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Whiz a frigid winner

February 03, 2007

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Fox Valley Whiz took advantage of a pocket trip given him by driver Dale Hiteman, and shot up the passing lane in time to post 1:58.1 victory in Maywood Park’s $10,300 feature race on a frigid Friday evening.

The winning mile time by Fox Valley Whiz, a 7-year-old son of Incredible Finale, may be a bit deceiving. The temperature at post time was in the single digits -- eight degrees -- and a strong headwind out of the northwest was in the horses’ faces through the second and fourth quarters, where the wind chill factor was in the teens, at 15 below zero.

Fox Valley Whiz ($7.20), who had the number-two slot, was the fastest away from the gate in the seven horse field of $25,000 claimers, grabbing the lead a few strides from the start. Ryan Anderson also had number seven Raven Rocket, the 2-1 co-favorite, leaving in a hurry, when he moved to the six post after number five, Renforcer N, was scratched due to sickness.

Hiteman made Raven Rocket labor hard to get to the front. The new leader didn’t get there until he came out of the first turn and took the field to a :28 first quarter. Most of the second quarter was raced into a bone-chilling wind, and went in :30, with the 2-1 co-favorite, Indian Territory, racing first-up outside of Raven Rocket.

Raven Rocket was able to keep the lead despite only a :30.1 third panel, with the biting-cold wind mostly on the field’s back, and coming out of the final turn it appeared the Nicole Marsh trainee might have enough left to hold on. However, Fox Valley Whiz was full of pace, and with clear sailing up the open stretch finished three-quarters of a length the best.

“I wanted to see how my horse felt when the gate swung open, and he felt good so I decided to hustled him out and try and get position,” winning driver Dale Hiteman said. “As it turned out we ended up with a perfect trip.”

Raven Rocket held on for second in the third race feature. Fox Valley Tigre, who raced third back on the inside, came on well to pick up the show spot, 1 1/2 lengths off the winner, and a length ahead of the fourth place finisher, Indian Territory.

“Fox Valley Whiz is a horse with some back class, and when he’s right he’ll always give you a big effort. This horse has strung together a number of nice efforts lately,” Hiteman added.

Trained by Todd Crone, Fox Valley’s triumph was the pacer’s second in five season starts, to go along with two seconds and a third place finish for Illinois owners Dominick Argentino and Frank Reaber. The state-bred pacer’s season’s earnings now stand at $18,406. (Maywood Park)
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