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Trotters Shine In Violet; 6,000 For Oosting

Published: October 17, 2015 1:35 am ET

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Freshman trotting fillies grabbed the main stage on Friday’s Balmoral Park card as a full field of ten diagonally-gaited youngsters squared off in the $19,700 Violet Stake.

Fresh off wins in the Lady Lincoln Land and a Violet elimination, Lynn Wilfong’s More Than Likely overcame the dreaded outside starting spot to record a neck decision in 1:59 for driver Kyle Wilfong.

Reserved through the early going as Surviver Di (Kyle Husted) carved out splits of 29.3, 1:00.3 and 1:29.4 Wilfong calmly manoeuvred his way through the outer flow as he made his way to the top of the stretch.

With even-money favourite Vengeful making a nasty break just as she moved into the lead at the top of the lane the outcome remained wide open as a fresh More Than Likely began to chew up ground on the far outside of horses. Charging down the center of the track, the Roger Welch trained daughter of Designer Lindy—Midori Hanover trotted into the lead with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go then held firm as a fast closing Praise Singer (Robert Smolin) took one final run at the winner only to come up a few steps short. Surviver Di held on for the show dough.

Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, More Than Likely returned $7.20 while running her record to 4-1-1in 11 starts with career earnings of $55,491.

A total of 15 two-year-old trotting colts were dropped in the box for next week’s $21,300 Cardinal Stake Final necessitating a pair of $8,000 elimination tussles on Friday night. The top five finishers in each division will be back for next week’s finale.

In the first division Thomas Pollard and Dirk Simpson Stables’ Pastor Clint held off a furious late rally from 50-1 outsider Fox Valley Diamo, prevailing by a hard fought neck in 1:59.3 for driver Casey Leonard.

The Mike Brink trained son of Powerful Emotion—SS Stardust shook off a tough first over trip in route to his fourth win in 14 career starts. The bay gelding also has a second and four thirds to his credit with career earnings of $20,801 after Friday’s victory. Fox Valley Diamo (Pat Curtin) was a game second while pace setter Fear (Robert Smolin) held on for third. Also gaining spots in the final were Mr Strata and Fox Valley Sir.

In the second division another Brink trainee toted home top honours with Casey Leonard at the controls as Powerful Father pulled off the 8-1 upset winning by a neck in 2:00.1 after a thrilling stretch battle.

The bay son of Powerful Emotion—Fox Valley Poetry ranged up second over as the field hit the top of the stretch then gradually wore down the pace setting JD Cheese (Todd Warren) to post his first career victory for the partnership of Patricia McCaughey, Loren Tournear and Mystical Marker Farms LLC. Favoured Speedy Rendezvous (Ridge Warren) was a hard fought second while PJ Boy (Mike Rogers), who lacked racing room throughout the stretch drive was forced to settle for a third place cheque. JD Cheese and Homershobbyhorse grabbed the last two spots in the final.

Driver Mike Oosting was honoured on Friday night as well as the veteran reinsman joined an elite group with his 6,000th driving victory.

The milestone win came on Saturday, October 10th as the Beecher, IL resident guided Gibbs to a 1-¾ length victory in the 10th race of the night. The 53-year-old Oosting, who captured the 2015 driving title at Maywood Park and also boasts an unprecedented six straight driving titles here at Balmoral Park, has driven the winners of more than $37.1 million during his career and has also sent out 539 winners during his days of training standardbreds. He has notched more than 250 driving victories in 13 of the past 14 seasons.

(Balmoral Park)

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