State-bred pacing fillies took center stage on Saturday, April 5, at Balmoral Park as a field of seven 3-year-olds squared off in the $10,000 Direct Balance Stake. After an adventuresome mile, it was the Perry Smith owned and trained Susan Sarandune who wound up prevailing by three-lengths in a career best of 1:57.
Hustled to the front by driver Kyle Wilfong, the daughter of Duneside Perch—Magical Kit led the field through an opening quarter in :29.2. Heading down the backside, a hard charging Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) swept from third to first, leading the field past the halfway point in :58.1. Around the far turn Fox Valley Amanda continued to show the way while Buoncammino (Dave Magee) came calling first over as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.2.
That's when disaster struck for Buoncammino as the lightly-raced filly went offstride for the second time in the mile, leaving Fox Valley Amanda alone on the lead. That advantage was short lived though as the pocket sitting Susan Sarandune quickly began to cut into the leader's margin. With the effects of a 22-week layoff finally starting to get the best of her, a tired Fox Valley Amanda surrendered at the sixteenth pole while a fit and fresh Susan Sarandune zipped right on by for her second win in four tries this season. Fox Valley Amanda held on for second while Bright Light (Todd Warren) finished third.
Overlooked at the windows despite a 7-2 morning line Susan Sarandune returned a healthy $16.40, $4.60 & $2.80 while pushing her career bankroll up to $27,721. (Balmoral)