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Countdown To Super Night Begins

Published: September 7, 2014 4:45 am ET

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The countdown to the biggest night of the year for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a bevy of elimination action brought out some of the Prairie State’s best.

Freshmen pacing fillies started the Saturday night action with a total of 15 youngsters entered in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elims. The top five will be back on Super Night to battle for a $163,000 (est) jackpot.

In the opening split Jesse De Long and Hamm Family Trust’s Sportsmuffler made her local debut a winning one as she rolled to an easy four and a half length victory in a career-best of 1:54.3.

Perfectly placed in the pocket by driver John De Long, the daughter of Sportsmaster—Whatiftheresmore exploded past the pacesetting Cowgirl Chic in the lane as she rolled to her sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Cowgirl Chic held on well to finish second while Girls Hunt Too (Dale Hiteman) was third and Star Gram (Brian Carpenter) was fourth. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson), the 1-2 favourite in the field of eight, stopped badly after a first over bid on the far turn but still managed to gain a spot in the final with her fifth place finish.

In the second division, Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing’s Mr Lelands Filly continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a two and a quarter length victory in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard.

Sent from third to first after a tepid opening quarter, the Erv Miller-trained daughter of Sportsmaster—Incredible Katie appeared to have plenty in reserve through the lane as she toyed with her rivals while posting her fifth win in seven lifetime starts. BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) turned a pocket-sitting trip into a second place cheque while Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the show dough after a bold first over bid at the top of the stretch. Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) was fourth while Fox Valley Redhead (Dale Hiteman) finished fifth.

A field of 10 was sent postward in the $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts with the top nine finishers joining Fox Valley Cupid, who opted for a bye, in next week’s $147,000 (est) final.

Living up to his overwhelming 1-9 favouritism, Megan Rogers Racing Stable's Unlocked completely dismantled this field as he reported home with an effortless six and a quarter length victory in 1:50.3 for driver Dave Magee and trainer Erv Miller.

The issue was never in doubt in this one as the good-looking son of Duneside Perch—Miss Major Power worked his way to the front after the opening quarter and proceeded to widen his margin at each call while posting his fourth straight victory over these rivals. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) followed the winner's every move after relinquishing the lead on the backstretch but was no match for the heavy favourite while garnering the second place cheque. Svaya Knows (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Van, Uncle Ugly, Overloaded, Cotton Eyed Joe, Blue River and Sleazeburgernfries.

The older pacers renewed acquaintances as a total of 16 veterans were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Tony Maurello Stake eliminations. Once again, the top five finishers will be back for what should be a very entertaining $112,000 (est) final next week.

In the first division, the Bob Phillips-owned and trained Als Hammered came flying down the lane to win by one and a quarter lengths in a season's best of 1:49.1 with Bobby Smolin at the controls.

Content to bide their time near the back of the pack through some quick early splits, Smolin put the five-year-old son of Droppinthehammer—Alberts Magic into contention at the top of the lane. Uncorking the big late kick he’s come to be known for, Als Hammered proceeded to wear down Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) in the final sixteenth of a mile for his 13th win in 19 starts this season. Fort Silky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Daddy Woo Woo (Ridge Warren) was third. Ice Scraper (Todd Warren), who carved out the fast fractions held on for fourth while Ricky Bobbie (Pat Curtin) was fifth.

In the nightcap, Bert Hochsprung and the Erv Miller Stable's classy veteran Iam Bonasera picked a nice time to grab his first win of the season as he rolled to an easy one and a half length victory in 1:51.3 with Travis Seekman at the controls.

Perfectly positioned in the pocket while Big Brad (Robert Smolin) carved out pedestrian splits of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.1, Seekman maneuvered the seven-year-old Cole Muffler-Shesoluvabull gelding to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime winner of more than $670,000 did the rest, storming home in :26.1 to get the win. Big Brad settled for second while another Miller trainee, A Cool Card (Dave Magee), was third. Crankin It Up (Kyle Wilfong) was fourth while Doubletrouble (Todd Warren) was fifth.

Next up were the two-year-old pacing colts as a total of 19 hopefuls met in a pair of $15,000 battles. The top five in each race will return for what is expected to be next week’s biggest purse of the night at $187,000 (est).

The first split provided a thrilling finish as the Roger Welch-trained entry of Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova finished one-two with Earndawg getting the one and a half length score in a career-best of 1:54 for the partnership of Bo and Pat De Long and E.J. Miller Jr.

Sitting near the back of the back of the pack after starting from post position eight, driver Todd Warren did a magnificent job of guiding the altered son of Sportsmaster—Pacific Sister K through the lane charging from eighth to first in the final quarter-mile for his third win in nine lifetime starts. Rockin Cassinova (Dale Hiteman) parlayed a nice ground saving journey into the place cheque while Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) rallied for third. Also gaining spots in the final was the pacesetting Dupages Z Tam (Casey Leonard) and Thisishowweroll (John De Long).

The second elimination was also a barn burner and when the smoke cleared it was Rocco Ruffolo’s Lucpark who prevailed by the slimmest of noses in 1:55.1 for driver Dave Magee.

Given a Hall of Fame steer by Super Night’s leading driver, Lucpark left quickly from post nine and settled in nicely at the pylons until the top of the stretch. That’s when Magee went to work with the Erv Miller-trained son of Sportsmaster—Treasure The Best, deftly maneuvering off the cones then squeezing through a tight hole with an eighth of a mile to go before wearing down the pacesetting King Of The Swamp (Todd Warren) in the last stride for his fourth win in eight lifetime starts. C Note (John De Long) shook loose late to finish third. The last two spots in the final went to Mighty Hot Shot (Brian Carpenter) and Fox Valley Elijah (Dale Hiteman).

A total of 23 distaffers were dropped into the box for a trio of $15,000 Lorna Propes Stake eliminations with the top three and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) advancing to next week’s $120,000 (est) championship.

In the first division, Jesse De Long’s Lets Go Higher, the defending champion in this event, returned to town for trainer Heidi Rohr and promptly served notice that she’s going to be tough to dethrone as she posted a four and a half length wire-to-wire victory in 1:52.1.

Confidently handled by driver John De Long, the six-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler—Ten Speed shot right to the top and promptly rattled off splits of :28.3, :57.1 and 1:24.4 before sealing the deal with a brisk :27.2 final panel for her 22nd win in the past two seasons. No Respect (Kyle Wilfong) followed the winner every step of the way but was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) was third. Fox Valley Touche finished fourth.

In the middle split, Wilson Racing Stable, Norm Neff and Mark Eichberger’s Dune In Red parlayed a perfect trip into a two and a half length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Dave Magee.

Sent hard from post five, the chestnut daughter of Duneside Perch—She Has The Look elected to let a hard-charging Party Hangover (Todd Warren) go just after the quarter. That put the Tim Wilson Jr.-trained miss in a perfect spot the rest of the way. Magee then maneuvered the four-year-old out of the pocket and she responded beautifully as she zipped right by the odds-on favourite for her fourth win of the season. Party Hangover held on for second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) was third. Zumba finished fourth.

The final elimination of the night fittingly went to another Dave Magee-driven mare as he guided Joshua Carter’s Just By Design to a one-length victory in 1:52.3.

As was the case for nearly all of the night, Magee had the roan six-year-old perfectly positioned in the pocket while Fox Valley Absolut carved out splits of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:25. Fit and fresh as she waited for the passing lane, the Mike Brink-trained miss cruised right by the pacesetter for her third win of the season. Fox Valley Absolut held on for second while Toshie Special (Dean Magee) finished third. Auniqueaquistion finished fourth.

The elimination action continues on Sunday, Sept. 7 with a $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination. That tussle will go as race six on the 10-race card, which begins at 7:10 p.m. (central).

No eliminations were needed for the Lady Ann Reed for three-year-old trotting fillies or the Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies. The latter did have a “prep” on Saturday night, which was taken by Sawgrass Farm's Molly Go Lightly and driver Matt Krueger in 1:55.

(Balmoral Park)

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