Hello Magic mystifies field in Miss Windfall Series

by Brad Meadows and Ryan Hubbard, Hoosier Park publicity department

Anderson, IN — Hello Magic, with Joe Essig, Jr. in the sulky, made a late move down the stretch to collect her first career victory on Thursday, April 12, in the Miss Windfall Series at Hoosier Park.

Terri Kelley photo

Hello Magic was a 1:59.3 winner for Joe Essig, Jr.

The pair held the pocket seat for the first three-quarters of the mile before advancing midway down the stretch. They finished the mile in 1:59.3, five lengths ahead of Karlyn Rhain and Josh Sutton, who finished second. Finishing in third place was Susie’s Lil Rip and Jay Cross.

“She got away great for a perfect trip,” said Essig. “She held the two hole good. I thought there would be more horses leaving.”

Taking to the front early was Karlyn Rhain, with Hello Magic just behind in second. Karlyn Rhain led the field into the first quarter in :28.4.

After making a pass following the three-quarter pole, the pair of Hello Magic and Essig used excellent closing speed to pull away by five lengths. The victory came in the first start for Hello Magic in the 2007 season.

“She’s alright, she’s not a bad filly,” said Essig. “So far, she has come back well from last year. They couldn’t find what was wrong with her. Dad (Joe Essig, Sr.) has had her for four or five months. I’m not sure what the plans are yet as to whether we will enter her in the Sires Stakes or not.”

Hello Magic appears healthy and in great shape beginning her sophomore campaign. Prior to her victory Thursday, she had an excellent qualifier at Lebanon Raceway, winning by more than three lengths.

Hello Magic returned $6.80, $6.40, and $2.10. Joe Essig, Sr. trains the 3-year-old filly by Cam’s Magic. Chris Gilbert and James Taylor own her.

Roknrol Bluegrass was an easy winner in her division of the Miss Windfall Series on Thursday. Driven to victory by Ricky Macomber, Jr., the tandem pulled out from the pocket down the backstretch. That turned out to be the winning move as the 3-year-old filly paced the mile in 1:59.1.

Roknrol Bluegrass coasted through fractions of :29, :59.2, and 1:30.3 en route to the win. She increased her lead down the stretch to take the victory by 2-1/4 lengths. Way Perfected and driver Don Eash held on to finish second. Baby Bug Cary, piloted by Walter Haynes, Jr., rallied for third.

“The plan was if the fractions were going to be slow, we would go to the front,” said Macomber. “If the fractions were fast, we were going to try and play it by ear. She (Roknrol Bluegrass) will respond and race well when she sees horses racing with her. There were really no scares in the race for us.”

Roknrol Bluegrass returned $3.00, $2.20, and $2.10 as the heavy favorite. The daughter of Pilgrims Punch is owned by Dr. Luel Overstreet of Henderson, Ky. Trainer John Merkel keeps adding to his total of four wins with the victory.

Roknrol Bluegrass is a perfect two-for-two this season. She won her seasonal debut on opening night of the harness meet at Hoosier Park. Roknrol Bluegrass is now three for 13 in her career, increasing her lifetime earnings to more than $9,600.

“That was kind of an easy mile for her (Roknrol Bluegrass),” said Macomber. “We were heading towards a pretty strong head wind down the backstretch. She is still learning how to race. She’s getting better with every start.”

At odds of 18-1, Francie’s Dream won her career debut in another division of the Miss Windfall Series. Taking advantage of a late driver change to Ricky Macomber, Jr., the 3-year-old blossomed, winning by a head at the wire. The mile was paced in an even 2:00 flat.

The driver change came right before post time as trainer Alvin Miller decided to pass the reins on to Macomber. He held Francie’s Dream in the eighth position after the first quarter went in :28.3.

The first race of Francie’s Dream’s career was a closing performance. From rounding off the third-quarter in 1:30.4 in the fourth spot, she pulled the trigger. Capitalizing off the fastest final panel in the field in :28.3, she crossed the wire just ahead of favorite Ready To Rumba and driver Don Irvine, Jr. Playin Magic and driver Andy Shetler finished third.

“I picked up the last minute driver change when Alvin (Miller) said he didn’t really want to drive her,” said Macomber. “We just wanted to race her from the back during the race. Miller wanted to give her a positive experience on the track, being her first start. I felt good about our situation.”

Francie’s Dream paid $38.00, $14.00, and $10.80 for win. The Indiana-sired filly qualified with a second place performance at Hoosier Park in March. Francie’s Dream is owned by Phil Harts of Amboy, Ind.

Macomber, Hoosier Park’s leading reinsman, increased his lead in the standings after taking those two divisions of the Miss Windfall Series. The two trips to the winner’s circle gave Macomber a total of 11 wins going into the remainder of the card. The total puts him in a commanding lead among the driving colony.

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