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Battlefield being assembled

March 28, 2007

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Northfield Park\'s director of racing Gregg Keidel received some good news and some bad news this week in his quest to assemble the best possible field for the 22nd Annual $125,000 Battle of Lake Erie, the track\'s premier race. The \"By Invitation Only\" event for the eight best pacers Keidel can attract is scheduled for Saturday night, April 21--so the next few weeks are critical for horses hoping for a spot behind Northfield\'s starting gate.

One likely starter is 2005 Battle champion Maltese Artist, fresh off a sharp 1:49.2 triumph last Saturday night at The Meadowlands. A career earner of over $900,000, Maltese Artist is trained by Mickey Burke for owners Sylvia Burke of Pennsylvania, John Howard of West Virginia and Jim Koran of nearby Macedonia, Ohio.

Unfortunately, last season\'s Battle winner Buckeye One is doubtful to return to defend his title. The Ohio-bred has been resting since late November and is unlikely to be ready for an April 21 trip to Northfield according to his connections in Ontario.

A wide array of pacing standouts from tracks across North America are under consideration for Battle invitations. Mister Big, winner of the $74,000 Aquarius Series final in February at The Meadowlands, is a very likely starter while Delaware standout Roddy\'s Bags Again, and Yonkers Raceway campaigner Cameloft are also in the mix.

Besides the action on the track, the first 3,000 fans in attendance on Battle of Lake Erie night at Northfield who pay the regular price of admission ($1.75 Grandstand or $3 Clubhouse) will receive a Northfield Park 50th Anniversary sweatshirt, all part of Northfield\'s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2007. (Northfield Park)
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