The action on and off the track was fast and furious on Saturday, July 28, as a big crowd flocked to Balmoral Park for the Chicago Southland Festival of Racing. Along with a taco eating contest, salsa tasting contest, live music and plenty of other giveaways and food and drink specials there was also plenty of action on the track as some of Illinois’ best pacers and trotters battled for more than $300,000 in purse money in five stake finals.
Freshman pacing fillies kicked off the night’s action with a field of 10 going postward in the $64,000 Loyal Opposition Stake. Despite leaving from the outside post, the Stanley Miller-owned and trained Special Rose managed to work out a perfect trip and the daughter of Duneside Perch-Orgami Rose turned that into an impressive 2 ¼ length victory in 1:55.0.
Hustled away from the far outside post by driver John Roberts, the good-looking chestnut landed in third through the early going as Dune In Red (Mike Oosting) led the field through splits of 28.0, 57.1 and 1:25.3.
“Being able to find a good early spot was the entire key to this filly’s chances,” explained winning driver John Roberts. “Once we were lucky enough to land where we did I figured we’d just sit in and save ground the rest of the way and see what happened.”
With some expert reinsemanship from Roberts, Special Rose was able to maneuver her way through traffic, swinging to the outside of horses in the late going, and then rallying sharply to post her first career victory. Thank You Doc (Dean Magee) was second after a tough first over journey while Incredible Filly (Dave Magee) was third.
The win was the first in a six-race career for Special Rose who returned $17.60, $7.20 and $4.60.