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‘Hero’ boosts streak to 24

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Undefeated pacer St Elmo Hero, sent off by bettors at five cents to the dollar, didn’t disappoint his backers on Saturday at Balmoral Park, winning by four lengths gate-to-wire in a $10,900 free-for-all.

The Hero, with Robert Smolin in the bike, pushed his winning streak to 24 in stopping the timer in 1:50, a blistering time over a wet track rated good.

‘‘There was a lot of pressure coming into this race just because we were back on a different track with a different driver,’’ said John Barnard of Orland Park, who owns the 5-year-old gelding. ‘‘Our horse responded [off a layoff] with a huge mile on a night like this. It looks like he is ready’’ for the Cam Fella stake at Woodbine.

Smolin called the victory ‘‘the biggest adrenaline rush of my life, but I didn’t feel much pressure because I had driven the horse before.’’

Larry Hamel

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