By Mike Paradise
When the draw comes out Saturday for the first day of racing at Du Quoin, one Springfield champion isn’t likely to be on the list of entered horses to make the trip to southern Illinois and have another shot at a State Fair championship
The Jim Eaton stable’s star 2-year-old filly trotter Encantado, the impressive 1:54.2 winner in the $27,500 Springfield Final for 2-year-old trotting fillies is expected to skip Tuesday’s Windy Skeeter freshman stake at the Du Quoin State Fair.
“It’s been a tough decision whether or not to send her to Du Quoin, but it looks like we’ll decide not to go,” said Eaton. “If we did it would be four straight weeks of tough races for the filly. After Du Quoin there are two more legs of the Fox Valley Flan at Hawthorne and the final in the Night of Champions (Sept. 22nd).”
With Encantado’s Springfield championship coming on the 15th (of August), it also would be five big races in five and a half weeks if she went to Du Quoin. That’s a lot to ask a 2-year-old filly in the middle of summer.
“By not sending her she’ll get a good rest before her two legs of the Fox Valley Flan at Hawthorne and the Final,” added the Michigan native.
Eaton likes what he saw when he spotted Encanatado at her yearling sale, nevertheless so far, the filly has even exceeded her trainer’s expectations.
“I never expected her to be as good as she has been so far,” said Eaton. “She was a good for us right from the start. I would like to tell you it was something I did, but she’s been perfect right along. The only thing I did was pick her out at the sale. We paid $16,000 for her. I thought she just looked good, so we took a chance on buying her and so far we’re very happy how well she has come along.”
The daughter of Lous Legacy, out of the Broadway Hall broodmare Lime Sunlight has risen to the top of her ICF division. Thus far Encantado has only one blemish on her first season of racing and that was her runner-up finish in a second leg of the Fox Valley Flan stake series behind the winner Louzotic.
Encantado avenged that defeat at Springfield, beating her rival by a comfortable two and one-half lengths with Casey Leonard at her lines. The filly began her career with a victory on the division of the $30,050 Violet and followed with a win in her initial Fox Valley Flan leg at Hawthorne.
After her July 22nd Fox Valley Flan loss, she rebounded with an easy win in her Springfield elimination, before cruising in the final. Encantado has earned $40,150 in her first five lifetime starts for Illinois owners Phil Langley (Frankfort), Jim Schwarz (Wooddale) and Eaton (Crete).
It’s Official: The Friday night feature at Hawthorne is the ninth high-level conditioned pace. The $8,000 event is for non-winners of $6,500 in their last five starts and a number of the nine pacers going to the gate are former Open Pace starters at the summer meet.
The 5-2 program favorite is Parklane Official (Casey Leonard), from the barn of trainer Nelson Willis. The 3-year-old Art Official gelding was put on Lasix three starts ago and proceeded to win in 1:51.4, a new lifetime mark and was beaten less than one length in a Hawthorne Open in his next outing.
Fox Valley Reggie, Lyons King, Sunset Dreamer, Last Dragon, Rising To The Top, Hash-Tag Swag, Buff’s Image and Jewel Maker will provide the competition.
Fox Valley Reggie (Kyle Wilfong), spent the month of July racing in Hawthorne Opens before heading to Springfield, where he captured the Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes championship for aged male pacers in 1:51.2, a career fastest mile for the 4-year-old ICF pacer.
A reminder: Entries for Du Quoin’s two-day meeting (next Tuesday and Wednesday), will be taken Saturday morning at the Hawthorne Race Office (708-780-3690).
Tuesday’s Du Quoin card has an 11am first post, while the Wednesday program gets under way at 6:30 in the evening.