By Mike Paradise
As we all know the unpredictably in horse racing can make for some unanticipated results.
A great example took place last night for the Tom Simmons trained freshman Fox Valley Herbie. The youngster came into the fourth and final leg of the Incredible Finale stake series as an extreme longshot to advance to next Saturday’s Night of Champions nevertheless that’s exactly what he did with the help of a heady drive from Mike Oosting.
Fox Valley Herbie came into Saturday night in 23rd place in the freshman colt and gelding pacing series and with only the Top Ten point earners making the championship it looked like “Herbie” was in deep trouble to move on.
However, the 7-5 favorite Dox Valley Inferno was in fifth and Oosting was able to flush-out out the public’s choice who in turn received live cover from the 3-1 second betting choice Tiny Jim.
At the three-quarters (1:27.2), Herbie still had a lot of horses to try pass up and plenty of ground to make-up (seven lengths). When Oosting did swing him out for the stretch drive the freshman pacer found another gear and overtook the eventual runner-up finisher Fox Valley Jeter with a 26.2 last quarter at the end of his 1:55.23 mile for owner Benita Simmons of Springfield, Illinois.
Herbie didn’t get his initial pari-mutuel victory until a few weeks ago (Aug. 18) in a Hawthorne non-winners of one race lifetime event but his second place finish behind Fox Valley Reggie in Du Quoin’s Governor Cup when he went off at 31-1 obviously got the attention of a lot of Hawthorne players because he was the third betting choice in his series leg and paid a modest $8.00.
The 50 points for the victory vaulted Fox Valley Herbie all the way up to sixth in the final Incredible Finale standings where he’ll meet second division winner Fox Valley Nemitz (Pat Curtin) who nosed out Spirited Encounter, and third split victor Sporty Redhot (Matt Kruger), now triumphant in all four legs of the series, among others,
According to my calculations Gabe Paul, Fox Valley Jeter, Uptown Sleaze, Fox Valley Inferno, Fox Valley Reggie, Tiny Jim and Spirited Encounter, also made the Incredible Finale championship.
That finalists list is unofficial and it should be noted the arithmetic was done by a guy who a very long time ago in high school had to take took the same math class three different times a day in the same semester.
A little later on last night the Megan Rogers Stable’s Unlocked (Jim Pantaleano) showed he’s the horse to beat in the $50,000 Molano Championship after a strong 1:51.1 front-end victory in last night’s $10,000 prep for older ICF male pacers.
Cole Heat (Ridge Warren) came away from the one-slot and parked-out Unlocked through a 27.2 first quarter. A Cool Card (Todd Warren) took over command soon after but only briefly. Unlocked came out and retook the lead and went on to hold off the 67-1 longshot Fiveknuckleshuffle (Jim Lackey) by one and one-half lengths.
A Cool Card (Todd Warren), who raced in the pocket a good portion of the way, nosed out Mystical Walter (Casey Leonard) for third.
In last night’s two Carey stake series divisions of ICF 3-year-old male pacers Dr. Drake Ramoray (Jim Pantaleano) was an easy 1:53 winner in the first split for the Megan Rogers Stable of Chicago and Peter Karras’ Caffeine Kid (Todd Warren) was much the best in his division with a career best time of 1:53.2.