By Mike Paradise
After pulling off an upset victory in the opening leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial filly trotting stake series at 24-1 odds the ICF 3-year-old Roma Falls Thursday could wrap up a starting berth in that $75,000 (est.) championship in September,
However the Ray Hanna filly trotter hasn’t gone postward since her romping four length victory back on June 2. It’ll be 28 days since her 1:58 winning mile.
“Roma Falls got sick and that’s why she’s been off this long,” explained Hanna. “I planned on racing her at Martinsville (Fair) but she still wasn’t right so I didn’t enter her. She’s good now and she she’s trained good. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that she’ll do well Thursday.”
Roma Falls won a division of the Springfield championship as a freshman and was a close second in the Shawnee at Du Quoin. Her other five starts all came on the Illinois County Fair Circuit for her owners and breeders Mary Lea Jeffers (McAllen, Texas) and Adele Jeffers Everett (Flat Rock, Illinois)
The Hanna trainee was sent off as the betting favorite in a Hawthorne Late Closer Series after a winning qualifier in late April but made a break at the start in her sophomore debut on May 12 and ended-up a non-threatening sixth.
One week later in the Late Closer Final she again was the post time favorite but a first-over trip contributed to the filly’s third place finish.
The fickle betting public then ignored her in her Beulah Dygert opening stake series leg, sending her off as the second longest shot in the race. However Roma Falls proved them wrong, putting it all together and winning rather easily at a $51.80 mutuel. (Four Footed Photo)
“I didn’t expect her to be the favorite in that race but I didn’t expect her to go off at 25-1 either,” said Hanna.
“Roma Falls can be her own worst enemy,” continued the 65-year-old Altamont conditioner. “She can get real nervous at times.”
Hanna is hoping Roma Falls will be calm and collected when she leaves from post two with driver Pat Curtin while the likely post time Rockinprincessabbie (Todd Warren) starts on her right.
Rockinprincessabbie was a game winner in her Dygert filly division in late May and another triumph in leg two would clinch a start in the final on Hawthorne’s September 10 Night of Champions.
Powerful Princess (Casey Leonard) and Vengeful (Todd Warren) are the third race second filly stake favorites. Vengeful was second best to Roma Falls in the first leg while Powerful Princess made a rare break on the move as the 4-5 favorite in the same race and ended up fourth.
Mr Strata (Casey Leonard) and Fear (Todd Warren) took their respective first legs of the Erwin F. Dygert stake series for colt and geldings and will tangle for the first time this season in race four, the first of two Dygert male divisions.
My 3-2 sixth race favorite in the second Dygert colt split is Primed N Powerful (Freddie Patton Jr) who has won 2 of his last 3 starts including the $11,221 Downstate Classic at the Carrollton County Fair nine days ago.
Wrightwood, a Kenny Collier stable-mate of Fear, should also get a lot of play. The gelding had a 27.4 last quarter when he came up only a nose short to Mr. Stata in the series first round.
Wrightwood won half of his six starts as a freshman including Balmoral’s $36,500 Plesac Championship.