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Favourites Roll In Cardinal, Violet Elims

Published: October 2, 2010 12:26 pm ET

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Illinois’ top two-year-olds in harness racing were in action on Friday night at Maywood Park as eliminations for next week’s Cardinal & Violet Stake Finals were contested.

With each race drawing three elimination fields the top two finishers in each battle along with two third place finishers (drawn by lot) will be back for next week’s prestigious finals. The Cardinal Final is scheduled to go for $60,350 while the Violet Final will have a purse of $54,800.

In the first of the three Cardinal Stake elims Connie, Homer & Jay Hochstetler’s Fox Valley Mercury, the even-money choice in the race, shook loose late and then rallied sharply to win by a length in 1:55.4.

Perfectly handled by driver Dave Magee, the son of Incredible Finale-Miss Bootsy saved ground throughout the mile before flying by the previously unbeaten TJs Rocky (Marcus Miller) in the lane to post his fourth win in 10 starts this season. Fox Valley Griffin (Dale Hiteman) also used a ground saving journey to rally for the place money while TJs Rocky held on for third.

In the second division 1-5 favourite Mr Bedrock shook off a slow start for driver-trainer Robert Taylor as he rallied impressively for a widening three-length score in 1:56.2.

Despite having the inside starting spot the son of Richess Hanover-Lake Hills Leota came away in fifth as Fox Valley Libero (Todd Warren) led the field through splits of :28.1, :58.4 & 1:27.4. Continuing a steady first over grind for the final five-eighths of a mile the Robert Taylor trainee then uncorked a :28.3 final quarter blowing right by his rivals for his fifth win in 10 starts this season for the Mack Racing Stables. Q Revrac (Marcus Miller) finished second while Sleazy Mr E (Del Chupp) was third.

In the final Cardinal elimination early season division leader Hes So Hot returned to his winning ways for the partnership of De Long, De Long & Miller as he overcame post position seven to win by an eye catching 6 ¼ lengths in 1:54.4 for driver Dale Hiteman.

Leaving alertly from the outside starting spot Hiteman had the son of Sportsmaster-Shes Redhot in fourth in the early going. After moving first up as the field approached the half-mile mark the Roger Welch trainee blew right by the pace setting Little Pauli (Brian Carpenter) on the backstretch and then proceeded to widen his margin the rest of the way as he posted his sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Dixie Brush (Robert Smolin) was a distant second while Little Pauli held on for third.

In the first of the three Violet eliminations Paula Smith & James Runyan’s Fox Valley Touche continued her recent hot streak as he she made every call a winning one in 1:55.4 for driver Dale Hiteman.

The Joel Smith trainee daughter of Sportsmaster-Thongundrcolrsoops, who was fresh off her upset in the Filly Orange & Blue, used her inside starting spot to perfection as Hiteman sent her right to the top. Cruising through splits of :27.3, :56.3 & 1:26.1 Fox Valley Touche then held off the late bid of Mystical MJ (Marcus Miller) to win by a neck. Just By Design (Mike Oosting) was third. The victory was the fifth in 11 starts for Fox Valley Touche who now boasts more than $120,000 in career earnings.

In the middle split Richard Balog’s Pardon made amends for her only career loss in the Filly Orange & Blue as the overwhelming 1-5 favourite made it look easy in a 2 ¼ length score while stopping the clock in 1:55.4.

Driven with supreme confidence by Hall of Famer Dave Magee, the Dirk Simpson trained daughter of Richess Hanover-Rose Dawson shot right to the top and preceded to click off splits of :28.4, :58.2 & 1:27.2. With the outcome never in doubt the long striding filly sealed her 10th win in 11 starts with a :28.2 final quarter. Shes Automatic (Del Chupp) finished second while Elisas Model (Mike Oosting) was third.

In the final division of the night the ultra consistent Little Miss Henry showed her affinity for a half-mile oval once again as she scored by a neck in wire to wire fashion for driver Casey Leonard. The final time was 1:56.3.

Zipping right to the front from post position two the Curtis Rice-owned and trained daughter of Henry Clay-One Sure Thing cruised through splits of :28.2, :58.0 & 1:27.1. The 10-time winner this season then held on gamely keeping a hard charging Little Maeve (Del Chupp) at bay in the late going. Longshot Kissed By The Sun (Gary Rath) was third. Little Miss Henry has now hit the board in 17 of 18 lifetime starts.

(Maywood Park)

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