Posted Thursday, September 4, 2014
Looking Back to Balmoral’s 1st Super Night
By Mike Paradise
A week from Saturday Balmoral Park will host Super Night for the 14th consecutive year after its first eight editions were contested at old Sportsman’s Park.
Many of us didn’t know what to expect at the Crete, IL racetrack after standing-room jam packed crowds squeezed their way into the Cicero, IL facility year-after-year for Illinois richest and most exciting evening of harness racing.
As it turned out, Balmoral Park’s first crack as host proved to be one of the most successful in the state’s Standardbred history.
The largest crowd ever at Balmoral, 9,200, filled the stands and the tracks aprons and helped establish a new one night mutuel handle of $1.9 million on a 12-race program.
And that evening every single one of the six championships were raced in new Super Night times.
The star of the mid-September evening in 1998 was Joe Anderson, the nation’s leading trainer that year. “Little Joe” drove three Super Night champions and also had a Consolation stake winner.
The $145,000 Grandma Ann was the second race that night and the Anderson Stable’s Ohyouprettyhing romped to a stakes record time of 1:52 for owners John Leahy, Michael Neal and the Anderson Racing Stable. It was the 3-year-old Sportsmaster filly’s 20th consecutive victory against ICF competition.
Next the David Isaac trainee Shady Veil captured the $100,000 Ann Vonian for a second straight year. The 12-1 longshot was driven by Randy Jacobs for Michigan owner Maria Little in a stake record time of 1:52.4. The daughter of Masquerade had won the last (1997) Ann Vonian title at Sportsman’s Park with Jim Curran.
Up next was the $260,000 Orange and Blue Filly Final for 2-year-olds and Juxtaposition gave driver Sam Widger his first “Super” title with a one-length decision in 1:53.2 for owners Donald Trilling, Howard Zimmerman and trainer Gary Scurlock.
The second championship upset of the night then came in the $100,000 Dan Patch when the 9-1 longshot Fox Valley Arsenic, driven by Brent Holland got up in time with a record 1:51.2 mile for trainer Tom Stamper and owners Curragh Racing Stables of Evergreen Park, IL
The most anticipated championship of the night was the $170,000 Pete Langley Memorial Final with all eyes on Big Tom and his rival Taser Gun. These two sophomores slugged it out all year with Taser Gun taking the Springfield Final. Big Tom had revenge on his mind and he got it.
Big Tom, trained and driven by Joe Anderson, overtook Taser Gin in the lane going, winning by a half-length in 1:51.4 for owners John Leahy, his namesake Tom Lewandowski, and the Anderson Racing Stable. It was the second consecutive Super Night Championship for the son of Cole Muffler.
Anderson wasn’t finished visiting the Balmoral winner’s circle. In the lucrative $300,000 Orange and Blue Colt Final he rallied Fox Valley Admiral past the favorite Ideal Towne, winning a head decision for owners Stanley Tarvidas of Oak lawn, IL and trainer Lloyd Daulton of Kentucky.
The son of Sportamster’s time was 1:53 flat, the sixth championship record to fall that memorable evening, some 16 years ago.
To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here
County Fair Report
DE KALB COUNTRY FAIR AT SANDWICH
FIRST: $6,139 NICA 2-Year-Old Trot:
Horse (Driver) Time (Track Good)
Knickitwithkohler (John Roberts) 2:11.2
Trainer: Roshun Trigg. Owner: Laquinton Shavers.
SECOND: $3,575 NICA 2-Year-Old Colt Pace:
Whata Biznezz (Jay Garrels) 2:08.1
Trainer: Jesse De Long. Owners: Austin and Jesse De Long.
THIRD: $3,496 NICA 2-Year-Old Filly Pace:
Fox Valley Aubry (Jerome Daniels) 2:04
Trainer: Freddie Patton Jr. Owners: Ron Phillips and Jesse Ferge.
FOURTH: $6,500 ICF 4-Year-Olds and Up Trot:
Powerful Speed (Tom Graham Jr.) 2:06.1
Trainer: Tom Graham Jr. Owner: Tom Graham Jr.
FIFTH: $1,000 Maiden Pace:
Go Run N Tellthat (John Roberts) 2:05.1
Trainer: Mike Titus. Owners: Mike Titus, Mitchell Titus and Dennis Wright.