The two top Illinois conceived and foaled colts put on a torrid duel down the stretch and just as he did at Springfield, the Erv Miller-trained PQ Three prevailed for the meet’s leading driver, Mike Oosting, who changed tactics with the son of Yankee Skyscaper--Sweltering.
Instead of coming out of a hole, as he did in his all of his other career victories, Oosting sent PQ Three to the front while Unlocked took the pocket behind him, reversing their Springfield roles.
“With the wind to the horse’s backs on the backside and into their faces in the homestretch we didn’t want to come from too far out of it,” the 46-year-old Miller said in the winner’s circle. “We wanted to be up close, so I wasn’t surprised to see the horse on the lead.
“PQ Three has really come around for us. Turning for home he was digging-in. Mike has done a very good job of driving him.”
PQ Three’s head triumph was his fifth to go along with four seconds in nine career starts for owners Obermeier and Quaid Stables of Evergreen Park, Ill. The youngster’s season’s earnings are now only $601 shy of $100,000.
A heady drive by John Roberts enabled the 14-1 longshot Fox Valley Veto to pull off stunning upset in the $33,000 Darn Safe Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings.
Sensing the slow pace Roberts took Fox Valley Veto to the front soon after a :29.4 first quarter and was able to give the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Yankee Victory OM a :31.2 second quarter breather. When the heavy 1-5 favorite, Tour Hall, came at him through a :28.4 third quarter the Curt Grummel trainee still had enough left to put away the Springfield winner and post a one length victory in 1:58.1.
It was a maiden-breaking win for Fox Valley Veto and it came in his fifth career start for his Carrolton, Ill. proprietors Curt and Craig Grummel.
Mystical Walter had no trouble adding the $21,500 Dudley Hanover Stakes to his 3-year-old colt pacing accomplishments for Casey Leonard and the Miller Stable. The son of Yankee Skyscaper earlier won a Hanover Colt Stake and the Incredible Finale Stakes at Balmoral Park and the recent Springfield State Fair crown for the winning trio of Paymaq Racing (Long Grove, Ill.), D&M Racing (Chicago) and Mystical Marker Farms (Dwyer, Ind.).
The pocket horse, Fancy Creek Elusiv, was second best in the 1:52.3 mile, beaten one length.
Earlier in the afternoon A Cool Card sped to a 1:50.2 victory in the $10,000 stakes for older Illinois conceived and foaled pacing horses and geldings, the fastest mile of the meet. Marcus Miller steered the Cole Muffler gelding to his third win in a row for his father, trainer Erv Miller.
The $10,000 stakes for pacing mares went to Just By Design (Dave Magee) in 1:52.4 for Williamsville, Ill. owner Josh Carter. It was Mike Brink’s fourth training win at the three-day meet.
Kiwi Party came on nicely to take the $9,000 County Fair Challenge for freshman pacing fillies in 1:56.2 to earn a start in Balmoral Park’s Orange and Blue Filly eliminations three weeks away
John De Long drove the Party At Artsplace--Robyn’s Alive N filly to her fourth straight victory and he shares ownership of Kiwi Party with his father and trainer Jesse, and Austin De Long, all of Wisconsin.
I Bizel The Chizel gave John De Long his second consecutive County Fair Challenge winner when he out-closed his entrymate, Overloaded, in the 2-year-old colt and gelding division with a 1:54.2 mile.
Tom Simmons trains the son of Yankee Skyscaper--Whata Bizy Body for the Illinois team of Laura Hendricks (Silvis) and Benita Simmons (Springfield.)
Sadie’s Art (Tom D. Tetrick) came thundering down the stretch and swept past the even money favorite, Checkout My Body, to take the 3-year-old colt County Fair Championship in a career-best time of 1:53.1 for breeders and owners Mary Alice and Tom D. Tetrick of Geff, Ill.
Oosting took the driving title at the Du Quoin meet with 10 winners, while Erv Miller successfully defended his trainer’s crown.