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Dr Venkman Zaps Balmoral Foes

Published: October 5, 2015 11:43 am ET

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It was a big night for trainer Curt Grummel on Sunday (October 4,) at Balmoral Park, as the downstate-based conditioner toted home top honours in a trio of trotting stakes.

Grummel won with the lightly-raced but rapidly improving Dr Venkman, who won the $77,400 Lincoln Land Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts.

Taking advantage of an inside starting spot, driver Pat Curtin positioned the gelded son of Pizzazzed—Broadway Show in the garden spot as Fear (driven by Robert Smolin) led the field of youngsters through splits of :29, :58.3 and 1:28.4.

“Going into the race that’s exactly how we hoped things would work out,” a very excited Curtin said afterward. “I knew some horses behind us were working out pretty decent trips as well, but I knew if Fear could carry us into the stretch until there was room we were going to be in good shape. Once he saw that daylight he was gone!”

Fit and fresh as the field turned for the money, a patient Curtin waited for room in the passing lane with the State Fair Stake winner. After securing his spot along the inside, Dr Venkman looked like a seasoned veteran as he scooted right by the pacesetter and was on cruise control the rest of the way. He reported home with a one and a half-length decision in a career best of 1:58.2. Mr Strata (Mike Oosting) shook loose late and rallied in time to be the runner-up, while Fear held on for third.

Dr Venkman, the co-favourite in the wagering, returned $6.60, $4.00 and $3.60 while upping his record to 2-0-1 from four starts with earnings of $44,000 for the partnership of Curt and Craig Grummel, Clayton B. Arnett and Chili Day Stables.

Sophomore trotting fillies were also in action on Sunday night, as a compact field of six gathered for the $7,500 Xpress Bet Stake.

As expected, Dr. Patrick Graham’s Fox Valley Yoko had no trouble disposing of her foes, as she trotted away late to score by one and a half lengths in 1:58 for driver Kyle Wilfong.

Confidently handled by her pilot, the daughter of Pizzazzed—Yankee Victory was reserved early on as None Of That Stuff (Casey Leonard) rolled through splits of :30.1, 1:00.1 and 1:29.4.

Grinding her way to towards the front while moving first over, the Curt Grummel-trained miss eventually wore down the pacesetter and drew off in the final 50 yards to record her sixth win in what was the 14th start of her 2015 campaign. Bands Muse (John De Long) shook loose late to rally for the bridesmaid spot, while None Of That Stuff held on for third.

Dispatched as the 1-5 favourite, Fox Valley Yoko returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 while running her career record to 9-7-5 in 26 career starts with earnings of $149,821 for her happy connections.

In the Lady Lincoln Land Consolation, another Grummel trainee toted home top honours, as Dr. Patrick Graham’s Powerful Princess trotted to an impressive win in 1:59 with John De Long at the controls. The was the first in three lifetime outings for the daughter of Powerful Emotion—Maple Grove Glide who led the field into the stretch in last week’s rich final before making a break a costly break.

(Balmoral Park)

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