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Veto Session in Lincoln Land Final? (10/06/13)
For Sunday October 6, 2013
By Mike Paradise
Division leader Tour Hall is favored to get back on the winning track after some disappointing September races when he goes postward in Sunday’s $105,000 Lincoln Land Championship at Balmoral Park, the richest race of the season for ICF 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings.
Tour Hall won the Springfield State fair championship and was second in both Balmoral’s Plesac and Du Quoin’s Darn Safe finals before going off stride in all three of his September starts.
With over $50,000 in first season earnings and the pole position with National Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee, the Mike Brink trainee is deservedly the 3-1 morning line choice.
Then again anything can happen in a horse race, especially when ICF 2-year-old trotters are concerned.
Among those looking to pull off an upset is Curt and Craig Grummel’s Fox Valley Veto (programmed 10-1), who beat Tour Hall (Dave Magee) in Du Quoin’s Darn Safe and had the lead turning for home in thee Springfield Final but went off-stride.
“When he made a break at Springfield it was my fault,” said his driver John Roberts. “I saw Davey (Magee) coming up on the outside with Tour Hall and I got overaggressive with my horse and caused him to go off stride. My mistake cost us that championship so it was very cool to come back with Fox Valley Vero and win the stake final at Du Quoin.
“Curt (trainer Grummel) has done a great job with the horse. Fox Valley Veto is a good horse to drive. Sometimes you have to get after him a little but he tries the whole mile.”
While Tour Hall drew the coveted one-slot in Sunday’s Lincoln Land Final, Fox Valley Veto was saddled with the 9-post in the 10-horse field.
“Of course I would have rather drew an inside post so I wouldn’t have to work my horse as much to get up-close position but he leaves from the gate well enough that we should be okay.
“Tour Hall has the rail and I don’t think I can beat him if I try to race my horse from the pack of the back. When we got the better of him at Du Quoin we did it racing in front of him, so I don’t think I have much of a choice but to move my horse early in Sunday’s stake.”
Fox Valley Veto was beaten 23 lengths when he finished fourth in his last start, the American National, by the winner Southwick Spirit.
“He was in against a horse who set a track record of 1:54 for a 2-year-old trotter and the fact he did it on a sloppy track is pretty amazing,” continued Roberts. “My horse just got tired. But that race should tighten him up and he should be just fine in the Lincoln Land against strictly other Illinois-breds he can trot with.”
Roberts has watched Fox Valley Veto grow into a solid freshman trotter.
“He’s an average sized horse who has gotten bigger. He’s taller now than he was when I first started driving him. The horse is filling out nicely. And he’s gotten stronger. His gait has changed a lot. He used to have to drag himself along a little but now that he’s stronger he trots along easier.”
Also looking to bring home the $46,725 winner’s share of the lucrative is Finnster (20-1, Jared Finn), Polars Big Spender (20-1, Matt Krueger), Battleshoe King (10-1, Buddy Simpson), Battleshoe Crown (12-1, Clay Simpson), Big Bad Bob (4-1, Dale Hiteman), Nino Marino (5-1, Dean Magee), Bobby B Breeze (9-2, Todd Warren) and Photo Surprise (8-1, Mike Oosting).
Another Stake: Sunday’s secondary feature is a $12,000 Betzotic for 3-year-old ICF trotting fillies. The trio of Sara The Spy (2-1, Todd Warren), Divination (5-2, Mike Oosting) and Just for Fun (3-1, Casey Leonard) head up the second race stake.
Domination: Oosting drove half of the winners on Saturday night’s 14-race card when he brought home seven first place finishers.
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