Thisbigdogwilfight completed a sweep of the Maywood Pacing Series with a triumph in Friday night’s $40,000 Associates Stake. Given a pocket trip by driver Dave Magee the 4-year-old gelding nailed the pacesetter Booze Cruzin in deep stretch, posting a neck victory in 1:55 flat.
Sent off as the 7-10 favorites with his entry mate Third Day, Thisbigdogwilfight ($3.40) couldn’t take advantage of the rail, making a bobble in the first turn and dropping in second behind Booze Cruzin who was hustled out by driver Sam Widger. The recent Windy City Pace champion had a 1 1/2-length lead at the :27.2 first quarter and was under a hold when Brent Holland took Third Day after the pacesetter.
Booze Cruzin had command by a half length at the :56 half-mile marker and put Third Day away with a: 28.1 third panel. However, Thisbigdogwilfight was right there in the pocket, breathing down Widger’s neck. Magee took the winner out half-way through the final turn and the gelded son of The Big Dog made a late burst to win for the 13th time. In June he won the first leg of the Cook County series and last month took The Egyptian, wrapping up the series $20,000 bonus for Illinois owners Redbud Stable and Michael McNeely.
“I didn’t think he was sharp the last time he won here (Oct. 5) and he wasn’t at his best tonight, but once again he had enough to get the win,” said Magee. “He was a little charged up at the start and got a little rough gaited, so I had to grab a hold of him and Sammy (Widger) got the lead pretty easily with his horse. But when it mattered my horse dug in and got it done.”
“I was happy with my horse’s performance,” said Widger after Booze Cruzin’s narrow loss. “He just got beat by a very good horse.”
Thisbigdogwilfight concluded his 4-year-old season with 13 wins in 24 starts and $244,348 in purse earnings.
Sportsfancy had little trouble chalking up her 14th victory of the season with driver Ryan Anderson in the $15,000 Giggles The Clown stake for second season state-bred pacing fillies. The overwhelming 1-5 favorite took command after the first turn and coasted to a 1:55 flat victory by 1 1/4 lengths over the pocket horse Kiss Of Heaven.
The victory kept Sportsfancy perfect in her sophomore season at Maywood Park. She earlier captured the Maywood Filly Pace, the Cinderella stake and an ISOBA stake on the Chicago circuit’s half-mile track.
Brent Holland had Kiss Of Heaven out in a hurry from the pole position and Sam Widger tried to do the same with No. 2 Nancy Irene. Sportsfancy was three-wide going into the first turn but she cleared to the top with Anderson before the: 27.2 first quarter.
Anderson was able to give Sportsfancy ($2.40) soft middle quarters of: 29.1 and: 29.3 with the first-up Fox Valley Glitz (Mike Oosting) on her outside. Kiss Of Heaven had a perfect two-hole trip but it didn’t matter as Sportsfancy opened it up turning for home and won with Anderson’s whip still on his shoulder.
“They stung us in the first turn but that’s what they’re supposed to do,” said Anderson. “The race went pretty much the way I hoped for. I wanted to get her to the front and just take it from there. As it turned out she won pretty easily.”
Sportfancy’s seasonal earnings now stand at $347,980 with $78,720 of that total coming in her last four starts since she was bought by Horsham, Pa. owner Larry Baron and joined the John Butenschoen Stable. (Maywood Park)