A pair of $54,000 events for Illinois conceived and foaled 2-year-old trotters shared top billing on Wednesday at Balmoral Park as a field of eight colts squared off in the Plesac Stake while 10 of their female counterparts met in the Fox Valley Flan Stake.
Fresh off a romping wire-to-wire victory in last week's elimination, the Ronnie Gillespie-owned, trained and driven Show Stopin Monkey employed similar tactics and wound up with a similar result as he cruised to a 1 ¾-length victory in 1:58.2.
"He's got pacing kind of speed leaving the gate,” marveled Gillespie after the colt posted his fourth win in five lifetime starts. "With these young trotters all kinds of things can happen if you sit in the middle of the pack so that's why I put him on the front again.”
Rattling off splits of :30.1, :58.4 and 1:28.2, the son of American Native-Savory Hall was never in danger while maintaining an open-lengths advantage at each call.
"Actually, I made some equipment changes on him this week to try and make him a little easier to control so I was a little worried how he was going to react to those,” explained Gillespie who is having a summer to remember on the ICF stake circuit. "I trained him just one light trip this week and then when I warmed him up he acted like he didn't like the equipment changes. I stuck with them though and he calmed down nicely just as soon as he cleared to the front tonight.”
The long-striding colt almost relaxed a little too much for his driver-trainer's liking while strolling along with the big lead in the lane.
"He was starting to try and wait on some of those horses thinking his work was done about halfway down the stretch which he hadn't before,” said Gillespie. "I just reached up and gave him a few taps though and he responded well even though I think he may have been a little sick tonight.”
Skyline Road (Marcus Miller) rallied from far back to get the place money while Powerful Mel (Mike Cox) finished third.
Show Stopin Monkey returned $3.40 while upping his career bankroll to $34,151.
The Fox Valley Flan also provided a wire-to-wire winner as the Mike Brink-owned Trot Fudge Sundae made it look easy as she cruised to a 2 ¾-length score in a career-best 1:58.4.
Taking advantage of an inside starting spot in the field of 10 driver Dave Magee hustled the daughter of American Native-What A Joy right to the front where she proceeded to stroll through splits of :29, :59.2 and 1:29.4.
Still fit and fresh as the field straightened for the money, the Dirk Simpson-trained miss sealed the deal with a :29 final quarter as she scored for the third time in four lifetime starts. Little Ms Chrissy (Robert Taylor) encountered some heavy traffic problems in the early going before managing to shake loose late and rally for the second money while Elegant Rosie (Dale Hiteman) was a distant third.
The 4-5 favorite in the field returned $3.60 while running her career bankroll up to $36,000. (Balmoral Park)