Plenty of ICF stars at Du Quoin

Hinsdale, IL — Consecutive weeks of harness racing through August on the state fairgrounds tracks gets underway Friday (June 9) with a 13-race non-wagering card at Du Quoin. First post is 1 p.m.

Friday’s card on the one-mile dirt oval can be viewed at, then click “Racing,” then “Illinois,” then click on that day.

Annas Lucky Star has been a frequent first place finisher at Du Quoin where she goes after her 58th career triumph Friday. Four Footed Fotos.

Friday’s program certainly doesn’t lack for Illinois bred star power of both gaits. Three-time Illinois Harness Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) from the Terry Leonard Stable heads up the third race ICF Open Pace, while long-time Illinois Trotting Queen Annas Luck Star (Juan Franco), the pride of the Nelson Willis Stable, goes postward in race two in search of career victory No. 58.

Among her challengers is the Steve Searle barn star Lousdobb (Casey Leonard), an ICF division champion the past two years and winner of his last two starts as a 4-year-old.

Illinois older pacing champion Fox Valle Exploit (Kyle Husted) continues her quest to the half-million dollar plateau in purse earnings for trainer Amy Husted in the fifth race state-bred Filly and Mare Open while the Mike Brink stable’s stake winner My Daddys Revenge (Matt Krueger) looks to make it 10 victories in 14 career starts in race 11.

A pair of well-regarded Erv Miller trained sophomore trotters will be in action. Two-year-old Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair winner Fox Valley Shania (Cordarius Stewart) is the horse to beat in race six while The Magical Women (Cordarius Stewart) makes her sophomore bow in today’s finale after finishing third or better in nine of 11 outings as a freshman and making over $40,000.

Friday’s opener should be an attention getter. Strictly for ICF second season male pacers, it matches a pair of 3-year-olds who figure to be strong candidates in their division — Mister Sleaze (Cordarius Stewart) and Fox Valley Landen (Kyle Husted).

Mister Sleaze is making his season’s bow for the Midwest division of the Erv Miller Stable. The homebred finished his juvenile campaign with a come-from-behind win in an Incredible Finale elimination and a third-place finish in the $154,000 final.

“I was very happy the way Mister Sleaze ended his year. He raced well in the Hawthorne championship and finished strong, too. He’s a big horse and that hurt him some as a 2-year-old. He’s gotten bigger and he has gotten stronger. I’m looking forward to his 3-year-old season,” said his assistant trainer and driver Atlee Bender in an earlier interview.

Fox Valley Landen stunned followers of the ICF 3-year-old division with a sparkling 1:51.1 winning mile at Hoosier in May, coming home in :26.1. In his qualifier six days ago the Somestarsomewhere gelding paced a quick last quarter in :25.4.

Trainer Amy Husted earlier referred to Fox Valley Landen as the “hard-luck horse of the barn” as a 2-year-old.

“In the Springfield final he drew an outside post. On Hawthorne’s Night of Champions, he had the nine-hole, and at Du Quoin (Director’s Cup) he would have been first or second if he hadn’t jumped a shadow in the race.”

Amy went on to say, “He’s filled out nicely over the winter and it’s all muscle. I’m excited to see what he can do as a 3-year-old.”

And that was said before the horse’s 1:51.1 mile in just his second start of the year.

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