Two 2-year-old fillies—a trotter and a pacer—are undefeated in Illinois stakes thus far this year. The trotter My Miss Caroline is undefeated in her five career starts after winning an Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Championship in 1:59 for driver Dave Magee on Thursday. The previous week at Springfield she trotted to a lifetime best of 1:57.2 while winning by 12 ½ lengths.
One race later Pardon, a daughter of Richess Hanover, won comfortably in 1:52.3, with Magee once again in the sulky. Richard Balog bred the filly and when she didn’t bring the price he wanted, he decided to bid her in and bring her home and race her. She’s now earned more than $60,000 in seven starts.
Illinois State Fair Championship races were held over the mile oval in Springfield Thursday afternoon, and Marcus Miller took the first two events with Powerful Bella and Mystical Victress, both 3-year-old fillies.
Powerful Bella, a trotting filly by Powerful Emotion, sat in the two hole until the last turn, when Miller tipped her to the outside. But she wasn’t the only horse kicking into high gear. Tropicana Key and Claires Rose also shifted into overdrive, and the three fillies crossed the wire together, with Powerful Bella’s neck the longest. The time for the mile was 1:58.
Nelson Willis trains Powerful Bella, now a four-time time this year, for James Jesk’s Sawgrass Farms.
Miller came back with Mystical Victress in the 3-year-old filly pace and the daughter of Sportsmaster overpowered the field in 1:50.4, taking a new lifetime mark.
Cole Blue started from post two and driver Robert Smolin was determined to take control of the race, and the price was a :26.2 first quarter. When Miller pulled Mystical Victress going to the half (:54), Smolin and Cole Blue hung tough, keeping the challenger parked through the last turn and a 1:22.2 third-quarter.
But before hitting the straightaway, Mystical Victress edged to the front. Rev Me Up got into the race in earnest midway through the homestretch, but Mystical Victress stayed game to win.
Mystical Marker Farms bred the winning filly and owns her in partnership with Peggy Hood, who was at Springfield with her grandchildren.
One of the fastest male trotters in the country equaled his lifetime mark of 1:55.4 with his second straight win at the Illinois State Fair. He pulled away from the field in the homestretch, but had to survive an inquiry that he caused because he briefly went offstride in the last turn. The judges ruled that his win could stand, and he was joined in the winner’s circle by breeder-owner Jerry Graham, driver Todd Warren and Pam Coleman. Mystical Marker Farms also shares ownership of the gelded son of Powerful Emotion.