What already looked like it was going to be a stroll in the park for Paula Smith, James Runyan and Gary Engel's Fox Valley Steffen became even easier with the defection of two of the six scheduled starters in Thursday's $12,600 Life's A Holiday Stake at Maywood Park. The diagonally gaited sophomore colt then left no doubt as to who was the best among this group of state-breds as he cruised to a 3 ˝-length victory in 2:01.3.
Leaving from the inside spot in the compact field of four, driver Dale Hiteman sent the gelded son of International Chip-Super Renee right to the front where he proceeded to step through leisurely splits of :29.4, 1:01.1 and 1:32.2. Under no pressure whatsoever at any point in the mile, the Joel Smith trainee sealed the deal with a :29.1 final quarter to notch his third win of the season.
The pocket-sitting Fall Creek Bandit (Brian Carpenter) finished second while One High Game (Jared Finn) was a distant third, some 11 ˝ lengths behind the winner.
With just win and place wagering in the race because of the scratches, Fox Valley Steffen returned $2.20 and $2.10 while upping his career bankroll to $103,683. (Maywood Park)