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Balmoral pace brings Hero home

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Harness racing’s hottest horse, St Elmo Hero, returns to the scene of his earliest triumphs when the 5-year-old locally owned gelding goes to post tonight in a $10,900 free-for-all pace at Balmoral Park.

Unraced until his 4-year-old season, St Elmo Hero has won all 23 of his career starts, including a 1:49.1 victory in the Complex Series final at the Meadowlands in his last race, an effort that put him on the national radar.

Owner John Barnard, an Orland Park businessman, claimed the Hero for $8,000 in the horse’s first career start on July 14, 2010, at Balmoral, the site of his first eight victories.

Since then, the altered son of Western Hero has mowed down his opposition at Indiana Downs, Chester and the Big M. The 23 victories have put $197,500 in earnings on his card.

“This horse is a symbol of hope for the little guys in this sport,” Barnard told the media. “I’ve been very fortunate to do well in my business, so I have no intentions of selling him.”

The Hero has enjoyed some R&R since winning the Complex on Jan. 29. In tonight’s seventh race, he is morning line’s even-money choice in a field of five.

“We’ve had a lot of people in Illinois ask me if I would race the horse [here] because there’s been a lot of local interest in him,” Barnard said. “It kind of makes sense to race local and then we’ll ship him to Canada next week” for the Cam Fella stake at Woodbine near ­Toronto.

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