The 2014 stakes schedules for both Balmoral and Maywood Park have been released by racing secretary Doc Narotsky.
The action kicks off at Balmoral on March 29 with the Taurus Bomber Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old pacing colts. Maywood's stakes season gets underway on Friday, April 11, with sophomore pacing colts slugging it out in the Sportsmaster Stake.
The first major state-bred stake of the season will be contested on Sunday, May 18, with 3-year-old pacing fillies squaring off in the $45,000 Violet Stake at Balmoral. There will also be Violet and Cardinal Stakes for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters on Sunday, May 25, Wednesday. May 28. and Saturday, May 31 at Balmoral Park.
Maywood's first big event of the season will be the $100,000 Filly Maywood Pace for ICF 3-year-old fillies on Friday. June 13. The $100,000 Maywood Pace for ICF sophomore pacing colts will be held the following Friday. June 20.
The first Hanover Stakes of the season at Balmoral Park will feature a pair of events for 3-year-old trotters on Saturday, June 7.
The Southland Festival of Racing will provide a weekend filled with state-bred action at Balmoral on Saturday, July 26, and Sunday, July 27, with pacers and trotters squaring off in $50,000 battles like the Mini Me Stake, Loyal Opposition Stake, Incredible Finale Stake, Ann Vonian Stake, Kadabra Stake, Fox Valley Evita Stake, Fox Valley Flan Stake and Plesac Stake.
Apair of $50,000 Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Crete oval while a pair of $60,000 events for freshman trotters will be contested on Sunday, Aug. 3.
Balmoral will also play host to Illinois' biggest night of racing, Super Night, on Saturday, Sept. 13. As always, the state's top pacers and trotters will be on display as they battle for more than $1 million in purse money.
The prestigious American Nationals kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a pair of $90,000 trotting stakes for 2 year olds.
October will be a busy month for the youngsters as the $100,000 Lady Lincoln Stake for 2-year-old trotting fillies takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 1, while their male counterparts battle in the $100,000 Lincoln Land Stake on Sunday, Oct. 5, at Balmoral Park.
Maywood will also host the $60,000 Cardinal and Violet Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers on Friday, Oct. 3.
If the last few years were any indication of things to come, then racing fans throughout the country will want to circle Saturday, Oct. 11, and Friday, Oct. 17, on their calendars as some of North America's best pacers and trotters are expected to visit the Chicagoland area as Grand Circuit action comes to town.
Balmoral Park will play host to the $250,000 American-National 3-year-old colt pace, the $225,00 American-National 3-year-old colt trot, the $200,000 American-National Open pace, the $180,000 American-National Open trot, the $175,000 American-National 3-year-old filly pace, the $150,000 American-National 3-year-old filly trot, the $125,000 American-National 2-year-old colt pace and the $125,000 American-National 2-year-old filly pace approximately one month earlier than in recent years.
Maywood's biggest card of the season is just six days later on Friday, Oct. 17 with the $225,000 Windy City Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts, the $130,000 Abe Lincoln Stake for 2-year-old pacing colts, the $110,00 Galt Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts and the $100,000 Cinderella Stake for 3-year-old pacing fillies sharing the spotlight. The $30,000 Associates-McKeever Stake for ICF pacers is also scheduled for that same night. (Balmral/Maywood)