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Trotters Star In Violet & Cardinal Elims

Published: October 14, 2009 11:09 pm ET

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Illinois conceived and foaled trotters stepped into the spotlight on Wednesday night as diagonally gaited freshmen of both sexes competed in Violet and Cardinal Stake eliminations at Balmoral Park.

With a total of 14 fillies entered for the Violet a pair of $7,500 elimination tussles were carded. The top five finishers in each split will be back next Wednesday for the $49,250 final.

In the opening split Powers Farms' Southern Maebelle took advantage of an early miscue by favored Fox Valley Luxury (Dave Magee) to post a 2-1/4 length victory in 1:59.4.

With their main competition out of it from the word go, driver Tyler Buter positioned the daughter of High Falls-Summer In The City in third while Powerful Bella (Mike Oosting) led the field through splits of :29.4, :59.3 and 1:30.

Moving to the outside as the field neared the top of the stretch, a fresh Southern Maebelle took dead aim on the leader as the field straightened for home. The Robert Taylor trained miss then proceeded to quickly swallow up a leg weary Powerful Bella as she trotted home under wraps for her second victory in nine career starts. Longshot Fox Valley Click (Dale Hiteman) turned a perfect two-hole trip into the second place check while Fox Valley Sienna (David Avenatti) was third. Fox Valley Luxury did a nice job of recovering from the big early deficit to get the fifth place check and then was moved up to fourth as Vapor Girl (Dean Magee) was disqualified from fourth to fifth for a lapped on break at the wire.

The second division provided a shocking upset as Mystical Marker Farms, Jerry Graham & Dirk Simpson’s Powerful Jig, the longest shot in the seven-horse field at odds of 27-1, came flying down the lane to post her first career victory in 2:00.4.

After watching Merry High (Merle Finn) lead the field through an opening quarter in :30.4, driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler sent Claires Rose on a power sweep to the front going from sixth to first as the field reached the halfway point in 1:00.

Heading around the final turn driver Brandon Simpson moved Powerful Jig to the outside where the daughter of Powerful Emotion-Jig Valley picked up live cover from Tropicana Key (John DeLong) as Claires Rose continued to show the way by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:30.

Through the stretch Claires Rose was clinging to a short lead as a hard charging Fox Valley Ripple (Todd Warren) pulled from the pocket. Meanwhile Powerful Jig continued to gain ground in the center of the track and was just two lengths behind the top pair at the mid-stretch call.

Looking nothing like a horse that had started her career on an 0-for-10 streak, the Dirk Simpson-trained miss then proceeded to surge by the top two with a :29.3 quarter as she reported home with a half-length decision. Fox Valley Ripple finished second while Tropicana Key was third. Claires Rose held on for fourth while Fox Valley Genuine (Steve Searle) was fifth.

There were no such surprises in the $7,500 Cardinal elimination as the odds-on choice, Rock Hollywood, cruised to a very easy impressive 3-3/4 length triumph in a career best of 1:56.4.

Despite drawing post position 10, the son of Psychic Spirit-Sarafina The Great was pointed right for the front by driver Dave Magee and he was trotting comfortably in fourth on the outside as Dutch Commander (Robert Taylor) led the field through an opening quarter in :29.0.

Continuing on their mission for the lead, Rock Hollywood was comfortably in front by the time the field reached the half-mile mark in :58.0.

On cruise control the remainder of the way, the Mike Brink-trainee whizzed by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.2 and the issue was never in doubt from there as Rock Hollywood rolled under the wire with his fifth win in eight career starts. Showmeyourstuff (Marcus Miller) shook loose late and rallied to finish second while Muscatine (Dale Hiteman) was third.

With the top nine advancing to the final to join Run And Tell Pap in the $47,750 final next week, the remainder of the starting spots went to Hokey Pokey, Big Bucks, Powerful Speed, Lassies Greatest, Dutch Commander and Fox Valley Smarty.

(Balmoral Park)

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