With sunny skies and a warm 88 degrees, the 2021 harness racing meet at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield came to an end Thursday afternoon. Eight Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes championships were decided on the 13-race card and as usual there were some surprises.
Here’s out it all played out:
No Doubt About It: ICF freshman filly trotters kicked off the first of the ISFSC championship events and when the dust settled it was the 3-5 favorite Funky Wiggle, nicely handled by Kyle Wilfong, clearly the best.
It was the first of five $40,000 pots on the line for ICF first season pacers or trotters.
The 1:56.1 mile was more than two seconds faster than the Curt Grummel trained filly had trotted in her previous seven starts. Owned by her breeder Dr. Patrick Graham of Pittsfield, Illinois, the Lou’s Legacy offspring rallied from fifth at the half to draw away by about four lengths over Ironclad Creation with the pacesetting Hot Trotn Trixie ending up third best.
Just Rollin Along: The two-year-old filly pace championship was next and the Roshun Trigg trained Rollnroz gave driver Archie Buford his first career major stakes winner and the filly did it rather easily.
The 30-year-old Mississippi native got Rollnroz on top on the back side and the Fort Knox filly never looked back, two lengths the best over the favorite Dandy’s MNM with Iwannarocknroll getting third.
Owned by Eric and Rosalind Jaynes, of Magee, Mississippi, the win was the 10th in 15 trips postward for Rollnroz and the time of 1:53.2 shaved more than two seconds off the filly’s previous fastest mile.
Where They Go! The Mike Brink Stable’s Fox Valley Cairo was the dominating winner of the two-year-old colt and gelding trot showdown., perfectly rated by driver Ridge Warren.
Sent to the top, Fox Valley Cairo coasted to a 58.4 half and had plenty left in the tank for the stretch drive, so much so that Ridge had time to look over his should in the lane to see where the opposition was.
Fox Valley Cairo, owned by the Illinois trio of Charles Biggs (Altamont), Dr. Robert Lacey (Nokomis) and trainer Mike Brink (Springfield), trotted the mile in 1:57 flat and was well in hand at the wire, some three and one-half lengths ahead.
Pocket Trip: The last of the five two-year-old ISFCS championship was for male pacers and it saw trainer Kyle Husted give Get E Up a winning two-hole journey over the 1-2 favorite Fox Valley Ozzy (Casey Leonard) with a quick 1:52 flat clocking.
Get E Up got his driver’s desired trip behind Fox Valley Ozzy right from the start and “Ozzy” never got much of a breather, pressured to a 27.3 first quarter and a 55.3 half.
The two ICF freshmen raced side-by-side through the stretch with Get E Up winning for the third time in five lifetime starts for owners Kyle Husted (Altamont, IL), David Brigham (Litchfield, MI) and John Schwarz (Wood Dale, IL). Kingofmyheart finished third.
The three-year-olds took over the Springfield spotlight for the last five $30,000 championship showdowns.
Patience Pays Off: A patient drive by Atlee Bender enabled him to guide the 6-5 second choice Breeze At Sunset to a 1:55.2 winning mile for Erv Miller in the filly trot. One length behind was BC’s Rose while Loulita held on for third:
Bender hurried Breeze At Sunset away from the outside nine-slot however Casey Leonard did the same with Loulita from the eight and Kyle Wilfong with BC’s Rose from the seven.
Breeze At Sunset settled in third and stayed there behind the front-stepping even money favorite Loulita with BC’S Rose in the two-hole. They remained that way until mid-stretch when Breeze At Sunset kicked into a faster gear and rolled past the early leaders for her Shorewood Illinois proprietor Bowie Racing LLC.
No Fooling Around: The colt and gelding sophomore trot gave the crowd a thrilling stretch duel with the 8-1 longshot Sumbodygetdisfool (Todd Warren) putting his head in front of the heavy 1-2 favorite Coco D’Lascito (J D Finn) right before the finish wire..
Coco D’ Lascito cut the fractions, going to a 57 half, but Todd Warren had a firm hold of Sumbodygetdisfool in the middle of the pack after three horses went off stride at the start, and the Roshun Trigg trained trotter got up in time for owner Laquinton Shavers of Brandon, Mississippi.
“Juanderful” Victory: In the filly division a heads-up drive by driver Juan Franco saw his filly Scorecard Dandy upset the overwhelming 1 to 5 favorite Hart’s Heart (Kyle Wilfong).in 1:54.3.
Franco hustled Scorecard Dandy away from the gate the fastest while Hart’s Heart was dropped into fifth in the eight-horse field. The Guatemala native was able to back the field down to a leisurely 59.2 first half with the first over Hart’s Heart now second on his outside.
In the lane, Franco asked the Gregory Kain trained filly for more and she delivered, pulling away and getting the job done for Green Acres LLC (Beecher, IL) and Mike Klimas (Oak Lawn, IL)
A Game “Big Guy”: In the finale for pacing colts and geldings Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard) nailed the 3-5 favorite Ryans Loan Shark (Travis Seekman) in the final stride to take home the winner’s share of the $30,000 purse.
Casey hurried Ideal Big Guy to the front from the outside seven slot at the start, but Seekman came out of third at the quarter pole and zipped to the top. After a 58.1 half it appeared Ryans Loan Shark was in good shape, but Leonard and Ideal Big Guy had another outcome in mind.
Casey pulled the Terry Leonard trainee out of the pocket coming out of the last turn and the two state-bred pacers battled down the lane with “The Big Guy” getting his nose in front when it counted the most.
Ideal Big Guy is owned by the Illinois trio of Dandy Farms Racing Stable (Glenview), Terry Leonard (Harvard) and Peter Kouchis (Palos Park).
They’re Back: The $12,000 Open Pace returns tonight with a stellar field of six horses, four of them—Lying In Cash (pp3, Kyle Husted), Fox Valley Gemini (pp4, Casey Leonard), Bobcat Bay (pp5, Ridge Warren) and He’zzz A Wise Sky (pp 6, Kyle Wilfong)—are a winner of Hawthorne’s top overnight event in either July or August.
He’zzz A Wise Sky was assigned the outside six-slot after a sizzling winning performance last week at Hoosier Park winning a $51,000 Invitational in a career fastest time of 1:49.1.
The John Filomeno trained ICF home-bred had to leave from the eight-slot in an 11-horse field with two trailers and was parked-out the first haft to scorching fractions of 25.4 and 53:3 to get command and still was a neck the best for driver John Delong
Primo Giovanni (pp 1, Todd Warren) and On Duty (pp 2, Atlee Bender), complete Hawthorne’s second race headliner.