Click below for more information on the July County Fair races now being held at the Springfield State Fairgrounds.
By Mike Paradise
How competitive have the Illinois bred sophomore trotting categories been thus far? Well, so competitive that both the filly division as the colt and gelding class has produced three different winners in as many stake events.
Last weekend’s Cardinal trot went to the Mike Brink stable’s Crooked Creek after the first leg of the Erwin Dygert Mempria; saw the Tom Simmons trained Fox Valley Quest and Desert Sheik, another Brink trainee, come out on top.
In the opening round of the Beulah Dygert Fox Valley Extacy nailed down her maiden victory in the filly’s first start under the care of trainer Hector Herrera.
On the other hand, in the recent Violet trot divisions it was Steve Searle’s Bee Cee and Celone Hall, yet another Brink trainee who took co-championships.
Just what trotters this time around will prevail in Sunday’s second round of the two Dygert stakes is anyone’s guess.
Sunday’s Erwin Dygert was split into a pair of $12,500 divisions carded as races two and three last year’s Night of Champions winner Crooked Creek (Mike Oosting) a likely heavy favorite in the first split off his game 1:57.4 win a week ago.
Crooked Creek will be challenged by Twin Cedars Rocket (Travis Seekman), Fox Valley Kobe (Kyle Husted), Lou Paschal (Cordarius Stewart), East EO (Tyler Sheehan) On Higher Ground (Kyle Wilfong) , Lous Paisano (Scott Robbins) and Coach Cougar (Juan Franco).
The Tom Simmons Fox Valley Quest (Casey Leonard) is the trotter too beat in the second division when he seeks his twelfth victory in 17 career starts. Desert Sheik (Brandon Bates), a first round winner of the Erwin Dygert, should also get good play.
Eying an upset Sunday are Ramblin Cougar (Tyler Shehan), Mr Red Thunder (Richard S Finn), Louisnuit (Kyle Husted), Fox Valley Briton (Todd Warren), Cassy Chip (Mike Oosting) and Frazier (Jerome Daniels),
There are also two $12,000 second legs of the Beulah Dygert to be contested tonight for sophomore state-bred fillies. The Violet one-two finishers Bee Cee (pp 1, Kyle Husted) and Tropical Rosie (pp 4, Cordarius Stewar) head-up the sixth race second division, a state-bred stake you can watch and bet on.
It’s too bad you can’t watch and wager on the first division.
The first Beulah Dygert division is going as a non-wagering race before the regular betting program and is only available to be viewed by “essential” backstretch license horsemen. The only owners currently allowed on the backside are those who are also the horse’s caretaker.
So we’ll all miss seeing Princess Poprocks, She’s Got Moxy, Fox Valley Extacy, Lous Abigail, El Oh Govner and Celone Hall slug it out. Also hidden from view will be the initial legs of the ICF two-year-old trotting stakes, the $17,500 Fox Valley Flan for fillies and the $17,500 Kadabra for colts and geldings, both seven horse freshmen fields.
I’m deducing the track’s decision makers don’t see the trio of Illinois bred stakes as “wager worthy” enough has some of the fuller fields of open company events on the 14 race betting card.
Since Sunday’s three non-betting ICF only races begin at 6:30 pm, couldn’t we have kept that same first post time and made it a 17-race wagering program? The distributed purse money would be the same and the start and finish times wouldn’t change, either
Does anybody really believe keeping current owners from watching and wagering on their young Illinois bred equine investments is going to help the future of Illinois harness racing?
Strong Debut: The Jamaica Patton trained two-year-old filly Connie On The Go, nicely handled by Ridge Warren, came on in the lane to capture the $17,500 Incredible Tillie ICF freshman stake last night.
Princess Mooss (Kyle Wilfong) also closed with a rush to be second, beaten a half-length while the pace-setting Cleary The Bomb held on for third.
Connie On The Go is a home-bred daughter of Sportsmaster owned and bred by Ron Phillips (Athens, IL) and John Carver (Rock Island, IL).
The prohibitive three-year-old favorites Sleazy Gal ($2.20, Casey Leonard) and Fox Valley Exploit ($2.20, Kyle Husted) won their second round $12,500 divisions of the Plum Peachy.
The Merv Chupp Racing Stable’s Pine Dream ($3.80), driven by Todd Warren, went wire-to-wire in 1:55 flat in the $10,500 Open Trot. Casey Leonard and Kyle Wilfong drove seven winners between them on the 13-race program with Casey bagging four and Kyle taking three,
By Mike Paradise
We’ll see our first appearance of ICF two-year-old filly pacers tonight when eight of initial crop of freshmen go postward in the first leg of the Incredible Tillie stake series.
A purse of $17,500 is on the line for the young pacing gals as they begin their march to Hawthorne’s Night of Champions on September 19. It’s just the start of the juvenile racing season and we’ll probably see more NOC hopefuls by the time the second Incredible Tillie round comes around on July 10.
Despite what the Hawthorne morning line might indicate, Saturday’s Incredible Tillie is a take-your-pick affair. These
“green” fillies are just taking “baby steps” on their way to becoming race horses so let the learning process begin.
From the pole position out you’ll find Ryans Secret (Cordarius Stewart), Age Of Sage (Casey Leonard), Connie On The Go (Ridge Warren), Ryansmajesticrose (James Molitor), Kandi’s Fortune (Freddie Patton Jr.), Princess Mooss (Kyle Wilfong), Dandy’s Duchess (Jamaica Patton) and Clearly The Bomb (Todd Warren).
Ryans Secret, the younger sister of Roshun Trigg’s Ole Slot Machine (1:58), already has four starts at Springfield resulting in a trio of wins and a second.
Age Of Sage was an $16,000 yearling purchased by trainer Jim Eaton and Casey Leonard chose to drive her over the fillies Connie On The Go (Ridge Warren), the 2-1 morning line favorite, and Princess Mooss (Kyle Wilfong), a Gary Rath trainee who sold for $31,000.
Ryansmajesticrose, a Flacco Family Farms home-bred, is a daughter of Caribe Royale, making her the full sister of Royale Rose (1:50) and Royale Big Guy (1:51.4).
Clearly The Bomb is an Angie Coleman and Rob Rittoff home-bred with two encouraging qualifiers prepping for tonight’s debut.
Freddie Patton Jr’s Kandi’s Fortune benefits from a three Springfield starts. The filly was bought for $9,000 as a yearling.
On the other hand Dandy’s Duchess, trained by his driver Jamaica Patton brought a price of $40,000 at the Illini Classic Sale. She’ll open at surprising 30-1 programmed odds after she made an equipment break a few days competing at Springfield.
Plum Peachy Duels: Before the ninth race Incredible Tillie field goes to the gate we’ll know the outcome of the two $12,500 second round divisions of the Plum Peachy three-year-old pace events. They’ll go as races three and five with prohibitive favorites in each.
Sleazy Gal (Casey Leonard), the Violet bridesmaid, is listed at 4 to 5 from the two-post and those odds sound about right. Her opposition is Ashlee’s Fine Girl (Todd Warren), Amazon Princess (Ridge Warren), Dancin Eyes (Cornelius Cavett), Fox Valley Nia (Kyle Wilfong) and Mollie Hotspur (Cordarius Stewart).
Meanwhile the Kyle Husted stable’s Fox Valley Exploit so far has been much the best in the state’s second season filly class. After winning the first leg of the Plum Peachy series, she dominated last week’s Violet Pace, drawing off by more than four lengths on a sloppy rain-soaked track.
Fox Valley Exploit (pp 3) will also be at 4-5 first flash odds (I made her 3-5 in my line) after her two strong recent victories. Style And Spirit (Kyle Wilfong), Sign Her Up (Juan Franco), Castielle (Casey Leonard), Double Parked (Travis Seekman) and June Dale Gram (Cordarius Stewart) will provide the competition.
Take Your Pick: The $10,500 Open Trot returns as tonight’s second race with a six horse field. The Merv Chupp stable’s Pine Dream (Todd Warren) was assigned the outside six-slot by the Hawthorne Race Office. Posts one through five were drawn.
Louzotic (Kyle Husted) landed the rail with two more state-bred trotters—Louscardamon (Casey Leonard) and Annas Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong–getting the two and three. She’s Got Bling (Travis Seekman) has the four post and another ICF trotter, Lourhianon (Tyler Shehan) drew the five.
Lourhianon finished first in last week’s Open raced in the rain on a sloppy track however the 77-1 longshot went inside some pylons in the first turn and was disqualified to second with Louzotic awarded her third victory in six season starts for trainer Steve Searle.
It’s a well-balanced field of trotters and you could make a case for any horse in it to come out on top.
On Big Baby Step: The Flacco Family Farms home-bred Ryans Loan Shark proved best in the first round of the Incredible Finale stake series for ICF colts and geldings.
Nicely rated by his driver Cordarius Stewart Ryans Loan Shark ($9.60) went wire-to-wire in his pari-mutuel debut, covering the mile in 2 :0.21 on a sloppy racing surface. Partyatmosaplace (Ridge Warren) put on a late burst to be second, beaten by almost two lengths. Prince Of Style (Kyle Wilfong) was third.
Chalk It Up: The heavy favorites Fox Valley Ren (Casey Leonard) and He’zzz A Wize Sky (Bobby Smolin) were easy winners in their respective second round divisions of the Robert F Carey Memorial stakes.
The 1 to 9 Fox Valley Ren ($2.10) won by more than eight lengths in 1:54.1 while He’zzz A Wise Sky ($2.40) powered past in the late going to be almost three lengths better than RG’s Tracer with a 15:3.4 clocking.
Another Gem: Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) used a 26.3 last quarter to capture his third straight Open Pace victory at Hawthorne, this one in 1:53.3. Castle Flight was scratched due to the sloppy race track conditions.
By Mike Paradise
We’re only a few days away from the start of July, one of the hottest months of the year, however the parade of ICF stake races have already been sizzling at the Hawthorne meet and this weekend they could boil over in sheer numbers.
Not only will there be stake races contested for three-year-old state breds for a third consecutive week but we’ll also get our first look at the ICF freshman class with the opening rounds of the juvenile Night of Champions series.
Some of those babies are on display tonight in the first leg of the $17,500 Incredible Finale stakes series for pacing colts and geldings.
The eighth race two-year-old stake consists of Partyatmosaplace (Ridge Warren), Ashlee’s Fine Gal (William Patrick De Long), Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard), Prince Of Style (Kyle Wilfong), Frontier Charley (Kyle Husted), Ryans Loan Shark (Cordarius Stewart) and Sagebrush Skip (Ryan Anderson).
We have some information on tonight’s juvenile field that is worth noting:
Ashlee’s Fine Guy sold for $36,000 and is a half-brother to Special Joe (1:49.4, $415,617) and Raging Cam (1:50.4) and a full bro to Ashlee’s Fine Lady (1:53.2).
Frontier Charley sold for $24,000 as a yearling and her dam Cuzurinittowin’s first foal was a 1:49.2 pacer who had almost $700,000 in career earnings.
Ideal Big Guy, one of two Terry Leonard trainees in the race, was bought for $19,000 and his brother is Ashlee’s Joy (1:54.2) while his stablemate Partyatmosaplace (pp 1) is the Watson Stable home-bred brother of Mimosa Party (1:52.3).
One advantage this year’s crop of ICF two-year-olds will have over past freshmen classes is that they won’t be bothered by the distraction of crowd noises since now a days we have no spectators.
Nevertheless some of these youngsters could be skittish as they go postward in a pari-mutuel race for the first time. So expect the unexpected, especially at this time of the year, for these babies who have a lot to learn racing-wise.
Not This Time: The current top two ICF three-year-old male pacers Fox Valley Ren and He’zzz A Wise Sky have already given us two classic battles this season and while they’ll be in action Friday night, it won’t be against each other.
Fox Valley Ren and He’zzz A Wise Sky landed in different Robert F. Carey divisions. Fox Valley Ren (Kyle Wilfong) has the five-slot in the sixth race six horse field while He’zzz A Wise Sky (Bobby Smolin) ended up with the five in the ninth race second $12,500 Carey split. Both will be heavy favorites.
The Nelson Willis stable’s Fox Valley Ren (Kyle Wilfong) is two-for-two after again holding of last year’s Night of Champions winner He’zzz A Wise Sky, last time in their Cardinal match-up.
It’s Back: The top Open Pace returns tonight and that means Illinois champion Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) and two-time Open meet winner Castle Flight (Kyle Wilfong) will knock heads for the fourth time of the meet.
Thus far the score is two to one in favor of Castle Flight, from the barn of Derek Burklund, but it was all Fox Valley Gemini when the pair met two weeks ago. The pride of the Terry Leonard finished more than two lengths ahead of his rival who changed tactics and came from out of it and finished third after winning his two March Open’s on the front-end.
Fox Valley Gemini (pp 7) is programmed at 7-5 while Castle Flight (pp 6) is at 9-5 first flash odds. Inside of them are (from the one post out) Account Rollover (Scott Robbins), On Duty (Jim Lackey), American Chrome (Todd Warren), Backstreet Lawyer (Kyle Husted) and Bass Player (TravisSeekman).
Now under the care of trainer by Steve Searle, Backstreet Lawyer last competed in Illinois in 2018. He was the third place finisher in the Carey championship racing for the Tom Simmons stable.
Early Post: With a larger than normal 15 race betting card first post tonight has been moved up to 6:30 pm.
The 2020 IHHA Board of Directors election will take place at it’s annual meeting on Saturday, August 22, 2020, at 12:00 noon at the IHHA office located at 15 Spinning Wheel Road, Suite 432, Hinsdale, Illinois.
Five (5) directors will be elected to serve terms of three (3) years each. The following six (6) candidates filed petitions to be placed on the ballot for election to the board: David Brink, Clark Fairley, Juan Franco, Craig Grummel, Kyle Husted, Hosea Williams.
Ballots will be mailed to all IHHA members (in good standing as of June 30, 2020) on July 24, 2020 through the offices of Legacy Certified Public Accountants, which have been retained as the election supervisor in conjunction with Article III of the IHHA By-Laws.