Balmoral hosts American-Nationals

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Ted Black

November 7th, 2015

This Saturday night Balmoral Park near Chicago will garner the spotlight when it hosts a quintet of American-National Stakes each worth at least six figures.

Saturday's third race is the $120,000 American-National for three-year-old pacing fillies and the race is very wide open. In fact, post time favoritism could eventually to Devil Child (Tim Tetrick) from post seven or Southwind Roulette (Yannick Gingras) from the rail. But Somewhere Sweet (Trace Tetrick) has won two straight since two good efforts in the Jugette. Daut Full (Scott Zeron) has won two straight since finishing third in the Glen Garnsey at Lexington.

One race later in the $125,000 American-National for three-year-old filly trotters, Muscle Baby Doll (David Miller) and Bright Baby Blues (Tim Tetrick) will renew their rivalry after finishing one-two in the Crossroads Stakes at Hoosier Park last weekend. Muscle Baby Doll prevailed narrowly that night at 3-5, with Bright Baby Blues second at 12-1. They will be much closer in price tonight, but take a shot with Bright Baby Blues at 4-1 or more.

Then one race later in the $150,000 American-National for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings all eyes will be on Freaky Feet Pete, a rapidly rising star and now a contender for divisional honors and even horse of the year. Two months ago he was considered the third best member of his gait and generation.

But in October Freaky Feet Pete won all five starts including the Breeders Crown, an Indiana Sire Stakes final and the Monument Circle at Hoosier Park. In each of those two victories at Hoosier he upended Wiggle It Jiggleit, the top rated horse of any age, gait or gender in the sport and early favorite for divisional honors and horse of the year.

Freaky Feet Pete will be the odds-on favorite from post two, but My Hero Ron (Gingras) and Lost For Words (David Miller) will present upset prospects. Roland N Rock (John Campbell) also has a long shot chance from post seven.

One race later in the $200,000 American-National for three-year-colt trotters, The Bank (David Miller) looms as the odds-on favorite from the rail for trainer Jim Takter fresh off his victory in the Breeders Crown, a score that pushed his career earnings past the $1 million mark.

But there are several sophomore trotters with a genuine upset chance. Muscle Diamond (Campbell) was third in the Breeders Crown, two starts after winning a Bluegrass split at Lexington. Habitat (Gingras) won the Yonkers Trot earlier this year, while Homicide Hunter (John DeLong) was second to Crazy Wow in the Erskine after winning five straight races.

Then one race later in the $135,000 American-National for older pacers, much of the focus will be on Always B Miki (David Miller) who has won all three of his starts this year for Takter, including the Breeders Crown. The four-year-old Delaware-bred son of Always A Virgin is among the sport's genuine rising stars.

But three of his rivals merit backing at big odds. Luck Be With You (Tim Tetrick) has won four of his last five starts and should thrive on the big oval. Bettor's Edge (Joe Bongiorno) has faced the best aged pacers all season, while Foiled Again (Gingras) has won two of his last three starts. The 11-year-old Dragon Again stallion boasts an amazing 86-58-36 slate and record earnings of nearly $7.3 million from 244 lifetime starts in an eventual Hall of Fame career.