Picking up right where he left off after posting seven wins, including four stake victories, on Saturday night’s card, driver Mike Oosting continued to dominate the Southland Festival of Racing action. guiding Derek Jacobus and Kevin Kline’s Divination to a three-quarter length score in Sunday’s $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old trotting fillies at Balmoral Park.
Confidently handled by Balmoral’s leading reinsman, the daughter of Southwind Breeze-Hocus Pocus was an unhurried fifth through the early stages as the Robert Taylor owned and trained entry of Little Ms Chrissy and Just For Fun (Casey Leonard) led the field through opening splits of :28.4 and 57.3.
Flushing out cover from a first over Trot Fudge Sundae (Dave Magee) as the field moved around the far turn, Oosting had Divination in a perfect second over striking position as Little Ms Chrissy showed the way by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.4.
“I knew it was time to go before those fillies up front got away from us,” said Oosting. “I needed to make the leaders go on because I didn’t know if my filly could out trot them from where we were. Getting cover was just an added bonus for us.”
Through the stretch a hard charging Divination took dead aim on a leg weary Little Ms Chrissy. Cruising down the center of the racetrack the five-time winner in 2013 swallowed up the pacesetter with a sixteenth of a mile to go and quickly drew clear for the victory. Little Ms Chrissy held on for second while Just For Fun was third.
“This filly is really starting to find her best stride right now,” said the red-hot Oosting. “She has always been right there with this group but she’s had a tough time getting by them. Nick (Prather) has done a great job getting her to come around at just the right time and it could be a very nice summer for her.”
With the win Divination now boasts a career record of 6-8-2 in 25 starts with earnings of $61,930.
Tom Kelley, Balmoral Park (reposted with permission)