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Balmoral: King Mufasa prevails in Su Mac Lad championship on Super Night
By Neil Milbert
The line “Uneasy lies a head that wears a crown,” that comes from Act III of the Shakespearian play Henry IV also applied to King Mufasa on Super Night XXV at Balmoral Park.
The absolute monarch of the Illinois-bred 3-year-old male trotting division had to struggle to maintain control at the finish line in Saturday night’s $124,000 Su Mac Lad championship race.
The author of the unsuccessful coup was 17-1 longshot Fox Valley Camo.
Boasting the best record of the contestants competing in the eight Super Night championship races for Illinois-breds, 1-5 favorite King Mufasa fought back Fox Valley Camo at the wire to win by a head in 1:56 2/5.
“He wasn’t himself tonight,” said driver Michael Oosting after the gelded son of Powerful Emotions—Foxy N Diamonds, by Muscles Yankee won for the 12th time in 13 starts this year for trainer Mike Brink. “With the fractions we went (:29 3/5 for the quarter, :59 2/5 for the half and 1:56 2/5) he should have won by 10 lengths. The long year may be getting to him.”
King Mufasa made a strong move on the outside to take the lead nearing the end of the opening quarter and extended his advantage to 2 1/2 lengths by the stretch call.
But the Fox Valley Camo, who’d been racing second, came at him and it was a fight to the finish line. Fox Valley Camo was much the best of the rest, going under the wire 5 1/4 lengths in front of Fox Valley Legend, who finished third in the nine-horse race for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters.
The Su Mac Lad was one of two Super Night championship races for trotters; pacers competed in the other six championship races and the six consolation races.
In the $150,000 Lorna Propes pace for fillies and mares, Mystical Victress was unsuccessful in her attempt to become the only horse in Super Night history to win a championship race for four consecutive years when she finished a distant second to Let’s Go Higher.
Dispatched as the 4-5 favorite with John DeLong at the reins, Let’s Go Higher came from fourth to take the lead in the second quarter and went on to win by 3 lengths in 1:50 4/5. For 7-5 second choice Mystical Victress, it was a case of too little to late—she dallied during the opening quarter, pacing seventh, and then advanced to fifth at the three-quarters call but when she made her late move she had too much ground to make up.
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