Sophomore trotting fillies headlined the Sunday program at Balmoral Park as a field of nine diagonally gaited ladies were sent postward in the $34,700 Hanover Stake.
Using the inside starting spot to their advantage, driver Marcus Miller put Maevey Gravy right on the front from the word go and the daughter of Northern Kid-Grace Elizabeth never looked back, scoring by 1 3/4 lengths in a lifetime best of 1:57.2.
"It really wasn't my original plan going into the race,” laughed Miller. "I knew that Pete Wrenn's horse (Feel The Pressure) had a load of speed and I really just wanted to settle in behind her. But I saw that she was really getting "steppy” in that first turn and then she finally made a break so I just went on with my filly.”
Cruising through splits of :29.4, 1:00 and 1:29.1, the Erv Miller-trained miss faced only mild pressure from a first over Divas Photo (Mike Oosting) throughout her journey.
"We were going pretty slow so I felt pretty confident even though I had that other filly out there alongside of us,” said Miller. "I knew she was coming but she wasn't coming that hard and my filly felt pretty strong every step of the way.”
After putting away the challenge of Divas Photo, Maevey Gravy drew clear to lead by 2 1/2 lengths at the mid-stretch call. The issue was never really in doubt from that point on as Maevey Gravy trotted home in :28.1 to post her third win in eight starts this season. Serene Lady (Dean Magee), a 43-1 outsider, rallied nicely to be the bridesmaid while Powerful Star (Dale Hiteman) rallied up the inside to finish third.
Maevey Gravy now sports a record of 3-1-3 in eight starts this season with career earnings of nearly $105,000 for the Obermeier & Quaid Stables. Sent off at odds of 4-1, Maevey Gravy returned $10.
State-bred trotting fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a total of 11 Illinois conceived and foaled 2 year olds battled in a pair of $5,000 Vaporize Stake splits which were carded as non-wagering events earlier in the night.
In the first division the Mike Brink owned and trained Trot Fudge Sundae (American Native-What A Joy) parlayed a perfect ground saving trip into her first career victory as she scored by 2-3/4 lengths in 2:00.3 for Hall of Famer Dave Magee. Just For Fun (Robert Taylor) finished second while Showmeyourmoney (Kyle Wilfong) finished third.
The second division turned into a stroll in the park for Donnie Taylor and Robert Taylor's Little Ms Chrissy as she stormed right to the top for her co-owner-trainer-driver Robert Taylor and proceeded to make every call a winning one, romping home by 9-3/4 lengths in 2:00.3. Abandoned (Casey Leonard) finished second while Kelsey's Star (Marcus Miller) finished third.
The daughter of Southwind Breeze-Fox Valley Shiraz, who was a $3,500 yearling purchase, is now a perfect two-for-two in her brief career. (Balmoral Park)