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Riccolo sharp for Paisley at Balmoral

May 03, 2012
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A pair of Illinois conceived and foaled stakes events shared top billing on Wednesday's 10-race program at Balmoral Park.
 
In the first of the two tussles, Walter and Paige Paisley's good looking trotter Riccolo continued to impress as he cruised to a deceptively easy 1 ½-length victory in a career best of 1:56.4 with Marcus Miller at the controls for the first time.
 
 
After winning his sophomore debut last week for the 71-year-old Paisley, the Illinois Harness Racing Hall of Famer decided it was time to turn the driving duties over to a younger reinsman and it looks like he made a wise choice with one the of the sports rising stars.
 
 
Reserved in the early going of the $12,000 Iggy Magoo Stake, the gelded son of Northern Kid-Touch Of Victory was content to sit in fourth as Tuff Guy JJ (John De Long) rattled off splits of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:28.2.
 
Engaging the leader with a first-over bid at the top of the lane, the Nelson Willis trainee proceeded to uncork a wicked :27.3 final quarter, effortlessly trotting right by the pace setter for his second win in as many starts this year and his third in five lifetime starts. Tuff Guy JJ held on for second while Fall Creek Bandit (Brian Carpenter) was third.
 
 
Bet as though defeat was out of the question Riccolo returned just $2.40.
 
Sophomore pacing fillies were in action in the other co-featured event as a field of eight state-bred ladies squared off in the $12,000 Betzotic Stake.
 
 
This test provided the biggest upset of the night as the Brooke Vermett owned and trained Hostess Lisa parlayed a perfect ground saving trip into a 19-1 upset, winning by 2 ¼ lengths in a lifetime best of 1:53.1 for driver Todd Warren. 
 
The daughter of Sagebrush-Dixie Dame took full advantage of her inside starting spot as she sat glued to the pylons as Kendyl (Homer Hochstetler) carved out splits of :28.1, :56.2 and 1:25.1 while battling a first over Melodie Hotspur (Ridge Warren).
 
After securing racing room with a sixteenth of a mile to go Hostess Lisa kicked it into another gear, speeding home in :27.4 to score going away over The Face Of Love (Mike Oosting), who lacked racing room for much of the mile. Favored Sleazy Does It, (Marcus Miller) rallied from far back to finish third in her first start of the season.
 
Despite having the inside post and the fact that she was coming off a strong third-place finish in her 2012 debut Hostess Lisa was dismissed at big odds returning $41.80 while scoring for the second time in her 10-race career. (Balmoral Park)
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