State-bred trotters stepped into the spotlight on Sunday night as two-year-old trotting colts and fillies met in a pair of $40,000 Sarah Myers Stakes with Guilty Pleasures and Fox Valley Odyssey coming up winners.
In the filly tussle Jack and Peggy Hood and Mystical Marker Farms' Guilty Pleasures turned in a gritty effort to prevail by a neck after a spirited stretch duel with last week’s Hanover Stake winner Chugwater Gal in 2:00.3.
After saving ground through opening splits of :30.1 and 1:00.1 driver Brent Holland maneuvered Guilty Pleasures to the outside as the fillies trotted around the far turn. Quickly picking off horses while first-over, the daughter of Valley Victor moved into second and was just a head behind the pacesetting Chugwater Gal as these two rolled by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:30.4.
The battle between these two fillies continued through the lane with Chugwater Gal holding firm on the inside while Guilty Pleasures tried to get by her on the outside. With these two on even terms less than a 100 yards from the wire disaster struck for Chugwater Gal as the filly made a break allowing Guilty Pleasures to draw clear by a long neck.
Chugwater Gal held on for second but the miscue drew the wrath of the judges for a lapped-on break at the wire. That moved a fast-closing Fox Valley Sommer (Brandon Simpson) from third to second while Chugwater Gal was set back a position for the infraction.
With the win Guilty Pleasures now sports a record of five wins, two seconds and five thirds with earnings of $62,572. The Ervin Miller-trained miss was the second choice in the wagering returning $7, $4.20 & $2.80 to her backers.
In the colt division Fox Valley Standardbreds and Jim Edgar’s Fox Valley Odyssey continued to make his case for divisional honors with an easy wire-to-wire victory in 1:58.3.
Perfectly rated by driver Jason Dillander, this son of Vaporize stormed right to the front from post position three. With his main rival, Maxter (Dave Magee), sitting right on his helmet Dillander calmly proceeded to carve out splits of :29.3, 1:00.1 and 1:30.
Despite being off for 19 days the John Butenschoen trainee was still razor sharp, keeping the highly regarded Maxter at bay through the stretch with a :28.3 final split to win by 2 ¼ lengths. Maxter wound up a clear cut second with Rtprimetime (Mike Oosting) finishing third, four lengths behind the winner.
Coming off wins in four of his previous five starts, Fox Valley Odyssey was heavily backed at the windows returning just $3, $2.10 and $2.10 while running his record to 6-4-0 in 12 starts. The winner’s check of $20,000 gives the good-looking colt a career bankroll of $112,514. (Balmoral Park)