By Mike Paradise
After the renowned Taser Gun’s domination at Maywood Park during the turn of this century, another ICF pacer came along to win over the hearts of Chicago circuit’s half-mile patrons and that would be Constant Change.
The star of the Tom Simmons Stable had a fabulous racing career in the first decade of the 2000s with 38 lifetime victories and almost $600,000 in purse earnings and while Constant Change did very well on the all tracks in Illinois, he really shined on Maywood Park’s smaller oval.
Constant Change went to the gate 60 times at Maywood Park with the vast majority of those outings in Free for All’s, Opens, and ICF stake races and racked up 23 victories, a 33 per cent winning clip. The gelding was third or better at Maywood Park an amazing 75 per cent of the time.
And don’t think Constant Change’s opposition at Maywood Park wasn’t as tough as nails in the mid-2000s.
At one time or another the Cole Muffler gelding posted Maywood Park Free for All victories against such talented pacers as Taser Gun, Fox Valley Devious, Parklane Powerful, Color Me Best, Frontstreet Marty, King Johnny and Sagebrush.
A $32,000 yearling acquisition by Benita Simmons (Springfield, Illinois), Hunt Harness (Big Rock, Illinois) and Helen Logan (Nowata, Oklahoma) at the 1998 Cottonwood Farm Sale, Constant Change was a late-bloomer.
The son of Cole Muffler out of the Bret Hanover broodmare Flashing By, wasn’t raced as a freshman and only had limited success as a three-year-old earning less than $27,000. Constant Change’s four-year-old season was also moderate, banking a little more than $33,000.
It was at the age of five that Constant Change took off as an ICF pacing star. He was a 13-time winner that season with earnings of $239,424. Seven of his 2003 triumphs came at Maywood with $20,000 added to his money won total from the track’s incentive award to the horse with the most points earned in its Maywood Park Pacing Series that encompassed the Cook County, Egyptian and Associates Illinois sired stake events.
That same year (2003) Constant Change sliced two full seconds off his previous best winning mile time when he sped to a 1:50.2 clocking in an early November Free For All at Balmoral Park.
It was as a six-year-old that Constant Changed zipped to his lifetime mark of 1:49.4 and it came at the Springfield State Fair with a classic match-up against the celebrated Illinois kingpin Taser Gun. The event was the Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Aged Horse and Gelding Championship. The purse was $10,000 but it was raced as if there was another “Zero” was on the line. Both ICF stars went off at even-money in a five-horse field.
Mike Lachance shot Randolph Duke out from the five-slot to take the lead with a quick 27.1 first quarter time. Dave Magee protected the rail with Constant Change and was second, two lengths behind. Andy Miller ducked Taser Gun and was fourth another three lengths further back. Magee had Constant Chance on the move on the backside making the front with a very quick 27 flat second quarter, with Taser Gun some six and a half lengths behind.
Magee got a 28.3 third quarter breather for Constant Chance at the same time Taser Gun was taking in air while closing the gap to one and a quarter lengths. As it turned and the Bob Walker trained luminary wouldn’t get much closer despite a 26.3 last panel because Constant Change also came home in the same rapid time. For that matter so did the third and fourth placed horses Randolph Duke and Honest Lawyer.
A lot has changed in our industry in the 16 years since that memorable Springfield match-up. Unfortunately it hasn’t been all good for our Illinois harness racing industry.
Live racing, Qualifiers Update: Hawthorne’s meeting will resume on Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th.
Hawthorne Qualifiers are scheduled for Monday, June 1st and also on Wednesday, June 3rd. Monday’s qualifier entries must be declared by 9 am Sunday, May 31st. Wednesdays entries are due Tuesday, June 2nd, also by 9 a.m. Online entries are encouraged.
Horses that raced at Hawthorne between Friday, March 6 and Sunday, March 15, need not qualify. They can but it’s not mandatory.
Also, Qualifiers are scheduled on Friday and Saturday at the Springfield State Fairgrounds, weather permitting. Springfield qualifiers will be held Friday and Saturday at 11:00a.m. Entries can be made online or by phone Thursday (May 28) and Friday (May 29) from 7-10 a.m. by calling LeAnn Shinn at 618-783-2589.