(Friday’s Springfield State Fair races have been postponed. They will attempt to race the Friday and Saturday cards beginning on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Friday’s card first, followed by Saturday).
By Mike Paradise
The month of August brings about a unique situation with harness racing going on in Illinois both in the afternoon and the evening.
It all starts today with the opening card of the 2021 Illinois State Fair racing schedule at the Springfield Fairgrounds with eliminations or preps for a quartet of two-year-old events and a pair of three-year-old trots.
Saturday at Springfield are the ISFCS remaining elims and/or preps for sophomore pacers and trotters as well as the ICF aged championships and some IDOA contests. All the ISFCS finals will be contested on Thursday afternoon, August 15,
A little more than a week later racing at the two-day Du Quoin state fair meet gets under way with its 12 ICF championships spread over programs on Friday, August 27th, and Saturday, the 28th.
But first things first.
Nine of 10 races on the Friday Springfield program, now scheduled to be conducted Saturday beginning at 10 am, are elimination events for next week’s ISFCS championships.
In race two Incredible Finale leg champions Major Grin (pp 1, Ridge Warren) and Frontier Bombay (pp 2, Todd Warren) square off in one division for freshman male pacers while the Gary Rath’s stable’s unbeaten Fox Valley Ozzy puts his four race winning streak on the line a couple of events later where the two-time Incredible Final leg winner takes on eight state-bred foes, including the Kyle Husted Stable’s Get E Up, a winner of a Cardinal stake division in late June.
The third race ISFCS elimination is definitely the stronger of the two-year-old filly elimination trots on the card.
Funky Wiggle, who proved best in her first leg of Incredible Tillie, landed the rail with Kyle Wilfong, who drove her to the filly’s fourth season triumph 12 days ago at Hawthorne.
Among Funky Wiggle’s challengers are Lous Xanadu (pp 4, Kyle Husted), former Illinois Trotter of the Year Louzotic younger sister who captured a division of the Violet for trainer Steve Searle a few weeks ago, along with double ICF stake champion Ironclad Creations (pp 7, Ridge Warren), from the Mike Brink stable, and the Charles Arthur trained and driven youngster Armbro Lark, already with a pair of Fox Valley Flan leg victories on her list of accomplishments.
The first (sixth face) elimination division for freshman pacing fillies came up particularly loaded with the trio of Dandy’s MNM (pp 1, Kyle Husted), Apple Valley (pp 7, Kyle Wilfong) and the Roshun Trigg stable’s Rollnroz (pp 8, Archie Budford).
Rollnroz has spent the last five weeks successfully competing on the County Fair Circle after earlier in July winning back-to-back divisions of the Violet and Incredible Tillie. A victory today would Rollnroz’s 10th in his first season.
The Jay Garrells trained Apple Valley is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The Major Bombay filly didn’t make his debut until early July and then proceeded to pace a 1:55.4 mile a couple of weeks later in a second round of the Incredible Tillie series.
Dandy’s MNM, from the barn of trainer Merv Chupp, won an opening leg of the Incredible Tillie and then spent most of July at The Red Mile in Lexington competing in Kentucky juvenile stakes.
The last three events on Friday’s 10-race Springfield card are for state-bred three-year-old trotters. After a pair of elims for colts and geldings, a nine-horse prep for “the gals” features the Searle trainee Loulita (pp 1m Casey Leonard), with seven first season wins, against the Etv Miller stable’s Midwest division Breeze At Sunset (pp 7, Atlee Bender) who knocked off Loulita the last time they met.
Night Card Shrinks: With a hefty portion of Illinois based horses competing at Springfield in the afternoon, Hawthorne’s Friday and Saturday cards have been reduced to eight events each.
The Open Pace is a no-go this weekend with Fox Valley Gemini and Fox Valley Ren competing in Saturday’s ICF aged male pacing championship.
Ditto for the weekend’s filly and mare Open with likely starters Fox Valley Exploit, Rollin Coal, My Uptowne Girl and Allbeastnobeautyall instead tangling in Saturday’s filly and mare aged pacing showdown.