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'Cheddar' Romps In 'Windy City'

Saturday, November 19, 2011  By: Standardbred Canada
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Multiple stakes winner Betterthancheddar extended his end of season win streak to five with a wire-to-wire romp in the 29th edition of the $175,000 Windy City Pace for three-year-olds during a stakes-filled card of harness racing at Maywood Park on Friday night.

With driver George Brennan in the sulky, Betterthancheddar left from Post 5 in the eight-horse field and cruised through fractions of :28.3, :57.4 and 1:25.3 en route to the 1:52.3 five and a half length triumph. Mystic Desire (Peter Wrenn) sat third for most of the mile before overtaking pocket-sitter Stonebridge Rocket (Doug McNair) to finish second.

"It really was a stroll in the park," commented Brennan after the victory. "He was just lucky enough to make the top so easy and nobody was going to move on him at that point. He just sprinted off the last quarter.

"I was definitely talking to him a little bit, keeping him paying attention. He hasn't been on a half-mile track too many times so I just wanted to keep his attention and not have him do anything stupid. He certainly didn't and he rewarded us tonight."

The Bettors Delight-Lady Ashlee Ann colt has won 10 times in 18 starts while banking $777,116 this year including victories in the Cane Pace, and most recently, the Breeders Crown and American National. He is trained by Casie Coleman for Steve Calhoun of Chatham, Ont. and the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Ont.

"He certainly will get some attention [for year-end honours]," added Brennan. "I'm a little bit biased towards him."

The heavy favourite paid $2.10 to win.

Earlier on the card, Fridaynightflight took off down the passing lane and landed in the winner’s circle after collaring pacesetter Caviart Key in the $127,800 Abe Lincoln Stake for two-year-old pacers.

Fridaynightflight and driver Todd Warren left from Post 2 in the 11-horse field with Caviart Key (Dan Noble) pushing ahead to his outside and Peck Blue Chip (Sam Widger) caught three-wide. Caviart Key cleared the lead with Peck Blue Chip parked out to the opening quarter in :27.2 and the half in :55.4.

As Caviart Key led the way to the next marker in 1:25.1, Uncle Smoothie (Brian Carpenter) and Crime Of Passion (Marcus Miller) rallied three and four-wide around Peck Blue Chip. Uncle Smoothie moved up to look the leader in the eye and they battled on top into the stretch, but Fridaynightflight shot up the passing lane to steal the glory. He prevailed by half a length in 1:54.2. Caviart Key finished second with Uncle Smoothie coming in third.

“Once I made it around the first turn with no confusion, I knew Dan wasn’t going to turn Sammy loose so I cut him loose and crossed my fingers,” said Warren, noting that he did not want to be in the three-hole. “I was pretty confident that he would carry me all the way. My colt was getting real aggressive and I wanted to make sure I stayed off his helmet enough. I had a good angle for the passing lane. Two-year-olds coming around that turn sometimes have a tough time ducking down to the inside, so once I got the angle and got him down there he had a little pace and I was really confident.”

Fridaynightflight paid $4.80 to win as the slight second choice. The Panspacificflight-Ramblin Rosie gelding is owned by trainer Roger Welch of Illinois, William C. De Long of Wisconsin and William P. De Long of Illinois. The Indiana Sire Stakes champion has put together a record reading 7-5-2 in 16 starts while banking $387,404.

Making his first start in the $70,000 Cinderella Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies, driver Dan Noble engineered a perfect pocket trip for this year's winner, Crossthreaded.

Pardon (Dave Magee) took to control of the field with Crossthreaded and Noble following in behind and Ole Miss (Robert Smolin) parked to her outside.

Pardon carved out opening fractions of :27.3 and :55.4 while Fresh Idea (George Brennan) swung out three-wide from the middle of the pack around Ole Miss. However, Crossthreaded pulled the pocket and swept to command, opening up a two length lead on the fillies as she passed the three-quarters mark in 1:25.

Fresh Idea moved up alongside the new leader down the stretch, but Crossthreaded hung on to prevail in 1:54.3 by a neck in the three-horse photo finish. Favourite Swinging Beauty (Doug McNair) came flying home on the outside for third.

The daughter of Towners Big Guy-Tms Miss Hot Shot is trained by Diana Riegle for owners Roy Kohl and Anna Coe of Ohio. She now boasts a record reading 10-4-2 in 18 starts this year with $168,304 earned.

Crossthreaded paid $5.80 to win as the second choice.

Haulin Laser was on his best behaviour in the first of two $50,500 Galt Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotters as he emerged from a wall of early leavers and went wire-to-wire to win in 1:56 flat, equalling his lifetime mark. Fox Valley Iliad (Homer Hochstetler) followed the leader through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:27 before crossing the wire three-quarters of a length behind in second. The other starters in the seven-horse field were distanced after making breaks along the way. Take Heart (Casey Leonard), part of the favoured entry, was the best of the rest as he rounded out the top three. His stablemate, The Evictor (Marcus Miller), was fourth.

“This horse has always been capable,” said Peter Wrenn, who drove the homebred Broadway Hall-Lisas Laser gelding for the DM Stables and Denny Miller of Archbold, Ohio. “He’s gone some really good races so it didn’t surprise me. If he behaved, I knew he would get the job done.”

The lion’s share of the purse pushed Haulin Laser’s career bankroll over the $100,000 mark. He paid $8 to win as the 3-1 second choice.

Fresh off a victory in the Oliver Trotting Classic, Mr Web Page led the field through fractions of :29.3, :59.2, and 1:29.2 en route to a 1:58.2 score in the second Galt Stake. The Muscles Yankee-India Hall colt prevailed by three-quarters of a length over pocket-sitter Evil Urges (Jimmy Whittemore) while second over Ooga Booga (Dave Magee) finished third after loosing his cover when Powerful Charger (Daryl Bier) made a break around the final turn.

"It's his first time on a half-mile track and I thought he'd handle it alright," said trainer-driver Dan Shetler of using front end tactics. "They weren't going out of there hard so I got away with some easy fractions and he was good. He had some left tonight."

After going winless in eight starts as a two-year-old, Mr Web Page has won nine of his 19 races this year while pushing his lifetime bankroll to $249,927 for the Helping Hands Stables of Indiana. He paid $3 to win as the fan favourite.

In state-bred stakes action, Well To Do Guru completed a sweep of the Maywood Park Pacing Series for three-year-olds and up with a victory in the third and final event, the $35,000 Leester McKeever Stake.

The stake’s defending champion established command from the rail and carved out fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.2 en route to the

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