After some impressive efforts by the youngsters in Balmoral Park's Southland Festival of Racing eliminations on Saturday, the preliminary action continued on Sunday night, as three-year-old trotting fillies battled in a pair of $7,000 eliminations for the Fox Valley Evita Stakes. State-bred sophomore pacing fillies were also in action, as field of 10 met in a $7,000 elimination for the Ann Vonian Stakes.
In the opening Fox Valley Evita Stakes elim, 1-5 favourite Zumba Mouse (driven by Marcus Miller) rallied from seventh at the half-mile mark to win by a whopping nine lengths for trainer Erv Miller in 1:57.1. My Funky Farkle, Powerfulconnection, Skyline Happy and Drinks On Me filled out the top five.
The heavy favourite also rolled to an easy win in the second division, as Fox Valley Ruffian, the 1-2 choice, cruised to a five-length victory in 1:59 for driver Kyle Husted and trainer Randy Tuftie. Maplegrove Shaelyn, Jesse Wyoming, Bonnies Star and Look At That Chick filled out the top five.
The top five finisher from each elim advanced to the final.
The Mike Brink-trained and Kyle Wilfong-driven Just By Design captured the Ann Vonian Stakes elimination in 1:53. Shes Automatic finished second and Mystical MJ was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Lets Go Higher, Elisas Model, Pardon, Mikki Mack and Little Maeve. Fox Valley Touche and Cuzimademymindup had already accepted byes into the final.
(With files from Balmoral)