By Mike Paradise
If last week’s Plum Peachy prep race is any indication the third legs of tonight’s ICF stake for 3-year-old pacing fillies ought to be doozies to watch.
The 2018 ICF freshman champion Fox Valley Torrid and Fox Valley Halsey who made the second most money in her division put on quite a show a week ago with the Rodney Freese stable’s “Torrid” uncorking a wicked 26.2 last quarter to edge the Nelson Willis trainee by a head in 1:53.1.
Casey Leonard drove Fox Valley Torrid. Leonard also had “first call” on Fox Valley Halsey.
The good news for Casey is that tonight those two fillies drew into different $15,000 Plum Peachy divisions, so the meet’s annual leading driver will guide both talented Illinois bred fillies.
However the split into two divisions is sad news for us fans who were looking forward to these two fillies slugging it out again tonight. We’ll have to wait for another time, or place like Springfield, for that next match-up.
Nevertheless, Fox Valley Halsey, programmed at even-money, does have five nice fillies taking her on tonight and that includes the Jay Garrels stable’s Perch (Kyle Wilfong) who is perched atop of the Plum Peachy standings with 100 series points via first place finishes in the first two series rounds.
Lily Von Shutpp (Travis Seekman) another gifted state-bred filly from the barn of Nelson Willis also should get good play with the shift to the pole position. Caroline GR (Ridge Warren), Fox Valley Lil Kim (Kyle Husted) and Yankee Joanie (Ronnie Gillespie are the other third race first division combatants.
Awaiting Fox Valley Standardbreds Fox Valley Torrid, listed at 4-5 in the sixth race second Plum Peachy event, is a couple of more “Fox Valley” participants, “Lolo”, driven by Ridge Warren and “Hotcake” with Kyle Wilfong at her lines.
The speed should come from the third Nelson Willis Plum Peachy trainee Valar Moghulis (Travis Seekman) who will very likely sprint out from the outside seven-slot. Brienne The Beauty (pp 4, Jamaica Patton), Dream A Dance (pp 5, Juan Franco) and Winter Gram (pp 6, Ryan Anderson) are the longshots aspirants of the race.Time Out: The $12,000 filly and mare Open Pace took a hit when It’s Time For Fun, victorious two Saturday features and the likely post-time favorite, was a programmed vet scratch.
On the other hand you won’t see any tears coming from the trainers and their owners of the seven distaffers that will go to the gate in the seventh race: Skeeter Machine (Kyle Husted), April Deo (Travis Seekman), Fox Valley Jazzy (Ridge Warren), Magnifique (Luke Plano), Sweetshadyshark (Ryan Anderson), Rollin Coal (Juan Franco) and Boogie On Down (Kyle Wilfong), in that order.
Heads-Up Drive: The even-money favorite Maximus (Kyle Wilfong) was the front-stepping winner of last night’s third leg of the Robert F. Carey stake series for ICF three-year-old pacing colts and geldings.
Wilfong made the winning move with the Ken Rucked trainee when he took Maximus ($4.00) out of the two-hole after the first quarter, reached in a modest time of 29.1 by The Bucket, and to the front.
Wilfong kept the 30-1 longshot Master Sage (Juan Franco) parked-out to the 57.2 half while rival Meyer On Fire (Kyle Husted) was stuck fourth on the inside. A slow 29.2 third panel gave Maximus a breather and the Sportsmaster gelding was able to hold off Meyer On Fire by a half-length in the 1:54.2 mile.