State-bred trotters closed out the Southland Festival of Racing action on Wednesday at Balmoral Park as 2-year-old fillies battled in the $50,000 Fox Valley Flan Stake while their male counterparts slugged it out in the $50,000 Plesac Stake.
The Fox Valley Flan was a study in patience from driver Kyle Wilfong as he avoided early traffic problems caused by a breaking horse, then chiseled out a perfect ground-saving trip with Vienna to win by a length in 2:00.4.
After getting away in the perfect spot, Wilfong deftly managed to avoid early leader BS Casino Cowgirl (Phil Knox) as that filly went off stride just before reaching the quarter in :31.2. Positioned in the pocket the rest of the way as Bailey's Wish (Dave Magee) carved out middle splits of 1:01.4 and 1:31.4, Wilfong patiently awaited racing room as the youngsters moved through the stretch.
Diving into the passing lane as soon as the opportunity presented itself, the daughter of Banderas Hall-Talcott Lori scooted past the pacesetter with 100 yards to go for her second win in seven career starts. Bailey's Wish held on for second while a "green” Fox Valley Lotus (John Roberts) finished third despite bobbing and weaving her way through the lane.
The 6-5 favorite returned $4.40 while upping her career bankroll to $30,042 for owner-trainer Robert Phillips.
The Plesac Stake turned into a stroll in the park for Rocco Ruffolo, William P. De Long, William C. De Long and Gordon Wright's recent acquisition Bobby B Breeze as the good looking youngster lived up to his name by breezing to an effortless 6 3/4-length romp in 1:59.1 for driver Todd Warren.
Hustled away from post position eight by Warren, the son of Southwind Breeze-Lindy's Fireball had no trouble reaching the top and was comfortably in front as he led the field through an opening quarter in :29.3. Continuing to cruise along on the front end through middle splits of 1:00.1 and 1:30.1 the Roger Welch trainee was still full of trot as the youngsters turned for the money.
Sealing the deal in fine fashion, Bobby B Breeze coasted home in :29 to post his first win in his second lifetime start. Tour Hall (Magee), the even-money favorite in the race, rallied from the back of the pack to finish second while Big Bad Bob (Dale Hiteman) was third.
Bobby B Breeze returned $10.40 to his backers while boosting his lifetime earnings up to $27,500 for his happy connections. (Balmoral Park)