By Mike Paradise
After Saturday’s Hawthorne card is over we’ll know who will qualify for next Saturday night’s Night of Champions showdowns. In some ICF divisions the finalists are already determine.
That’s the case in the Erwin F. Dygert stake for 3-year-old male trotters. All seven of tonight’s starters in the $16,000 fourth leg second race are championship bound, headed up by the division leader Louscipher (pp 1, Casey Leonard).
It’s not cut-and-dry in the Incredible Finale stake series where 36 different 2-year-old colt or gelding pacers at one time or another have competed in the first three legs.
As it stands now in the series point standings there’s a log jam for the last three spots.
Presently in eighth place Molina has 41 series points, Beach Shootingstar and Hart to Heart are at 37, Bootleg Island has 33, Shooting Straight has 31, and Dandy Dune has 26 and Not Me Gram 25. A number of other freshmen lower down on the list tonight can vault into the final field with an upset win or in some cases a second place finish.
Unbeaten Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) goes for his eighth in a row in the fifth race Incredible Finale split. He’s on top with 100 points, the same as Mykonos. Lambo with 58, Al’s Briefs with 55, Song Cycle Senese and Heza Shooter with 50 each and Backstreet Lawyer with 45 are unofficially “in.”
The third race Kadabra stake field of state-bred colts and geldings has eight trotters going postward and they’ll all be back for its estimated $80,000 Final. Springfield and Du Quoin champion Vic’s Pizza is skipping tonight’s fourth leg but he has enough series points (26) to also be a finalist.
The Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series has had 27 Illinois bred sophomore pacers try their luck in the first three legs and that list will grow to 29 when Frontier Fred (race 8) and Strait Rate (race 12) go to the gate for the first time in it.
A high finish by a number of 3-year-olds tonight could vault them into the Top Ten and a berth in the Carey championship.
You can pencil in the current first seven point leaders: Fox Valley Herbie (112 points), Fox Valley Nemitz (101), Ima Skydancer (60), Captain Rhett (58), Royale Big Guy (55), Sporty Redhot (51) and Fox Valley Inferno (50).
The last two places for the final are up for grabs with Decent Lawyer (38), Slzburgerslzburger (33), In Your Eye (31), Fox Valley Reggie (25), Gabe Henry (21), Mississippi Rabbit (20) and Fox Valley Hoss (14) all in the hunt.
Three of the Carey division top point series leaders—Fox Valley Herbie (Mike Oosting), Fox Valley Nemitz (Casey Leonard) and Captain Rhett (Kyle Husted)—all drew in the tenth race second Carey division along with Royale Big Guy (Jim Pantaleano), one of the pre-stake series favorites.
Royale Big Guy was an even-money favorite in his first Carey leg and a disappointing fifth in the second. The Norm Parker trainee then spent the next six weeks on the sidelines in Pennsylvania before his Aug. 17 qualifier at The Meadows.
The Megan Rogers Stable of Chicago owned gelding made two starts since at The Meadows and looks ready for a big effort off those two races however he might need to weave his way through traffic with his 11-post behind the one-horse In Your Eye.
There’s not much suspense for the final field of the $50,000 Molaro for older ICF pacers. A single 10-horse sixth race elimination field will have the first nine finishers advancing with only the last place horse not moving on.
Drawing a bye into nest weekend’s Molaro championship was He’s Gone Jack with the highest season earnings at Hawthorne among the 11 horses passing the entry box with a $750 check from their respective owners to compete in the stake for male pacers age three and upward.
Heading to the gate in tonight’s $15,000 elimination are Cole Heat, Lucky Crusader, Evergreen Elite, Crankin’ It Up, Fox Valley Cupid, Mystical Walter, Gibbs, Dinky Dune, Caffeine Kid and Ricky Bobbie.
Rosy Time for Favorites: The fourth leg of Friday night’s $16,000 filly and mare stake series saw every race favorite prevail with one exception and that came in the first $16,000 Plum Peachy division when the 10-1 longshot San Antonio Rose ($23.80) popped.
Driver Kyle Husted took the 3-year-old filly pacer to a quick 55.2 first half and went on to a career fastest winning 1:52.2 mile.
The 3-5 public’s choice Lady’s Party ($3.20, Casey Leonard) eked out a front-end victory in the second Plum Peachy split with a neck decision over My Kind of Dance in 1:53.4.
There were no surprises in either of the Fox Valley Flan divisions. Trotting Grace ($2.10), also driven by Kyle Husted, took her 2-year-old filly trot in 1:59.2 at 1 to 9 odds. The second division favorite Maui Mama ($2.60, Casey Leonard) made it five in a row for trainer Mike Brink but her winning margin was only a neck decision over Fox Valley Unleash in the 1:59.4 mile.
Anna’s Lucky Star ($2.40) was on cruise control as she continued her domination of the 3-year-old ICF filly trot division, taking leg four of the Beulah Dygert Memorial stake in 1:56.2 with regular driver Kyle Wilfong. The Terry Winemiller trained filly is now 8 for 10 on the season for Salem, Illinois owner Danny Graham.
Fox Valley Jazzy (Ridge Warren) held off the late charge of the pocket horse Rollin Coal (Casey Leonard) and captured the first Incredible Tillie stake for ICF freshman filly pacers by a head in 1:55.1.
Owned by Cathy Finn Kanitz and trained by Dale Kanitz, Fox Valley Jazzy’s victory in the fourth leg of the series was her third in a row and her fifth in her last six starts.
The Steve Searle Stable’s The New Americana ($2.40, Mike Oosting) bounced back from her third place finish in last week’s third series stake leg with a 1 and 1/4 length win over Allbeastnobeauty in Friday’s second Incredible Tillie division with a 1:54.3 mile. She’s now 6 for 10 in her freshman campaign.
Bucklegirl Bobette (Kyle Wilfong) swept past Whiskersonkittens in deep stretch to win the Maurello Prep for state-bred fillies and mares in 1:53.2. It was the sixth season victory for the Bob Walker trained 4-year-old mare.