by Mary Lou Lawless
Independence, IA — Due to storms and heavy rainfall in the area on Monday through Wednesday of last week, Thursday’s program for the Great Jones County Fair in Monticello was postponed until 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20, and the Friday card was cancelled. Eight scratches from the 12-race program left 76 2-year-old colts and fillies to compete for $40,000 in purse money, in front of a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd.
At the end of the day, Iowa sires Hot Pans and Branded had dominated the program, starting with the gelding Hot Soup, who delivered owner and trainer Earnest Whitemon to the winner’s circle in 2:06.4 after the first pacing contest on the menu. Smart Little Art (Nolan Van Otterloo) was neck and neck with the winner at the top of the stretch, and dropped back to second midway to the wire, while LB Speedn (Brian Larson) came in third.
Iowa Senator Tom Hancock applauded Iowa Harness Racing as Sigourney’s Huffman Stables kicked off a banner day at Monticello with the Kickin B trotter KB Spider, who afforded Rick Huffman both a training and a driving win in the second race. This gelding currently ranks fifth among USTA top performers of his age and gate, with five wins in six starts, one third-place finish, $8,294 in winnings and a lifetime best of 2:08.3h. Up for second was Jeri’s Kid (Dan Roland), and Rick Huffman’s trainee, Westgrove King (Adam Hauser), a Kickin B gelding whom he co-owns with Martha Walker, was third.
At the very top of the USTA top performers chart for freshman pacers, Aaron Mitchell’s Blues Hot Clues (Hot Pans-Clooneen-On The Road Again) accomplished his seventh victory in as many lifetime starts, recording the fastest pacing time of the day, 2:06.1, and was welcomed to victory lane by Senator Hancock.
Biding her time behind early leaders Silvercall Chip (Milt Traylor), Im Steamin (Dan Roland) and the lithe and leggy See Logo (Aaron Mitchell), Mike McDanel’s chestnut filly Red Brandy trailed these trotters through the half in the fourth race, a $4,750 filly trot, but emerged with spirit at the top of the homestretch and waged a tremendous battle, far on the outside, all the way to the photo finish with See Logo, where she was declared the winner in 2:16.3. Bred by Kermit Hinshaw, this daughter of Branded is out of the Lucky Twenty Five mare Homestead Kit, and is trained and driven by Joel McDanel.
The first of two victories for Van Otterloo Stables in the $17,000 IA Registered series came early on with their Cam’s Card Shark filly, EZPZ Lemonsqueezy (Nolan Van Otterloo), who hovered in the midst of the field and even trailed at one point while Lidia Graham (Will Roland) and Sassy Seventy Two (Brian Larson) kept the pace though the half and on to the three-quarter pole. Coming into the final turn, the filly squeezed into her niche, alongside of Lydia Graham, and “EZILY” outpaced a distanced Lydia and third place pacer Miraclescamhappen (Nick Roland) in 2:08.1, for her third win in five starts.
Currently ranking fifth among her peers on the USTA top performers chart, My Way Mack left from the seventh post with Nolan Van Otterloo aboard, and keeping pace behind the early energy of Teah (John De Long) and Brilliant Sunset (Royal Roland), the Raycer Thad filly boldly challenged both of these and Beachfire (Nick Roland) as well, as they headed up the backstretch for the second time. Having her way by about four lengths as the field came to the wire, My Way Mack paced in 2:09.2 for the winner’s share of $4,250, followed by Beachfire and Chocollicous (Will Roland). Merlin Van Otterloo trains for the growing Van Otterloo Family Stable, which is headquartered in the opposite quadrant of the state, at Rock Valley, Iowa.
Bo Brandy captured the Carl Hein Memorial Trophy, which is presented annually to the fastest 2-year-old trotter at Monticello in remembrance of Iowa Hall of Fame horseman Carl Hein, by Dr. Dale Hein, DVM, and the Hein Family. The win in 2:12.2 was the fourth out of five starts for the gelded son of Branded, who is out of the Sierra Kosmos mare Foot Lights. Rick Huffman trains and drives, and owns Bo Brandy in partnership with CD Huffman. Finishing second to Bo Brandy for the third time in six starts, The Big Guy (Gary Liles) has two wins and a fifth place finish on record. Bill Mintun’s Mr Hallview (Nick Roland) came in third.
The full of fun daughter of Branded, Kix N Giggles, won the final IA Registered trotting feature, for owners Rick and CD Huffman and Martha Walker, besting Homestead Hap (Adam Hauser) and My Wing Chip (Milt Traylor) in a time of 2:15.1. She’s out of Off The Ropes, she by Balanced Image, and has won four of five starts.
Keokuk County Fair highlighted by new marks
A total of 23 new lifetime marks were set in the 35 races carded for Iowa’s biggest fair meet of the season, which was held at the historic Keokuk County Fair in What Cheer over the weekend of July 13-15. The hospitality and rich traditions of this fair lured about 240 entries to compete in three full programs and partake of $95,000 in purses.
Freshman trotters mixed it up on Friday afternoon, with the colts going for the second annual Betty Green Memorial blanket, sponsored by Mrs. Green’s family. A petite and fiery What Cheer racing fan, Mrs. Green occupied a special seat in the grandstand for as long as almost anyone can remember, until she passed away in the fall of 2005, not long after the racing season ended.
It was just a matter of time before stablemates KB Spider and Bo Brandy drew into the same race, and in the first leg of the Betty Green Memorial, KB Spider started from the two hole, with Adam Hauser manning the controls, while Bo Brandy left from post seven with Rick Huffman up. Owners Rick and CD Huffman easily earned 70 percent of that $4,250 purse, when KB Spider won in 2:10.4 and Bo Brandy seconded the motion with a hearty effort. Partylike A Prince was third.
The second leg of the Betty Green Memorial was accomplished in 2:10.4 as well, lowering the best mark of The Big Guy (Gary Liles) from 2:13.2 and recording the second win in four starts for the son of Proud Crown. Bill Mintun’s No Beau Chip got up for second and Huffman’s Westgrove King won third place money. The flip of a coin gave the Betty Green Memorial blanket to KB Spider and the Huffman Family.
Trotting fillies contended, in races two and four, for a memorial blanket provided by the Huffman Family, in memory of patriarch Lowell L. Holzhauser, the beloved maternal grandfather who furnished Rick Huffman with his first harness horse in the year Rick turned 16. Mr. Holzhauser passed at the age of 98 on September 10 of last year.
Lessee Mike McDanel’s Lucky Twenty Five lass Homestead Hap (Adam Hauser), prevailed over a field of seven for her first career win in 2:14.2, and left her stablemate, Red Brandy (Joel McDanel), in second place and Rick Mishler’s Chess Dancer in third.
Lyle Bunston’s TA Lori’s Triumph (Nick Roland) brought on a bigger surprise yet in the second dash of the Holzhauser Memorial, winning her first race and the Holzhauser Memorial blanket in 2:09 flat and leaving See Logo (Aaron Mitchell) in second place and the previously undefeated Kix N Giggles (Rick Huffman) to finish third.
On Saturday, Nick Roland urged Mercantile Exchange to cross the wire ahead of Madges Jackpot (Rick Huffman) and Smart Little Art (Nolan Van Otterloo) with a first winning time of 2:04 flat for owners Lesa and Rick Peters of Grinnell.
Proud Valiant (Gary Liles) won the Grant Walker Memorial for trotters in 2:06.3; Blues Hot Clues (Aaron Mitchell) sports the Friends Of The Fair blanket, honoring Bill and Opal Dennis; and the Keoco Auction Blanket went to Cyclone May (John Reese), who equaled her time of the previous week, 2:05.1.
By Sierra Bandit, Tanker (Jack Wilkening) rolled right past Sierra Sandra (Milt Traylor) and second place contender Joe Brown (Adam Hauser), in pursuit of his share of $4,750, for owners Dennis and Ron Allgood of Oskaloosa.
Mike McDanel’s Miss In Love lowered her lifetime record to 2:08 flat, and five winners of $1,000 races achieved new marks on Saturday.
Seven new lifetime records were set on Sunday, when standout sophomore Princess Zoie (John De Long) captured the Ed Lally Memorial Pace in 1:59.4; No Road Parking (Jack Wilkening) went in 2:01.2; Hot Panties (Will Roland) sizzled in 2:02.2; Go Ask Bobbi (Joel McDanel) won her second in a row in 2:05.1; Sonofastreak (Scott Smith) lowered his mark to 2:03.2; Two Nts With Her (Adam Hauser) trotted in 2:09.1 for the Rex Wilkening Memorial blanket and TJ Park N Party (Adam Hauser) earned a new mark of 2:05 flat.
The annual two-day meet at the Southern Iowa Fair track in Oskaloosa began on Monday, July 23, when 3-year-olds answered the first call to the post. The meet continues through Tuesday, when first post time for 2-year-old competitors is set for 11:00 a.m.
For the Iowa schedule, standings and more, see www.iowaharnessracing.com on the Internet.