Spotlight turns to Springfield State Fair

Hinsdale, IL — With Hawthorne’s summer downstate meeting in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look ahead at the upcoming Illinois State Fair at Springfield session that gets underway next Thursday (Aug. 10).

A doubleheader program featuring Illinois Department pf Agriculture events kick off the opening card with post times of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., in that order. Next week’s attention getter follows on Friday (Aug. 11) when the Illinois State Fair Colt Stake elimination races for both the 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits and sexes are rolled out.

At stake is a starting berth in the ISFCS championships the following week. A glance at the nomination list for these meaningful start-bred stakes indicates there will be numerous elimination divisions, especially concerning the freshman pacers.

The ISFCS juvenile filly pace had 81 youngsters nominated while 72 Illinois bred male pacers are eligible for their first stake event of the season. Many ICF 2-year-olds made starts in the recent Hawthorne downstate session and some did so in impressive fashion and have emerged as early leaders in their respective classes.

Among the freshman colt and geldings that looked very good were Guitar Man from the Rob Rittof stable, Fox Valley Julian, from the barn of trainer Mike Brink, and the Erv Miller stable’s Fox Valley Durham.

Guitar Man (Kyle Husted) blew away a nice field of juveniles last Thursday by almost a dozen lengths with a quick 1:52 clocking. The Somestarsomewhere offspring did it on the front end after racing off the pace in his previous three outings, two of which were victories, with quick last quarters of :27 and :26.3.

Fox Valley Julian made it known he’s a player in the ICF freshman male pacing group with an easy victory last week. Terry Young photo.

After a needed first start from the eight hole where he was raced easy, Fox Valley Julian (Casey Leonard), another son of Somestarsomewhere, uncorked a 1:55 winning mile the same day when he was almost 10 lengths the best, coming home in :27.1 for trainer Mike Brink.

Fox Valley Durham (Cordarius Stewart) comes off two strong come-from-behind triumphs. In his July 20 start he motored home in :27 at the end of a 1:54.4 mile. Last Thursday the Time To Roll gelding used a :27.2 last panel in his 1:58 mile where he was almost seven lengths off the pace to a leisurely 1:00.3 half.

Among the ICF 2-year-old filly pacers that have come forward in the last eight weeks are Gary Rath Stable’s Sleazy Sister, Kevin Miller’s Fox Valley Tasha, and the Amy Husted stable’s Chickabell.

Sleazy Sister (Casey Leonard), a Somestarsomewhere homebred, is two-for-two in her brief career and showed plenty of determination last week in her 1:55.4 mile where she raced first over through the middle quarters and still held off a fast-closing Fox Valley August who also looked very good.

Fox Valley Tasha (Cordarius Stewart) is already a four-time season winner and was nosed out by Chickabell on July 14 with an eight-hole trip or would be riding a four-race winning streak. The Time To Roll filly prevailed in 1:55.1 last Friday despite racing first up again.

Nae’s Rendezvous (Phil Knox), last at the half, and Fox Valley Taran (Matt Avenatti), stuck inside most of the way, are two other fillies in the July 28 race that look to be players in the upcoming ISFCS filly added money events.

The Somestarsomewhere filly Chickabell (Kyle Husted) has traded wins with Fox Valley Tasha in their last two starts and raced outside of her rival last Friday when she was beaten less than one length. She won her first pair of career starts with a quick :26.3 last panel in her July 8 debut and posted a 1:54.3 successful mile a week later.

Hawthorne’s Night of Champions Incredible Tillie final is a long way off (Oct. 14), so expect several other freshman fillies to make their presence felt in the division as the season progresses.

He’s Ready: Dennis Gardner’s ICF champion trotter Goomster (Travis Seekman) tuned-up for next week’s ISFCS 3-year-old male trot eliminations with a resounding six length victory at the Charleston Fair Wednesday in 1:58.1 (:28.1 last quarter).

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