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Illinois Stakes Featured At Balmoral

Published: October 30, 2015 11:50 pm ET

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It was a busy night of stakes action on Friday night at Balmoral Park as the Crete oval played host to a quartet of Illinois conceived and foaled events featuring both trotters and pacers.

Trotters kicked off the action in race two with a field of seven diagonally-gaited two-year-old colts and geldings squaring off in the first of two $8,060 Xpressbet Stakes.

When the smoke cleared from this tussle, it was Derek and Amy Jacobus’s Speedy Rendezvous emerging victorious with a one and a half length, wire-to-wire victory in 1:59.3 for driver Ridge Warren.

Hustled right to the front from post five, the Nick Prather-trained son of Photo Color—Fox Valley Tryst rattled off splits of :30, 1:00.1 and 1:29.4 while uncontested on the front end. With plenty left in reserve, the good-looking chestnut was on cruise control through the lane as he reported home with his second win in four lifetime starts. Longshot Homershobbyhorse (Mike Oosting) rallied late to be the runner-up while heavily favoured Pastor Clint (Casey Leonard) was forced to settle for the show dough.

Next on the docket were freshmen pacing fillies as a field of seven lined up behind the gate to battle for a purse of $8,140 in another Xpressbet Stake.

This race also produced a wire-to-wire winner as the Hosea Williams-owned and trained Lexington Lady sped right to the front and made every call a winning one, holding on to win by a neck in 1:53.4.

Zipped away from post five by regular pilot Brian Carpenter, the daughter of Lexington Legend—Stephie Kay sped through splits of :28, :56 and 1:24.1 while maintaining an open-length advantage. After “bottoming out” the field of youngsters, the speedball was all out through the final sixteenth of a mile as she gamely held off the big late move of Char N Marg (Casey Leonard), who was hung up in traffic while stuck along the pylons on the final turn. Whiskersonkittens (Robert Smolin) enjoyed a pocket-sitting trip while grabbing the third-place cheque.

The win was the ninth in 13 starts this season for Lexington Lady, who also has four second-place finishes to her credit and now boasts earnings of more than $66,000.

Sophomore pacing fillies continued Friday’s stakes parade with a field of six state-breds battling it out in the $7,980 Giggles The Clown Stake.

Continuing with her late season charge, Peter Karras’s Fox Valley Charm cruised to a deceivingly easy one-length victory in a brisk 1:52 with driver Mike Oosting at the controls.

After settling in third through an opening quarter in :27.4, Oosting whisked the Mike Brink-trained miss to the front as the field moved by the half-mile station in :56. The issue was never in doubt from that point on as the daughter of Yankee Skyscaper—Fox Valley Cherub rolled past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24 before sealing the deal with a :28 final quarter. Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role once again while Fox Valley Brooke (Ridge Warren) used a ground-saving journey to finish third.

With the win, Fox Valley Charm sports career numbers of 12-5-3 in 28 starts with earnings of more than $64,000 for her proud connections.

Last but not least on the card, a full field of 10 two-year-old pacing colts were sent to battle in the $8,300 Crete Stake.

The “chalk” players went down in flames in this event as a pocket-sitting J Bs Hero used the passing lane to perfection as he went charging by the heavily favoured Royale Rose to win by one and a half lengths in 1:53.4.

Perfectly handled by driver Robert Smolin, the John Barnard-owned son of Hawaiian Cowboy—Paint The Picture sat right on the back of the division leader as he put up splits of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:25.1. Patiently awaiting room in the passing lane, Smolin maneuvered the Bill Crone-trained colt to the inside with a sixteenth of a mile to go, where he quickly swallowed up the pacesetter to notch his second win in 17 starts this year. Royale Rose was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Bayside Tequilla (Mike Oosting) was third.

Live racing continues on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Balmoral Park. Once again, all the action gets underway at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday night and, as always, the $1 Pick 4 (races nine through 12) features a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) also features a guaranteed pool of $15,000. The live racing action will be headlined by ICF sophomore pacing colts as a field of seven are scheduled to go postward in an $8,060 Xpressbet Stake.

(Balmoral Park)

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