By Mike Paradise
The morning lines favorites for Sunday night’s third round of the Dygert stake series for ICF 3-year-olds have made the journeys to the top of their respective classes in very much different ways.
The Flacco Family Farm’s home-bred Louscipher (Casey Leonard), the 8-5 first flash favorite in the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial for trotting colts and geldings has had a much busier first two seasons of racing. The Roshun Trigg trained gelding has gone postward more than twice as many times as Danny Graham’s home-bred filly Annas Lucky Star.
Louscipher made 15 starts as a freshman, winning 7 times and taking second on 5 other occasions when he made nearly $80,000 for his Alexis, Illinois owner and breeder. He captured the $75,000 Kadabra Final on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions.
The son of Lou’s Legacy has racked up four wins in nine tries as a 3-year-old including a leg of the Erwin Dygert but was a beaten favorite in his last two outings, a Cardinal elimination and the championship.
Louscipher’s first 2-year-old start came in late June of 2016 and then he gained valuable experience as a freshman competing at four different fair tracks before going on to take both the Kadabra championship and the Cardinal in his last juvenile start.
Meanwhile Annas Lucky Star, the 3-2 Beulah Dygert Memorial programmed favorite, went postward only six times in her unbeaten freshman campaign and made considerably less money ($36,970) for her Salem, Illinois owner and breeder.
A nomination snafu by her owners prevented the Cassis filly from racing in any of the legs of last years Hawthorne’s Fox Valley Flan series for state-bred 2-year-old fillies and going for a $70,000 pot in that final.
Annas Lucky Star made her initial career start a month later than Louscipher and didn’t compete on the Illinois County Fair Circuit. Instead she was pointed for the two State Fair Championships at Springfield and Du Quoin and won both. However the filly was scratched out of the Violet late last September in what was to be her last start as a 2-year-old when she came up sick.
The Nelson Willis trained filly has been limited to just five starts at age three and has won 3 of them while second best in the two others. She wasn’t ready for the opening round of the June 4 Beulah Dygert,
“She missed the first leg,” said owner Danny Graham. “She made a break behind the gate when she went to qualify for the race.”
The filly did triumph in a second leg of the sophomore trotting series in early July after making three prior starts in June.
Health issues again cropped-up and kept her from starting in the Violet prep on July 9.
“She came up with a high temperature,” said Graham. “It wasn’t a cold or anything like that. Since it wasn’t an elimination we didn’t have to race her, so we scratched her. We didn’t want to take any chances with her.”
A week later Annas Lucky Star came back to breeze in the Violet Final, winning by almost four lengths in 1:57.1
Two of Annas Lucky Star starts in June resulted in her only second place finishes, the first behind Keith Crawford’s good trotter I Could Care Less, a six-time winner at the Hawthorne meet, and to Louscipher. Since both are geldings Annas Lucky Star still hasn’t lost a race in her career to another filly.
With the favorite one-post Annas Lucky Star could very well stay unbeaten against fillies when she goes after the winner’s share of the Beulah Dygert $16,000 pot.
The $8,000 check for winning would put her season bankroll to $35,480, almost matching her freshman total, with Springfield, Du Quoin, and the fourth leg and the final of the Beulah Dygert still on the horizon.
Taking on Annas Lucky Star in the fifth race filly stake (from posts 2 through 9) are: Fox Valley Elana (Tim Curtin), Lous Credit Report (Mike Oosting), Lous Game N Match (Matt Krueger), Sis’s Ellie Mae (Jared Finn), Beatrice (Casey Leonard), Daisy Lou Duke (Kyle Husted), Dandy’s ESP (Gary Rath) and Fox Valley Ella (Dale Hiteman).
Muscle Image, a rather comfortable winner of the Cardinal is listed at 3-1 and has gotten into top form at the right time. The Mike Brink trainee could give Louscipher all he can handle and so could Trixie’s Jethro (pp2, Jared Finn), a first leg victor of the Erwin Dygert who has excellent gate speed and is listed at 4-1.
The Gerald Hanson Stable’s Picky Picky Valor (Brian Carpenter) was an easy front-stepping winner of the Cardinal Prep before he broke on the move in the final at 3-1 and could be an overlay at the morning line odds of 12-1.
Let’s Go Color (Jesse De Long), Totally Pazzazzed (Dale Hiteman), Bands Houdini (Kyle Husted) and Free Range Chikin (Juan Franco) are the other third race hopefuls.
Wire-to-Wire: Sporty Redhot ($10.00) and Fox Valley Herbie ($5.40) came away with victories in the third round of the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series last night
Sporty Redhot was hustled out to a quick lead by driver Juan Franco in the first $16,000 state-bred 3-year-old male pace and never looked back, winning in 1:54.1 for owner Al Beals of Berwyn, Illinois.
The Kim Roth trainee was able to get away with a modest 59.1 first half when the early pocket horse Causway went off stride and impeded three horses, including the heavy favorite Fox Valley Nemitz who would later make a break in the race and end up last.
Fox Valley Inferno nosed-out Fox Valley Reggie for second, both beaten 1 and 1/2 lengths.
Fox Valley Herbie (Mike Oosting) stalked the pace-setting Ima Skydancer in the second Carey division before powering past for a two-plus length triumph in a career fastest 1:53.4 clocking.
Slzburgerslzburger came from far back for second place honors while the 23-1 longshot Decent Sawyer was third.
The Tom Simmons Stable’s Fox Valley Herbie also won a second leg of the Carey for Springfield owner Benita Simmons.