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'Lincoln' Elims In The Books


Published: September 30, 2009 10:45 pm ET

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The Prairie States top two-year-old trotters took center stage on Wednesday night at Balmoral Park as a total of 14 freshmen fillies battled in a pair of $12,500 Lady Lincoln Land Stake eliminations while 10 of their male counterparts battled for eight open spots in a $12,500 Lincoln Land Stake preliminary. Both finals are scheduled for next Wednesday, October 7 and will carry purses of $100,000 making them the richest event of the season for the diagonally gaited state-bred two-year-olds.

In the first Lady Lincoln Land elimination, Anthony Munoz & Carol O’Brien’s Fox Valley Ripple took advantage of breaks by several of the top contenders as she came charging through the lane to record a half-length triumph in 2:01.2.

Given a confident steer by driver Todd Warren, the daughter of Vaporize-Recoopment left alertly and came away trotting in fourth through the early stages.

Deciding not to wait for cover, Warren pulled the Michael Rogers trainee near the half and Fox Valley Ripple quickly began to reel in the pacesetting Powerful Bella (Nelson Willis) as the fillies proceeded around the far turn.

After drawing alongside the leader at the top of the stretch, Fox Valley Ripple then trotted away from the tiring leader before holding off a late challenge from a fast closing Kfspictureperfect (Leroy Miller). Powerful Bella held on for third. Also gaining spots in the final were fourth place finisher St Louis Holiday (Rick Dane, Jr.) and fifth place finisher Fox Valley Brenna (Dale Hiteman), who was forced to overcome a miscue just after the quarter.

The win was the fifth in 12 career starts for Fox Valley Ripple, who was plucked from the Land Of Lincoln Sale for just $2,500. She now has career earnings of $23,011.

In the second division Tina & Patrick Graham’s Fox Valley Luxury made amends for her break in the American National Stake last week as she trotted to a very impressive two-length score in 1:58.3.

Driving from the pocket as the field moved down the backstretch Hall of Famer Dave Magee put this daughter of International Chip-Love You More on the lead shortly before the field reached the half-mile mark.

Getting pressure from Claires Rose, who pulled her pocket-sitting position mid-way around the final turn, Fox Valley Luxury dug in gamely and then coasted home to her third win in seven starts for trainer Leo Grummel. Southern Maebelle (Tyler Buter) snuck up the inside to finish second while Claires Rose held on for third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Genuine (Steve Searle) and Mystical OJ (Nelson Willis).

With Rock Hollywood and Showmeyourstuff getting byes into the final on an earnings basis, a field of 10 was sent postward in the Lincoln Land elimination. The top eight finishers will return for next week’s rich final.

When the smoke cleared from this battle it was Miranda Lyon and Paula Smith’s Muscatine who emerged with an impressive three-length victory in 1:58.3.

Content to save ground while trotting along in third through the opening half-mile, driver Dale Hiteman confidently moved the son of Tequila Spur-Star Slinger first-over as the field trotted around the far turn.

Moving swiftly while uncovered the Joel Smith-trained gelding pulled right alongside the pacesetting Big Bucks (Homer Hochstetler) as the field reached the top of the stretch.

Uncorking a sharp :28.3 final quarter, Muscatine trotted right by the leader and the issue was never really in doubt as he drew away from his rivals for his first career victory in his 11th start. Fox Valley Smarty (Todd Warren) followed the winner’s cover but was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Big Bucks held on for third. Also gaining spots in the final with fourth through eighth place finishes were Powerful Speed, Hokey Pokey, Dutch Commander, Lassies Greatest and Powerful Vic.

(Balmoral Park)

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