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By Mike Paradise
When the trotting star of the Jim Eaton stable Walter White goes postward in Sunday’s Open Trot he’ll be trying to do something that his two biggest rivals in the race failed to accomplish earlier this summer. . . win from the assigned 10-hole in a six horse field.
Back on June 10 Picky Picky Valor was allocated the 10-hole by the Hawthorne Race Office after rattling four consecutive victories at and finished fourth that night for trainer Gerald Hansen.
About a month later (July 7) the Nelson Willis stable’s Anna Lucky Star was designated the 10-slot by the race office after a trio of consecutive Open Trot triumphs and came up third best that night.
Last week Walter White sped to a front-stepping 1:53.1 victory with driver Juan Franco and that track record performance earned him a start in tonight’s second race from the 10-hole.
The 6-year-old gelding is owned by Robert Siberberg of Farmington Hills, Michigan and boasts a career bankroll of almost $450,000. Walter White also plenty of back class. The 6-year-old Cantab Hall gelding was a double stakes winner as a freshman when he put over $130,000 on his card and he added another $81,986 as a 3-year-old when he raced on the Grand Circuit from trainer Jimmy Taker.
Walter White was acquired by trainer Jim Eaton in November of 2915 and in two and half season has earned $236,282 while making 18 visits to a winner’s circle.
Walter White has been at his best on the front-end and likely will be sprinting out from the 10-slot. How much he’ll have to work to get command, and keep it, will go a long way in his effort to beat his five opponents Sunday night: Totally Pazzazzed (Ridge Warren), Dr Spengler (Curt Grummel), Primed N Powerful (Jamaica Patton), Picky Picky Valor (Casey Leonard) and Anna’s Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong).
Hawthorne’s computer generated morning line has analyzed that the assigned 10-hole will likely be too much to overcome tonight for Walter White, setting his first flash odds at 4-1, the third choice in the $10,000 Open.
Picky Picky Valor opens at 9-5, followed closely by Anna’s Lucky Star at 2-1. Both Totally Pazzazzed and Dr Spengler are 9-1 longshots, calculates the computer while Primed N Powerful starts off at 7-1.
With the Sunday feature the second race on the card we won’t have to wait long to see if the computer has it right.
Easy Does It: Bucklegirl Bobette ($3.00) had no trouble keeping her title as the reigning queen of Hawthorne Race Course with an easy front-stepping 1:52 mile last night with driver Travis Seekman.
The Rob Rittof trained 5-year-old ICF mare zipped away from the assigned eight slot and got an leisurely lead and a soft 29 flat first panel. Middle quarters of 27.2 and 28.1 put Bucklegirl Bobette in great shape for the stretch drive where she pulled away by a 4 and 1/2 lengths over the pocket pacer Sweetshadyshark (Kyle Hustled).
Bucklegirl Bobette has now won her last six consecutive starts at Hawthorne for Illinois owners Robert Walker, Charles Walker, Robin Klinger and Hart Walker.
The following are the results from the IHHA Board of Directors election which took place today, Saturday, August 18, 2018. The top five vote getters will serve three year terms as directors.
Congratulations to all the candidates that participated in this election. At the upcoming Board of Directors Meeting on Monday, August 20th, the IHHA Board will elect the officers that will serve during the 2018/2019 cycle.
Thanks to all members who participated in the election process. It is through your voice and support that the IHHA can continue to address and work on the issues of concern to our industry.
Bucklegirl Bobette, the reigning queen of Hawthorne Race Couse, is back in town to head up Saturday night’s Open Pace feature for fillies and mares and she’ll find some fresh faces going to the gate to try and knock her off her throne.
Shipping in from Hoosier Park are Dee Rocks (Jamaica Patton) and Imajean Rocks (Ridge Warren). Both Indiana bred mares have 1:51 and change victories this year and are threats to end Bucklegirl Bobette’s winning streak at Hawthorne at five in a row.
Both Indiana invaders have raced successful at Hawthorne in the past.
Dee Rocks, from the stable of trainer Dossie Minor, started her career last summer at Hawthorne and rattled off three consecutive victories before heading to Indiana for its sire stakes. The Rockin Image filly went on to win eight more times as a freshman at Hoosier Park, including a trio of $80,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Finals.
Dee Rocks banked over $196,000 for her Illinois owners and breeders Ron Philips (Athens) and John Carver (Rockland Island) as a freshman. She had both a six race and a five race winning streaks in her first season.
Dee Rocks was assigned one one-slot by the Race Office tonight while Bucklegirl Bobette was allocated the outside eight-slot. Posts two through seven were drawn with Imajean Rocks (Ridge Warren) getting the six in her Hawthorne return for trainer Terry Leonard who also sends out Char N Marg (Casey Leonard) from the two.
You might remember Imajean Rocks from Hawthorne’s winter meeting. The five-year-old mare won back-to-back conditioned events in January and then picked up a fourth and a fifth place check in a pair of Opens. Another daughter of Rockin Image, Imajean Rocks has earned over $32,000 this year for her Indiana owners.
Bucklegirl Bobette raced her heart out for trainer Rob Rittoff last Saturday in the Illinois State Fair Colt Stake championship for state-bred aged mare pacers, dropping a photo to east coast invader Fox Valley Charm. Both mares hit the wire in 1:51 flat.
Bucklegirl Bobette needed a quick 26.2 first quarter to get command and still came home in 26.3 when she was nipped at the wire. Earlier this summer the Duneside Perch mare rattled off consecutive Hawthorne victories in 1:50.3.
Looking to pull off pull off at upset at likely double-digit odds are Boogie On Down (Kyle Wilfong), Sweetshadyshark (Kyle Husted), Pretty Image (Gary Rath) and Fox Valley Aubrey (Juan Franco).
Casey on a Roll: Ponda’s Prospect ($3.40) snapped a seven race losing streak with a front-stepping victory in last night’s $10,000 Open Pace before the rains came..
Casey Leonard put the 4-year-old gelding on top right from the start and the Terry Leonard trainee cruised to a 2 and 1/2 length victory over runner-up Terror of The Nite (Kyle Husted).
Only four horses were on the gate at the start of the Open after Hot Rod Dylan was scratched sick and Kelly D made repeated breaks before the start and ended up being pulled up.
Ponda’s Prospect took the small field to a 28 first panel and a 55.4 first half before Dakota Roadster (Cliff Bell) came out of the third and was beside the winner at the three quarters. However Ponda’s Prospect had plenty left and pulled away to win in 1:51 flat for owners Joe Putnam (Pendleton, IN), Novi Trot LLC (Glen Ellyn, IL) and Michael Lee (Marshall, MI).
Casey drove the winners of four of Friday’s first six races on the card.
By Mike Paradise
With the Springfield meet in the rear mirror and the Du Quoin State Fair still on the horizon, the focus on Illinois harness racing is back on Hawthorne.
Friday’s night’s program is headed up by a second race $10,000 Open Pace and it’s one of those take-your-pick events. Unlike most of the Opens at the meet, this one wasn’t handicapped by the Race Office because it’s a very evenly matched group of horses. In fact, you can make a case for a number of pacers to be the public’s choice in the six horse field.
The overdue Ponda’s Prospect (pp 1, Casey Leonard), shook loose a stride too late last week or could have very come out on top for the meet’s leading trainer Casey Leonard.
The Nelson Willis stable’s Hot Rod Dylan, (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong), scratched sick a week ago, has speed from the inside and can get to the top in good shape and remain there. The five-year-old gelding took a new mark at Hawthorne in late July with a 1:50.3 mile.
Dakota Roadster (pp 3, Cliff Bell), is a sharp ICF pacer who likes Hawthorne’s stretch and just might get up in time for a repeat victory for trainer and owner Perry Smith. The 6-year-old pacer has 21 career victories, tops in the field.
The 4, 5 and 6 posts will be manned by: Terror Of The Nite (Kyle Husted), Primo Giovanni (Travis Seekman) and Kelly D (Jamaica Patton), all capable of making a visit to the winner’s circle.
Terror Of The Nite, trained by his driver Kyle Husted, has been a model of consistency all meeting long. He previous captured a pair of Hawthorne Opens and was a couple of photos away from one or two more. The gelding was scratched sick on July 20th, so last week’s Open was his first race in five weeks and he did finish full of pace.
Primo Giovanni, a $36,000 Hoosier Park claim back in mid-July by trainer Perry Smith, has had some tough trips in both Hawthorne starts, the latest as a 6-5 favorite. He does show a 25.3 last quarter in his July 9th start and his $68,955 purse earnings are best in the field.
Kelly D had back-to-back victories at Hawthorne in July, before making repeated breaks last week. The Tom Simmons trainee paced a 1:51 flat career fastest mile three starts ago, one of his seven season triumphs.
Friday night’s tenth race co-feature, a high-level conditioned pace, brings out the return to Hawthorne of the first three finishers in last week’s Illinois State Fair Colts Stake for ICF horses and geldings ages four and up—Fox Valley Reggie (pp 8, Jamaica Patton), He Gone Jack (pp 5, Tim Curtin) and Fox Valley Nemitz (pp 1, Cliff Bell).
They’ll be confronted by Lyons King (Kyle Husted), Rising To The Top (Travis Seekman), Sir Mammo (Ridge Warren), Parklane Official (Casey Leonard) and Jewel Maker (Juan Franco).
Springfield Leftovers: Casey Leonard added another Springfield driver crown to his list of accomplishments. The 40-year-old Illinois native had 11 winning drives in the four program meet. Mike Oosting was next with nine, followed by Kyle Wilfong with seven.
The leading trainer was Mike Brink with six, followed by Steve Searle with four. Brink was also the top trainer at the 2016 Springfield meeting.
By Mike Paradise
Under cloudy skies and the threat of rain eight Illinois State Colt Fair Stakes champions were crowned Wednesday afternoon.
It wasn’t until the tenth and final race of the Springfield program that the predicted raindrops started to fall and they couldn’t put a damper on an exciting 2-year-old colt and gelding championship won by You’remyheartrob with a quick 1:50.3 mile, driven by Kyle Wilfong.
The Brett Wilfong trained freshman was sent off as the 3-1 second choice behind the 1 to 2 division leader Fox Valley Gemini and again, just like he did in their elimination, You’remyhearthrob got the best of his rival.
Driver Kyle Wilfong wanted the front with You’remyhearthrob and got it with a bruising 26.3 first quarter. Kyle didn’t try to slow things down. In fact he kept his foot on the gas pedal throughout the mile, taking the Some Heart Throb home-bred to a very quick 53.2 half and a 1:21.3 time at the three-quarters with Fox Valley Gemini in quick pursuit.
However You’remyhearthrob wasn’t going to be denied and stated to pull away. Backstreet Lawyer proved to be second best and Al’s Briefs edged out Fox Valley Gemini for third.
The first of the Illinois State Fair Colt Championships saw the Jim Eaton Stable’s Encantado (Casey Leonard) capture the $27.200 2-year-old filly trot with authority, winning by 2 and 1/2 lengths. The 1:54.2 mile was almost five full seconds off the filly’s best previous best time.
Casey made what turned out to be the winning move soon after the first quarter, clearing ahead of the 1 to 2 favorite Louzotic and taking the field to a 56.2 first half. Encantado ($7.80) got a 29.3 third quarter breather and pulled away from Louzotic in the lane. It was the Encanto’s third win in five career starts for Illinois owners Phil Langley (Frankfort), John Swartz (Wooddale) and trainer Jim Eaton (Crete).
Puddin Creeks had a big try from the outside Niobe-hole to be third.
Casey was back in the winner’s circle a race later when he rallied Fox Valley Halsey ($12.60) to her half-length 1:53.2 victory, a track record for a ICF 2-year-old pacing filly in that $27,500 championship.
Trained by Nelson Willis for Illinois owners Cynthia Kay Willis (Beecher) and Ronnie and Jerry Graham (Salem), Fox Valley Halsey had to fight off the eventual second and third place finishers Perch and Fox Valley Lil Kim in the lane to nail down her second lifetime win in eight tries.
The winning Sportsmaster filly has been third or better in all of her first season starts.
Winning a stake race from the second tier is no easy task nevertheless driver Ronnie Gillespie did just that with Lousraptor ($9.40) in the 2-year-old colt and gelding final for trainer Roshun Trigg and owners Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois.
Gillespie made a wise decision with L:ousraptor from the 10-post, choosing to put his trotter behind the No. 2 horse Trixie’s Turbo at the start rather than the No. 1 Foxvalleyrushhour who ended up going off right from the get-go.
Gillespie had Lousraptor in fourth through much of the first half, followed up Big Garcia Vega when the 2-1 favorite took after the front-stepping Trixie’s Turbo, and then wore down the leaders in the stretch in the 1:56.4 mile for season win No. 7. His first five came on the Illinois County Fair circuit.
Trixie’s Turbo held off Big Garcia Vega for second place.
He 8-1 longshot Meyer On Fire (Mike Oosting) rebounded from some previous breaking problems and pulled off an upset victory in the 2-year-old colt pace, handily defeating the 1 to 2 overwhelming favorite The Bucket.
Oosting settled Meyer On Fire ($18.80) into fourth position in the early going. The Sagebrush freshman raced first over on the backstretch and through the last turn with The Bucket on his back, collaring the pacesetting Mr P M near the top of the lane and drawing off for trainer Erv Miller and the his Buffalo Grove, Illinois owner Engel Stables.
The 3-year-old championships were next and the $25,000 final for ICF 3-year-old trotting fillies turned out to be an easy victory for the 4-5 favorite Trotting Grace nicely rated by driver Kyle Husted.
Trotting Grace ($3.80) shot away from the starting gate from the two-post and into a quick lead with the second betting choice Maui Mama taking the pocket. A 28.2 second quarter was followed by a modest 29.3 second panel. Husted let Trotting Grace out a notch after a 58.1 first half and she gradually pulled away from her foes, winning in 1:54.2, a new lifetime mark.
Her Steve Searle stable-mate White Pants Fever was second best while Maui Mama had to settle for third.
Illinimight, sent off at 6-1, picked the right time to turn his sophomore season around when he proved best in the lane for driver Casey Leonard and posted his first pari-mutuel win of the season in the 3-year-old colt and gelding trot final.
The Mike Brink trainee came away in a hurry and took a quick lead, trotting a rapid 27.2 first panel. Casey was content to give up the lead with Illinimight to the 3 to 5 favorite Majistic Caprice and instead took the two-hole trip to the 56.4 half. Illinimight came out for the stretch drive against Majistic Caprice and they were joined by Big Lou.
Illinimight ($15.60) took command in mid-stretch and held on for winning Arthur, Illinois owners Keith and Kevin Miller. The Cassis gelding had just one win in his first 11 season starts and that came at the Carrollton Fair earlier in the summer.
Majistic Caprice ended up second and Big Lou was third.
The best stretch duel of the afternoon came in the $25,000 sophomore filly pace showdown when Allbeastnobeauty (Tim Curtin) and Fox Valley Jazzy (Ridge Warren) duked it out the last quarter of the mile with the 6-5 favorite Nobeastnobeauty getting her head in front at the end of a 1:52 mile.
The winning Mike Brink trained filly came out fourth on the backside took over command at the half (:56.) and then was all out to hold off a game effort by Fox Valley Jazzy. Rollin Coal won for photo for third.
Allbeastnobeauty ($4.60) is now 6 for 11 in her second season of racing for trainer mike Brink (Springfield), IL Josh Carter (Williamsville, IL), Mark Brown (Chatham, IL) and Lawrence Crawford (Port St Joe, FL).
By Mike Paradise
Its showdown time today at the Springfield State Fair. . . weather permitting.
Eight Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Championships are scheduled to be decided Wednesday afternoon, four each in the 2 and 3-year-old divisions. The four freshmen finals will go for $27,500, the quartet of sophomore championships for $25,000 each. First post is 11 am.
The weather prediction in the Springfield area for the next few days is rain but hopefully the forecasters will swing and miss on their prognosis. In the interim let’s take a look at my prognosis on of each Springfield championships.
Race Five: 2-Year-Old Filly Trot
Heidi High (Charles Arthur) should provide the early speed from the rail but she’ll be pushed from the get-go, perhaps from Encantado and Puddin Cheeks (Jared Finn). E L Game On (Kyle Wilfong) and Loussolataire (Kyle Husted) are also notable threats. The latter has been a busy 12 for 23 already in her first season.
Look for Louzotic to be finishing strong in the lane.
Mike’s Pick: Louzotic
Race Six: 2-Year-Old Filly Pace
Brienne The Beauty (Travis Seekman) went into her elimination as the pre-stake favorite but came up empty last Saturday and was a non-contending fifth final. Obviously she wasn’t herself. I’m expecting better from her as she likely races on or near the front.
Fox Valley Lil Kim (Tim Curtin) beat Brienne The Beauty and the fast improving filly could be coming on strong again. The same can be said for Perch (Kyle Wilfong). It looks like she’s best racing with cover. Can Perch come from far out of it with today’s nine-post? Inside of her is Fox Valley Halsey (Casey Leonard), third or better in all seven career starts, and she has shown gate speed. For that matter so have most of the fillies in the race.
Expect a fast pace.
Mike’s Pick: Brienne The Beauty
Race Seven: 2-Year-Old Colt Trot
Through the years no ICF divisions have been more unpredictable that the freshman trots and last Saturday’s first elimination was a prime example. Most of us thought Fox Valley Picaso, winner of the Cardinal and two legs of the Kadabra, and Louscardamon, an easy winner in his last Kadabra stake, would be in this championship but both instead will compete in the third race Consolation of this stake after going off-stride Saturday
Trixie’s Turbo (Jared Finn) won that elimination with John D Finn driving and now has notched four wins in five career starts, including a pair of Kadabra legs. The young trotter’s only loss came when he didn’t make the gate back on July 15. With the 3-slot today, he’s a major player.
So is last week’s other elimination victor Lousraptor (Tim Curtin) who breezed. However he has the 10-slot today and on this track that means starting in the second tier behind No. 1 Foxvalleyrushhour. Or will he be behind Trixis’s Turbo when the gate swings open? With no other horse in the second tier driver Tim Curtin can line the freshman anywhere in the second tier.
Big Garcia Vega the beaten favorite in his elim, gets Casey Leonard at his
lines for the first time and will the probably post time favorite. He most likely will be sprinting out and so will most of the trotters with outside posts.
Mike’s Pick: Trixie’s Turbo
Race Eight: 2-Year-Old Colt Pace
The Bucket (Casey Leonard) has risen to the top of this division and with a nice draw (post three) he could use an early move and go on to extend his winning streak to five in a row.
However, with two-year-olds and a 10-horse field in mid-August, that’s no certainty.
Mr. P M, driven by his trainer Cliff Bell, looked very good winning his elimination last week. The Sagebrush gelding is 3 for 5 to start off his career and is unbeaten when he has stayed on stride.
Ryan Racketeer (Ronnie Gillespie) put on a game effort against Mr. P M and probably will be motoring out again. There is also speed from the rail with Frontier Muffler (Freddie Patton Jr.), no doubt helping the trailer Maximus (Kyle Wilfong) who looked so good in July but disappointed as the 2 to 5 favorite last Saturday. Coming Up has also shown he can leave in a hurry.
Race Nine: 3-Year-Old Filly Trot
The division leader Good Design didn’t make the trip to Springfield making this pretty much a wide-open championship.
The Steve Searle trained Trotting Grace (Kyle Husted) won last week’s prep and looked good doing it. She appears to be the filly t 3, Juan Franco) however she went off stride last Saturday.
Trotting Grace’s stable-mate White Pants Fever (Ridge Warren) earlier won a division of the Violet but has dropped her last five in a row. The filly made an early break last week, fell about a dozen lengths behind, and still rallied for third.
Then there’s Maui Mama (pp 7, Casey Leonard) to consider. She’s been first or second in all of her six sophomore starts and has never finished worse than third in her 15 career starts.
Mike’s Pick: Trotting Grace
Race Ten: 3-Year-Old Colt Trot
Majestic Caprice was put on Lasix three starts ago and hasn’t loss since. Mike Oosting took over his lines in the geldings last two starts and he put the trotter on the front in each of his Kadabra and Springfield elimination wins. Look for Oosting to send out the likely public’s betting choice.
Big Lou (Kyle Wilfong) is racing well now and could be a favorable trip away from mowing this field down in the lane. However, with a trailer Big Lou may have to come from far out of it and hope to avoid traffic problems.
Don’t Be Cheekie (Ronnie Gillespie) has speed from the inside that has to be respected.
Mike Pick: Big Lou
Race Eleven: 3-Year-Old Filly Pace
This has been an evenly matched division all season long and you can make a case for a number of fillies to come out on top.
The Sis Master (Michele Morgan) gets a huge change in posts. The filly likes to be on front and it took a fast 27 first quarter to get there last Saturday when she left the nine-hole. The filly has a big shot from the rail.
Fox Valley Jazzy (Ridge Warren) looks like she’s back in top form after being scratched sick back on July 21, missing a leg of the Plum Peachy. The filly was involved in last week’s hard first quarter and still was fighting hard at the end. I’m expecting her to be hustled out.
It’s been an up and down sophomore season for Allbeastnobeauty (Mike Oosting) and last weekend she was at or near her best won handily with Oosting who may have to race her first up today.
Rollin Coal (Casey Leonard) has had some tough trips in her last couple of losses and could be a favorable journey away from coming out on top in this final.
Mike’s Pick: Allbeastnobeauty
Race Twelve: 3-Year-Old Colt Pace
We now know Fox Valley Gemini can indeed be beaten but it’ll no doubt take another very brisk mile to do it. A 1:50.3 clocking ended his streak last weekend.
You’remyhearthrob was impressive knocking off the division leader. It’s a rare sight to see a 3-year-old ICF pacer speed to a sub 27 first quarter (:26.3) and still come home under 27 seconds (26.3) nevertheless that’s exactly what Youre’remyhearthrob did to end “Gemini’s” unbeaten streak at 16 in a row.
You’remyhearthrob (Kyle Wilfong) will need another rapid first panel for him to get command. A couple of major differences this week is that the talented gelding starts from the seven-slot, not the three, and that Backstreet Lawyer (Mike Oosting) competes unlike last week when the Tom Simmons trainee was parked out most of the way to a 26.3 first quarter in another elimination and never really got a breather in his mile when he finished second.
Fox Valley Gemini again drew the rail and driver Casey Leonard will likely urge his pacer out to protect his post position. The pride of the Terry Leonard stable also came home in 26.3, a time that this week could be good enough to start a new winning streak.
Don’t overlook Al’s Brief (Travis Seekman), a recent Lasix user. He’s sharp again and was only about a neck short of Fox Valley Gemini last week. Al’s Brief’s 26.2 last panel in his elim should get your attention.
Mike’s Pick: Fox Valley Gemini
Mike’s Springfield Selections
For Wednesday, First Post 11 am
1—Song Cycle Senese, Fox Valley Sinful, Sports Analyst
2—Beach Shooting Star, Flying Marvin, Talk About It
3—Lou Scion Lou, Ivanka, Loyzdirtylilsecret
4—Louscardamon, Fox Valley Picaso, Fox Valley Cruise
5—Louzotic, Encantado, E L Game On
6—Brienne The Beauty, Perch, Fox Valley Lil Kim,
7—Trixie’s Turbo, Lousraptor, Big Garcia Vega
8—The Bucket, Maximus, Mr P M
9—Trotting Grace, Maui Mama, White Pants Fever
10—Big Lou, Majistic Caprice, Don’t Be Cheeky
11—Allbeastnobeauty, Fox Valley Jazzy, Rollin Coal
12—Fox Valley Gemini, You’remyheartrob, Al’s Briefs
Mike’s Solid Plays
Song Cycle Senese (1st race)
The Bucket (8th race)
Mike’s Price Shots
White Pants Fever (9th race)