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Trio of trotting stakes send Balmoral to break
Monday, August 04, 2014 - by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Balmoral Park

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Crete, IL --- A trio of trotting events, headlined by a pair of Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old trotters, shared top billing on the Sunday (Aug. 3) card at Balmoral Park as the Crete plant headed towards a two-week break in the live action due to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

The ladies kicked off the Sunday night stakes action with a compact field of six diagonally gaited youngsters battling for a $29,500 jackpot to start the Hanover action.

Sloane Elise notched her first lifetime victory in Sunday's $29,500 Hanover Stake for 2-year-old trotting fillies.

A familiar face to the Chicago racing scene took home top honors in this event as Walter and Paige Paisley’s Sloane Elise picked up her first lifetime victory with a very impressive 1-1/4 length triumph in 1:56.4. Dave Magee handled the driving duties for trainer Nelson Willis.

Kept well off hot early splits of :28.4, :57 and 1:27.1 that were being set by a headstrong PT Kaye (Marshall Makin), Magee finally started to zero in on the pacesetter as the field reached the top of the stretch.

With the leader coming to a halt, heavily favored Fox Valley Yoko (John De Long) quickly grabbed command in the lane but the lead was short lived as Sloane Elise found her best stride. Taking dead aim on the 1-5 favorite, this daughter of ABC Garland-Touch Of Victory scooted right by the chalk, sealing the deal with a :29.1 final quarter to post her maiden breaking victory. Fox Valley Yoko was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Lima Pizzas (Travis Seekman) was third.

With the win the Indiana bred Sloane Elise now sports a record of 1-1-0 in four career starts with earnings of $26,486. The second choice in the wagering returned $9.20, $2.60 and $2.10.

Brian Carpenter and Cruisin Valor scored in front stepping fashion in Sunday's $28,900 Hanover Stake for 2-year-old trotting colts.

Another field of six was sent postward in the $28,900 2-year-old colt trot and once again it was the second choice in the wagering who wound up toting home the top prize as Lilly Racing Stables and Shelley Steele’s Cruisin Valor rolled to an easy five length victory in 2:00.1 for driver Brian Carpenter.

Sent right to the front from post position five the gelded son of Yankee Valor-Heather Nan led the field through an opening quarter in :30.2. With Carpenter hitting the breaks on the backstretch, heavily favored Southrncomfortzone (John De Long) grabbed the lead before going off stride as the field reached the half-mile mark in 1:01.3.

That miscue left Cruisin Valor all alone on the front end as he rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:31.1. Leaving the rest of the field in his wake, the Gerald Hansen trainee left no doubt as to who was best on this night as he reported home with his second win in three career starts. Powerful Above All (Casey Leonard) turned a ground saving trip into a second place check while Air Force Blue (Mike Cox) was third.

With the win Cruisin Valor now boasts $17,919 for his connections. The bay gelding returned $6.60, $3.60 and $3.20 to his backers.

State-bred trotters were also in action on Sunday night as a field of eight 3-year-olds and up squared off in the $25,000 Mikes A Mystery Stake.

David Baum photos
Fox Valley Veto continued his winning ways for driver John De Long in the $25,000 Mikes A Mystery Stake.

Fresh off his big win in the Kadabra Stake last week, Curt and Craig Grummel’s Fox Valley Veto had no trouble handling older rivals as he posted a 4-1/2 length victory in a career best of 1:55.1 for driver John De Long.

Saving ground in mid-pack as Powerful Poe (Dave Magee) and Ants Iner Pants (Dean Magee) traded blows on the front end through opening splits of :29.1 and :58.1, De Long moved the Curt Grummel trained sophomore to the outside as the field raced around the final bend.

Taking dead aim on Ants Iner Pants as that mare rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1, Fox Valley Veto began to unleash what has become a very potent closing burst.

Sailing home in a brisk :27.2 the altered son of Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory zipped right by his rivals to notch his fourth win of the season. Ants Iner Pants held on for second while Powerful Poe held on for third.

With Sunday’s victory, Fox Valley Veto now sports a career record of 5-6-0 in 18 starts with earnings of $127,194. Heavily backed at the betting windows after his Southland Festival of Racing victory, Fox Veto returned $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10.

Both Balmoral and Maywood will be dark for live racing until Friday (Aug. 15) at Maywood and Saturday (Aug. 16) at Balmoral as the action heads to Springfield for the State Fair Stakes.

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