State Fairs, where she captured the $35,000 Springfield Championship and the $20,000 Shawnee at Du Quoin while going a perfect six-for-six in her first season.

“We messed up our paperwork for nominations and she wasn’t eligible for any of Hawthorne’s stakes that year,” added Graham.

Danny did stake his talented filly as a three-year-old both in Illinois and in Indiana and was rewarded with a $153,350 windfall.

Graham’s filly rattled off eight consecutive victories that again included both State Fair titles, along with all three legs of Hawthorne’s Beulah Dygert stake series, plus its $120,000 final on the 2017 Night of Champions.

The four-year-old season can be troublesome for some pacers and trotters but it wasn’t for Annas Lucky Star. The mare proved best in five Hawthorne Opens and was second or third in five others. She also stayed flawless at the State Fairs by securing the ICF aged trot showdowns at both Springfield and Du Quoin.

“Anna” had to settle for the bridesmaid role as the co-favorite with Picky Picky Valor on the 2018 Night of Champions Plesac final when the 50-1 longshot Spirit O’Mar shocked the crowd by rallying past with trainer Steve Searle, paying $108.80 for a $2 winning ticket.

Nevertheless, Annas Lucky Star came back one start later and bagged first place money in a $17,000 Open Trot at Hoosier Park, ending the 2018 season with $72,525 more in earnings.

Last year the mare continued to make frequent stops at the winner’s circle (10 times) and rake-in plenty of more dough ($97,000). “Anna” went to the gate in eight more Hawthorne Opens and greeted the track photographer five times after those nightly features were over. The mare was second in her trio of losses.

Annas Lucky Star was tons the best in the $45,000 Plesac on the Night of Champions and captured a $12,000 Open Two at Hoosier Park in early November, her last start in 2019.

The daughter of Cassis, out of Graham’s broodmare Queen Jamie, awaits her 2020 debut. Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later in this difficult time.
By Mike Paradise

When Danny Graham’s gifted ICF trotter Annas Lucky Star does make her season debut at Hawthorne the seven-year-old mare will put on the line a sparkling career record, especially in her home state.

The homebred trotter has gone postward 61 times and finished first a remarkable 34 of those races, a 55 per cent winning clip. And when it comes to racing in Illinois, the mare has proven best an amazing 71 per cent of the time.

Annas Lucky Star has earned $359,825 for her Salem, Illinois owner and breeder Danny Graham with more than $320,000 of those earnings in the last three years, mostly in Opens or ICF stake races under the care of veteran trainer Nelson Willis.

“She’s been training better than ever,” said Graham. “She would be ready to qualify in the next couple of weeks if we had a place to race her but we don’t. We’ll just have to wait and see how things will turn out.”

As a two-year-old the only state bred stake races “Anna” competed in was at the Illinois State Fairs, where she captured the $35,000 Springfield Championship and the $20,000 Shawnee at Du Quoin while going a perfect six-for-six in her first season.

“We messed up our paperwork for nominations and she wasn’t eligible for any of Hawthorne’s stakes that year,” added Graham.

Danny did stake his talented filly as a three-year-old both in Illinois and in Indiana and was rewarded with a $153,350 windfall.

Graham’s filly rattled off eight consecutive victories that again included both State Fair titles, along with all three legs of Hawthorne’s Beulah Dygert stake series, plus its $120,000 final on the 2017 Night of Champions.

The four-year-old season can be troublesome for some pacers and trotters but it wasn’t for Annas Lucky Star. The mare proved best in five Hawthorne Opens and was second or third in five others. She also stayed flawless at the State Fairs by securing the ICF aged trot showdowns at both Springfield and Du Quoin.

“Anna” had to settle for the bridesmaid role as the co-favorite with Picky Picky Valor on the 2018 Night of Champions Plesac final when the 50-1 longshot Spirit O’Mar shocked the crowd by rallying past with trainer Steve Searle, paying $108.80 for a $2 winning ticket.

Nevertheless, Annas Lucky Star came back one start later and bagged first place money in a $17,000 Open Trot at Hoosier Park, ending the 2018 season with $72,525 more in earnings.

Last year the mare continued to make frequent stops at the winner’s circle (10 times) and rake-in plenty of more dough ($97,000). “Anna” went to the gate in eight more Hawthorne Opens and greeted the track photographer five times after those nightly features were over. The mare was second in her trio of losses.

Annas Lucky Star was tons the best in the $45,000 Plesac on the Night of Champions and captured a $12,000 Open Two at Hoosier Park in early November, her last start in 2019.

The daughter of Cassis, out of Graham’s broodmare Queen Jamie, awaits her 2020 debut. Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later in this difficult time.

Mike Paradise’s stories are posted every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday while racing at Hawthorne is closed down.