Live racing returns with a pair of state-bred stakes at Balmoral

by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Balmoral Park

Crete, IL — After a two-week hiatus, live racing returned to Balmoral Park on Saturday (Aug. 16) with a pair of state-bred stakes for older pacers sharing top billing on the 13-race program.

The ladies kicked off the action with a pair of $21,400 divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake. In the first division Kenneth Rucker’s Party Hangover continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 3-1/4 length victory in a career best of 1:51.1 for driver Todd Warren.

Party Hangover made it six straight victories with an easy score in the first of two divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stake.

After leaving alertly from the outside starting spot, Warren sent the 5-year-old daughter of Party At Artsplace on her way from fourth after an opening quarter of :27. Quickly moving to the front, the Catrina Rucker trained miss proceeded to lead the field through middle splits of :54.1 and 1:22.2.

Through the lane the only thing in doubt was who would pick up the minor spoils as Party Hangover effortlessly reported home with her sixth straight victory. Just By Design (Dave Magee) rallied from last to finish second while Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) was third.

With the win Party Hangover boasts a record of 7-3-2 in 21 starts this season. The overwhelming favorite returned just $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10 while upping her career earnings to $292,511.

The second division provided an upset as Mark Winship’s No Respect took advantage of a miscue in the lane by favorite Dallas Jones in route to a 2-3/4 length victory in a lifetime best of 1:51.4 for driver John De Long.

No Respect charged by rivals in the late going to take the second division of the Parklane Powerful Stake.

Settling near the back as the action up front was hot and heavy, De Long was happy to watch Incredible Filly (Ronnie Gillespie), The Bruzilian Blur (Todd Warren) and then Dallas Jones (Kyle Wilfong) all trade blows through red-hot splits of :27.3, :54.1 and 1:23.1.

In the lane, State Fair Stake winner Dallas Jones made a very uncharacteristic break, jamming up several rivals while leaving a fit and fresh No Respect with clear sailing to the wire.

The Nick Giberson trained daughter of Sportsmaster then proceeded to uncork a :28 final quarter to notch her seventh victory of the season. Dune In Red (Dave Magee), who inherited the lead after the miscue by the favorite, held on for second while Kimberly R (Dale Hiteman) finished third.

Sent off at 9-1, the brown 5-year-old returned $22.80, $4.00 and $3.20 while pushing her career earnings up to $314,428.

A full field of 10 pacers went postward in the $35,200 Big Tom Stake and when the smoke cleared in this wild and wooly affair it was John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler’s Fort Silky who emerged with an impressive 6-3/4 length victory in 1:49.3 for driver Casey Leonard.

David Baum photos

Fort Silky and driver Casey Leonard were on cruise control as they captured the Big Tom Stake in 1:49.3.

With even money favorite Al’s Hammered saddled with a starting spot in the second tier, Leonard left quickly with Fort Silky, sitting right on the back of the hard leaving Ice Scraper (Ross Leonard) through splits of :27.2 and :55.

Deftly averting disaster when the pacesetter made a break approaching the top of the stretch, Fort Silky was in full in stride as he sailed by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:22.3. Leaving his rivals in his wake the 8-year-old Ft Apache Hanover gelding sealed the deal in grand fashion, pacing home in :27 to post his 20th win over the past two seasons. Iam Bonasera (Kyle Wilfong) turned a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while Al’s Hammered was forced to settle for third on this night.

The Terry Leonard trainee returned $9.20, $5.60 and $3.20 while upping his career bankroll to an eye popping $650,650.

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