by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Maywood Park
Melrose Park, IL — After a shaky effort in last week’s eliminations division leader Fancy Creek Elusiv proved that he is still the one to beat among the Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old colt pacing set taking Friday’s $115,000 Maywood Pace by a hard fought head in a blistering 1:52.3.
Given a great steer by Hall of Famer Dave Magee the Nick Giberson trainee settled in fifth through the early going as Big Brad (Robert Smolin) and Silver Devil (Todd Warren) slugged it out through wicked opening splits of 26.3 & 54.3.
Following the three-wide cover of the heavily favored Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) as the field moved under the finish line for the first time Magee was perfectly positioned to pounce on the early pace setters.
“There was plenty of action going on up front and I knew I wanted to be somewhat close to it,” said Magee. “Nick (Giberson) made some changes on him and he felt so much better that I was pretty confident in him. I was thrilled that we were following Crankin’ It Up because I knew he was going to take us a long way and get us where we needed to be.”
Down the backstretch Crankin’ It Up quickly swallowed up the early leaders but Magee was looming boldly on the outside of him with Fancy Creek Elusiv as the two charged by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2.
Continuing his assault as the field moved into the turn Fancy Creek Elusiv rolled right by a tiring Crankin’ It Up but the issue was far from over as Mystical Walter (Casey Leonard) who once again got off to a tardy start, was circling up from last to second with a huge three-wide move.
“With the way the track was playing tonight and the fractions being as fast as they were I had a feeling that it would take a toll on the early leaders,” said Magee. “I knew when Mystical Walter pulled alongside of us that he was going to be a real challenge. But at that point it was totally up to my colt since he was in perfect position and still felt strong.”
Digging in gamely through the stretch the gelded son of Sportsmaster-Elusive Image held sway gamely keeping a head in front of Mystical Walter for his third win in four starts this year. Big Brad was a distant third, 8-3/4 lengths behind the winner.
After the big victory Magee was asked to assess his pacer’s winning effort.
“That was a good mile on this track tonight and my horse was back to his old self tonight,” said a smiling Magee. “On a scale of 1-10 I’d say he was a 10 this week compared to last week.”
With the win Fancy Creek Elusiv now boasts a career record of eight wins and two thirds in 15 starts with earnings of $227,231 for the partnership of Hart Walker, Robin Mullink, Homer Henke and Robert Walker.
Sent off as the second choice in the wagering despite his disappointing fourth place finish in last week’s elimination Fancy Creek Elusiv returned $7.60, $3.60 & $3.80 to his backers.
The 10 cent Pick-6 wager carried over for a second night as well. There will be a carryover of $2,855 on next Thursday’s (June 27) program. The Pick-6 wager starts on race five each night. Post time for next Thursday’s first race at Maywood Park is 7:10 p.m. (central). Driver John Roberts had three wins on Friday’s card and is now just two wins shy of reaching the 1,000 win plateau in his career.