By Mike Paradise
After a successful Springfield State Fair meeting behind him, veteran trainer Steve Searle has his talented young trotters pointed to Du Quoin State Fair. The brief two-day meet is next Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening.
It’s a long five hour drive from Searle’s farm in Grant Park, Illinois to the Du Quoin Fairgrounds, but it could be a rewarding trip for Steve and his owners after the 59- year-old Wisconsin native finished second behind Mike Brink in the trainer standings at Springfield.
Searle sent out four winners in the four day Springfield session, capturing the $25,000 Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes championship in the 3-year-old trotting filly division with Trotting Grace (Kyle Husted), while her stable-mate White Pants Fever (Ridge Warren), was the solid third place finisher. Searle owns a part of both state-bred trotting fillies
“Right now Trotting Grace is as good as she ever has been,” said Steve. “In both her wins at Springfield Kyle (Husted), never pulled her ear plugs. My goal with her and all my young trotters is to have them peak in the middle of August through September. That’s when most of the good money is in play.”
Trotting Grace has over $40,000 on her card this year, while White Pants Fever has done even better with $46,819 banked this season. After Tuesday’s Windy Skeeter stake at Du Quoin both fillies have a $12,500 leg of Hawthorne’s Beulah Dygert Memorial stake and its $85,000 (est) final on the September 22nd Night of Champions still on their schedule.
Steve is also bringing down his “special” freshman trotting filly Louzotic down to Du Quoin. The daughter of Louis Legacy had a big effort when she was second best behind Encantado in the $27,500 Springfield division final.
Louzotic captured a leg of Hawthorne’s Fox Valley Flan stake series in her prior July start and currently sports a plush record of 4 wins and 2 seconds in 7 career trips to the starting gate with just under $25,000 in earnings and two more $12,500 legs Fox Valley Flan series legs and its $75.00 (est) championship to be raced in September.
“Louzatic is all business,” continued Searle. “I was very pleased with her effort at Springfield. She trotted in 1:54.4 and that’s a pretty good mile for an Illinois bred 2-year-old filly.”
Searle will also send out the 2-year-old colt trotter Louscardamon in Wednesday’s Darn Safe stake. The Lous Legacy youngster is very green, but has the potential to be a good trotter for Searle and owners Flacco Family Farms and Dr. Patrick Graham.
Staying on stride for the entire mile kept Louscardamon at a shot in the $25,000 Springfield Final and instead the colt had to settle for that stake’s Consolation prize ($7,000 purse) last week.
“He can really trot,” said Searle. “Louscardamon might be the fastest trotter in my barn when he stays flat. We’ve been working with him to eliminate his breaking problems. It’s just been what I would call ‘stupid stuff’ that has him breaking. Hopefully we’ve got him straighten out. He’s still got some big races to go.”
Louscardamon breezed in his Kadabra leg at Hawthorne in his first pari-mutuel start and led the field coming out of the last turn in his Springfield elimination when he started running with driver Mike Oosting as the public’s choice. The youngster, also went off-stride in his first two career starts on the County Fair Circuit, but was still much the best in his debut at Carrollton.
Tuesday’s opening day post time is 11 am, while Wednesday’s card will get under way at 6:30 in the evening.
Du Quoin Draws Info: A double draw for both Du Quoins cards is set for this Saturday morning at Hawthorne. Entries close at 10 am. The ICF stake championships for 2 and 3-year-olds all carry at $200 entry fee.