The Illinois conceived and foaled 2-year-old trotting crop took center stage on Wednesday night at Balmoral Park as a field of six diagonally gaited colts battled in a $29,280 Sarah Myers Stake while eight of their female counterparts squared off for a purse of $28,730 on the distaff side of this stake.
Living up to his 1-9 status in the wagering Jerry Graham, Mystical Marker Farms and Pam Coleman’s Powerful Charger had no trouble making his final start of the year a winning one as he cruised to an easy 1 1/2-length victory in 1:58.2.
Eased away from post position five by driver Todd Warren the gelded son of Powerful Emotion-Fox Valley Poetry patiently sat fourth as Anthonyskywalker (Brett Ballinger) led the field through an opening quarter in :29. Taking no chances Warren then moved the Pam Coleman trainee to the front where they proceeded to lead the field through middle splits of 1:00.3 and 1:30.4.
“He felt strong sitting in the hole through that opening quarter and I didn’t want to get stuck behind any traffic so I moved him to the top,” said Warren. “The field really wasn’t that deep tonight so I figured I’d make them come and try to beat us.”
Fending off a challenge from his entrymate Powerful Position as the field moved through the lane Powerful Charger was straight and strong to the wire as he reported home with his seventh win in 13 starts. Stablemate Powerful Position was second while Anthony Skywalker was third.
In the winner’s circle Warren was impressed with the way his charge finished up his first season on the track.
“He seemed to be a little bit tired after Springfield and DuQuoin even though he continued to race well,” he said. “Tonight with the cooler weather he really felt as good as he has all year. Hopefully the time off will do him some good and he’ll come back as a very nice and mature 3 year old next year.”
Finishing up her first season with a record of 7-4-2 in 13 starts Powerful Charger earned $117,231.
In the filly test trainer Robert Taylor continued his phenomenal season as Fox Valley Helena rallied in the final strides to win by a head in 2:00.4.
Navigating around several breaking horses in the first turn driver Marcus Miller had the daughter of Vaporize-Hallie Rose in sixth as Hi I’m Miss Nancy (Dave Magee) and Search For Reality (Todd Warren) battled through an opening split in :29.1.
Closing the gap on the lead pack as the field moved down the backside Miller continued to save ground as Hi I’m Miss Nancy faced steady pressure from longshot Drinks On Me (Steve Halford) and a three wide My Funky Farkle (Dale Hiteman) as they trotted through splits of :59.2 and 1:30.3.
“Thing were working out perfectly for us at that point,” said Miller. “My filly actually likes to be jammed in with the pack and that’s exactly where we were and we still gaining on the leaders that entire time.”
Finally swinging to the outside as the early leaders began to tire Fox Valley Helena found her best stride with a sixteenth of a mile to go. Taking dead aim on My Funky Farkle the Robert Taylor trained miss began gobbling up ground. Rallying gamely through the lane the bay filly was up in the final strides to grab her second win in 13 starts this season. My Funky Farkle held on for second while Search For Reality was third.
“This horse is pretty quick once you get her some racing room,” said Miller when
asked whether he was worried about running out of time before the wire. “Once she gets out she can go at pretty at pretty good clip on the straightaway’s and she showed that tonight.”
Overlooked in the wagering Fox Valley Helena returned $17 while running her record to 2-4-1 in 18 starts with earnings of $49,195 for the ownership group of Desyallas Racing and William Beck.
The $1 Pick 4 wager was not hit on Wednesday’s card. That means there will be a carryover of $7,990 into Saturday’s Pick 4 pool and Balmoral Park managements is estimating Saturday’s Pick 4 pool to be in excess of $35,000. The Pick 4 is held nightly on races 7 thru 10. (Balmoral Park)