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Driver Kyle Husted had himself a Saturday night to remember. The 27-year-old Illinois native was at the lines of the first three winning horses in the final legs of the Night of Champions races and was second in his only other ICF stake series drive.
The first NOC series race on the card was the lone division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial for ICF 3-year-old trotting fillies and it went as expected with the prohibitive 1 to 9 favorite Trotting Grace victorious in 1:57 flat with Husted.
What wasn’t expected was that the Steve Searle 3-year-old filly, who coasted to a 59.2 first half, was all out to hold off the 35-1 late closing longshot New Queen (Juan Franco) by a only a neck. Maui Mama edged White Pants Fever for third.
Trotting Grace’s victory was her fourth in a row for owners Bill Wright (Morton, IL), Mystical Marker Farms (Valparaiso, IN) and conditioner Searle (Grant Park, IL).
It didn’t take long for the first series upset of the night. It came in the third race first division of the 3-year-old Plum Peachy filly stake series when The New Americana snapped a 12-race losing streak while making her first start out of the barn of trainer Harold Guerra.
Nicely rated by Husted, The New Americana ($16.60) shot out at the start, quickly took command and went unchallenged to a 57 first half. Husted got the second quarter breather he wanted and then let the Yankee Skyscraper do her thing as the filly paced a quick 27.3 third panel and won in comfortable fashion.
The final mile time of 1:52.4 was a new career mark for The New Americana, owned by the Illinois trio of Dave Falzone (Chicago), Jim Molitor (Oak Lawn) and Steve Leita (Rockford).
JB’s Shooting Star was second best to the 7-1 winner while the 4-5 favorite Allbeastnobeauty had to settle for third.
Next was the initial $15,000 division of the Kadabra trot for ICF freshman colts and geldings and once again Husted ended up in the Hawthorne winner’s circle. This time it was with Fox Valley Cruise ($6.60). Given a pocket trip by Husted behind the eventual third place finisher For Trots Sake, the Jim Eaton trained gelding came on to nail down his first career victory with a 1:59.4 mile.
The 4-5 favorite Foxvalleyrushhour (Juan Franco) made his bid in the lane but Fox Valley Cruise had plenty left and won handily for Illinois owners Phil Langley (Frankfort), James Schwartz (Wooddale) and trainer Jim Eaton (Crete).
The second Kadabra division turned out to be a rather easy victory for Trixie’s Turbo ($10.40) and driver John D Finn after both the 2-5 favorite Louscardamon and Fox Valley Pisaco (5-1) went off stride. The Jared Finn trained winner, now 6 of 9 in his first season, is owned by his breeder Charles Doehring of Brownstown, Illinois.
Frontier Manard at 85-1 odds collared Big Garcia Vega in the late going for second place honors.
The first Incredible Finale division for juvenile male pacers saw Fox Valley Julius, driven by Husted, give the 1 to 5 favorite Maximus (Kyle Wilfong) all the colt could handle before the $2.60 winner prevailed by one length victory for trainer Kim Roth and owners The Panhellenic Stables of New York and Ken Rucker of Muncie, Indiana.
Fox Valley Julius raced outside of front-stepping Maximus through the third quarter, getting ahead at the top of the lane but Maximus came back in the late going delivered three-quarter length victory with a career fastest 1:56 flat mile.
The anticipated showdown in the second Incredible Finale split between the two highest point earners Meyer On Fire and The Bucket, both coming into last night with 112 points, saw Meyer On Fire (Mike Oosting), at even-money, extend his winning streak to four in a row by three widening lengths in 1:56.3 for the Engel Stable of Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
The battle turned out to be for second with the 50-1 longshot Coming Up nudging the 4 to 5 favorite The Bucket for the runner-up spot.
Travis Seekman gave Party Belle ($9.00) a second over trip and the Tyler George trained 3-year-old filly took advantage of it and beat the 6-5 favorite Fox Valley Jazzy by three quarters of a length in the second Plum Peachy series division.
The 1:54.2 mile was a new mark for the daughter of Party At Artsplace owned by Tyler George of Ohio and Ladavie Spann of Indiana. Skeeter Machine had a game effort to be third.
Longshot Fancy Creek Jolene ($26.20) got an two-hole trip journey from driver Bobby Smolin and was the surprise winner of the Tony Maurello elimination for ICF fillies and mares age three and up. A neck behind was the fast closing Char N Marg while the pacesetting favorite Fox Valley Charm held on for third in the 1:52.1 mile.
Not Done Yet: There is one Night of Champions series event to be raced this weekend. Its leg four of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial stake for ICF 3-year-old colts and geldings. The $15,000 Sunday feature is race seven on the nine race program.
It drew a jammed-packed 11 horse field with 10-across and Don’t Be Cheeky (Ronnie Gillespie) starting in the second tier. The Roshun Trigg trotter has 31 points and has locked up a staring berth in next Saturday’s $115,000 Final.
So have the top four series point earners Majistic Caprice (112), Big Lou (63), True Detective (45) and tonight’s 5-2 programmed favorite Illinimight (45). Crusin Cassi with 14 points is all but a certainly as well.
Then things get a little dicey to see who will be the remaining four starters in the final since no other horse has more than 6 points (Freddie Da Fox) going into the last Erwin Dygert leg. A fifth place finish by one of the longshots, worth five points, could be the difference from competing for a $115,000 pot or in a $15,000 Consolation.
By Mike Paradise
The draws for fourth and final legs of Friday’s Night Of Champion stakes series have brought about a number of interesting story lines. In certain cases it will enable some ICF horses to take a giant leap into a championship event with a strong performance.
Take tonight’s last leg of the Incredible Finale series for instance.
The eighth race second $15,000 division landed both of the series top point earners with 100 each—Meyer On Fire (Mike Oosting) and The Bucket (Casey Leonard). They’ve traded wins against each other this summer and a victory tonight would make one filly or the other the likely favorite for next week’s $135,000 (est) championship.
That draw also opens the door for one of the fifth race Incredible Finale competitors to get a high point total and perhaps go from a start in the series consolation to a berth in its championship. Plus, with a $15,000 pot there’s a nice purse check of $7,500 going to the owner of the winning filly.
The fourth round of the Kadabra stake series for ICF freshman male trotters saw the top three series point earners (Trixie’s Turbo (112), Fox Valley Pisaco (108) and Louscatdamon (100) all in the same six-horse second division tonight.
Those three trotters have captured all the Kadabra series legs between them and while Trixie’s Turbo (pp 4, J D Finn), Fox Valley Picaso (pp 2, Casey Leonard) and Louscardamon (pp 6, Mike Oosting) slug it out, two races earlier the series fourth place point earner and even-money program favorite Foxvalleyrushhour (Juan Franco) takes on five trotters who could also advance to the Kadabra final with a high finish.
Lous Endeavor has 25 points, Fox Valley Cruise is at 21.Crackerjack Bill currently holds the tenth and final starting spot with 18. However Swaneelou (14) and For Trots Sake (5) both have an opportunity to vault to a starting berth into the $85,000 championship.
Only Two Won’t Survive: A single Tony Maurello stake elimination will go as Saturday’s 10th race with the first eight finishers in the 10-horse field moving on to the $125,000 championship. Awaiting them is Bucklegirl Bobette and Boogie On Down who drew byes into the championship for state bred filly and mare pacers ages three and up.
With the owners of 13 distaffers making a $500 entry fee an elimination race was necessary. The heavy 6-5 morning line favorite tonight is Peter Karras’ Fox Valley Charm (pp 3, Mike Oosting) with almost $120,000 on her season card racing in Preferred events at The Meadows in Pennsylvania and Open Paces in Ohio.
However the Maurello byes are determined by money earned only at the Hawthorne meeting and because Fox Valley Charm’s didn’t make a start on the local scene in 2018 year the 6-year-old Dirk Simpson trainee will have to finish ahead of a few horses to make the championship.
Since Fox Valley Charm hasn’t started since her two weeks ago on August 31st, tonight’s start was probably welcomed by her connections. A bye would have meant three weeks off before the Maurello championship.
The Right Time: The Megan Rogers Stable’s Valar Morghulis (Jim Pantaleano) picked the right time to get her maiden victory. The Nelson Willis trained freshman was a wire-to-wire winner in the first $15,000 Incredible Tillie stake series and vaulted from 14th place in the point standings to a starting berth in next week’s $130,00 final.
The winning Sportsmaster filly held off the 4-5 favorite Fox Valley Torrid (Casey Leonard) by a head in the 1:53.4 mile for ICF freshman pacing fillies.
In the second “Tillie” division Kyle Wilfong gave the favorite Perch a pocket trip and the Jay Garrels trainee came on to be a one-length winner in 1:55 flat over runner-up Foolishlittle Girl (Casey Leonard).
In the Fox Valley Flan series for first season state-bred trotting fillies Loussolataire ($6.00) got a ground-saving journey from driver Casey Leonard and came up the inside lane to beat the heavy 1 to 2 favorite Puddin Cheeks (J D Finn). Notnangel (Ridge Warren) was a close-up third.
The Steve Searle Stable’s Louzotic (Kyle Husted) made it three consecutive victories in the Fox Valley Flan series with her 1:58.3 mile in the second division. E L Game on was second, beaten a little more than one length while the co-favorite Encantado rallied for third.
A month off between starts did a world of good for Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) as the Terry Leonard trained 3-year-old crushed his foes in the first division of the Robery F. Carey series by more than seven lengths with a1:51.1 mile.
Springfield champion You’remyhearthrob (Kyle Wilfong) had no trouble leading at every pole in his Carey division as the even-money choice. The Brett Wilfong trained gelding defeated runner-up Backstreet Lawyer by one and one-half lengths.
Despite more than two months on the sidelines Unlocked (Jim Pantaleano) captured his elimination division of the Molaro stake by a half-length over Fox Valley Rebel with a 1:51.4 clocking. Also making the final from that elimination were Slzburgerslzurger, Dakota Roadster and Evergreen Elite.
Stonedust (Casey Leonard) powered past in time to take the first Molaro elim in 1:52.1. Joining the Tim Clevenger 4-year-old in the final were the second through fifth place finishers He Gone Jack, Dakota Jack, Fox Valley Reggie and Sporty Redhot.
By Mike Paradise
It’s been said countless times the better the purses, the better the horses. It’s no different now than it was back in last century’s glory days of harness racing in Illinois.
Once again it’s a proven fact. Just take a look at Friday night’s Hawthorne card and its Robert S. Molaro eliminations for ICF pacers age three and up. The ICF stake lured a host of state-bred pacers back to the local scene with a $45,000 purse on the line on next Saturday’s Night of Champions.
Sixteen ICF male pacers passed the entry box with a $500 entry fee by their horses and seen of them are coming in from out of state for a pair of $15,000 elimination events and a shot at next week’s $45,000.
The ninth race second Molaro elim lured invaders Unlocked, the stake’s 2016 winner, from western Pennsylvania, last year’s Molaro titleholder Gibbs, a regular in 2018 on the Ohio circuit, Evergreen Elite from Indiana and Fox Valley Rebel from Lexington’s Red Mile in Kentucky.
They’ll be challenged by a trio of local pacers—Slznurgerslzburger, Cole Heat and Dakota Roadster.
Coming to town to compete in the first Molaro elimination that will go as the Friday opener are the Indiana invaders Stonedust, a frequent starter in the Hoosier Park Opens, and Sporty Redhot, winless this year, along with Dakota Jack from Pocono Downs in eastern Pennsylvania.
It’s take a fifth place finish or better in either elimination to advance to the September 22nd Molaro championship.
Unlocked, now a seven-year-old, won the Langley Final at Balmoral Park’s 2014 Super Night at the age of three, the first of three consecutive years with a season mark of 1:49.1 or faster for trainer Norm Parker and owner the Megan Rogers Racing Stable of Chicago.
However, the Duneside Perch gelding with a career bankroll of $532,784 has raced only a total 12 times over the past two seasons. He was sidelined in late April of 2017, missing last year’s Molaro stake. Unlocked came back after almost 14 months off and made four unsuccessful starts this past June and another two month layoff then followed.
Unlocked has been pointed for the Molaro and has gotten ready for the ICF stake with a pair of recent winning qualifiers in the five-eighths oval at The Meadows, a 1:55.2 mile on a “good” track with two seconds allowed, and a 1:53.3 clocking a week ago on a fast surface.
The Sagebrush gelding Stonedust has blossomed as a 4-year-old after going just 1-for 4 as a 3-year-old and banking $6,200. This year the ICF pacer has nine victories, over $91,000 on his card and a mark of 1:51 flat at Hoosier Park.
Stonedust competed at Yonkers from February through early April and made six trips to that New York track’s winners circle. He was shipped to Hoosier Park under the care of Jeff Cullipher and promptly won at Open 3 event. In May Stonedust captured back-to-back Open I Paces there. He’s currently trained by Tim Clevenger.
The all-important fourth and final legs of four Night of Champion stakes series are sprinkled throughout the 13-race Friday card.
The Terry Leonard Stable’s Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) returns to competition in the third race first $15,000 Carey split after his 16 race unbeaten streak was snapped at Springfield and a month layoff followed. Among his challengers is Dane May’s Dandy Dude, an impressive winner in Du Quoin’s Dudley Hanover stake with a 1:51.1 mile.
Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair champion Fox Valley Halsey (Casey Leonard) and last week’s Incredible Tillie leg victor Fox Valley Torrid, clash in the fourth race “Tillie” for ICF 2-year-old filly pacers.
Another “must-watch” race tonight is the $15,000 seventh race Fox Valley Flan with the top three division leaders—Encantado (Casey Leonard), Louzotic (Kyle Husted) and E L Game On (Kyle Wilfong)—all squaring off.
Springfield champ Encantado looked to have her Fox Valley Flan leg wrapped up when she suddenly went off stride in mid-stretch, opening the door for Louzotic from the Steve Searle barn who trotted right through and won for the fifth time in nine career starts.
The tenth race second Carey divisions brings out the one-two-three finishers of the Springfield Final—You’remyhearthrob (Kyle Wilfong), Backstreet Lawyer (Mike Oosting) and Al’s Briefs (Travis Seekman).
Hawthorne’s Night of Champions, a week from Saturday, got a boost both on and off the racetrack when management announced that a pair of $25,000 open company Invitational events will be added to the card, plus several of the crème de la crème of past Chicago circuit drivers will be available to welcome on-track patrons.
The bringing together of many of the most notable and popular horsemen to drive in Illinois will make an already special night of racing even more memorable. The prodigious past driver colony will be accessible to meet and greet patrons and sign autographs on the first floor of the Grandstand on Hawthorne’s September 22nd gala evening.
To borrow a passage from one of all-time classic comedy movies (Animal House) the list of drivers “may be long but it’s distinguished” with National Hall of Famer Dave Magee on hand, along with Joe Anderson, Ronnie Marsh, Jerry Graham, Lavern Hostetler, Doug Hamilton, Wayne Temple, Carl Porcelli, Delvin (Ole) Insko, Dwight Banks, Dan Shetler, Randy Jacobs and both Nelson and Connel Willis.
The two $25,000 Invites on the Night of Championships, one for pacers and the other for trotters, will see an estimated $1.15 million in purses dished out on the 13-race card.
NOC Purses Announced: Hawthorne Race Secretary Robin Schadt has posted the conditioned sheets for the remaining nights of racing at the summer meet, including the expected purse finals on the Night of Champions:
The Robert F. Carey Jr. for ICF 3-year-old pacing males goes for $160,000. The Incredible Finale for ICF 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers is worth $135,000 while its freshman filly Incredible Tillie equivalent lists for $130,000. The Plum Peachy for 3-year-old pacing fillies is expected to have a $125,000 pot.
The trotting championships listed purses for the 2-year-old filly Fox Valley Flan is $125,000, the male freshman Kadabra is $115,000, the Beulah Dygert for sophomore filly trotters comes in at $95,000, and the Erwin F. Dygert 3-year-old colt and gelding stake at $84,000.
And There’s More: A trio of $45,000 championships for ICF pacers and trotters, ages three and up, also are on tap—the Robert Molaro for male pacers, the Tony Maurello for filly and mare pacers, and the Plesac for Illinois bred trotters of either sex.
Coming up Friday and Saturday are $15,000 elimination races, if necessary, for the ICF aged paces and trot. A $500 entry fee is required. If eliminations aren’t needed in any of those events, a prep race will be offered in its place.
Last Chance: The fourth and final legs of the 2 and 3-year-old Night of Champions series will be raced this weekend, We’ll have more about those stake events in Friday’s and Saturday’s stories.
By Mike Paradise
It’s often said that consistency is a virtue and if that’s the case the 4-year-old ICF trotter Picky Picky Valor has earned the title has the most virtuous trotter at the Hawthorne summer meeting.
The pride of the Gerald Hansen Stable has put together a unwavering money-earning season for his owner Shelley Steele of Monee, Illinois. Picky Picky Valor is making his 21st season start, often in Open company or against the top older ICF trotters, and hasn’t missed a purse check.
In fact, “Picky” been third or better in 18 of those 20 outings and has finished first or second in nine consecutive races going back to mid-June while making over $56,000 in his third season of racing.
Picky Picky Valor has another tough assignment Sunday night to keep his one-two streak intact. He’ll face five other talented trotters when he leaves from the outside six-slot with driver Casey Leonard in the $10,000 Open feature drawn by groups.
Back at Hawthorne after another successful meet at Running Aces is the nine-year-old veteran Banker Volo (Travis Seekman) with over $400,000 in career earnings. The son of Yankee Glide also boasts 36 lifetime victories with 15 coming in 2017 and five more this season, four in Minnesota and the other in a Hawthorne Open back in mid-January for current trainer Angie Coleman and Grinnell, Iowa owner Jeralene Roland.
Banker Volo made four starts at Hawthorne last summer, all in Opens, winning one and second best in a pair of others.
The fourth inside posts in Sunday’s Open trot belong to All About Cowboys (Juan Franco), Pine Dream (Brandon Bates). Dr Spengler (Mike Oosting) and Bo I See Time (Kyle Wilfong).
The 4-year-old Pine Dream will be making his debut for the Chupp Racing Stable of Crete, Illinois. The newest addition to the Kelly Chupp barn had a very successful campaign this year in Ohio competing at Miami Valley Raceway, Scioto Downs and on a number of Ohio Fair Circuit tracks. Among Pinetucky gelding’s seven triumphs in 2018 was a career fastest 1:53.1 mile back in April at Miami Valley Raceway in Dayton.
Chalk It Up: “Chalk” players were all smiles after last night’s Night of Champion stake series for 2-year-old colts and geldings were in the history book.
The Buckle (Casey Leonard) and Meyer On Fire (Mike Oosting) both proved best at overwhelming 1 to 9 odds in their respective Incredible Finale divisions for freshman pacers, each paying a paltry $2.20.
The Bucket captured his seventh victory in nine career starts in 1:57 flat for trainer Terry Leonard while Meyer On Fire, fresh off victories in both 2-year-old State Fair finals, made it three in a row for trainer Erv Miller with his 1:57.1 clocking
The Kadabra series divisions also saw the favorites prevail and both in front-stepping fashion. Trixie’s Turbo ($5.60) won nicely for driver J D Finn in 2:01.3 and two races later Oosting was back in the winner’s circle, this time with the 1 to 2 public’s choice Louscardamon ($3.00) after he drew off by almost five lengths for his winning trainer Steve Searle with a 2:01.4 mile.
Your Welcome: Saturday was a very good night for “Mike’s Price Shots.” Both selections, Ideal Oath and Et Tu Brute popped. Ideal’s Oath (Juan Franco) paid $12.40 in race nine and Et Tu Brute (Robert Smolin) returned $14.40 in race twelve.
By Mike Paradise
The Hawthorne spotlight switches over to Illinois conceived and foaled 2-year-old colts and geldings of both gaits Saturday evening with third round action of the Night of Champions stakes series.
In some cases a starting berth in a freshman championship two weeks from tonight is already wrapped-up but for most of the 2-year-olds going to the gate tonight even a purse check could be the difference between racing for a $75,000 to $100,00o pot in a stake final or for $15,000 in a series consolation.
Saturday night’s third through sixth races are $15,000 series divisions of the Incredible Finale for freshman pacers or the Kadabra for juvenile state-bred trotters.
The Bucket (Casey Leonard) and Meyer On Fire (Mike Oosting) sit atop the current Incredible Finale point standings with 62 each and they’ll race tonight in different divisions as prohibitive favorites. They’re both 4 to 5 in the morning line
The Bucket, winner of 6 of his first 8 starts for trainer Terry Leonard, has the outside eight-slot in the third race third division. Inside of him are Fox Valley Minime (1 point), Ryan Racketeer (26), Sports Drama (1), Riley The Mooss (13), Viola (50), Sporty McGrew (8) and Fox Valley Julius (13).
The red hot Meyer On Fire breezed in both 2-year-old colt championships at Springfield and Du Quoin leaves from the two-slot for trainer Erv Miller. Frontier Willie has the pole position while posts 3 through 8 will be manned by Master Sage (0), Cooter Luke (13), Frontier Muffler (58), Coming Up (26), Sports Boy (0) and Maximus (55).
The sixth race $15,000 second Kadabra brings out the leading series point earners Fox Valley Picaso (Casey Leonard) with perfect score of 100 as well as recent Du Quoin Darn Safe titleholder Louscardamon (Mike Oosting) with 62 points.
Fox Valley Picaso (pp 8, won his first two Kadabra legs in comfortable fashion despite making an early break in his July 22 victory. The Herman Wheeler trainee also went off stride in his Springfield elimination and was a vet scratch out of that stake’s Consolation because of an injury.
Louscardamon (50 points) is getting good at the right time however he has had his own anguishes trying to stay on the trot. The youngster breezed in his lone Kadabra series start and then went off stride in his Springfield elimination. He rebounded to draw off in that State Fair consolation and then starting running son after the start of Du Quoin’s Darn Safe. Nevertheless he got back on stride and won in 1:59.2 for trainer Steve Searle.
Another strong challenger in race six is Big Garcia Vega (Kyle Wilfong) from the barn of Roshun Trigg. The first season trotter was third in both State Fair championships and in between those starts cruised to a 2:00 victory at Hawthorne, The freshman has 25 series points.
Frontier Manard (26 points), Fox Valley Cruise (20), Prince Cassis (37), Super Betcha (1) and Crackerjack Bill (13) are the other starters in the second Kadabra division.
The fourth race first Kadabra split is headed up by the Jared Finn Stable’s Trixie’s Turbo (pp 7, John D Finn), second in the point standings with 62 gathered from a first leg victory and a third place finish in round two
Trixie’s Turbo will be challenged by Swaneelou (6), Lous Endeavor (13), Immergood (0), Captainblacksparow (13), For Trots Sake (0), Lourhianon (2) and Foxvalleyrushhour (33).
Friday’s Recap: Last night’s third round action of the Night of Champions stake series for 2-year-old fillies saw Puddin Cheeks (J D Finn) and Louzotic (Kyle Husted) win their respective $15,000 Fox Valley Flan trot divisions while Fox Valley Halsey and Fox Valley Torrid, both driven by Casey Leonard, triumphed in the $15,000 Incredible Tillie pacing splits.
Springfield champion Encantado (Casey Leonard) looked to be home free in the ninth race second Fox Valley Flan leg but the 2 to 5 betting favorite went off stride in mid-stretch, ending up fifth (placed sixth) and enabling Louzotic ($6.40) to capture her fifth win in nine career starts for trainer Steve Searle.
By Mike Paradise
This weekend’s third leg of the Night of Champion series will go a long way to determining which freshmen will be competing on Hawthorne’s September 22 showcase evening of racing in a championship event.
Tonight a pair of third round series events in the Incredible Tillie for first season ICF filly pacers, as well as the Fox Valley Flan, for juvenile distaff trotters will solidify who are the top contenders in each division, will likely eliminate some of what I like to call the series “pretenders.”
Only the top 10 series point earners will race in a championship, so for some of the filly freshmen racing tonight it’s essential to do well. Next weekend is the fourth and final leg of the Night of Champions series for aspirants and a last chance to advance to a final.
The $15,000 first Fox Valley Flan division is Saturday night’s opener. With many of the series point leaders knocking heads in the ninth race-second split, this is a good situation for some first race trotters to vault from out of nowhere, to suddenly become possible Fox Valley Flan finalists.
A look at the field (and their series point totals) shows, from the rail out, Loyzdirtylilsecret (0 points), Lous Mistress (1), Puddic Cheeks (9), Loussolataire (24), Notanangel (26), Lou Scion Lou (17), Count On It (0) and Lous Paramour (1). Six of the eight starters are winless.
On the other hand, the ninth race-second Fox Valley Flan, has the top three series point earners and it might surprise some as to who holds the top spot. It’s the Mike Rogers Stable’s E L Game On, the recent winner of the Shawnee at Du Quoin. It was her third season victory in nine starts. The other two came in Fox Valley Flan series legs. She’ll be at 9-2 fist flash odds.
The bulk of tonight’s public’s money however, is expected to go the Jim Eaton Stabe’s Encantado (Casey Leonard) , who skipped Du Quoin, and Louzotic (Kyle Husted), from the barn of trainer Steve Searle. Both have 75 points accumulated with a series win and a second place finish each.
Encantado, programmed at odds of 4-5, swept away the 2-year-old trotting filly competition at Springfield and now sports an impressive record of 4 wins and 1 second in 5 starts. Louzotic, listed at 5-2, has 4 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third in 8 tries and has traded victories with Encantado in their first two Fox Valley Flan meetings.
Looking for an upset tonight are Achieve It All (0 points), Heidi High (37), Ours is Victory (1), Skippymalou (8) and Ivanka (0).
Third round action in the Incredible Tillie pacing series will go in races two and seven.
The Nelson Willis Stable’s Fox Valley Halsey (Casey Leonard), fresh off back-to-back State Fair championships, is the even money morning line favorite in tonight’s first “Tillie” split. The Sportsmaster filly has earned 62 series points, second best in the standings, and hasn’t finished worse than third in her first nine career starts.
Fox Valley Halsey will take on Winter Gram (16 points), Grace Ann (20), Brienne The Beauty (50), Caroline GR (0), Fox Valley Lolo (1) and Valat Morghulis (0).
The Incredible Tillie current point leader Yankee Joanie (75), landed the outside eight slot in tonight’s second division and comes off three straight sub-par performances On the other hand, most of her seventh race foes are racing well right now and four are currently among the Top Ten point earners in the series.
Perch is listed third, with 50 points after her second leg triumph for trainer Jay Garrels. Fox Valley Lil Kim (pp 4), owned by her trainer Kim Roth, is fifth with 37 points. Fox Valley Torrid (pp 6), brings a three race winning streak into tonight’s contest and is tied for sixth with 26 points.
Foolishlittlegirl (pp 2) has 17 points, good for ninth place. The other second division starters are: Lilly Von Shtupp (5) and Genie The Mooss (2). Jim Pantaleano is scheduled to come in from Pennsylvania to drive Lilly Von Shtupp, owned by the Megan Rogers Racing Stable of Chicago.
It also should be pointed out that Mike Oosting will not be competing at Hoosier Park tonight or Saturday evening, but instead is at Hawthorne to drive a number of 2 and 3-year-old Illinois bred stake series candidates.
Three-Year-Old Preps: Saturday’s solid card also has a fourth race $10,000 Open, as well as, a ICF 3-year-old prep paces for next weekend’s fourth and final leg of the Robert Carey Memorial and Plum Peachy stake series.
The fifth race p$8,000 Carey prep, for state-bred colt and gelding pacers brought out the second and third place finishers in the Springfield State Fair finale—Backstreet Lawyer (pp 1, Kyle Husted) and Al’s Briefs (pp 3, Travis Seekman). They’ll be confronted by Frontier Frank (Casey Leonard), Sports Analyst (Jamaica Patton) and Song Cycle Senese (Robert Smolin).
The $8,000 Plum Peachy prep is the tenth and final race on the card, with the Springfield and Du Quoin division titleholder Allbeastnobeauty (Mike Oosting), seeking her fourth consecutive trip to a winner’s circle for trainer Mike Brink.
Allbeastnobeauty drew the two-slot with Frontier Elsa (Juan Franco), inside of her. To the right of the seven-time season winner are: Shelly On My Mind (Casey Leonard), Fox Valley Jazzy (Ridge Warren), Fox Valley Catwalk (Travis Seekman), Skeeter Machine (Kyle Wilfong), The New Americana (Kyle Husted) and Lotus Gram (Ryan Anderson).