Racing at the Illinois State fairgrounds in Springfield wrapped up Thursday afternoon with eight $45,000 Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes championships for 2 and 3 year olds highlighting the action. Sara The Spy got things underway in exciting fashion in the race for 3-year-old filly trotters (Race 4) as she turned the tables on rival Little Ms Chrissy for the photo-finish victory.
Robert Taylor had Little Ms Chrissy in front from post one at the start, with Todd Warren tucking in second with Sara The Spy, followed by Dave Magee and Trot Fudge Sundae. The order remained unchanged through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.3, but at the top of the stretch Warren angled Sara The Spy to the outside. Sara The Spy was finally able to edge past in the shadow of the wire to best the 4-5 favorite Little Ms Chrissy by a head, with second-choice Trot Fudge Sundae third.
PQ Three handed Unlocked his first-ever loss after six straight victories in the nightcap, the final for freshman colt pacers. Driven by Mike Oosting, PQ Three sat second behind Unlocked and driver Magee before rushing past in the stretch for the 1 1/4-length, 1:50 victory. The time was a track record for 2-year-old pacers.
The win was the fourth of the year (along with four seconds) in eight starts for PQ Three, a son of Yankee Skyscaper. Now with earnings nearing $80,000, PQ Three is owned by Obermeier & Quaid Stables.
Sent off at odds of 5-1, Sara The Spy won tor the fifth time in 11 starts this year. The daughter of Powerful Emotion was purchased by Warren this spring after she made her second start as a sophomore. Trained by Michael Croucher, Sara The Spy increased her earnings to more than $60,000 with the career-best effort.
King Mufasa, Skyline Road and Powerful Poe all have different trainers but because of common ownership they were linked in the wagering and sent off the overwhelming 1-9 favorite in the final for 3-year-old colt trotters. And the trio didn't disappoint their backers as they finished one-two-three, respectively.
Warren had Powerful Poe on top early but shortly past the opening quarter of :27.4, Mike Oosting tipped King Mustafa from fourth. King Mustafa cleared approaching the half, which was reached in :56.1, and then heading toward the three-quarters, Skyline Road and Marcus Miller came up first-over on the outside. The top threesome drew clear from their rivals, and down the stretch it was King Mufasa who was able to hold on over a game Skyline Road for the nose victory. Powerful Poe settled for third.
"It was the first time and I kinda liked it," Bill Wright answered in the winner's circle when asked if he had ever had two horses he owned battling side by side through the stretch. "I don't know which one will be better by the end of the year, but we'll find out."
Write shares ownership of King Mufasa with Mystical Marker Farms. The gelded son of Powerful Emotion is trained by Mike Brink. The win was his seventh in a row and ninth in 10 starts this year, bringing his seasonal earnings to more than $130,000. The win was also a career-best clocking.
John Roberts moved Fox Valley Lotus first-over to the lead at the three-quarters and the daughter of Pizzazzed went on to an easy 1:57.3 victory in the final for first-year filly trotters. Bailey's Wish was second for Magee, with Fox Valley Hosana and Oosting third.
After finishing third and second in her first two starts, it was natural improvement that Fox Valley Lotus earn her first victory in her third attempt for trainer Curt Grummel.
"She's been coming along; we've been bringing her along slowly," owner Dr. Patrick Graham said in the winner's circle. "She was keeping close and she had some gas left, so I guess she used some of that today."
A veterinarian who has had several Illinois standouts in the past, Graham purchased Fox Valley Lotus as a yearling for $20,000. Her Powerful Emotion half-brother sold at last Sunday's Land of Lincoln Sale Sale for $50,000, the second highest-priced yearling sold during the sale.
My Little Bit led at every call to win the $45,000 final for 2-year-old filly pacers in 1:53.4 for driver Marcus Miller. Warren sent Fox Valley Shiver three wide around the final turn but she couldn't overtake the leader and had to settle for second, with the Oosting-driven Thesleazyprincess third.
The win was the second in six starts for My Little Bit, who finished second last time out in her State Fair elimination. The time lowered her previous mark by nearly three seconds.
"Very impressed," co-owner Brian Quaid said in the winner's circle. "Erv (trainer Erv Miller) said she'd be better today, and she was."
Obermeier & Quaid Stables purchased My Little Bit as a yearling for $11,000. The win boosted the daughter of Sportsmaster's earnings to more than $44,000.
Fox Valley Veto had a short lead at the top of the stretch in the championship event for 2-year-old male trotters but when he went offstride it paved the way for Tour Hall and Dave Magee to go on to a 1:57.3 victory. Gray N Cloudy was second for John DeLong, with Big Bad Bob and Dale Hiteman third.
Bred and trained by Mike Brink, who shares ownership with his brother-in-law, Loren Tournear, Tour Hall won for the second time in four starts while earning a career-best mark. The gelded son of American Native has earnings topping $40,000.
Dallas Jones sprung a 10-1 upset in the final for 3-year-old filly pacers. Rallying from seventh at the half, Dallas Jones and driver Casey Leonard crossed the wire a head in front of Mystical Danica and driver Marcus Miller in 1:51.2. Aliyah Maria and Warren were third, while Auniqueaquistion and driver Oosting could only close for fourth after getting away ninth early.
Trained by Joel Smith, the winning daughter of Sportsmaster is owned by Paula Smith, James Runyan and Frank Pike. The win was her career-best effort, while pushing her career earnings past the $108,000 mark.
Mystical Walter was the 4-5 favorite in the race for 3-year-old colt pacers and he didn't disappoint as he crossed the wire first in 1:53.4 for driver Leonard and trainer Erv Miller. Crankin' It Up finished second but was disqualified to seventh for causing interference while on a break at the three-quarters. Fancy Creek Elusiv was third-placed-second with driver Magee and Sage Ruck and driver Oosting were elevated from fourth to third.
A gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper, Mystical Walter is owned by Paymaq Racing, D & M Trading and Mystical Marker Farms. The win was his fifth of the year to increase his lifeetime earnings to more than $115,000.