Melrose Park, IL --- The 2014 Maywood Park Pacing Series kicked off on Friday (July 4) with the first of the three-leg series, the $30,000 Cook County Stake, attracting a field of seven ICF pacers.
After taking this series last year, John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler’s Fort Silky showed that taking the champ's belt will be no easy task as he cruised to a two length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Casey Leonard.
|Maywood Park photo|
|Fort Silky took the first step towards defending his Maywood Park Pacing Series title with an easy win in Friday's $30,000 Cook County Stake.|
Taking advantage of the defection of morning line favorite Al’s Hammered, who was scratched sick, Leonard charged away from post position four with the 8-year-old son of Ft Apache Hanover, who easily made the top as the field rolled through an opening quarter in :27.2.
Keeping a first over Fancy Creek Elusiv (Ryan Anderson) at bay, Fort Silky continued to pace along steadily on top through middle splits of :56 and 1:23.2.
With plenty in reserve the Terry Leonard trainee found another gear heading around the final turn, quickly widening his advantage as he cruised home with his second win in 11 starts this season. Silver Devil (John De Long) rallied late to finish second while Fancy Creek Elusiv held on for third.
A 17-time winner in 2013, Fort Silky continues to put up big numbers, now boasting $628,850 in earnings for his proud connections. Bet to the near exclusion of his rivals, Fort Silky returned $3.00, $2.10 and $2.10.
The Maywood Pacing Series awards a $25,000 bonus to the higher point earner of its three-race series. The bonus has gone to a Terry Leonard trainee the past four seasons with Fort Silky taking last year’s championship after the great Well To Do Guru had taken home top honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012.