By Mike Paradise
The eighth filly and mare Open Pace of the Hawthorne meeting produced its seventh different winner last night when the Illinois bred mare Fox Valley Exploit pulled off an upset victory at 13-1 odds.
Driver Kyle Husted gave the seven-year-old Sportsmaster mare a two-hole journey and Fox Valley Exploit unleashed a late surge to overtake the pacesetting It’s Time For Fun (Kyle Wilfong) in deep stretch by three parts of a length with her 1:54.3 winning mile.
Owned by Kyle Husted (Altamont, Illinois) and David Brigham of Michigan, and trained by Amy Husted, the win came in Fox Valley Exploit’s first season venture into the distaff Open ranks.
It’s Time For Fun shot out from the six-slot in search of her second consecutive Open triumph right at the start and brought the seven horse field (No. 1 Suddenly Royal was a late scratch) to a comfortable 58 first half.
Husted had Fox Valley Exploit right on Wilfong’s helmet through most of the race and found racing room in the late going to enable his mare to notch her 23rd lifetime win in 45 starts, quite an impressive winning percentage.
Seventimesacharm (John De Long) had too little, too late, and finished third. The 2-5 public’s choice Maggie Rhee (Todd Warren) made a break in the lane during her belated stretch drive and ended up last.
Quite A Rally: Talk About Valor showed he can get the job done in a Hawthorne Open Trot coming from far out it. Under the patient handling from his regular driver Travis Seekman, the pride of the Gerald Hansen Stable went from last to first when he took last night’s $13,700 co-feature.
The 1:56 flat victory was the third in his last four Open starts for the seven-year-old ICF gelding owned by Shelly Steele of Monee, Illinois, and Talk About Valor’s 19th in 62 career outings.
Assigned the outside six post, Seekman took Talk About Valor ($5.60) back at the start as first Magic Night (Todd Warren) and then the 3-2 betting favorite Rockyroad Aldo (Mike Oosting) dictated the fractions.
Magic Night took the field to a 28.4 first quarter before giving up the lead to Rockyroad Aldo who found the 56.4 half a bit too quick for him on this night.
Meanwhile, Seekman had Talk About Valor in sixth and last throughout and was still more than nine lengths behind at the three-quarter pole. Nonetheless the winner had plenty in the tank for the stretch drive, zipping past the field and beating runner-up Magic Night (Todd Warren) by a half-length. Lousraptor (Juan Franco) was third best while Rockyroad Aldo faded and ended up in a dead-heat for fifth.