The top 2-year-old pacers in Illinois will be showcased on Friday night as Maywood Park presents eliminations for the Cardinal and Violet Stakes. The finals of these two prestigious events will take place Friday night, Oct. 8.
With a total of 21 two-year-old pacing colts entered for the Cardinal Stake a trio of $7,000 elimination battles will be contested. Carded as races six, 11 and 13 on the card the top two finishers in each division along with two of the third-place finishers (drawn by lot) will return for the $60,350 final.
Michael Polansky’s TJ’s Rocky brings a perfect seven-for-seven record into the first elimination and the son of Park Place will start from post position five in this contest. Fresh off a wire-to-wire score in 1:56.3 in a prep for this event last week at Maywood Park the David McCaffrey trained gelding also captured the County Fair Championship at Du Quoin in a career best of 1:53.4.
In the second division Mack Racing Stables' Mr. Bedrock should be the one to beat from his inside starting spot. The Robert Taylor-trained and driven son of Richess Hanover returns to the local scene after a big second-place finish with open company in the Elevation Stake at Indiana Downs last week. With seven first or second-place finishes in 10 lifetime starts this year’s Orange & Blue runner-up boasts earnings of $104,615.
The final division features the Roger Welch-trained He’s So Hot who rattled off five straight victories to open his career before failing in the Orange & Blue eliminations at Balmoral Park. The gelded son of Sportsmaster owns a mark of 1:52.4, which was taken in the Governor’s Cup Stake at Springfield, and he comes into this race with earnings of almost $75,000.
On the filly side of the docket 18 freshmen have been dropped into the box for the Violet Stake. Once again there will be three $7,000 elimination battles (races two, four and seven) with the top two in each race and two of the third place finishers (drawn by lot) coming back for next Friday’s $54,800 final.
The opening split features Filly Orange & Blue winner Fox Valley Touche who has won four of her last six starts for trainer Joel Smith. The daughter of Sportsmaster owns a mark of 1:53 and has banked almost $120,000 for owners Paula Smith and James Runyan.
In the second elimination division Pardon will look to get back on the winning track after tasting defeat for the first time in 10 career starts last time out. Opening her career with nine straight scores for owner Richard Balog and trainer Dirk Simpson the daughter of Richess Hanover has a mark of 1:52.3 and boasts more than $129,000 in career earnings.
The final elimination features multiple stakes winner Little Miss Henry who has been a model of consistency in her first season on the track for owner-trainer Curtis Rice. The daughter of Henry Clay sports an amazing record of 9-6-1 in 17 starts with earnings of $31,452. Among her victories is a County Fair Championship in Du Quoin where she took her career mark of 1:55. (Maywood Park)