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Springfield Now a Short and Sweet Meet (08/10/14)
Posted Sunday August 10, 2014
By Mike Paradise
“When It Rains It Pours” seems like a fitting idiom when it put a bit of a damper on the 2014 harness racing meeting at Springfield State Fair.
A weekend of rain forced cancellation of the first two scheduled days of racing and the one-time five-day meet is down to a three-day affair starting with the Monday program.
The Monday card was originally slated to be 11 races but it has swelled to 15 when first the two ICF stake championships for older fillies and mares were switched from last Friday’s program was washed-out and then increased again when Saturday’s races were rained-out for older colts and geldings and moved.
The four $10,000 aged state-bred stakes will go as the last four races on the Monday afternoon program starting with the Illinois State Fair Stake for fillies and mares where the Robert Taylor owned and trained trio of My Miss Caroline (Todd Warren), Little Ms Chrissy (Odell Cross) and Just For Fun (Taylor) are the heavy 4-5 favorites in nine-horse field.
The aged filly and mare pace event that follows is packed with 11 horses. Mo. 10 Ryleigh’s Lilly will start in the second tier behind the red-hot favorite Party Hangover (p.p. 1) who has yet to lose this season in Illinois with Warren.
Now owned by Ken Rucker, the Catrina Rucker trainee will carry a five-race winning streak into the stake that included back-to-back career marks of 1:51.2.
Party Hangover was the 2012 Grandma Ann Super Night champion when she raced for Jesse De Long Stable. The 26-race career winner is closing-in on $300,000 on her card with $281,811 banked. She’s being pointed for next month’s Super Night Lorna Propes Stake at Balmoral Park.
The solid field of fillies and mares also lured Just By Design, State Street Liz. No Respect, Pretty Place, Joyful Game, Rev Me Up, Fox Valley Absolut and the Joel Smith Stable’s Fox Valley Touche and Dallas Jones.
The horse and gelding trot championship has six evenly-matches starters. The field, with my odds, consists of Powerful Speed (7-2), Rock Hollywood (5-2), Lookin’ Ahead (4-1), Powerful Poe (3-1), Class Star (6-1) and Mack’s Gold Band (5-1).
It you want to see the best older male pacers in our state knock heads you’ll have to wait for Monday’s finale.
Division leader Al’s Hammered (7-5, Bobby Smolin) goes for his eighth in a row and landing the rail should have the star of the Bob Phillips Stable in good position to overpower another field.
Coming in to take Al’s Hammered on is last season’s 3-year-old ICF division champion Mystical Walker (3-1, Kyle Wilfong), his first Illinois start as a four-year-old. Fort Silky (9-1, Casey Leonard), who dropped a neck decision to Al’s Hammered the last time they met, figures to use his good gate speed from post five and be right in the thick of it again
Rounding out the field is Big Brad (6-1, Dave Magee), Rockin Rumble (20-1, Travis Seekman), Mt. Three Quarters (50-1, Freddie Patton Jr.) and a pair of solid ICF pacers from the stable of Nick Giberson: Silver Devil (12-1, John De Long) and Fancy Creek Elusiv (8-1, Ryan Anderson) who will race un-coupled.
You can expect most of these same horses back in Saturday for Balmoral’s $35,000 Big Tom Stake.