“Big Guns” Head Lengthy Springfield Card

By Mike Paradise


A quartet of Illinois State Fair Colt Stake championships will be decided Saturday afternoon at the Springfield fairgrounds and some of best and most popular Standardbreds in our state will be in action.


With weather related track conditions preventing Friday’s ISFCS eliminations events from being contested, yesterday’s card will be conducted prior to Saturday’s scheduled racing program with a 10 am first post.


Of course, that’s assuming it doesn’t rain and the Springfield’s dirt track dries out enough to safely conduct racing.


If all goes well, prep races for ICF three-year-old pacers go back-to-back to kick off the Saturday’s planned nine race card. The Prairie state’s older “Big Guns” then come rolling out for races three, four, five and six.


The ISFCS championship for aged trotting and mares will see the two trotting queens, Annas Lucky Star (pp 5, Kyle Wilfong) and Louzotic (pp 9, Casey Leonard) slug it out for the bragging rights.


Between them, the two gifted mares have made 74 winner’s circle stops during their brilliant careers with 44 going to for the seven-year-old Nelson Willis trained Annas Lucky Star and 28 to the five-year-old Louzotic for trainer Steve Searle.


Annas Lucky Star has worn ISFCS aged trotting mare crown the last three years for owner and breeder Danny Graham of Salem, Illinois. She also was the Springfield champion as a two and three-year-old so needless to say the one-mile dirt oval suits her just fine.



They’ll be “spinning out of the turn” Saturday at Springfield with a 20-race program that begins at 10 o’clock in the morning. (Four Footed Fotos)

The defending ISFCS aged colt and gelding pacing champ Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) will go postward one race later and the winner of 43 of 70 career races, mostly in Opens and ICF stakes, is sure to go off as the overwhelming favorite from post two in a field of seven state-bred pacers.


Now six, “Gemini” boasts lifetime earnings of $531,443 for trainer Terry Leonard and owner Jim Ballinger of Atwater, Illinois.


Next up is the ISFCS showdown for aged trotting horses and geldings it boasts three of this year’s Open champions at Hawthorne—Talk About Valor (pp 1, Travis Seekman), Lousraptor (pp 4, Juan Franco) and Louscardamon (pp 2, Kyle Husted).


Lousraptor and Louscardamon are sons of the Flacco Family Farms highly successful stallion Lou’s Legacy and so is Lou Paschal (pp 3). All three hail from the barn of trainer Steve Searle.


Talk About Valor will be making only his fifth start of the year and is first since he won a Hawthorne Open on July 18th. The six-year-old also captured the local Open in his previous outing on June 6th.


The seven-horse aged mare pace should be a heck of a horse race. Five pacers—Rollin Coal (pp 2, Juan Franco), Skeeter Machine (pp 3, Kyle Wilfong), Fox Valley Exploit (pp 4, Kyle Husted), My Uptown Girl (pp 5, Ridge Warren) and Allbeastnobeauty (pp 7, Todd Warren)—are either past or present Hawthorne Open distaff horses.


Allbeastnobeauty and Skeeter Machine each won a $7,000 division of the stake in 2020 when it was contested at Hawthorne because Covid shutdown the last year’s Illinois State Fairs.


Price Is Right: Friday’s fifth race winner I’m An Athlete paid $16.20 and was your author’s “Price Shot” on Hawthorne card.