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Springfield’s Rain-Outs Effecting Balmoral Stakes? (08/13/14)
Posted Wednesday August 13, 2014
By Mike Paradise
The rain-delayed harness racing meeting at Springfield could have an impact on a pair of ICF stake races coming up this weekend at Balmoral Park for older pacers.
When the Illinois stakes schedule was drawn up the latter part of last year the placing of the older Illinois State Fair Colt Championships Friday, August 14 was perfectly spotted eight days before the Big Tom and Parklane Powerful stakes on the big track in Crete, IL.
Even when rain pushed the $10,000 Springfield stakes to Monday, it was still five days before the $35,000 Balmoral events. But the rain kept coming down and instead the top ICF older pacing events had to be moved to today (Wednesday) just 3 days ahead Saturday’s stakes each with their $200 starting fee.
It’ll be interesting to see if there are any scratches on today’s older Springfield championships and if not, will the entry box for Saturday’s Big Tom and Parklane Powerful come up on the light side?
One thing is certain, we will see Al’s Hammered, the No. 1 ICF older pacer in 2014, looking to extend his current winning streak to eight straight today and then to nine in a row on Saturday.
“Al’s Hammered will race both days,” said his owner and trainer Bob Phillips. “The horse needs to race. He’s been off for a couple of weeks.”
Handicapped with outside posts week after week in Balmoral’s Invites, Phillips had to be pleased that the star of his stable landed the one-slot in Wednesday’s 15th race championship.
“Yea, that was nice but with that (infield) stage in Springfield and with people hanging all over it I’ve decided to put a Murphy blinder on the horse to keep his attention away the infield”, added Phillips who also has Big Brad (Dave Magee, 10-1) going today and likely back for Saturday’s Big Tom.
A “new” old face will take on Al’s Hammered today with Mystical Walter (programmed 7-1) in Springfield for his first Illinois start as a 4-year-old. With Casey Leonard handling the family stable’s Fort Silky (programmed at 5-2), Kyle Wilfong gets the opportunity to steer the Erv Miller trainee who took down division honors as a 3-year-old with Casey at his lines.
Looking to pull off an upset today are Rockin Rumble (Travis Seekman), Mr. Three Quarters (Freddie Patton Jr.), Silver Devil (John De Long) and Fancy Creek Elusiv (Ryan Anderson).
Wednesday’s $10,000 13th race filly and mare championship has a crowded 11-horse field. Going postward (in postposition order) is Party Hangover, Just By Design, State Street Liz, Fox Valley Touche, No Respect, Pretty Place, Dallas Jones, Joyful Game, Rev Me Up, Fox Valley Absolut and Ryleigh’s Lilly in the second tier. Fox Valley Touche and Dallas Jones are coupled.
You can expect a number of these mares to come right back on three day’s rest for the $35,000 Parkland Powerful.
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