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Top Illinois-breds in Peak Form Heading to State Fairs

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700


Top Illinois-breds in Peak Form Heading to State Fairs


STICKNEY, IL – With racing at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield beginning next week, the top Illinois-bred horses are ready to put on a show in front of the huge state fair crowds. As the abbreviated summer harness season at Hawthorne nears the halfway point, a split of the Night of Champions races has allowed for more opportunities for horses to race for large purses. Springfield will offer the next set of big purse events followed by two great cards in DuQuoin. The season will culminate with Night of Champions at Hawthorne on Saturday, September 10.  A recap of the first set of stakes events leading up to the Illinois State Fair.


July 15 - $50,000 Robert S. Molaro – 3yo & up Pacers

The summer stakes season kicked off with a bang as the fastest horses in the state battle in the Robert S. Molaro Final.  The final was a matchup that has taken place numerous times over the past two seasons as He’zzz A Wise Sky and Fox Valley Gemini faced off once again.  On this night it was He’zzz A Wise Sky who dictated things on the front end, Drawing clear to the three-length victory in 1:49.4.  The five-year-old son of Yankee Skyscaper was pushed by Fox Valley Gemini every step of the way and had enough left to put away his rival in the stretch.  Owned by Triple Zzz Stable and trained by John Filomeno, He’zzz A Wise Sky was driven to victory by Kyle Wilfong.


July 15 - $50,000 Plesac – 3yo & up Trotters

While the top aged pacers in the state were featured earlier on the July 15 card, the trotters put on a show two races later.  Illinois-champ Talk About Valor continued his winning ways for owner Shelley Steele but had to work for his victory.  Drawing the inside in the Plesac, Talk About Valor was taken to the lead immediately by driver Travis Seekman.  Chased throughout by Louscardamon, Talk About Valor had put a two-length gap between the two in the stretch. Louscardamon wasn’t finished though and fought back, losing by only a head at the wire.  Trained by Gerald Hansen, Talk About Valor won in 1:54.2. Heath Bar trotted evenly to finish a solid third in the Plesac Final.


July 16 - $50,000 Carl Becker Memorial – F&M, 3yo & up Trotters

Named for a legend not only in Illinois, but nationally, the Carl Becker Memorial honored one of the great stalwarts in the industry.  It was only appropriate that the winner of the race is a legend in her own in Illinois as eight-year-old mare Annas Lucky Star showed that she still has some great races in her.  With regular driver Kyle Wilfong in the bike for trainer Nelson Willis, Annas Lucky Star dictated things from the start.  After cruising onto the backstretch with an easy lead, Annas Lucky Star extended her advantage to four lengths in the final turn and never looked back, winning by six lengths in 1:55.1.  The Danny Graham owned Annas Lucky Star was followed in the Becker Memorial by Louzotic and Reign and Shine.


July 16 - $50,000 Tony Maurello – F&M, 3yo & up Pacers

Following the Carl Becker Memorial on the July 16 card was the Tony Maurello, featuring the top aged female pacers in the state.  Champ Fox Valley Exploit was sent away as the heavy favorite and quickly made the top in the Maurello.  She was game for the entire mile but was caught in the end by Scorecard Dandy as Kyle Wilfong gave the Greg Kain trainee a perfect trip. Scorecard Dandy won the Maurello by a length in 1:52.4 for owners Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas. Fox Valley Exploit was a good second while Ashlee’s Joy finished third.


July 22 - $50,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial – 3yo Trotters

Three-year-old male trotters took to the track for the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial as driver Kyle Wilfong continued his winning ways.  When favorite Lousdobb broke stride into the first turn, Wilfong took control with the Mike Brink trained Fox Valley Cairo and never looked back.  Extending her lead through each quarter, Fox Valley Cairo was a clear two length winner in 1:56.2.  Owned by Charles Biggs, Robert Lacey and Mike Brink, Fox Valley Cairo was followed in the Dygert by Mr Mizzou and Good Boy.


July 22 - $50,000 Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial – 3yo Pacers

The Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial pace featured another Illinois-bred Champion as Fox Valley Ozzy looked to get things going in his three-year-old season.  While still revving up, Fox Valley Ozzy wasn’t quite good enough as Get E Up was impressive in victory for trainer Amy Husted.  Driven by her husband Kyle, Get E Up settled mid-pack, behind the pace of Fox Valley Ozzy. Gearing up at the top of the lane, Husted got Get E Up into the clear as he closed with a strong :27.4 final quarter to roll by Fox Valley Ozzy and win by two lengths in 1:51.2.  Josie Rocksmyworld paced a good mile to finish third.  Get E Up is owned by David Brigham, Kyle Husted and John Schwarz, Jr.


July 23 - $50,000 Plum Peachy – F&M, 3yo Pacers

After emerging onto the scene later in her two-year-old season and making a major impact, the James Molitor trained Apple Valley didn’t look like she has missed a beat heading into her three-year-old campaign.  With Jordan Ross in the bike for owner Mike Perrin, Apple Valley went to the lead after the opening quarter and never looked back, winning in 1:52.4. She was a length-and-a-quarter clear of Pattycake Moose at the wire while 65-1 shot Bombay Parkway rallied late to finish third.


July 23 - $50,000 Beulah Dygert Memorial – 3yo F Trotters

Trainer Curt Grummel may be sitting on two of the best female trotters in the state as Funky Wiggle showed of her ability in the Beulah Dygert Memorial.  Owned by Dr. Patrick Graham, Funky Wiggle gave driver Kyle Wilfong another stakes score in one of the most dominant efforts of the early stakes season.  Sitting nearly ten lengths behind the early lead of Ironclad Creation, Funky Wiggle made a swooping move on the turn and closed through a final quarter in :27.3 to win by nearly seven lengths in 1:55.4.  Ironclad Creation was a clear second while Creations Dream MV closed at nearly 30-1 to finish third.


July 29 - $50,000 Kadabra – C&G 2yo Trotters

With a growing two-year-old crop in Illinois, it may take some time to sort out some of the categories for who is best in the state.  The juvenile male trotters is one of those as shown by the Kadabra final.  Any of four were in with a chance but the hot hand of driver Kyle Wilfong continued as he chose to drive Goomster for owner/trainer Dennis Gardner in the final and chose right.  Sent off at odds of 7-1, Goomster settled behind the pace of heavy favorite Niko Man.  Asked to go into the final turn, Goomster responded, closing in :29.1 to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:58.1.  Niko Man was game in defeat while Ain’t No Mojo closed to finish third.


July 29 - $50,000 Incredible Finale – C&G 2yo Pacers

With six of the ten horses in the final bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, two of those six took undefeated records into the final.  The duo of Fox Valley Jasper and Fox Valley Langley didn’t disappoint as both put forth big efforts.  Rating near the back early for trainer Erv Miller and driver Atlee Bender, Fox Valley Jasper was familiar with such a trip, winning all of his prior races from off the pace.  This victory didn’t come easy as Fox Valley Langley fought valiantly, battling on the lead the entire race.  In the end, the :26.4 final quarter was just enough for Fox Valley Jasper to catch Fox Valley Langley at the wire and win by a head in 1:53.3. Kage Daniel paced a strong mile to finish third.  Fox Valley Jasper is owned by Bowie Racing LLC and Engel Stable of IL.


July 30 - $50,000 Fox Valley Flan – 2yo F Trotters

A week earlier, trainer Curt Grummel showed off talented filly Funky Wiggle in the Beulah Dygert Memorial.  He has another excellent female in the undefeated Marvelous Mystery.  An impressive winner in all of her starts, Marvelous Mystery showed her versatility as she rated off the early pace and rallied for a length-and-a-half score in 2:00.0.  It was Kyle Wilfong once again in the bike as his stakes dominance continued.  Owned by Curt, Craig and Leo Grummel, Marvelous Mystery was followed by Dawn of Creation and El Brae Brae.


July 30 - $50,000 Incredible Tillie – 2yo F Pacers

Trainer Mike Brink looks to have a pair of top juvenile pacers as his trainees finished 1-2 in the Incredible Tillie.  While My Daddy’s Revenge was sent away as the heavy favorite, it was the second Brink trained horse in the race, Rona Mae, who pulled off the upset score at 12-1.  Driven by Phil Knox, Rona Mae stalked the early lead and waited until mid-stretch to make her move.  Drawing clear late, Rona Mae won by nearly three lengths in 1:54.0. Owned by Hugh Lake and Susan Lacey, Rona Mae was followed by My Daddy’s Revenge and The Magical Woman. 


Keep and eye out for all of these top state-bred horses and many others when the Illinois State Fair opens at Springfield on Thursday, August 11.


Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races four meets in 2022.  The winter harness meet ended on March 20 and spring/summer thoroughbred concluded on June 25. The summer harness season races through September 11. The fall thoroughbred meet opens September 23 and races through December 31. First post nightly for harness is 7:15 PM. For any information about Hawthorne Race Course visit the website

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