Keykeeper, Production take Connors elims
June 29, 2008
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Two eliminations of the William C. Connors Memorial for 3-year-old trotters were featured Friday night at Hazel Park Raceway, with Keykeeper and Production coming up winners and leading the entries for the $100,000 final.
In the first elimination, it was the Michigan superstar Keykeeper, who outlasted a furious stretch kick from Twin B Caviar to score the win in 1:57.2. The Mike Micallef charge now has won 10 of 11 in his career, and his bankroll now exceeds $125,000.
The morning line and post time favorite was the Charlie Norris entry of Twin B Caviar and Foggy Lane K. The start was a little obscur as Careless Love made a break interfering with Foggy Lane K and causing a recall. The official start saw Pete Wrenn guide Like a Dream to the top, but he was immediately overtaken by Keykeeper at the quarter. After that, nobody got within a length of the 2-Year-Old Trotter of the Year in Michigan.
Friday night was Keykeeper\'s 3-year-old debut, and even though quite a few of the fans thought that Keykeeper needed the race, he still secured co-favortism in the betting. Twin B Caviar finished second while Like A Dream raced gamely for third. Finix Hanover and Careless Love are also eligible for the finals, finishing fourth and fifth.
In the second elimination, it was the Kelly O\'Donnell trainee Production sneaking up the passing lane to outkick First Pleasurelane in the final strides in 1:57.1.
Michigan hopeful Enzo got the first call off the wings, but Production wasted little time in seizing the top spot with a quarter move. His lead was short lived however, as trotting guru Charlie Norris prompted yet another lead change with First Pleasurelane just before the half. Turning away a first-over bid from Smoking Gun, First Pleasurelane had the lead until the last strides. Smoking Gun fought gamely for third, while Shaman Hall and SF Aceinthehole wrapped up the minor placings.
The top five finishers in each elimination qualified for the $100,000 Connors final, which will be held Friday night, July 4, on Fireworks Night with a special post time of 6:30 p.m. (Hazel Park)