Springfield, IL — The Illinois Department of Agriculture presented a 14-race program for Illinois Conceived and Foaled horses on Thursday (May 18) at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, as the fifth annual Spring Preview marked the first racing action in the state since last September.
Reigning Illinois divisional champion Goomster, with owner-trainer Dennis Gardner in the sulky, led the way with a record-setting performance in a division of the 3-year-old trot for colts and geldings, getting the mile in 1:58.1 and winning by nearly nine lengths. The effort knocked more than a full second off the former Spring Preview record of 1:59.2, and it came in Goomster’s season debut.
Fastest mile of the day belonged to Kage Daniel, who won a division of the 3-year-old pace for colts and geldings in 1:56.2 for owner Shelly Graham, trainer Tom Graham Jr., and driver Juan Franco. A winner just once in 13 starts last season, Kage Daniel was making his first appearance of 2023.
In other action, Illinois champion Anna’s Lucky Star notched the 57th victory of her career, taking a race for aged trotting mares in 1:59.4 for owner-breeder Danny Graham and trainer Nelson Willis, with Franco in the bike. The divisions for older horses also saw former Illinois Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini win a race for aged pacers in 1:56.4 to score his 54th career win, for owner Jim Ballinger, trainer Terry Leonard, and driver Casey Leonard.
In the nightcap, Lousdobb won a race for trotters age four and up, giving Casey Leonard his fifth win on the program. Named the top sophomore trotting male in Illinois in 2022, Lousdobb is trained by Steve Searle for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC and All-Wright Racing LLC.
Another Spring Preview program is scheduled at the Illinois State Fairgrounds for Tuesday, May 23.