Sky the Limit in Upcoming Night of Champions

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By Mike Paradise

Trainer Don Filomeno’s late-blooming He’zzz A Wise Sky did what he had to do last night to get a shot at the winner’s share of an estimated $125,000 pot in the Incredible Finale showdown on next Saturday’s Night of Champions at Hawthorne.

Patiently driven by Bobby Smolin, the overwhelming 1 to 9 favorite was settled into fourth in the first Incredible Finale series division while RJ Wulfy (Ridge Warren) had it all his own way through a 58 flat first half. Smolin took He’zzz A Wise Sky out of fourth on the backside and the home-bred grind his way next to RJ Wulfy as they turned for home.

He’s A Wise Sky ($2.20) looked his foe in the eye at the three-quarters (1:26 flat) and then showed his tail to RJ Wulfy as if to wave bye-bye, drawing off by almost 13 lengths at the end of the 1:54.1 mile, his fourth straight victory. It was only six weeks ago that the winning colt made his debut for Justice, Illinois owners Triple ZZZ Stable.

He’zzz A Wise Sky only had eight series points because his late start and only a first place finish Saturday night, worth 50 points, in the third and final round of the Incredible Finale would clinch a starting berth in the juvenile colt final.

Fox Valley Quest (Casey Leonard) made it four straight with his easy win in last night’s first Kadabra freshman trot division. (Four Footed Fotos)

Fox Valley Quest (Casey Leonard) made it four straight with his easy win in last night’s first Kadabra freshman trot division. (Four Footed Fotos)

Among those awaiting He’zzz A Wise Sky will be the second Incredible Finale division winner Fox Valley Wren who won on cruise-control with driver Kyle Wilfong in 1:55.2.

Another Nelson Willis trainee, the 3-5 favorite took over command on the backside, went to the half in 57.4 and was hand driven to the wire for the Megan Rogers Racing Stable of Chicago, IL. Western Perch (Ridge Warren) came on well to take the runner-up role, some four lengths off the winner.

Fox Valley Quest had little trouble maintaining his top spot in the ICF freshman colt and gelding trotting with a very easy victory in the first division of the Kadabra series. Once driver Casey Leonard got command from the one-slot with the Tom Simmons trained two-year-old and was able to coast through consecutive 29.1 quarters, the race wasn’t in doubt.

Casey had his whip tucked under his arm when Fox Valley Quest crossed the finish wire in 1:57.4, more than three lengths to the good. It was the third win in a row for the Pizzazzed gelding and his ninth in eleven first season starts for Illinois owners Carl Lacey (Athens) and Benita Simmons (Springfield).

The second Kadabra division also went to the favorite with the 1-2 choice Crooked Creek (Ryan Anderson) a front stepping winner by two lengths over Mr Red Thunder (Richard S Finn) in a modest winning time of 2:02 flat, more than four seconds slower than Fox Valley Quest’s conquest.

Crooked Creek ($3/00) is trained by Mike Brink for owner and breeder Ed Teefey of Mount Sterling, Illinois.

Earlier on the card Casey Leonard drove both end of the Daily Double when he guided Fox Valley Standardbreds Fox Valley Torrid ($4.00) to a come-from-behind triumph in the initial Plum Peachy series division for Illinois bred sophomore filly pacers.

Valar Morganhulis (Jim Pantaleano) cut the fractions as the two favorites Perch (Kyle Wilfong) and Fox Valley Torrid raced in fourth and fifth through the final turn. In the last quarter of a mile dash-for-cash it was the even-money choice Fox Valley Torrid finishing the fastest in the 1:54.2 mile.

Fox Valley Halsey (Juan Franco) captured the second division of the Plum Peachy for ICF sophomore filly pacers. (Four Footed Fotos)

Fox Valley Halsey (Juan Franco) captured the second division of the Plum Peachy for ICF sophomore filly pacers. (Four Footed Fotos)

The winning Rodney Freese trained filly will have a record of 7 for 15 in her second season when she goes to the gate in the $85,000 (est.) Plum Peachy Final.

Perch finished second while Valar Morghulis held on for third.

It was another “Fox Valley” coming out on top in the second Plum Peachy division when Fox Valley Halsey (Juan Franco) prevailed in 1:53.2 for trainer Nelson Willis.

Franco kept “Halsey” in third until midway in the last turn as her stable-mate Lilly Von Shtupp led throughout. When they came out of the turn Fox Valley Halsey ($3.80) accelerated, zipped to the front and remained there through the wire for Illinois owners Cynthia Kay Willis (Beecher) and Ronnie and Jerry Graham (Salem).

Fox Valley Lil Kim (Kyle Husted) finished well to be second, beaten less than two lengths.

Louzotic (Kyle Husted) continued her domination of the three-year-old ICF filly trotting division in the last leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial series with her fourth consecutive triumph. The 1:58 winning mile was the Steve Searle’s sixth in her last seven outings for owners Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois.

Defending Tony Maurello champion Fox Valley Charm (Travis Seekman) proved to be the best in her elimination division. (Four Footed Fotos)

Defending Tony Maurello champion Fox Valley Charm (Travis Seekman) proved to be the best in her elimination division. (Four Footed Fotos)

The out-of-state invaders Fox Valley Charm ($13.80), driven by Travis Seekman, and Whiskersonkittens ($7.40), with Luke Plano in the bike, captured their respective Tony Maurello Memorial elimination races.

They’ll be joined in the $45,000 (est.) championships by last night’s second through fifth place finishers—Boogie On Down, Pretty Iris, San Antonio Rose and Skeeter Machine from the first division and Rollin Coal, Char N Marg, Fox Valley Jazzy and Shelly On My Mind from the second.

Fox Valley Charm is trained by Dirk Simpson for Sherman, Illinois owner Peter Karras. The Kim Roth trained Whiskersonkittens is owned by Ronald Knupp of Anna, Illinois.