Mrs Grant Seven and Brother Vinny used front-end tactics to capture their respective $10,000 elimination races for next week\'s $100,000 championships of the Maywood Pace for fillies and colts, respectively.
Driver Del Chupp was behind Mrs Grant Seven for the initial time in the single elimination for state-bred pacing fillies. Chupp\'s pre-race strategy paid off when the 3-2 public choice made it two-for-two this season at Maywood Park, this time in 1:55.2 on a sloppy racing surface that was pelted by a downpour an hour earlier.
\"This was the first time I drove her, however I saw that she won an ICF stake at Maywood Park earlier on the front end, so that was my game plan going into this race,\" said Chupp. \"I was concerned that we got stung a little in the early going but when they came after her she fought off the two horse (Makin\' A Statement) and raced game. Mrs Seven Grant is a big filly but she gets over the half really well.\"
A :29.4 last panel was enough to give the Guy Calvert-trained filly a 3-1/4 length win over the runner-up pocket pacer Looking At You. It was another 1-1/4 lengths to the show horse, Orgami Rose (Sam Widger).
Also making the $100,000 Maywood Filly Pace Final were Past The Evidence, Fox Valley Sarong and Colette, the respective fourth, fifth and sixth place finishers. Earning byes into the distaff championship were Faith Leigh and Sportsfancy, the two highest money earners among the 10 fillies entered.
Owned by Rattlesnake Ranch Inc. of Dumont, Colorado, Mrs Grant Seven takes three wins, one second and one third in eight starts into the filly showdown.
Eight Illinois colts and geldings squared off to determine the challengers against last season\'s 2006 Illinois freshman pacer of the year Home Bed Advantage, who earned a bye into the $100,000 Maywood Final, and at the end of another 1:55.2 mile in the slop, it was Brother Vinny ($6.40) holding on by a half-length for Engel Stable and trainer Ken Rucker.
Last week\'s Cardinal stake champion Booze Cruzin (Ryan Anderson) edged a game first-up One Park Place (Sam Widger) for the second spot. Also advancing were the fourth through seventh place finishers -- Cole Combustion, Mahdi, Sneaky B Skipalong and Richess King.
\"Brother Vinny was real sick last week when we raced him hard but we didn\'t know it,\" said his winning driver Mike Oosting. \"The horse came out of that race real fatigued, so he got a lot of time off this week. He raced pretty good tonight but he still got a little leg weary. Hopefully he\'ll be stronger for the final.\" (Mike Paradise for Maywood Park)