Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 20

LEBANON, OH. - My Buddy Ninkster pulled another mild upset, as he often does, in the $24,000 Open I Handicap at Miami Valley on Saturday night (Feb. 9). Rarely dispatched as a favorite, this 1:51.1 victory was My Buddy Ninkster's tenth in the past 13 months against the best pacers in central and southwest Ohio. Todd Warren guided the 7-year-old son of Dali to the narrow come-from-behind score over open class heavyweights Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) and Granite (Brett Miller), who were lapped on at the wire. The winner paid $10.80. John Jr. and Mary Krasnican bred and have owned My Buddy Ninkster his whole life and he has rewarded them with $476,740 in career earnings. He is conditioned by veteran trainer Bob Phillips. A co-featured $20,000 Open II was captured in front-stepping fashion by Cruise Patrol (Brett Miller) in 1:50.4. The favored 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight topped Doctor Carter (Chris Page) and Whataboy (Tyler Smith) to earn his initial victory of 2019, raising his lifetime bounty to $251,056 by doing so. Chris Short has been training the impressive winner for owner Coleen Dowdall. Two divisions of the brand new Bill Dailey Memorial Medley series also were presented on the Saturday program. The initial leg of this late-closer featured 5/8th mile dashes for $12,500 purses. Next week the same horses will compete at the standard one mile distance for $17,500 bounties; and the $25,000 championship leg on February 23 will be contested at 1-1/4 miles. Both dashes were clocked in 1:08, just four-fifths of a second off the North American record for one lap around a 5/8ths oval. The Dark Shadow (Chris Page) pressed to the front just past the first quarter and held off runnerup Duel Of Truth (Kyle Ater) and show finisher Royale Rose (Mike Oosting) in the stretch. The heavily favored 5-year-old son of Shadow Play, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, returned $4.00. The second split went to Hunchie (Cameron McCown), who used the coveted No. 1 post position to full advantage. The Vince Hanna-trainee lead Southern Flight (Jason Brewer) and Angelo J Fra (Page) through the final teletimer beam in his first start of the year. Frederick Reed IV owns the 9-year-old by No Pan Intended who returned a healthy $21.00 to his mutuel backers. The 2:05 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 10) matinee at Miami Valley will feature a $24,000 Open I Trot, a $20,000 Open II Trot, and the $37,500 championship final of the Claim To Fame series for $30,000 claimers. From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway's Friday (April 20) night co-features did not disappoint. Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) set a new track record for 3-year-old pacing fillies in the $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial final; and Zoe Ellasen (Tyler Smith) established a new lifetime mark winning the $25,000 Mares Open Pace. As the winner of one of the two Hackett eliminations a week ago, Up Front Flor Ida entered the championship tilt full of confidence. Rather than coming from way back like she did in the elim, Kauffman sent her sailing from the outset with the big money on the line. Despite heavy pressure from Just Zip It (Keith Crawford) for the first five-eighths of the mile and then runnerup Kay Again (Chris Page) the rest of the way, the winner was able to rebuff all challenges enroute to a 1:52.4 score. It established a new track standard, lowering the previous 1:53 clockings by both Rose Run Skyler and Rosemary Rose in 2017. Up Front Flor Ida has now notched four wins in her first ten lifetime starts, banking $75,901 for owners Kevin McKinney and Virginia McKoy. With the triumph, trainer Tim McKoy's standout filly earned an instant invitation to next Friday night's $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational for sophomore fillies. Runnerup Kay Again and show finisher Big Bad Goldie (Mike Wilder) also earned automatic bids to the next big dance.   Zoe Ellasen, who competed in last September's Jugette at the Delaware (OH) county fairgrounds where her trainer Ron Potter is stabled, won her first open class race in 1:52, a personal best. Although Zoe Ellasen has 14 career victories and $268,605 in earnings, it came largely in juvenile stakes competition. The 4-year-old daughter of Santanna Blue Chip has consistently been in-the-money since joining the older open ranks, but hadn't won until now. Smith, realizing that front-end speed was holding up well on this evening, put Zoe Ellasen on the point from the get-go and showed her heels to the field at every pole, reaching them in :27, :54.2 and 1:22.3 before reaching the wire in 1:52. Zoe Ellasen topped Cas Art Apparel and Juslikeaqueen in the $25,000 Mares Open Pace Conrad photo Clyde Perfect owns the winner, who bested longshot Cas Art Apparel (Josh Sutton) and Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith). Zoe Ellasen paid $8.00 to win. When Donna's Dream won Miami Valley's 4th race on Friday night it gave veteran trainer Bob Phillips his 1000th win since the USTA began keeping records in 1996. Phillips was training long before 1996, and actually recorded 480 driving wins in the five year span from 1977-81.  Bob Phillips gets his his 1000th win                    -Brad Conrad photo   Gregg Keidel    

LEBANON, OH. - My Buddy Ninkster, a bridesmaid on four occasions against Open I company already this year, finally broke through and visited the winner's circle following an impressive 1:49.4 score in Saturday (April 1) night's $22,000 feature harness racing event at Miami Valley. It was the fastest of the 5-year-old son of Dali's 22 career wins, knocking one-fifth of a second off his fastest tally of 1:50 at nearby Dayton Raceway last season. Using the advantageous rail post position, driver Josh Sutton let even-money favorite Franzo (Greg Grismore) and eventual runnerup Feelnlikearockstar (Mike Oosting) clear to the front during an opening quarter in a quick :26.3. Content to sit through middle splits of :55.1 and 1:22.2, Sutton waited for the stretch to take on the leaders. Finding his best gear in the late-going, My Buddy Ninkster streaked to a closing :27 panel to pull away by a length and a half at the wire. Bob Phillips trains the winner for John and Mary Krasnican. My Buddy Ninkster A pair of second leg divisions were contested in the Tom Tharps Memorial series for male pacers that were non-winners of six pari-mutuel races or $60,000 lifetime on March 11. Control Tower (Jason Brewer), who skipped the initial leg, punched a ticket to next week's final with a one length win over Onefinejimmerjohn (Peter Wrenn) and Heisenberg Z Tam (Jeremy Smith) in 1:53.2. Dan Noble trains the 5-year-old son of Panspacificflight for Stephen Sexton. The second split went to Evergreen Elite, who now has back-to-back impressive scores in the series-this one in 1:51. Jason Brewer also guided this winner and likely will stay in his sulky for next Saturday's $27,500 championship tilt. They bested Hustling Charley (Josh Sutton) by two and a half lengths, with Sossy's King Kong (Chris Page) garnering the show dough. All six of the top three finishers in round two advanced to the final, where they will be joined by Rockin Panda, Nvestment Blue Chip and Cracker Cam if all who are qualified enter the race. Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - My Buddy Ninkster scored his eleventh 2016 victory on Saturday night (Dec. 3), copping the $15,000 Open I Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 1:51.1. With the sharp triumph the winner eclipsed the $100,000 earnings plateau for the season and the 4-year-old son of Dali is rapidly closing in on $200,000 for his harness racing career. Driver Tyler Smith hustled My Buddy Ninkster from the gate forcing JD's Macca Lodge (Kayne Kauffman) to pace a taxing :26.2 opening quarter to clear to the pylons in front of him. Although Tyd Theglyde (Dan Noble) tried to attack first-up on the outside, the pacesetting pair stayed in one-two order along the pylons until the head of the stretch. At that point, Smith pulled My Buddy Ninkster from the pocket and wore down JD's Macca Lodge, eventually pulling away to an open lengths victory. Off at 7-2 odds, My Buddy Ninkster topped JD's Macca Lodge, who held for second at 9-2 odds, while Vague Traces (Andy Shetler) closed sharply at 5-1 to pick up the show dough. John and Mary Krasnican own My Buddy Ninkster and have entrusted the conditioning to Bob Phillips. For the second consecutive week, the $12,500 Open II Pace produced an even quicker mile over the lightning-fast Dayton five-eighths mile oval. This time it was E R Rudy (Peter Wrenn) overcoming the outside number nine post position to triumph in 1:50.1, a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old altered son of Art's Chip. E R Rudy was also winning for the eleventh time this year and joined My Buddy Ninkster in surpassing the $100,000 seasonal earnings mark with the victory. The pair of six-figure stalwarts will likely square off against each other in next Saturday's feature. Wrenn was content to ease E R Rudy from the gate, trailing the entire field when they reached the first stanza teletimer in :27. Shortly thereafter, though, the pair began an aggressive attack which put them in second-over position at the halfway point. With favored Hawk's Red Chief beginning to labor on the front end, E R Rudy was pulled three-wide down the backside and exploded with a sub-:27 third quarter which propelled him to an open lengths lead going into the final bend. Tacking on an impressive :27 flat final quarter, E R Rudy dominated Granite (Jason Brewer) who was gaining quickly in the final strides, and Castle Flight (Dan Noble) who found racing room late to complete the trifecta. Off at 11-1, E R Rudy returned $24.40 to his faithful. Combined with Granite (7-1) the exacta returned $204.20. Don Eash trains the winner for Eash Racing Stable Inc. Gregg Keidel

The top state-bred pacers in the Prairie State had the chance to strut their stuff on Saturday, August 22nd at Balmoral Park as a pair stake events shared top billing on a very strong Saturday night harness racing program   First on the docket were the state's top older pacers as a very evenly matched field of eight squared off in the $29,600 Big Tom Stake.   When the smoke cleared after a heated stretch drive it was Megan Rogers Racing Stable Inc.'s Unlocked who once again returned to the local scene in a big way, as he prevailed by a hard fought half-length in 1:49.4 for driver Lewayne Miller.   Given a perfect steer by Miller the four-year-old son of Duneside Perch used his inside post to save ground in third while the speedy Ice Scraper (Brian Carpenter) ripped through splits of 26.0, 54.0 & 1:21.1.   Engaging the pace setter with a first over bid as the field hit the top of the stretch these two prolific pacers battled tooth and nail through the lane before Unlocked finally forged to the front in the closing strides to notch his fourth win of the season. Ice Scraper was hard fought second while 66-1 outsider Cole Heat (Dale Hiteman) rallied to be third.   The win was the 16th in 45 career starts for the Erv Miller trainee who returned $4.40, $2.60 & $2.80 while upping his career bankroll to $310,692.   An overflow field of 11 distaffers, 3yo old and up, closed out the night's stake action as they lined up behind the gate for the $30,200 Parklane Powerful Stake.   Using an aggressive steer and a little "racing luck" to their advantage driver Robert Smolin hustled Jesse Ferge and Ron Phillips Fox Valley Aubry to the front and the speedy three-year-old made every call a winning one, hanging on gamely to score by a head in 1:53.2.   Sprinting away from post seven in the big field the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Assailed made the top without too much trouble leading the ladies through opening splits of 27.4 & 57.1.   That's when disaster struck for most of the field as a first over Joyful Game made a nasty break, taking herself out of the race and severely impeding seven of the trailing horses in this battle.   With things all her own way on the front end Fox Valley Aubry cruised by the three-quarter-mile mark with a two-length lead in 1:24.3.   Through the lane the Bob Phillips trained miss continued to show the way while bracing for the challenge of the pocket sitting Just By Design (Dale Hiteman). With the lead starting to evaporate in the final sixteenth of a mile, Fox Valley Aubry dug in gamely keeping Just By Design at bay just long enough to record her third victory of the year. Just By Design was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role on this night while Financial Effort (Casey Leonard) turned a ground saving trip into the show dough.   The third choice in the wagering Fox Valley Aubry returned $10.80, $6.20 & $4.20 while running her lifetime record to 14-5-5 in 32 starts with earnings of $67,714.   Live racing continues on Sunday, August 23rd at Balmoral Park. Once again all the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races 7-10) features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) also features a guaranteed pool of $15,000 while the highly successful trifecta guarantee on race nine will give fans the chance to play into a $25,000 guaranteed pool. Tom Kelley

Our first glimpse of 2-year-olds took place at the Tuesday morning qualifiers at Balmoral Park and 8 of the 11 harness racing freshman that went postward were out of trainer Bob Phillips’ barn. The first four finishes in the first two qualifiers all were Phillips trainees. The 1:59.2 first freshman victor in the opening qualifier was My Man Red, a son of Sportsmaster who sold for $9,000 under the name of Fox Valley Lance to Blackfoot Farms of Chicago and Phillips. John De Long guided the ICF colt and also was behind the second race freshman filly winner Shakeitformegear (Geartogear) who paced a 1:58.2 mile with a 27.1 last quarter. Cutting the fractions in the second qualifier was the filly Fox Valley Tiramisu, a highly regarded daughter of Sportsmaster owned by Phillips and John Carver, a $50,000 yearling purchase. Fox Valley Tiramisu is out of the broodmare Theladysappealstome, making her a full sister to 2008 Breeders Crown 2-year-old champion Fox Valley Topaz. “Tiramisu” paced a 27.3 last quarter when she finished one length behind her Indiana bred stable-mate. The fastest of the six qualifiers conducted belonged to 3-year-old colt Mystical Jet, who drew off by six lengths in 1:57.2 for driver Casey Leonard and trainer Jill Arnold. Mike Paradise

The state-bred stakes action continued on Sunday, May 3rd at Balmoral Park as a pair of Illinois conceived and foaled events for both harness racing trotters and pacers shared top billing on the Sunday night card. In the opening event, the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar, last year's freshman champion, picked up right where he left off, posting an easy 3¾ length wire to wire victory in 1:58.2 over five other sophomore trotting colts in the $8,000 Iggy Magoo Stake. After being hustled away from the outside post in the compact field of six by driver Todd Warren, the bay son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain appeared to be on "idle" while leading the field through pedestrian splits of 30.3, 1:00.2 & 1:30.3.   Still fit and fresh despite the fact it was his first start back after a seven-month layoff, the good looking trotter sealed the deal with a brisk 27.4 final quarter to open his second season on a victorious note. Captain Greedy (J D Finn), the winner's main opposition during their first season of action, once again was forced to settle for the runner-up role after a pocket sitting trip while Fox Valley Theboss (Casey Leonard) staged a mild rally to finish third.   The $7,000 yearling purchase now boasts an eye-catching record of 9-1-0 in 10 career starts with earnings of $88,215. Dispatched as though defeat was out of the question Fox Valley Qatar returned $2.80, $2.40 & $2.10 to his legion of backers.   In the nightcap of Sunday's stake action a field of eight ICF three-year-old pacing fillies met in the $8,000 Betzotic Stake in what figured to be another tune-up in preparation for the first "major" ICF stake of the season, the Violet Stake.   When the smoke cleared it was Ronald Phillips & Jesse Ferge's Fox Valley Aubrey who emerged victorious as she parlayed a perfect pocket sitting journey into a passing lane victory, scoring by a length and a half in a career best of 1:55.0 for Bobby Smolin.   Taking full advantage of the pole position Smolin placed the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper--Assailed in the garden spot as the headstrong Lex (Kyle Wilfong) sped through splits of 29.0, 57.1 & 1:25.2.   After watching last year's divisional champion Mr Leland's Filly (Casey Leonard) make a break while on the move first over around the final turn, Smolin made the "winning" decision as he elected to sit in and wait for the open stretch. With the leader beginning to get a little leg weary in the final sixteenth of a mile, the Bob Phillips trained Fox Valley Aubrey came charging up the inside for Smolin, blowing right by the embattled leaders to score for the 12th time in 17 career starts. Lex held on gamely to finish second while Southern Girl (Mike Oosting) finished third. The third choice in the wagering from the inside starting spot, Fox Valley Aubrey returned $9.80, $4.40 & $3.00 while running her career earnings up to $32,244. Tom Kelley

With the start of Spring only a week away let’s take a look who has fared well on the local harness racing circuit the first couple of months of the 2015 Winter. The leading stable as we go into Thursday’s action may be a bit of a surprise. It’s Brett Wilfong (pictured) who is off to a hot season start, The Donovan, Illinois horseman has had 21 of his horses finish first as we head into the middle of March Brett’s 13 winners at Maywood Park ties him for the top spot with Perry Smith, who took last year’s training title at the half-mile track. Wilfong’s 8 victors at Balmoral Park has Brett tied for third best at the Crete, IL big track with Jim Ellison. Balmoral’s defending trainer champion Nelson Willis is on top there with 14 winners, followed by Bob Phillips with 9. Perry Smith rounds out the current Balmoral Top Five with 6. At Maywood Wilfong and Smith are followed by trainers Angie Affrunti and Gary Fatland, both with 7. Dave McCaffrey, Terry Leonard and Albert Kopiec each have 6. Wide Open Features: Friday’s co-features at Maywood Park are a pair of medium level conditioned paces, one for colts and geldings and the other for fillies and mares. Both have no-clear cut favorite. The Maywood morning line has two Tom Simmons trainees as the early choices The pair will race uncoupled because of different ownership. Long Term (Date Hiteman), a winner last week stepping up in class, opens at 2-1 while his stable-mate Real Hero (Casey Leonard), a nose short last time,  is at 5-2 first flash odds. Expect Desperado Alibi (Brian Carpenter), coming off a game win last week and with the pole position Friday, to also get plenty of play at the betting windows. The same goes for Don’t Worry B Happy (Mike Oosting) who is listed at generous 10-1 odds in the program. The Willis trainee proved best at Friday’s class two weeks ago. Also going postward in the non-winners of $8,000 in their last 8 starts are Some Heart Throb (8-1, Kyle Wilfong) and Total Sin (12-1, Lavern Hostetler). The 10th race for distaffers is another where 3 or 4 horses could be vying for most of the public’s choice. Last week’s front-stepping winner Incredible Filly (Tim Curtin) is listed at 3-1, Melodie Hotspur, a bridesmaid in her last four outings, is next at 7-2. Financial Effort (Casey Leonard) follows at 9-2 with Molly Go Lightly (Mike Oosting) at 6-1. The latter got bottled up behind a wall of horses and finished full of pace but much too far back to reward her backers. Steph’s Place (Todd Warren) who steps up after popping for her new barn a week ago is at 8-1. The 6-year-old ICF mare was claimed for $4,000 by Smith in her last February start after capturing 5 of her first 6 outings for the Terry Leonard Stable. She’ll start off at liberal 8-1 odds. Completing that field are ER Monica (15-1, Dean Magee), Misspanderosajones (12-1, Ridge Warren), Sealark Hanover (15-1, Sam Widger) and Gimmeazzzmooch (10-1, Dale Hiteman). By Mike Paradise

If their elimination heat was an indication of things to come, then Saturday's showdown between Al's Hammered and Forty Silky in the $112,000 Tony Maurello Stake at Balmoral Park should be a real heater. Last week the two Illinois-bred brutes battled it out in a torrid frenzy that saw the Bob Phillips-trained Al's Hammered prevail by 1½ lengths in 1:49.1 over the John Prentice-harnessed Fort Silky. Purchased by Phillips for a mere $2,000 at the 2010 Illini Sale, Al's Hammered has $426,627 in career earnings with a mark of 1:48.4 taken at age 3, en route to winning the $178,000 Langley Memorial on Super Night 2012 by 9½ lengths. He was also a solid third in the $241,000 Orange & Blue on Super Night 2011 as a freshman. Now 5, the gelded son of Droppin'Thehammer had an abbreviated schedule in 2013, after sustaining an injury in a Feb.2 race. Al's Hammered damaged his superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) and annular ligament of his left front leg. This injury is catastrophic to a racehorse, with recovery taking up to 18 months, and the tendons rarely return to their original functional elasticity. "The tendon was devastated; it looked like a shotgun hit it," remarked Dr. Greg Skelton, Bob's veterinarian. "Al's Hammered was a step away from a total breakdown." "We ultra-sounded it, and Greg suggested we cut the annular ligament," Bob, 69, explained. "Al's leg was the same size as his knee all the way to the ankle." "We thought it was best to cut the annular ligament, which alleviates pressure on the tendon sheath," Greg stressed. "If you don't cut that, the horse might get sore because mechanically the tendon can't move through to the ankle. Cutting removes restriction to the leg, allowing for more ease of movement." Greg also suggested injecting the leg with a series of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments. "Time was my first thought for recovery, and I thought using PRP would heal it better," Greg acknowledged. To prepare for a PRP treatment, a veterinarian takes blood plasma, an anti-coagulant, and a bit of white surface from red blood cells known as the 'buffy coat,' (which has DNA and healing proteins, white cells and platelets)--all from the injured horse. Via ultrasound, the vet injects a dose of PRP into the back of the leg, between the ligament and SDFT, inside and outside of the sheath. "I did this twice a month for six months," Greg confirmed. "By concentrating the plasma, the horse's own system heals the leg. I told Bob not to hold his breath; that this was a pretty big injury." "This treatment was amazing," Bob said. "After three months the leg was nearly back to normal. Nobody could believe how much it had sucked down." Nearly ten months later, Al's Hammered scored a winning 1:54.2 qualifier at Balmoral. On Nov. 16 he posted a 1:55.3 victory; followed by a 1:51.2 win on Nov. 23; a Dec. 7 win in a seasonal best 1:50.3; and a Dec. 14 triumph in 1:51.3. In just six starts he earned $31,395, pushing his 2013 earnings to $40,915. "I give a lot of credit to Bob," Greg offered. "There are not many trainers who would walk a horse themselves and take the time with him Bob has. Amazingly, this horse had no other injections--just the PRP treatments. The horse was a model patient and Bob was patient in the recovery process." This year, Al's Hammered has added another $117,400 to his bankroll, with 13 wins in 19 tries. "By far, he's the best horse I've ever had," Bob said. "I think he's better now than before the injury. You can train horses all your life and never get one like him." The indomitable Fort Silky, who has $668,100 in career earnings, with 47 wins, 44 seconds and 28 thirds from 197 lifetime starts for owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler, will try to stop Al's Hammered from garnering another Super Night triumph. The 8-year-old son of Ft Apache Hanover won the $25,000 Egyptian Stake on Aug. 29 at Maywood, stopping the timer in 1:50.4, just two-fifths of a second off the half-miler's track record, prior to his Maurello elim last week. A starter in the Maurello for the past three years, he'll be looking for his first Super Night Crown tonight. by Kimberly Rinker, for Balmoral Park  

With one major Super Night championship on her résumé the year-old ICF mare Party Hangover is looking to add another next Saturday on Illinois’ most anticipated evening of racing at Balmoral Park. Party Hangover, the 2012 Grandma Ann champion for trainer Jesse De Long, had won her first six first pari-mutuel starts after owner-trainer Ken Rucker sent Party Hangover back to Illinois under the care of his wife Catrina and driver Todd Warren before her second place finish last night in her Propes elimination. Dune In Red (1:51.2), given a pocket trip by Dave Magee, overtook Party Hangover in the lane to win the second elimination while defending Propes champion Let’s Go Higher breezed in 1:52 flat in the first split. I asked Catrina to fill me in about Party Hangover. “We bought Party Hangover privately near the end of last year and sent her out East to race,” said Catrina. “She did very well there this year making almost $28,000. But she’s been ever better since she’s been back in Illinois.” In her seven starts ion the Chicago circuit this year Party Hangover has raked in almost $40,000 for the Rucker family. What has made the mare so good in her home state? “In Pennsylvania there was no consistency with drivers,” replied Catrina. “You would get a different driver every week. A couple of times our mare got locked-in with a ton of pace but nowhere to go. You look at those lines it would appear she wasn’t racing well but she was racing great. “Here in Illinois it’s a different type of racing on a different type of track. Party Hangover is a mare that you can race any way you want, on the front or out of a hole. “Todd (Warren) has been great with the mare and he likes her a lot, too. He told us she’s done everything he’s asked her. “We scratched her out her Springfield race when the day of race got moved because of the rain they had down there. We wanted her fit and ready for the Parklane Powerful and she was, coming up with her second new lifetime mark (1:51.2). “We put her in a qualifier last Wednesday to keep her sharp because there wasn’t a race for her last Saturday and we didn’t want to go three weeks in between starts. “Party Hangover is kind of like the barn star right now and she likes being pampered. “A baby can jog her but once you turn her she’s all business on a racetrack. If you train her with another horse she won’t let that horse get past her. She’s just a monster on the track.” As a 3-year-old Party Hangover was an eight-time winner for the De Long stable and put over $161,000 on her card with the bulk of that money coming with consecutive wins in the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair championships, and triumphs in both her Grandma Ann elimination and its final. Nailing Down Another: Al’s Hammered (Bobby Smolin) uncorked a season fastest 1:49.1 mile last night in his Maurello elimination victory, avenging his recent loss to Fort Silky in the Egyptian stake at Maywood. The win was No. 13 of the season for Al’s Hammered, owned and trained by Bob Phillips, and likely sewed up his role as the morning line favorite for Saturday’s $120,000 Championship. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

The countdown to the biggest night of the year for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a bevy of elimination action brought out some of the Prairie State's best. Freshmen pacing fillies started the Saturday night action with a total of 15 youngsters entered in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elim's. The top five will be back on Super Night to battle for a $163,000 (est) jackpot. In the opening split Jesse De Long & Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler made her local debut a winning one as she rolled to an easy 4 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.3. Perfectly placed In The Pocket by driver John De Long, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatifthere'smore exploded past the pace setting Cowgirl Chic in the lane as she rolled to her sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Cowgirl Chic held on well to finish second while Girls Hunt Too (Dale Hiteman) was third and Star Gram (Brian Carpenter) was fourth. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson), the 1-2 favorite in the field of eight, stopped badly after a first over bid on the far turn but still managed to gain a spot in the final with her fifth place finish. In the second division Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing's Mr Leland's Filly continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Sent from third to first after a tepid opening quarter the Erv Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Katie appeared to have plenty in reserve through the lane as she toyed with her rivals while posting her fifth win in seven lifetime starts. BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the show dough after a bold first over bid at the top of the stretch. Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) was fourth while Fox Valley Redhead (Dale Hiteman) finished fifth. A field of 10 was sent postward in the $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts with the top nine finishers joining Fox Valley Cupid, who opted for a bye, in next week's $147,000 (est) final. Living up to his overwhelming 1-9 favoritism Megan Rogers Racing Stables Unlocked completely dismantled this field as he reported home with an effortless 6 ¼ length victory in 1:50.3 for driver Dave Magee and trainer Erv Miller. The issue was never in doubt in this one as the good looking son of Duneside Perch--Miss Major Power worked his way to the front after the opening quarter and proceeded to widen his margin at each call while posting his fourth straight victory over these rivals. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) followed the winners every move after relinquishing the lead on the backstretch but was no match for the heavy favorite while garnering the second place check. Svaya Knows (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Van, Uncle Ugly, Overloaded, Cotton Eyed Joe, BlueRiver and Sleazeburgernfries. The older pacers renewed acquaintances as a total of 16 veterans were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Tony Maurello Stake elimination's. Once again the top five finishers will be back for what should be a very entertaining $112,000 (est) final next week. In the first division the Bob Phillips owned and trained Al's Hammered came flying down the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a seasons best of 1:49.1 with Bobby Smolin at the controls. Content to bide their time near the back of the pack through some quick early splits, Smolin put the five-year-old son of Droppin'thehammer--Alberts Magic into contention at the top of the lane. Uncorking the big late kick he's come to be known for Al's Hammered proceeded to wear down FortSilky (Casey Leonard) in the final sixteenth of a mile for his 13th win in 19 starts this season. FortSilky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Daddy Woo Woo (Ridge Warren) was third. Ice Scraper (Todd Warren), who carved out the fast fractions held on for fourth while Ricky Bobbie (Pat Curtin) was fifth. In the nightcap Bert Hochsprung and the Erv Miller Stables classy veteran Iam Bonasera picked a nice time to grab his first win of the season as he rolled to an easy 1 ½ length victory in 1:51.3 with Travis Seekman at the controls. Perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Big Brad (Robert Smolin) carved out pedestrian splits of 27.4, 57.0 & 1:25.1, Seekman maneuvered the seven-year-old Cole Muffler--Shesoluvabull gelding to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime winner of more than $670,000 did the rest, storming home in 26.1 to get the win. Big Brad settled for second while another Miller trainee, A Cool Card (Dave Magee) was third. Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) was fourth while Doubletrouble (Todd Warren) was fifth. Next up were the two-year-old pacing colts as a total of 19 hopeful's met in a pair of $15,000 battles. The top five in each race will return for what is expected to be next week's biggest purse of the night at $187,000 (est). The first split provided a thrilling finish as the Roger Welch trained entry of Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova finished one-two with Earndawg getting the 1 ½ length score in a career best of 1:54.0 for the partnership of Bo & Pat De Long and E.J. Miller Jr. Sitting near the back of the back of the pack after starting from post position eight, driver Todd Warren did a magnificent job of guiding the altered son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K through the lane charging from eighth to first in the final quarter-mile for his third win in nine lifetime starts. Rockin Cassinova (Dale Hiteman) parlayed a nice ground saving journey into the place check while Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) rallied for third. Also gaining spots in the final was the pace setting Dupage's Z Tam (Casey Leonard) and Thisishowweroll (John De Long). The second elimination was also a barnburner and when the smoke cleared it was Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark who prevailed by the slimmest of noses in 1:55.1 for driver Dave Magee. Given a Hall of Fame steer by Super Night's leading driver, Lucpark left quickly from post nine and settled in nicely at the pylons until the top of the stretch. That's when Magee went to work with the Erv Miller trained son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best, deftly maneuvering off the cones then squeezing through a tight hole with an eighth of a mile to go before wearing down the pace setting King Of The Swamp (Todd Warren) in the last stride for his fourth win in eight lifetime starts. C Note (John De Long) shook loose late to finish third. The last two spots in the final went to Mighty Hot Shot (Brian Carpenter) and Fox Valley Elijah (Dale Hiteman). A total of 23 distaffers were dropped into the box for a trio of $15,000 Lorna Propes Stake elimination's with the top three and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) advancing to next week's $120,000 (est) championship. In the first division Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher, the defending champion in this event, returned to town for trainer Heidi Rohr and promptly served notice that she's going to be tough to dethrone as she posted a 4 ¼ length wire to wire victory in 1:52.1. Confidently handled by driver John De Long, the six-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed shot right to the top and promptly rattled off splits of 28.3, 57.1, & 124.4 before sealing the deal with a brisk 27.2 final panel for her 22nd win in the past two seasons. No Respect (Kyle Wilfong) followed the winner every step of the way but was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) was third. Fox Valley Touche finished fourth. In the middle split Wilson Racing Stable, Norm Neff and Mark Eichberger's Dune In Red parlayed a perfect trip into a 2 ½ length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Dave Magee. Sent hard from post five, the chestnut daughter of Duneside Perch--She Has The Look elected to let a hard charging Party Hangover (Todd Warren) go just after the quarter. That put the Tim Wilson Jr trained miss in a perfect spot the rest of the way. Magee then maneuvered the four-year-old out of the pocket and she responded beautifully as she zipped right by the odds on favorite for her fourth win of the season. Party Hangover held on for second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) was third. Zumba finished fourth. In the final elimination of the night fittingly went to another Dave Magee driven mare as he guided Joshua Carter's Just By Design to a one-length victory in 1:52.3. As was the case for nearly all of the night Magee had the roan six-year-old perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Fox Valley Absolut carved out splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:25.0. Fit and fresh as she waited for the passing lane, the Mike Brink trained miss cruised right by the pace setter for her third win of the season. Fox Valley Absolut held on for second while Toshie Special (Dean Magee) finished third. Auniqueaquistion finished fourth. The elimination action continues on Sunday, Sept. 7th with a $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination. That tussle will go as race six on the 10-race card which begins at 7:10 p.m. (central). No eliminations were needed for the Lady Ann Reed for three-year-old trotting fillies or the Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies. The latter did have a "prep" on Saturday night which was taken by Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly and driver Matt Krueger in 1:55. By Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

Friday’s $25,000 Egyptian stake, the second leg of the Maywood Park Pacing Series for ICF colts and geldings ages three and up, came up a little short in number but tall in talent. Most of the top older ICF pacers will square off in the fourth race feature and all know their way around the Maywood Park oval with defending series champion Fort Silky having by far the most success on the half-miler in the six-horse field. The 8-year-old son of Ft. Apache Hanover is looking for his 15th lifetime win at Maywood and he’ll have his work cut out to get it for Paw Paw, Illinois owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Keeler. The current star of the Terry Leonard Stable landed the outside six post with the likes of Fox Valley Norman, Mystical Walter, Al’s Hammered, Fancy Creek Elusiv and Silver Devil inside of him with posts 1 through 5, in that order. Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) and Silver Devil (John De Long) are expected to provide the early speed from the outside while the longshot Fox Valley Norman with the one-slot has shown in the past he can also leave in a hurry. The Perry Smith trainee won the Go Sox at Maywood last season as a 3-year-old in front-end fashion. Silver Devil took this year’s Aged Cardinal Championship at Maywood back in June while his Nick Giberson trained stable-mate Fancy Creek Elusiv came away with the 2013 Maywood Pace Championship. They’ll race up-coupled Friday with different ownership. Sitting on top of the ICF Aged Division is Bob Phillips’ Al’s Hammered who has been close to unstoppable in his 5-year-old season. The 12-time season winner has captured the circuit’s Invite a half-dozen times already, while also coming away with triumphs in Balmoral’s Broadway Preview and Betzotic, the aged ICF title at  Springfield, and the Taser Gun on Mt. Sterling’s half-mile fair track. The Egyptian will be Al’s Hammered first start at Maywood since 2012 when he won the Cole Muffler stake near the end of his 3-year-old season. However, the winner of over $12,000 lifetime, did drop his four other 3-year-old Maywood trips postward, the only year he has raced there. Mystical Walter comes off a resounding 1:52 victory in the ICF Aged Pace Stake at the Du Quoin State Fair. Last season’s Illinois 3-Year-Old Male Pacer of the Year was victorious in the 2013 Langley on Super Night, captured both State Fair titles, and took the Incredible Finale Final and a Hanover at Balmoral. A son of Yankee Skyscraper, Mystical Walter dropped a head decision to Fancy Creek Elusiv in last year’s Maywood Pace Final and still racked up over $195,000 in purse earners for owners Paymaq Racing, D & M Trading and Mystical Marker Farms. With regular driver Casey Leonard at the lines of his family stable’s venerable Fort Silky, Dave Magee will make a rare appearance at Maywood Park Friday to drive the Erv Miller trained 4-year-old. The National Hall of Famer did drive Mystical Walter once early in the horse’s 3-year-old campaign. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

When the draw came out for Maywood Park’s Friday program I was more than a little surprised to see the Roger Welch Stable’s Indiana champion Always About Katey in-to-go on the circuit’s half-miler. The 5-year-old Indiana bred mare has put over $736,732 on her card in 2 and 1/2 years of racing for owners William De Long (Clinton, WI), Pat De Long (South Beloit, IL) and her namesake Katey McClymont (Janesville, WI). It’s rare to see Always About Katey not racing in Indiana Invites and it’s even rarer to see the mare at Maywood Park. She finished second in last year’s Cinderella, the only time she’s competed on a half-mile track. “She’s hasn’t been racing well,” said her trainer Roger Welch. “She hasn’t been trying and I was looking for a softer spot to drop her in and maybe braven her-up. There wasn’t anything in Indiana for her and nothing at Balmoral. So I thought I’d shake things up and race her at Maywood. “She’s no lock in Friday’s race. There are some nice mares in it and Katey hasn’t been good lately.” However, Always About Katey is the class of the race and the heavy 6-5 morning line favorite. She was the 2012 Indiana Filly of the Year when she won 10 of 12 races, including a pair of $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Gold events, the $75,800 Circle City at Indiana Downs, and both Balmoral’s $53,900 Hanover and $113,000 American National, racking up $406,545. Last season as a 3-year-old Katey added another $284,657 to her bank account, capturing 7 of 17 starts including another $200,000 Indiana Gold stake in a career best time of 1:51.3. This year Katey is 3-for-16 and while 2 of those wins came earlier in Hoosier Park Invites, the mare has dropped 10 of her last 11 decisions and has a modest $45,530 on this year’s card. Kayey did draw well Friday with the 3-slot for Todd Warren, the stable’s regular Illinois driver. Inside of Katey are Weekend Update (programmed 8-1) and Whistle Pig (10-1). The 4 through 8 slots will be manned by Sealark Hanover (15-1), Poco Granny (9-2), Sleazy Does It (6-1), Auniqueaquistion (12-1) and Mu Caliente (12-1). Windy City Diane (20-1) has the second tier 9-post. The $9,100 eighth race distaff event for non-winners of $9,500 in their last five starts, will share of Maywood spotlight with the same conditioned ninth race for colts and geldings. Bob Phillips Holdingallthecards is listed at 8-5 despite the seven-slot. The Tom Simmons Stable’s Kansas Wildcat is next at 3-1, followed by Dandy Farms Rhombus (4-1) who will make his first career start on a half-miler. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

State-bred pacers took center stage on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as trainer Robert Phillips and driver Robert Smolin teamed up for a pair of impressive victories with two of the stables stars as Al's Hammered romped to a 5¾ length victory in the $15,000 Rambling Willie Stake while Cotton Eyed Joe rolled to a 2¾ length win in the $10,000 Betzotic Stake.   With a compact field of five of the state's top older pacers facing the gate for the Rambling Willie Stake, Al's Hammered found himself much closer than usual to the early action as Ice Scraper (Todd Warren) rattled off splits of 27.0, 56.0 & 1:23.4.   Smolin then maneuvered the son of Droppin'thehammer off the pylons as the field turned for the money. As he's done so often, the bay five-year-old absolutely exploded through the stretch, charging home in a wicked 25.4 to secure the victory in 1:50.1 for his owner-trainer Phillips. Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) parlayed a perfect pocket sitting journey into a second place check while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee) finished third.   With the win Al's Hammered who has overcome serious injury to return to stardom now boasts a career record of 25-8-11 in 64 starts with earnings of more than $340,000   Sophomore pacing colts were also in action on the chilly Saturday night card and when the smoke cleared from the $10,000 Betzotic Stake the Phillips-Smolin pairing were back in victory lane as Cotton Eyed Joe turned a two-hole trip into an easy win over seven other state-breds, stopping the clock in 1:54.1.   Perfectly positioned on the back of odds-on favorite Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) as he clicked off splits of 27.3, 57.1 & 1:26.4, Smolin patiently waited for the passing lane as the field headed for the wire. After securing room with a sixteenth of a mile to go, the gelded son of Big Green Machine--Secret Dial flew home in 27.0 to nab his second win in four starts this season. Fox Valley Deuce held for second while Dune Dude (Dean Magee) turned in a late rally to finish third, four lengths behind the winner.   A four-time career winner, last season's Orange & Blue champion now boasts career earnings of more than $121,000 for owner-trainer Bob Phillips.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park     COTTON EYED JOE AND DRIVER Robert Smolin CHARGED THROUGH THE PASSING LANE TO SECURE VICTORY IN SATURDAY'S $10,000 BETZOTIC STAKE.     AL'S HAMMERED UNCORKED A WICKED 25.4 TO BLOW BY HIS RIVALS IN SATURDAY'S $15,000 RAMBLING WILLIE STAKE.       -----Original Message----- From: David Baum <baum.photography@gmail.com> To: Tom Kelley <tkelleyatbal@aol.com>; Mike Paradise <michaelfparadise@hotmail.com> Sent: Sat, Apr 26, 2014 9:31 pm        

Al's Hammered uncorked a swift 26 3/5 seconds last quarter on a cold Saturday night to pound out his second consecutive victory in the Balmoral Park Invitational ranks. Regular driver Bobby Smolin, of Bourbonnais, bided his time with the 4-5 public's choice and kept him in seventh, and last, until the top of the lane and when he called on Al's Hammered ($3.80) the four-year-old pacer responded with his strong winning move in the $17,000 ninth race feature. The 16-1 longshot pacesetter Kanarsis was second in the one minute, 51 3/5 seconds mile, 1 1/2 lengths behind winner, owned and trained by Bob Phillips, of Crete. From the Publicity Department Balmoral Park

The $21,750 Lady Lincoln Land Consolation is for ICF 2-year-old filly trotters who didn’t finish in the top four in last week’s $105,000 championship so it’s somewhat surprising to find a trio of past stakes winners in Wednesday’s starting field. Nonetheless that’s the case. Going postward in the third race feature is S V Spirit, a Springfield elimination winner and the Downstate Classic champion at Lincoln, Du Quoin’s Shawnee victor Fox Valley Hosana, along with Vienna who won the Fox Valley Flan Final at the end of July at Balmoral. “Hosana” was fifth best in the Lady Lincoln Lane Final for trainer Dirk Simpson, Bob Phillips’ Vienna broke and ended up seventh, and S V Spirit went off stride in contention and finished eighth for the Roger Welch Stable. The trio could get the bulk of the money bet in Wednesday’s Consolation event. S V Spirit, the 8-5 beaten favorite in the final, will open as the 5-2 choice with Todd Warren Wednesday. Fox Valley Hosana (Mike Oosting) is at 5-1, while Vienna (Kyle Wilfong) is at first flash odds of 6-1. They’ll be challenged by Say No Mo (Dale Hiteman), another Simpson trainee who will race un-coupled with Fox Valley Hosana and is the 4-1 second programmed choice, Green Acres (8-1, Jon Anderson), High Balance (12-1, Lavern Hostetler), Macie Rae (8-1, Mike Rogers) and Graceful Spirit (10-1, Casey Leonard). Macie Rae, a first-time Lasix user, was an eight-time winner with past summer fair circuit and took the Country Fair Challenge at Do Quoin by over 13 lengths in 2:00.4 with Rogers. Stakes Aplenty: There are a half-dozen more stakes raced to be contested this week starting with a pair of $12,000 Betzotic’s at Maywood. The ICF 3-year-old filly pacers vie on Thursday night while the state-bred sophomore colts tangle on Friday. Grandma Ann champion Auniqueaquistion makes her first start since Super night in the eighth race Thursday feature. Fox Valley Norman and Silver Devil, the 1-2 finishers in the recent Bye Bye Byrd at Balmoral are in Friday's ICF stake. There’s another $12,000 Betzotic Saturday at Balmoral and it’s for Illinois bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. The freshman filly version goes on Sunday evening where it’ll be joined by the last two Hanover stakes for this season. Both the 2-year-old colt and filly Hanover’s have estimated purses of $60,000. Recent Lady Lincoln Land champion Bailey’s Wish will head up the local contingent of freshman distaff trotters Muscle Network, a 1:53.2 winner last Friday, the fastest of a trio of $86,000 International Stallion stakes decided at The Red Mile, is eligible for Sunday’s Hanover colt trot and is a likely starter for trainer Tony O’Sullivan. Photo Surprise and Fox Valley Veto, the one-two-finishers in last Sunday’s $105,000 Lincoln Land Final, are both expected to also enter. Oosting Moves Up. With 10 winning drives over the weekend at Balmoral Mike Oosting is now at 447 for the season, moving him into sixth place in dash winners throughout the country and Canada. The Michigan native entered this week only one winner out of fifth. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

1 to 16 of 20