A Determination Plus Series Final Preview?
A preview of the Determination Plus Series Final is on tap Friday night when Sportsfancy and Faith Leigh, the top two rated ICF three-year-old pacing fillies renew their rivalry in the third race at Hawthorne.
Earlier in the year Sportsfancy was getting the best of the competition but recently Faith Leigh is starting to even the season score. The last time they met was on July 7 at Hawthorne and it was the Erv Miller trainee winning in 1:51.3 and Faith Leigh did it racing first over outside her rival.
“Faith Leigh is good right now but she has been good. Sportsfancy was a little stronger earlier in the season but now they look to be kind of equal. It could just come down to the trip when they meet again,” said Faith Leigh’s driver Brent Holland.
Faith Leigh drew the favorable one-slot for Friday’s confrontation, while Sports Fancy will leave from post six with regular driver Ryan Anderson for trainer Homer Hochstetler, who shares ownership of the Sportsmaster filly with Bonnie and Joy Hutchinson of Warrenville, IL. Sportsfancy rattled off seven consecutive victories earlier in the season and beat Faith Leigh is an ISOBA stake at Balmoral and again in the $48,000 Violet Final at the Crete, IL facility. Her season earnings stand at $131,530.
Faith Leigh earlier this year won the $67,000 Jersey Girls Championship at The Meadowlands against open competition and she also whipped the highly regarded Cabana Fever in a June 16 Hanover stake at Balmoral. The daughter of Incredible Finale has banked $97,085 for Illinois owners Ron Phillips and John Carver.
Faith Leigh will open up as the slight 8-5 in the second Determination Plus second round split, with Sportsfancy at 9-5. Fox Valley Nanners, another Erv Miller trainee is next at 4-1. The other challengers are Laura Go Lightly (10-1), Orgami Rose (20-1), Fox Valley Sarong (15-1), Dr Nabrinsky (30-1) and Past The Evidence (10-1).
In our Friday opener Audacity (p.p. 6, Mike Oosting) and Perdito (p.p. 5, Todd Warren) open up as the 5-2 and 3-1 co-favorites, in that order. There For Me is next at 7-2, while Parking Placeis at 9-2 starting next to the pylons. This field is completed with Miranda’s Future (10-1), Colette (6-1) and Looking At You (15-1).
Hensley Joins Our Driver Colony
Ed Hensley, one of the leading drivers at Cal Expo for many years, has joined the Chicago circuit driving colony effective with Thursday’s Hawthorne program. The 41-year-old Los Angeles native with 3,748 career dash winners had been driving the last three months at The Meadows in Pennsylvania.
From August of 2005 through July of 2006 Hensley had the second most winners at the Cal-Expo meet (402) and was tops at the west coast track in money won with $1,843,957. The gray-blue-black colors of Hensley have visited a winner’s circle over 200 times in 10 of the last 11 years with his best season coming in 2005 with 320 winners. Since 1999, his horses have won over $1 million every year except 2004. Hensley began driving in 1986 and received his trainer’s license in 1991, conditioning 1130 winners.