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De Long Connects with Place'N First (05/10/13)

Posted Friday May 10, 2013

                                                By Mike Paradise

  Jenni King’s 4-year-old mare Place’N First will be in her familiar under-dog role when she takes on seven distaffers in Maywood Park’s Friday feature, the $10,000 ninth conditioned race for non-winners of $9,500 in their last five starts.

  Place N’ First will open up as the 7-2 third choice with the classy Fox Valley Touche the 2-1 morning line favorite and deservedly so, the 5-year-old ICF mare has over $410,000 on her card and is a past winner of the $100,000 Maywood Filly Pace.

  Meanwhile Place’N First has won half (10) as many races in her career as Fox Valley Touche and has earned a modest $66,057 part way through her third season of racing.

  Nevertheless, Place’N First does own a victory this season over Fox Valley Touche and she’s been superb with John De Long at her lines.

  In her career the 24-year-old Wisconsin native has driven the horse 19 times and has 9 wins and 5 seconds with Place’N First and last year steered her to the $20,000 Minnesota Championship at Running Aces.

  “For some reason I’ve always gotten along well with her,” said De Long. “I don’t know why but she always races well for me and I seem to win a lot of races with her. Last week I got her out too late or we would have been a lot closer.”

  Place N First went off as the second choice to a winning favorite.  Her 5-2 odds were the lowest she’s been in 10 season starts even though she’s has 2 wins and 2 seconds in her last 5 starts that includes a two-plus length win on April 5 over Fox Valley Touche and she did it with an early three-wide move.

  “She’s a very quick filly, “continued De Long. “Place’N First can go from third gear to fifth gear in maybe two steps.

  “When I pulled her three-wide at the half at Maywood when she looped Dale (Hiteman) and Fox Valley Touche, she cleared with no problem. I’ve always liked her but the night she did that she showed me she’s a very good filly who can race with any of the mares at Maywood.”

   Even though De Long spent some time at last year’s Running Acres meeting in Minnesota, John and Place ‘N First paths didn’t cross in Minnesota until the $20,000 Championship near the end of the meet.

  “I drove Place N’ First all spring at Maywood but she didn’t race on the days I was up there (in Minnesota) so I didn’t get to drive her there,” said De Long.

  “However the championship was on a Monday afternoon when I was there and so I asked Jenni to let me drive her in that race and she did. Place’N First jogged in 54 and 4 in the championship. I raced her first over against a heavy favorite and she just mowed that horse right down.”

  Place N’ First drew the six-slot in Friday’s Maywood feature while Fox Valley Touche landed the four with Hiteman.

  The first three slots will be manned by Cam’s Princes Wave (5-1, Todd Warren), Blazing Fury (3-1, Casey Leonard) and Bellvalley Miracle (12-1, Mike Oosting)). She’s Automatic (8-1, Brian Carpenter)) has the 5 while Muy Caliente (20-1, John Roberts) and Bubbler (15-1, Kyle Wilfong) leaves from the 7 and 8, in that order.

  Casey Bags Seven: Casey Leonard drove a career high seven winners at Maywood Park last time. The 35-year-old Harvard, Illinois native leads the Maywood driver standings with 79 winners to 72 for Mike Oosting.

  To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here


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