Trotter Undefeated in 2011

Published: April 21, 2011 12:31 pm EDT

Illinois-conceived and foaled trotters were back in the spotlight on Wednesday, April 20 at Balmoral Park, as a field of seven diagonally-gaited sophomores squared off in the $9,000 Trotting Tilly Stakes for three-year-old fillies.

Picking up right where she left off in her sophomore debut, Dixie Sue Graham and Steve Poore’s Powerfulconnection notched her second straight victory to open her 2011 campaign as she cruised to an easy one and a half-length triumph in a career best 2:00.1.

Reserved in the early going as Friendwithbenefits (driven by Robert Smolin) trotted out to an early advantage through splits of :30.4 and 1:01.3, driver Brian Carpenter had the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Alpine Queen in fourth before moving up first-over as the field neared the half-mile mark.

Trotting like a freight train, the Gerald Hansen-trained miss blew right by her rivals on the far turn and quickly opened up a one and a quarter-length advantage as she hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:31.

The issue was never in doubt from there, as Powerfulconnection proceeded to open up a five-length advantage before being put on idle for the final eighth of a mile by her pilot. Bonnies Star (Mike Brink) unleashed a nice :28.2 final quarter to rally for the place money, while Fox Valley Ruffian (Dean Magee) wound up a distant third.

After having posted four wins in 13 starts last year while campaigning mainly on the fair circuit, Powerfulconnection has looked like a different horse this year, as she has opened her second season with a pair of powerful wins on the pari-mutuel scene.

With four of the seven starters sent off between 2-1 and 3-1 in the evenly matched event, Powerfulconnection returned $7.80, $3.80 and $3.00 to her backers.