DuQuoin, IL--The abbreviated three-day harness racing meet at the Du Quoin State Fair concludes Sunday afternoon (Aug. 29) with a bevy of state-bred championships to be decided and perhaps we’ll also find just how fast the double 2-year-old stakes winner Powerful Charger can trot.
The homebred son of Powerful Emotion, out of the dam Fox Valley Poetry, has risen to the top of the Illinois-bred freshman colt and gelding division with victories in Balmoral’s $48,000 Plesac (1:57.3) and back-to-back 1:55.4 miles in his elimination the final at Springfield, national season marks for a freshman trotting gelding.
|Photo Courtesy of IHHA|
|Powerful Charger got into some trouble at the start of the Springfield championship, but came back to win by 8-3/4 lengths.|
However, in the Springfield championship Powerful Charger was knocked off stride by another horse near the three-quarter pole, loss several lengths, and still came on with a romping 8-3/4-length victory with driver Todd Warren.
“You don’t often see a 2-year-old trotter come back the way he did and go as fast as he did,” said trainer Pamela Coleman, who also shares ownership of the talented youngster with Mystical Marker Farms (Dyer, Ind.) and breeder Jerry Graham (Salam, Ill.).
“Powerful Charger was running for about 10 steps before Todd was able to get him back on the trot,” continued Coleman. “I think he lost about four or five lengths with the break so I don’t really know how fast he would have gone if he hadn’t been run into so badly.
“They say a mark of a champion is being able to overcome adversity and that’s exactly what Charger did. He finished strong and won the race pretty easily.”
And how was Coleman feeling when the mishap occurred at Springfield?
“When I saw Charger get knocked off-stride and I think my lunch started to come back on me,” she answered. “Charger did end up with an ankle getting cut up. Fortunately it was superficial cuts and he came out of the race okay.
“Our goal with Charger is the Lincoln Land coming up at Balmoral in a few weeks. He’s not staked to the American National in November.”
With no eliminations this year at Du Quoin for any of the state-bred championships with the racing schedule reduced from five days to three, the Darn Safe for freshman trotters and the Governor’s Cup for first-season pacers will be raced in two divisions each.
Powerful Charger drew the rail in the second $17,500 split (race 10) and Coleman doesn’t mind going for less money with just one start needed.
“The fact that there’s one race this year makes it easier on these babies,” she added. “With two divisions they’re going for half the money but racing in the heat at Du Quoin twice in a week can be tough on these young horses.”
The $22,500 Governor’s Cup divisions are the final two races on the card (races 12 and 13) that begins at 12 noon (CDT).
-- Mike Paradise writes a daily column for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association at www.harnessillinois.com.