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Invite Back but ICF Stake KO'd (04/27/13)

Posted Saturday April 27, 2013

                                                     By Mike Paradise

  Fort Silky, the current king of the older ICF pacers on the circuit, won’t get an opportunity to follow last month’s Song Cycle stakes triumph with another in the $17,000 Rambling Willie.

  That scheduled stake race for older state-bred pacers was scrubbed from Saturday’s card when only four horses were entered and the Rambling Willie won’t be re-scheduled, according to the Balmoral Park Racing Secretary Doc Narotsky.

  That’s too bad because there isn’t another ICF stake for these older horses until the Broadway Preview at Balmoral on June 15. That’s almost two months away.

  You would think if the Rambling Willie was rescheduled for next Saturday the race office could find one more starter for a five-horse field.

  Raise your hand if you would put up the $100 starting fee for the Rambling Willie knowing your Illinois bred pacer can’t finish any worse than fifth, which is worth $850. That’s a $750 profit for your horse going around the track one time.

   Be that as it may, Fort Silky will open as the 9-5 morning line favorite in this Saturday’s $17,000 second race Invitational where he was assigned the outside five-slot when he takes on Special Joe (programmed at 9-2, John Roberts), Lucky Jet (3-1, Dave Magee), Lennox Blue Chip (5-1, Bobby Smolin) and Best Man Hanover (5-2, Mike Oosting).

  “Fort Silky is really racing well,” said his driver Casey Leonard. “I’ve been real happy with him.”

  And Casey should be.

  It’s only April and the now 7-year-old pacer has won more races this year (5) than he did all of last year (4) and a victory in tonight’s Invite would see his 2013 earnings surpass last year’s total of $68,214 for Paw Paw, Illinois owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler with only a third of the season’s races decided and the bigger money events all still ahead.

  “Fort Silky is very fast off the gate,” continued Casey. “The horse isn’t all that versatile. You can duck him but he gets out of there so well you want to take advantage of his gate speed.”

  Joining the local Invite ranks for the first time this year is the Perry Smith Stable’s Best Man Hanover and the Tom Harmer Stable’s Lucky Jet.

  Best Man Hanover was a “regular” in last year’s Balmoral Invites when he posted victories in five of them. The now five-year-old gelding pulled won $120,000 for Sawgrass Farms.

  Lucky Jet nosed out Best Man Hanover in a conditioned event last week with a mile of 1:50.1. The homebred had a banner 3-year-old campaign in 2012, raking in over $190,000 and winning 11 times, including a $102,000 Ontario Sire Stake in late September.

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