Illusion Seelster Stuns in Oak Grove Open Upset

John MacDonald uncorked yet another double-digit winner in the top class at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel, this time guiding 12-1 shot Illusion Seelster to victory in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Open Pace on Monday (April 29). 

Leaving from post 3, MacDonald settled Illusion Seelster into fourth while 2-5 favorite Southwind Bella (driven by Devon Tharps) floated forward from the outermost post to win the skirmish for the lead after a :26.4 first quarter. Southwind Bella cruised past a :56.4 half chased by Msdinosis Blugrass (Pat Curtin) to then up the tempo moving for three-quarters. Msdinosis Blugrass lost ground while MacDonald launched Illusion Seelster off the pegs and rushed into second by the third station in 1:24.4 with still three lengths to recoup on the leader. Illusion Seelster kept plugging through the final turn and spun for home loaded with steam to upend the odds-on choice going away by two lengths in a 1:53.1 mile. Southwind Bella settled for second with Cantgetuoutamymind (Ernie Hendry) another five lengths behind in third and Better Double Flip (Lewayne Miller) right alongside in fourth. 

Illusion Seelster has now won eight times from 39 tries and banked $126,676. Maria Alvarez trains the 4-year-old State Treasurer mare for owner Terrence Smith and she paid $26.74 to win. 

Live racing resumes at Oak Grove Tuesday (April 30) at 3 p.m. (CDT) and features a nearly $1,000 carryover in the 20-cent Early Pick 5, which starts in Race 1 and has a takeout rate of just 15 percent. Free program pages for every race day, courtesy of TrackMaster, are available on the Oak Grove Racing website (

Illusion Seelster with John MacDonald winning the $30,000 Open Trot