By Mike Paradise
Triple ZZ Stable’s Kizzzmelikeumissme passed her first major sophomore test with a convincing victory in Saturday night $30,000 ICF event for three-year-old pacers.
Nicely handled by the meet’s leading driver Kyle Wilfong, the John Filomeno trained home-bred used a different tactic to secure her third career victory in five starts by getting the job done this time on the front end.
Kizzzmelikeumisssme shot out of the three-hole on the backside once Pattycake Moose (Todd Warren) cleared to wrestle the lead away from the early pacesetter Rollnrozz (Archie Warren).
With one big move Kizzzmelikeumissme ($4.00) powered her way into command and when asked for more in the lane, the Yankee Skyscraper filly did so, putting away a bid by freshman ICF filly champion Apple Valley (Joe Seekman), pacing a 28 second last panel on a wet-soaked racing surface, winning by almost two lengths.
Apple Valley was a late charging second best in her first start since the filly’s Incredible Tillie championship back in September of 2021. Pattycake Moose took the third-place money for trainer Gary Rath.
Kizzzmelikeumissme will likely get a well-deserved rest after five consecutive career weekend starts after skipping her freshman season. The upcoming future star of the state-bred sophomore division will carry a $28,496 bankroll for her Beecher, Illinois owners going into Hawthorne’s summer meet that gets under way On Friday, June 20th.
Rath Trainee Prevails: The 4-5 favorite Romantic Warrior proved to be fastest in the lane and captured the $30,000 tor for ICF three-year-old. Driven by his trainer and co-owner Gary Rath, the Cassius gelding trotted the mile in 1:59.3 and a sloppy racing surface.
Lous Lancelot (Casey Leonard) rallied nicely to be second while Mr Mizzou was a close-up third.
Rath used his trotters pole position to carve out the winning journey. He hustled Romanic Warrior ($3.80) out, took the hole behind the second betting choice Mr Mizzou in first tun, and then settled into third when Killyjoy, making his debut, came up to take over the lead near the half, reached in 1:00 flat in the slop.
In the lane Rath swung Romanic Warrior out to the middle of the track, popped the horse’s earplugs, and rallied his trotter to his third win in his last four starts, last nights by three parts of a length. The Marengo, Illinois horseman shares ownership of Romantic Warrior with Bobby Beggs, also of Marengo.
Another Romp: A couple of races earlier Talk About Valor continued his dominance of the Open trot division, this time with a no-double-about-it victory in 1:56.3 on the sloppy surface.
Travis Seekman was content to race the Gerald Hansen trotter in the two-hole behind Magic Night (Todd Warren) through a 58.3 first half and then dashed to the front and pulled away to a seven and one-half length before being hand driven to the finish wire.
Talk About Valor’s win was the 21st in 65 starts for his Monee, Illinois owner Shelly Steele. Muscular Babe (Kyle Wilfong) came on nicely in the lane for runner-up honors while Magic Night faded to third.
Heads-Up Drive: Fox Valley Exploit ($7.20) took advantage of an excellent trip provided by her driver, trainer, and co-owner Kyle Husted to take the Open for filly and mare pacers.
Fox Valley Exploit, the 5-2 third wagering choice of the betting public, worked hard in the early going, shooting out from the six-slot to gain a pocket trip behind the pacesetting Rollin Coal (Juan Franco), who set a quick fraction of 28 flat on a rather unsightly looking racing surface.
Husted kept the six-year-old ICF pacer in the two-hole until they turned for home, then powered to the lead and went onto hold off a late rush by the ground-saving Racing Forthe Mark (Joey Putnam), the bridesmaid finisher.
David Bingham of Concord, Michigan shares owners with Husted of Fox Valley Exploit.
A Wilfong First: We’ll have to wait until Sunday’s two racing cards to be contested for it to be made official. but it appears that Kyle Wilfong has ended Casey Leonard’s six-year streak as Hawthorne’s leading driver. The 30-year-old Watseka, Illinois native goes into Sunday with 51 winners at the meet, seven more than Casey.
Veteran horseman Terry Leonard has successfully defended his title as the meet’s leading trainer with 26 winning horses, 10 more than Gerald Hansen and Brittany Dillion, tied for second with 16 each,
The first Sunday card, originally slated for last Friday, will begin at 4:30 pm. The regular Sunday scheduled program will follow at 7:15 pm.
Today’s column will do it for a while. I’ll take a couple of months hiatus and be back for Hawthorne’s summer meet that begins on the last day of June. The upcoming Springfield meeting with its race dates still to be determined, also will covered right here at www.harnessillinois.com, likely sometime in late June.