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Invite, Open Skipped (03/02/13)

Posted Saturday March 2, 2013

                                                     By Mike Paradise

  The $17,000 Invite and the $16,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace have been skipped this weekend and instead a pair of $12,500 high-level paces for both sexes head up the Saturday card.

  Both St Elmo Hero and the streaking Betterluvnexttime were written out of the conditioned paces by the Balmoral Park Racing Office since both races for non-winners of $15,000 in their last five starts with non-winners of a purse of $12,000 or more twice since 02-01-13 also eligible and drawing outside.

  While I like to see the best horses on the grounds compete each week, Saturday’s features to make for more-wide open betting events.

  Landing outside in the 10rth race for “the boys” is last week’s surprise Invite winner Fort Silky (listed at generous 9-2 odds in the morning line). The Leonard Stable trainee took advantage of a great trip and uncorked a sizzling 1:49.3 winning mile, finishing one length the best.

  The heavily favored St Elmo Hero was parked out to a bruising :26 flat first quarter by Ice Scraper in that race and after a :53.1 half and a 1:21.1 three-quarters, couldn’t hold off Fort Silky who sat third through the sizzling fractions.

  “Ice Scraper is a lot like Fort Silky who can be hard to shut down once you get him going,” said Casey Leonard. “Last week Ice Scraper just kept going and he took St Elmo to that 26 first quarter. The previous two weeks I had such a big hold on Fort Silky around the half that I could feel him losing his air a little bit.

  “But last Saturday they just kept moving and I never had to grab a hold of him. I got a perfect trip and he did the rest. Fort Silky is just a nice horse. We’ve been tinkering with his rigging a little bit to get him squared-away so I can drive him a little better.”

  With the temperature below freezing at 26 degrees on a winter track surface in February, Fort Silky’s fastest mile ever surprised everybody, including his driver.

  “Going in 49 and 3 in February was unbelievable,” said Casey. “For Fort Silky to go a 26 first quarter and still come home in 28 was very impressive.”

  You can expect Fort Silky to use his gate speed to gain position from the 10-hole when he takes on Lennox Blue Chip (programmed at 7-2), Born To Rockin Roll (10-1), Park Lane Deputy (5-2), Thunder Steeler (8-1), Heath (10-1), NJ’s Big Deal (12-1), Bull Lea (6-1) and Justfiied (15-1).

  The Steve Bauder trained entry of Aqua Artist (Mike Oosting) and Sectionline Yankee (Todd Warren) looks very formable in the eighth race distaff pace as the 2-1 first flash favorites.

  Aqua Artist (p.p. 2) breezed in 1:52.3 last week while Sectionline Yankee (p.p.10) was second best to Betterluvnexttime and it was the 4-year-old mare’s first start of the year. Her previous start was on December 15.

  They’ll be challenged by Together Again N (12-1), Whistle Pig (4-1), Osage (20-1), Fox Valley Matinee (20-1), Fox Valley Absolut (8-1), Seekin For Glamour (15-1), MJ’s Last Dance (12-1) and Fox Valley Touche (6-1).

  To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here

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