The Illinois Standardbred spotlight shines on Springfield today and Saturday. The 10-race Friday card will have eight elimination events for ICF two-year-olds of both sexes and gaits along with a pair of prep races for three-year-old state-bred trotters.
On tap tomorrow are a quintet of ICF aged trot and pace championships and a double dose of sophomore Illinois bred pacers.
Meanwhile, Hawthorne won’t have live racing tonight and will turn on the lights for Saturday and Sunday cards
One of the favorites in next weekend’s Illinois State Fair Colt Stake final at Springfield for second season filly pacers is Michael Perrin’s Apple Valley, last season’s ICF Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year and victorious this year in both her Violet division and the recent Plum Peachy championship.
Molitor wanted to race her last weekend at Hawthorne however the event didn’t fill, and his filly got an extra week off in between starts.
Did the longer layoff concern him?
“I’m not worried at all about the three weeks in between races. It gave me a chance to do some work on her and she’s trained well during the layoff.”
Apple Valley has missed only one purse check in her young career and that came at Springfield last summer when she went off stride in an Illinois State Fair event for freshman pacers.
“She was a young green horse when I got her. Her break in Springfield came because of a change in shoeing. Jay (Garrels) did a good job when he had the filly, but a shoeing change caused a problem, and she made a break in that race. We’ve got back to reshod her the way I had her in there beginning and she’s fine now. That break is a thing of the past.
Apple Valley won her career debut in early July of 2021 and was s solid second in a division of the Violet. The homebred then stepped up and easily captured her first leg the Incredible Tillie with Kyle Wilfong.
After a fifth-place finish in an open two-year-old event she had her miscue at Springfield.
But Molitor had her sharp and ready for the month of September when more money was on the line. First, she took her final $20,000 leg of the Incredible Tillie and then on the Night of Champions in the $117,00 final she came on to post a 1:55.4 winning mile with Wilfong that propelled the Michael Perrin owned and bred filly to 2021 Illinois Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year honors.
This year she started out with a second-place finish in a $30,000 ICF event at Hawthorne and then went on to make six starts as a three-year-old at Hoosier in Open company and did very well, winning a trio of them
When Apple Valley came back to the local scene, she romped in her Plum Peachy prep in mid-July with a quick 1:51.4 mile and looked almost unbeatable for the $50,000 summer championship.
However, she was second best that night, giving way to the winner Kizzzmelikeumissme.
“She came out of that (prep) race pretty sore. She had some aches and pains in the final when she finished second and was really dragging the last 20 yards. But we’ve got her back 100 per cent now and she’s all set for Springfield. She’s good to go.”
Apple Valley can get a little rambunctious at times in between races but not when it’s time to compete.
“She’s a very competitive filly and she’s all business when it’s time to race,” said Molitor.
“I made a driver change with her and Travis Seekman will be driving Apple Valley. Her (previous) driver Jordon Ross has some horses in Hoosier stakes that sometimes conflicts with her Illinois races, so I made the switch to Travis. He’ a very good driver and I have all the faith in him to do a good job with the filly.”
On A Roll: A few winning streaks are on the line on today’s Springfield program.
Funky Wiggle goes for her fourth in a row in the first race three-year-old filly trotting prep for trainer Curt Grummel while her two-year-old stable Marvelous Mystery looks to stay unbeaten in her eighth start in the seventh race freshman filly trot elimination.
A few races later (event ten) recent Incredible Finale champion Fox Valley Jasper looks to stay undefeated for trainer Erv Miller in his fifth career outing in the juvenile male pacing division.
The Mike Brink Stable’s Rona Mae (Todd Warren) guns for her fourth consecutive win in race three, a two-year-old filly pace elimination.