It’s Senior Day at Springfield

By Mike Paradise


While the top ICF three-year-olds pacers are prepping this afternoon for next week’s Illinois State Fair Colt Stake showdowns, the older state bred horses will be competing in a quartet of $7,000 championships and in each division, there are prohibitive favorites.


All four divisions have “seniors” who are defending last year’s Springfield championship and at least on paper, look hard to stop from revisiting the Springfield track photographer after today’s races.


I’ve got the three-time Illinois Pacer of the Year pacer Fox Valley Gemini at 1-5 odds in the showdown for horses and geldings ages four and upward with only three challengers in race three and two, quite frankly, who are overmatched.


Talk About Valor looks hard to beat with the move from the seven-post to the pole position for regular driver Travis Seekman. The horse is 9-for-14 this season for trainer Gerald Hansen and Monee, Illinois owner Shelly Steele, and most of those triumphs came on the front end. That’s where you’ll find the Yankee Valor gelding today. I made him 3 to 5 in my line.


Note that No. 5 Heath Bar did beat him back in the July 2nd Open and with today’s a small field, Jamaica Patton should have his prize five-year-old trotter in position to perhaps pull off an upset again.


Illinois trotting queen Annas Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong) looks to sat unbeaten in her career at Springfield in Saturday’s ISFCS championship for state-bred aged trotting mares. (Four Footed Fotos)

Heath Bar is having a career racing season. He’s already earned over $60,000 for Athens, Illinois breeder Ron Phillips, who shares ownership of the Psychic Spirit home-bred of with Sharry Boledovich of Lakewood, Colorado, and Springfield’s Lyle Lipe.


“The horse just keeps getting better and better,” said Jamaica. “In the early going of a race you have to just let him do that he wants to do but later on you can race him. The horse is capable of a quick last quarter.”


Lousraptor (Casey Leonard), Frontier Manard (Freddie Patton Jr.) and Louscardamon (Kyle Husted) complete the aged trotting championship.


The defending aged filly and mare champ Fox Valley Exploit will get plenty of play. The ultra-consistent five-year-old has been the bridesmaid in the last pair of Hawthorne Opens, a race she won back in early July. As usual, driver Kyle Husted will have her on the move early. I made her 7-5 from the six post in the seven horse field.


The Amy Husted trainee takes on Kandi’s Fortune (Freddie Patton Jr), Skeeter Machine (Casey Leonard, My Uptown Girl (Travis Seekman), Dancin Eyes (Cornelius Cavett) and Rollin Coal (Juan Franco).


A full field of ten older filly and mare trotters will show up for that championship and there’s no doubt Illinois trotting queen Annas Lucky Star will get most of the public’s money after winning last week’s Open Trot where she defeated Talk About Valor for her career victory number 52 in 117 starts,


I made her 3-2 in my line, but she’ll likely go off at lower odds with regular driver Kyle Wilfong. If you’re wondering the last time the star of the Nelson Willis barn lost a race at Springfield, the answer is NEVER.


She won on the Illinois State Fairgrounds as a 2, 3, 4 and 5 year-old. She didn’t race at Springfield at six. The mare then added a fifth championship to her resumé last season at the age of seven.


The other older mare hopefuls are High Queen Anne (Jared Finn), Lous Abigail (Juan Franco), Loulita (Travis Seekman), Loussolataire (Atlee Bender), Lous Livia (Cordarius Stewart), Sunny Sasha (Archie Buford), BBR Lady (Cornelius Cavett), Reign And Shine (Jamaica Patton) and Louzotic (Casey Leonard).


Get E Up (Kyle Husted), shown here winning over Fox Valley Ozzy (Case Leonard) in last year’s Springfield two-year-old colt championship, renew their rivalry Saturday afternoon. (Four Footed Fotos)

Competitive Preps: Michael Perrin’s Apple Valley (Travis Seekman) and Alan Beals’ Pattycake Parkway renew their rivalry in the seven race ISFCS prep for second season state-bred filly pacers.


Eris (Juan Franco), Lady Bombay (Atlee Bender), Bombay Parkway (Wyatt Avenatti), Rollnroz (Archie Buford) and Stardust Gram (Kyle Husted) are their opponents.


The ISFCS for sophomore colt and gelding pacers has a strong field of six horses headed up by recent Carey champion Get E Up (pp 3, Kyle Husted) and Fox Valley Ozzy (pp 2, Casey Leonard), the 2021 Illinois two-year-old colt pacer of the year.


Providing strong opposition to the likely favorites are Fox Valley Crete (Kyle Husted), Josie Rockmyworld (Travis Seekman), Spoken For (Mike Brink) and Kingofmyheart (Atlee Bender).


Quick Friday Card: Along with eight two-year-old eliminations Friday were a pair of sophomore trotting preps. Curt Grummel’s Funky Wiggle Kyle Wilfong) cruised by more than five lengths in the filly division with a career fastest time of 1:53.2.


The colt and gelding trotting prep saw Lousdobb (Casey Leonard) come flying down the stretch and draw away to a three and one-half length victory in 1:56.2 for trainer Steve Searle.


The eight freshman elimination winners were Fox Valley Candor (1:58.4, Kyle Husted)), Fox Valley Kia (1:52.4, Cordarius Stewart), Niko Man (1:55 flat, Kyle Husted), Fox Valley Langley (1:52 flat, Kyle Wilfong), Marvelous Mystery (1:57.2, Kyle Wilfong), The Magical Woman (1:54.2, Atlee Bender), the 12-1 longshot Twin City Alstar (1:57.3, Kyle Husted) and Fox Valley Jasper (1:53.2).