By Mike Paradise
The 2021 Springfield harness racing meeting comes to a close today but not before eight ICF pacers or trotters will leave with a prominent Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes championship on their early list of achievements.
If last week’s ISFS two-year-old elimination events showed us anything, it was there’s no certainties in today’s freshman showdowns that are on the line on the Springfield Fairgrounds one mile oval.
Upsets were the norm last Saturday in the juvenile events as some first season Illinois bred horses won for the initial time and such betting favorites as Funky Wiggle, BC’S Kim, Fox Valley Cairo, Fox Valley Ozzy and Frontier Bombay, all suffered losses in their respective elimination divisions.
The good news for the owners and trainer of those beaten freshman favorites is that their horses all advanced to their respective ISFCS finals and will race for a $40,000 pot rather than the $6,000 variety in the eliminations.
Today’s ISFCS championships will be contested on races six through thirteen with the two-year-olds first up. A quartet of three-year-old showdowns will follow each with a $30,000 purse.
The sophomore stake elimination or preps saw two of the four wagering favorites disappoint their wagering supporters. The 4-5 choice Loulita was overtaken in the late going by Breeze At Sunset in the three-year-old filly trot preview and those two distaffers landed the nine and ten posts in the final, with the Erv Miller trained Breeze At Sunset on the outside looking in.
The Mike Roger’s trainee Loyz Say Who (Todd Warren) who popped for the first time in his career after 28 consecutive losses, starts in the second tier in the 10-horse colt and gelding trot final.
J D Finn’s Coco D’Lascito who did prevail as a heavy 1-2 choice in his elimination, has his work cut out for him as well after landing the outside nine-hole in the eleventh race championship.
The three-year-old pace finals are eight horse fields with the 1 to 5 filly prep favorite Hart’s Heart (Kyle Wilfong) in good shape with the six-slot and Ryans Loan Shark (Travis Seekman) in a favorable starting position with the three-post after winning has the third-choice last Saturday’s prep for second season pacing colts and geldings.
Short On Length: When handicapping Springfield races keep in mind that even though Hawthorne and Springfield are both one-mile ovals, there’s a huge difference in the length of their stretches.
Hawthorne’s stretch is 1,360 feet long (10 more feet than Balmoral), while Springfield, being more of a rounder oval, only has a stretch 510 feet long. To put that in perspective, Maywood was a half-mile track with a 594 length stretch.
More often than not, up close in a better spot to be with your horse. Also, there’s no “open stretch” at the Springfield track and the hub-rail is continuous.
You might have noticed when viewing last Saturday that horses were not raced on the inside lane where the racing surface was deeper while still drying out from recent storms.
MIKE’S THURSDAY SPRINGFIELD SELECTIONS
First Post 12 noon
1—Armbro Lark, Mailboxmoney, Fern
2—BC’S Tuff Tiger, Frontier Charley, Bomba3 Bobby
3—Fox Valley Captiva, Mommy Said Nonono, Eris
4—Upfront Flight, Loyzhonkeytonkhero, Blacky
5—Pericles, Illini Storm, Ciao Mane
6—Lous Xanadu, Funky Wiggle, Hot Trotn Trixie
7—Dandy’s MNM, Rollnroz, Lady Bombay
8—Lousdobb, Lou’s Di Nomite, Fox Valley Cairo
9—Fox Valley Ozzy, Get E Up, Frontier Bombay
10—Breeze At Sunset, Loulita, Lucky Valarie
11—Coco D’Lascito, Rndmnupredictable, Sumbodygetdisfool
12—Hart’s Heart, Scorecard Dandy, Princess Mooss
13—Ryans Loan Shark, Partyatmosasplace, Ideal Big Guy
Best Bet—Hart’s Heart (12th race)