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State Fair Eliminations are raced at Springfield, Ill.
Saturday, August 11, 2012 - by Timothy Jones, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Springfield, IL --- Eliminations for the Illinois State Fair Stakes dominated the card at Springfield, Ill. on Friday afternoon, where there were some decent performances, including those by the 2-year-olds.

Two eliminations for 2-year-old filly trotters were raced, from which the first five finishers will return for this coming Thursday's final.

Just For Fun was fastest in the 2-year-old filly trot
Just For Fun, an Armbro Tropicana miss driven by Dave Magee and trained by Robert Taylor, was a 2 1/2 length winner in 1:59.1, and Trot Fudge Sundae won for Magee in 2:00.4. The daughter of American Native daughter is trained by Dirk Simpson.

Eight freshman filly pacers dropped into the entry box and a prep race was written for the $40,000 final next week. In that one, Southern Party came roaring off the pace at the top of the stretch for a one length, 1:56.2 win and paced her final quarter in :26.2. Mike Cox controlled the throttle of the daughter of Party At Artsplace for trainer Ray Hannah.

Three eliminations for 2-year-old colt trotters were required to fill the program page for next week's $40,000 final. The first three finishers from each elimination and one fouth place finisher, drawn by lot, will return for the Colt Stakes final.

Semper Fit won for Homer Hochstetler
Semper Fit, another in a long list of American Native offspring on the card, was a 2-1/4 length, 1:57.4 winner for driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler in the second elimination. The first elimination winner, Powerful Valor, was a 1-1/4 length, 1:58.2 victor for driver Jared Finn and trainer Clifford Graber. Most impressive however was a 10-length blowout carved by King Mufasa, timed in 1:59.1. Dale Hiteman piloted the Powerful Emotion gelding for trainer Joel Smith.

Two eliminations for 2-year-old colt pacers concluded opening day at the Illinois State Fair. The first five finishers from each will return for a chance at the $40,000 prize next week.

Sage Ruck turned some heads with his 1:55.4 torching of the Springfield oval. Driven by Todd Warren and trained by Ken Rucker, the son of Sagebrush was a 1-1/4 length, last quarter in :26.2, winner.

photos by the author
Darth Quaider (4) got up at the finish
Then, Darth Quaider had heads spinning with a sizzling, 1:52.4, track-blistering performance. Overcoming a brutal overland trip down the windswept backstretch, the Sportsmaster-sired gelding finally poked a nose in front of a tiring Fox Valley Action (Todd Warren) nearing the seven-eighths. The one-half length victory resulted from a :26.4 final panel. Marcus Miller handled the driving duties for trainer and father Erv Miller.

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