With the opening rounds of the Night of Champions stake series for freshmen pacers behind us it’s time to turn our attention to the first crop of ICF two-year-old trotters with aspirations to make their way to either the Fox Valley Flan or Kadabra championships in mid-September.
Obviously trying to figure out just how a race for 2-year-old trotters will unfold in a pari-mutuel event for the first time is strictly anyone’s guess. A Wiji Board might help some but probably not any more than tossing darts.
In tonight’s stake races, the qualifiers aren’t much help for handicapping purposes. Staying on stride was the priority, not a quick qualifying time. In most cases youngsters got down to the half in leisurely fractions, so the final mile time wasn’t going to be much.
Instead bloodlines can play more of a role in unscrambling these 2-year-old trotting stakes.
The second race first $17,500 Fox Valley Flan division has a trio of fillies with successful siblings—Fox Valley Lush (pp 2, Ryan Anderson), Lauren Hall (pp 3, Mike Brink) and Lous Abigail (pp 4, Casey Leonard). Olympic Hopeful (Travis Seekman) and EL Govner (Kyle Wilfong) are this stakes other hopefuls.
Fox Valley Lush is out of the dam Love You More who had a number of successful Illinois bred trotters such as Fox Valley Lover (1:55), Fox Valley Luxury, Fox Valley Lexus, Fox Valley Legend and Fox Valley Lotus).
Lauren Hall is a half-sister to Tour Hall (1:55.2), a former multi-stakes winner for the Brink stable and Cassisandfifth 1:55.3). Lous Abigail’s brother is Louscipher (155.1, $194,129), the 2017 Illinois 3-year-old trotter of the year.
In the second Fox Valley Flan split there’s Majistic Caprice’s younger sister Tropical Rosie (pp 2, Tyler Shehan) and Fox Valley Extacy (pp 6, Juan Franco), a sister to Wrightwood and My Dreamweaver. The likely post-time favorites are Cekone Hall (pp 3, Casey Leonard) and Bee See (pp 4, Kyle Husted),both easy winners in their recent Hawthorne qualifiers. Lous Flash Dancer (Kyle Wilfong) and Really Railee (Brandon Bates) also make their debuts.
The third race Kadabra division has a couple of freshman colts with interesting breeding. The Tom Simmons Stable’s Fox Valley Quest (pp 2, Casey Leonard) is out of Fox Valley Strata and her first foal was the former ICF stakes winner Mr Strata. Fox Valley Kobe (pp 6, Kyle Wilfong) is a Jim Eaton trainee out of the 2001 Illinois Harnes Horse of the Year Fox Valley Diva.
Both “Quest” and “Kobe” drew off in their latest qualifiers and are likely get a good portion of the public’s wagering dollars. They’ll be challenged by On Higher Ground (Ridge Warren), Lous Merlin (Tyler Shehan), Deememorymaker (Jamaica Patton) and Lonnie’s Jet (Juan Franco).
The fifth race Kadabra stake starter Desert Sheik (pp 5, Mike Brink) is by Pizzazzed, out of the King Couch dam Armbro Bahrain, the same bloodlines as Fox Valley Qtar (1:56) who ran away with the 2014 freshman division honors for his owner and trainer Herman Wheeler.
The other Brink trainee in the race Fox Valley Briton (Ridge Warren) is the younger brother of Fox Valley Cruiser. Lous Paisano, a winner in his qualifier for trainer Steve Searle, is the first foal of the well-bred dam Any Word Hanover, a son of Donato Hanover, the one-time 1:50.2 trotter with almost $3 million in career earnings.
Lou Pascal (Kyle Wilfong), Mr Red Thunder (Brando Bates), Twin Cedars Rocket (Robert Smolin) and U S Patriot (Kyle Patriot) are the other Kadabra candidates.
Front End Winners: The $17,500 opening rounds of the Incredible Tillie sake series for ICF 2-year-old pacing fillies went to A Girl Named Jim, trained by her driver Jamaica Patton and the overwhelming 1 to 5 favorite Double Parked, steered by Travis Seekman.
A Girl Named Jim was perfectly rated to a front-end victory in her winning debut for Illinois owners Ronald Phillips (Athens) and Louis Leinberger (Springfield) when the Sportsmaster filly beat the even-money favorite Fox Valley Vixen in the1:57.3 mile.
Jamaica hustled A Girl Named Jim ($6.00) away from the three-post and into the lead in the first turn. Casey Leonard was content to take the pocket trip with the public’s choice Fox Valley Vixen through times of 30.1, 59.4 and 1:29.3 on a “good” racing surface.
In the stretch Fox Valley Vixen had dead-aim on the winner but A Girl Named Jim had plenty left and had no trouble holding on in her winning debut, proving best by one and 1/2 lengths while under a hold
The “chalk” players evened the score in the second Incredible Tillie s stake split and again it was accomplished in front-end fashion. Seekman left with Double Parked from the outside six-slot and made the top with the Sagebrush filly at the end of the first turn.
Double Parked ($2.60) effortlessly paced a 1:00.1 first half. After a 29.1 third quarter Seekman asked the freshman filly for another gear and she obliged, pulling away to a prodigious 12 length victory in her initial pari-mutuel start for trainer and owner Leroy Hunt of Jackson, Tennessee.
Ashlees Fine Girl (Casey Leonard) came on for second, overtaking Jimmy’s Girl (Jamaica Patton), the beneficiary of a two-hole journey.
Two for Two: Both Saturday winners Rollin Coal ($8.20) in race six and Jetting Around ($15.40) in race twelve were Mike Paradise “Price Shot” selections.