Du Quoin, IL --- With one day of racing left Sunday afternoon at the Du Quoin State Fair, it’s already been a very profitable trip back home for Illinois natives trainer Erv Miller and his driver son Marcus who now both are based in Pennsylvania.
“Team Miller” posted a pair of ICF stake victories on Saturday when My Little Bit (Sportsmaster-Parade) Of Love followed her Springfield State Fair championship with a win in the $33,000 Directors Award for 2-year-old ICF pacing fillies and Mystical Danica picked up her first season triumph in the $21,500 Time Dancer for ICF sophomore filly pacers.
Just as she did at Springfield 10 days ago, My Little Bit went wire-to-wire in her Du Quoin championship for Illinois owners Obermeier & Quaid Stables of Evergreen Park.
“My Little Bit has a lot of gate speed and I thought I would be able to get to the front with her (from post 8),” said the 24-year-old Marcus, who grew up in Sherman, IL. “I knew if I could get a couple of soft quarters we would have a big shot to hold off this field and it worked out just that way for us. She’s an easy filly to drive.”
Marcus gave Mystical Danica a winning pocket trip when she nailed down her initial win in 17 season starts in the Time Dancer for owners Paymac Racing (Long Grove, IL), D & M Trading (Chicago) and Mystical Marker Farms (Dwyer, IN).
“Mystical Danica has really come around at the State Fairs,” said Erv, a 46-year-old native of Arthur, IL. “The filly had two big efforts at Springfield and now this nice mile (1:52.3) at Du Quoin. Hopefully she can hold her form through Super Night at Balmoral (Sept. 21).”
The Miller’s appeared to have had a third stakes win with Skyline Road in the $21,500 Pronto Don for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings however King Mufasa (Mike Oosting) was able to stretch his winning streak to nine in a row through a disqualification.
Skyline Road overtook King Mufasa in the final strides but switched to pace to do so and was disqualified by the stewards and placed second.
King Mufasa has captured 10 of 11 starts in 2013 for Springfield based trainer Mike Brink and the Powerful Emotion gelding has put $141,160 on his season card for owners Bill Wright of Morton, IL and Mystical Marker Farms.
Oosting was back in “Victory Lane” with the 9-1 longshot Fox Valley Hosana (Pizzazzed-Hallie Rose), the surprise victor of the $33,000 Shawnee stake for freshman trotting fillies.
The Dirk Simpson trainee was taken out of fourth by Oosting soon the half-mile pole, reached in 1:01.1, tipped three-deep in the last turn, and went on to be almost three lengths the best in a 1:59.2 mile, her first pari-mutuel win for proprietors Desyllas Racing (Alexander), Bill Beck (Edinburg) and Carol Rieken (Ashland), all of Illinois.
In the topsy-turvy 3-year-old filly trotting division Casey Leonard rallied Just For Fun to a come-from-behind victory in the $21,500 Windy Skeeter with a 1:56.1 clocking.
The daughter of Armbro Tropicana belongs to Tennesseans Harold Dixon and her trainer Robert Taylor, along with her Bourbonnais, IL breeders Robert and Taylor Rieveldt.
Cleverly driven by Dave Magee, Ruby’s And Pearls held off the pocket horse Maplegrove Shaelyn by a half-length in the $10,000 stake for aged trotting mares. The Rick Schrock trainee went to a slow 1:03.3 first half and trotted the last half in :57.4 for Illinois owners Dr. Arthur Reynolds (Springfield) and breeder Jodi Peacock of Cantrall.
The $10,000 stake for aged horses and geldings saw Fox Valley Arrow pop at 16-1 odds, Leonard’s second winner of the afternoon. The 5-year-old Joel Smith trainee trotted a lifetime best mile of 1:54.2 for Hoosiers Paula Smith and Amana Vanwinkle, both of Valparaiso, and Lucas Smith of Lincoln, IL.
Powerful Valor took the $9,000 Country Fair Championship for 3-year-old male trotters with a 1:59.4 front-end victory for trainer-driver Jared Finn. It was season win No. 7 for gelding owned by Hinshaw Homestead Farms of Des Moines, IA.
In the ninth and last ICF stake race of the afternoon Rockin Reba drew off in the County Fair Championship for sophomore pacing fillies in 1:55 flat for driver John De Long, who shares ownership of the filly with his father, trainer Jesse, both of Clinton, WI and Austin Patrick De Long of Beloit, WI.
Racing concludes at Du Quoin Sunday (noon first post) with a 10-race card and several more ICF championships to be decided.