By Mike Paradise
Not all the harness racing in Illinois this week is taking place at Hawthorne Race Course. The Springfield State Fair Grounds played host Tuesday afternoon for 13 Downstate Classics, featuring the majority of the top 2 and 3-year-old ICF pacers and trotters.
A pair of Downstate Classics for state-bred freshman filly trotters kicked off the 24 race program that also included nine IHHA sponsored events.
Lolita, driven by her trainer Steve Searle overtook the current leader Lous Voodoo Woman in the Fox Valley Flan division with a one-plus length victory in 2:01.1. The Erv Miller Stable’s Myonly Sin (Mike Oosting), a recent Cardinal stake champion was much the best (almost 10 lengths) in the second filly trot split.
The colt and gelding juvenile trot divisions went to Bobalou (2:01.4) and Shady Maple Valor (2:04.4), another recent Cardinal titleholder. Trainer Curt Grummel steered Bobalou to his front-stepping two lengths triumph while Freddie Patton Jr. guided Shady Maple Valor to his same winning margin over two-time Kadabra stake series victor Coco Lascito.
Mike Oosting drove both two-year-old filly pace division winners each in a time of 2:00.1. Connie On the Go made it four in a row with a neck decision over Kandi’s Fortune and Erv Miller’s Pure Sin prevailed by one length.
In the juvenile colt pace division Ryans Loan Shark (Cordarius Stewart) breezed by nine lengths in 2:02 for trainer Roshun Triggs while Well Basically gave driver Mike Oosting and trainer Erv Miller their third freshman champion of the afternoon, a four length decision in 1:58.4
The $9,179 three-year-old Downstate Classic filly trot was a close affair when Lous Abigail (Casey Leonard) gained a scant nose decision over El Oh Govner (Mike Rogers) in 1:58 flat.
The two $4,989 colt and gelding sophomore trots splits went as expected with the Tom Simmons stable’s Fox Valley Quest (Casey Leonard) a comfortable four length winner in 1:57.1 while Crooked Creek (Mike Oosting) continued on a roll for trainer Mike Brink by drawing off by almost seven lengths.
The pair of $5,374 filly pacing divisions proved to be no contests as Charles Arthur’s Sign Her Up (Juan Franco) was seven lengths the best in 1:54.4 and Leroy Hunt’s Double Parked (Cordarius Stewart) cruised by five lengths in 1:56.3.
Casey Leonard put Ryans Ambassador on the front in the 3-year-old colt trot and the Jim Molitor trainee was never headed in his 1:56.1 mile.
Louzotic (Kyle Husted) stayed sharp for Saturday’s Hawthorne Open Trot with a 1:58.2 win, finishing ahead of her nearest foe by a widening 13 lengths. Frontier Muffler came out of it in the aged male trot division and powered past for a two-length triumph with trainer Freddie Patton Jr. at his lines.
Hawthorne takes over the Illinois Standardbred baton Friday night with an eleven-race card. First post is 7:10 pm.