It’s ICF freshman make-or-break time

Hinsdale, IL — It’s “make-or-break” Friday night for a number of ICF 2-year-old male pacers. Either they do well in one of their Incredible Finale final series legs and advance to next week’s Night of Champions showdowns, or they fail and are bound for consolation events.

Previous series stake winners like Gorgeous Big Sky (150 total points), Guitar Man (125), Fox Valley Julian (87), Fox Valley Durham (72) and JR Strike Three (58) have clinched a starting berth in the $150,000 (est.) Incredible Finale championship.

Others like Fox Valley York (49), You Can Never Tell (45), and Erico Pallazzo (37) look to be in good shape to advance.

However, as we like to say “on the bubble” is the current No. 10 pacer Love Is Blue with 27 points. The Gary Rath trainee is closely followed by Freedom’s Playboy (26), Ashleecoldmuffler (17), Fox Valley Kodiak (15.5) and R Tyler Towne (14).

Even youngsters such as Gotta G Gram (11), Dowtownleroybrown (10), Bellas First Mooss (10), and Who’zzz This Sky (7) aren’t out of it. A surprise win or place can see any of them move on.

A pair of $25,000 final series divisions of the Incredible Finale are on tap Friday evening starting with the seventh race first split where much of the public’s betting dollars will go the recently required Erv Miller stable’s Gorgeous Big Sky (post two, Todd Warren) and the Mike Brink barn’s Fox Valley Julian (post five, Casey Leonard).

A couple of events later the highly regarded juveniles Guitar Man (post six, Kyle Husted), trained by Rob Rittof, and Fox Valley Durham (post eight, Cordarius Stewart), another Erv Miller trained freshman, will tangle.

Guitar Man’s 1:51.3 win in his Director Cup division at Du Quoin last month is the fastest mile by a ICF 2-year-old thus far this season. The Somestarsomewhere gelding saw his three-race winning streak snapped last week by a scant nose to JR Strike Three.

Also on the Friday care are two $25,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial divisions for state-bred pacing sophomores. The Amy Husted stable’s Fox Valley Landen looks to get back to returning to the winner’s circle after his eight-race victory streak was snapped two weeks ago by Fox Valley Langley.

He’ll be challenged by Shark Solicitor (Matt Avenatti), Fox Valley Patriot (Casey Leonard), Kage Daniel (Juan Franco), Fox Valley Presley (Todd Warren), and Fox Valley Cayman (Brandon Bates).

The other Carey event on the card (race six) is headed up by Fox Valley Jasper (Cordarius Stewart), Illini Jetset (Todd Warren) and Ghost Shark (Travis Seekman).

Hoping to pull off an upset are Dinger Gram (Wyatt Avenatti), Fox Valley Newport (Gary Rath) and Unhynged Speed (Kevin Lambright).

While Fox Valley Landen (125), Fox Valley Patriot (87), Fox Valley Jasper (83), Fox Valley Langley (50), Ghost Shark (41) and Fox Valley Cayman (31) are pretty much locked-in to the Carey showdown, it’s still up in the air for the remaining starting berths.

Going into Friday night, the last four spots belong to Fox Valley Steeler (21), Shark Solicitor (21), Fox Valley Presley (14) and Kage Daniel (14). Just two points behind the last two pacers is Illini Jetset with 12. Unhynged Speed with six points needs a big placing to leap over some horses.

The final Night of Champion series legs for state-bred pacing fillies highlights Saturday’s Hawthorne card while the 2- and 3-year-old trotters grab the Sunday spotlight along with eliminations or, if necessary, preps for the Robert Molaro pace, Tony Maurello mare pace, Plesac male trot, and the Carl Becker female trot.

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