By Mike Paradise
The third legs of Sunday’s two Dygert stakes for ICF 3-year-old trotters should answer some questions in both Night of Champion series events.
Who will emerge as the sole leader in the Beulah Dygert Memorial Series? After two rounds Good Design (Kyle Wilfong) and Maui Mama (Casey Leonard) share the top spot in the filly standings with 100 points each, secured when both fillies won their respective races in the first two legs contested.
With only a single division needed for Sunday night this will be the first time the two talented fillies will meet this season in a Beulah Dygert series round, however they did knock heads a week ago in a prep race and Good Design came out on top by a diminishing half-length in the 1:57.1 mile.
Both trotting fillies were locked-in last week’s first half of the mile with longshots parked-out alongside. Each had to wait until the final turn to shake loose with The Brett Wilfong trained Good Design getting out first and opening up a two length lead on Maui Mama in the stretch and then holding off the Mike Brink trained filly in the late going.
Good Design has the five-slot tonight while Maui Mama is further out with the 8-post in a 11-horse field that has a trailer. You can expect both fillies to be on the move early. In fact, the same can be said for some tough foes like White Pants Fever (pp 3, Ridge Warren) and Trotting Grace (pp 4, Kyle Husted) as well, both from the barn of Steve Searle.
Good Design has $19,325 banked for Indiana owner Mr. Lynn Wilfong while Maui Mama has about a thousand dollars more on her card for Morton, Illinois owner H.W. Wright. Both fillies have career earnings of over $100,000:
Longshots Fox Valley Unleash (Robert Smolin) and Frontier Jackie (Tim Curtin) will scoot out from the one and two slots, respectively. Lou’s Silver Star (Brandon Bates) and Audrey Grace (Ryan Anderson) have posts 6 and 7, while the 9 and 10 trotters are Powerful Temptist (Travis Seekman) and New Queen (Juan Franco). No. 11 Shadow Copy (Mike Oosting) starts in the second tier.
In the fifth race Erwin F. Dygert stakes series for ICF second season trotting colts and geldings we’ll find out if Big Lou (Kyle Wilfong) will continue to put his breaking problems behind him and if division leader Majistic Caprice can resume his earlier winning ways with the help of the bleeder medication Lasix.
After his first Dygert series triumph back in May Big Lou went off stride on a regular basis for the Curt Grummel stable, however he has stayed flat in his last two Hawthorne starts and breezed in both. Kyle Wilfong will take over his lines tonight while trainer Curt Grummel will drive his stable-mate True Detective, winner of the Cardinal in between a third and second place finish in the Dygert,
Majistic Caprice has 62 series points, earned with a third place finish in his first Dygert and a victory in his second, was put on Lasix by trainer Roshun Trigg after a non-threatening fifth place finish a couple of weeks ago and went on to dominate a race (by 38 lengths) at the Urbana County Fair in 2:08.3 on an “off track.” The trotter had a 1:56.4 victory in mid-June at Hawthorne.
Only eight ICF male trotters will go postward in the Erwin Dygert and with the top 10 point earners eligible to compete in the September 22nd final, so you’re pretty much looking at the championship field tonight.
Fly The W (Tim Curtin) has the two-slot in race five while Cruzin Cassi (Jared Finn), Don’t Be Cheeky (Brandon Bates) and Two News (leave from the 4, 5 and 6, in that order. Last year’s Night of Champions winner Illinimight (Casey Leonard) landed the outside eight-hole.
Peachy Favorites Beaten: Saturday night’s third legs of the Plum Peachy produced some mild surprises when Party Belle (Travis Seekman) got her first season win in race seven and The Sis Master (Michele Morgan) held off the 4-5 favorite Rollin Coal in the second division.
Seekman gave Party Belle ($10.40) a two-hole trip behind Skeeter Machine (Kyle Wilfong) and the Tyler George trained filly responded with a winning 1:55 mile for owners Bryan Brown of Du Quoin, Illinois and Ladavie Spann of Anderson, Indiana.
Skeeter Machine was second best, one length behind while JB’s Shooting Star was third in the 1:53.4 mile.
The Sis Master ($5.40), trained by her driver Michele Morgan, made the front at the 28.2 first quarter, got a 29 second quarter breather, and went on to gain a head victory for Wright City, Missouri owners Bel-More Stables over Rollin Coal. The New Americana (Steve Searle) was third, beaten less than a length.
The front-stepping Picky Picky Valor ($5.40), driven by Casey Leonard for trainer Gerald Hansen, made it two consecutive victories in Hawthorne’s $10,000 Open Trot with a 1:54.4 clocking. The fast closing Anna’s Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong) was second best, beaten three-quarters of a length by the Shelley Steele owned winner.
Casey was back in the winner’s circle a few races later after rallying Char N Mar ($5.20) to her victory in the Open II for filly and mare pacers. The 5-year-old ICF mare uncorked a sizzling 26 flat last panel in her 1:53.4 winning mile when she was a neck better than the pace-setting Boogie On Down (Kyle Wilfong).