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3-Year-Olds Have Wilfong's Excited (05/04/13)
Posted Saturday May 4, 2013
By Mike Paradise
The Illinois bred stake season is starting to heat up with some of the richest prizes coming up in the next couple of months, energizing many of the local trainers.
“Even though it’s early we’re pretty excited for both Feel Like Dancing and Crankin’ It Up for their 3-year-old seasons, said trainer Brett Wilfong who sends out the family’s homebreds in Betzotic stakes for both ICF filly and colt pacers.
“We have Feel like Dancing a little more staked than Crankin’ It Up. She’s eligible to the American National but we didn’t put Crankin’ It Up in there. We did last year but the horse acted like he needed some time to grow up so I stopped with him in mid-September and I’m glad I did.
“Feel Like Dancing is the best of my 3-year-old ICF fillies.”
Wilfong had another potential star filly in Chariots of Fire before she got sidelined.
“I thought in the winter she was as good as Feel Like Dancing but Chariots of Fire got injured on the racetrack and it looks like she’s probably going to need this year off.”
Feel Like Dancing is the 7-2 second choice behind Big Zipper (5-2) in the third race first $10,000 filly stake. The Wilfong trainee last raced on April 20, a 1:55.4 victory at Balmoral.
“This year we’ve been trying to spot-race Feel Like Dancing,” continued Wilfong, who has over 800 career victories as a trainer. “We didn’t go in last week’s Desperate Lady with her at Maywood because there’s this Saturday’s stake for her and the following week are the Violet elims there. We wanted to have a week off for her. We know she’s pretty sharp.
“You have to be careful with these young horses. When they are eligible to some big races in November you don’t want to over-race them early in the year.”
The veteran trainer then switched over to talk about Crankin’ It Up, the surprise winner of last Friday’s Taser Gun at Maywood and the 4-1 third program choice in the seventh race Betzotic for ICF second season males.
“As a 2-year-old Crankin’ It Up was mentally all right on the racetrack,” continued Brett, who will be 52 on the Fourth of July. “The colt was just underdeveloped. His knees were still immature. The horse grew 3 or 4 inches over the winter in height and width and now we’re really excited about him, especially after we saw what he did at Maywood.”
Crankin’ It Up was shuffled back to last turning for home in the Taser Gun and looked like he didn’t have any chance of winning but Brett’s son Kyle saw a small opening in mid-stretch and the Wilfong trainee took advantage of it with a nose decision in a blanket five-horse finish.
“When Crankin’ It Up won that stake at Maywood my wife and I and Kyle’s girlfriend Nicole all were literally shaking in our boots,” said Brett. “What a thrill that was for us. First we couldn’t believe he got out. Then we couldn’t believe he won, and when the time popped up on the board of 53 and 2 the excitement of it all was overwhelming.
“After all going into that stake colt had never won a race and that was the first time I started him a Maywood.
“I also have to compliment Kyle on his driving, particularly in that race. Even though the horse was shuffled back to last he didn’t get excited and bully the horse out of a hole or jerk him sideways. He waited for the opportunity to maneuver him out.
“He’s really learned how to drive these horses for me. He knows these horses well. He takes care of them and he has them pretty fresh at the end of the mile. Their tongues aren’t hanging out.”
Spoken like a proud dad.
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Crankin' It Up (No. 5) for his nose in front at the wire in the Taser Gun.
Maywood Park Photo