By Mike Paradise
After a July where an ICF 2 or 3-year-old stake race was the norm every week of the month August will be “stake-less” at Hawthorne.
The two State Fairs are coming up this month and they’ll take over as the sites of the Illinois bred added money events.
First up are Springfield and its four-day meet, all with a 12 noon first post. Cards will be conducted on Friday, August 12 and Saturday the 13th. After a two-day break Springfield will go again on Tuesday, August 16 and with its eight ICF championships for freshman and sophomores of both sexes and gains on Thursday, August 17.
Racing at the Du Quoin will be a short and sweet two-day event on Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28 with ICF championships to be decided on both days. Du Quoin will also have a 12 noon first post.
While Hawthorne will be “stake-less” until the first week of September when the fourth legs of the two and three-year-old stake series will be held, there will be opportunities for these youngsters to race this week.
There is a 2 and 3-year-old ICF trot listed on Thursday’s conditioned sheet. The same goes for first and second season state-bred pacing fillies on Friday and ditto for the freshman and sophomore ICF colt and gelding pacers on Saturday.
Sadly there are no races listed for either of those cards above a $6,000 pot. The only five digit races for this week are Sunday’s $10,000 Open Paces.
Hawthorne unveiled its logo on its web-site for its showcase “Night of Champions” coming up on Saturday September 10.
While it’s artistically pleasing to the eye as any good marketing tool should be couldn’t they come up with something a bit more exciting to entice new patrons for their big night than the silhouette of a horse going the wrong way on the track in a jog-cart?
Circuit Drivers Casey Leonard and Todd Warren stayed hot this past week at Hawthorne. Casey had 10 first place finishers while Todd was close behind with eight. Pat Curtin had a productive week with five triumphs and so did James Lackey with four.
Veteran trainer Nelson Willis sent out the winners in both third legs of the stake series for ICF pacers. Char N Marg continued her domination of the filly division with her Plum Peachy division conquest while Dan D Dune posted his first season victory in Saturday’s Robert F. Carey Memorial event.
Qualifying day at Hawthorne was moved last week to Thursday prior to the start of the regular program and will remain that way through the rest of the meeting.
It had been on Wednesday mornings when the box was loaded with many two-year-olds prepping for the first career starts but lately the number of qualifying races have dropped off significantly and can be contested with a 5:30 first race time.
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