2021 Nominations for IHHA Board

Candidates File Nominating Petitions for IHHA Board of Directors Election

The 2021 IHHA Board of Directors election will take place at the Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 21, 2021, at 12:00 noon at the IHHA office located at 15 Spinning Wheel Road, Suite 432, Hinsdale, Illinois.

To be elected at the annual meeting will be five (5) directors to serve terms of three (3) years each.  The following (8) candidates filed petitions to be placed on the ballot for election to the Board: Al Beals, Dee Cozzi, Jeff Davis, Michelle Monier, Gary Rath, Kim Roth, Steve Searle, Ed Teefey.

Ballots will be mailed to all IHHA members (in good standing as of June 30, 2021) on July 23, 2021 through the offices of Legacy Certified Public Accountants, which have been retained as the official Election Supervisor in conjunction with Article III of the IHHA By-Laws.

Trotting Out Those Fickle Youngsters

By Mike Paradise


Let’s admit it, trying to predict who will come out on top when two-year-old Illinois bred trotters compete for the first time in their racing careers is a very difficult task.


In fact, it’s a little more than a guessing game for some. That’s why the so called “experts” like me, are supposed to come to the rescue and give you the winning selections based on our “vast knowledge” of Illinois harness racing.


Guess what? At this time of the year there isn’t a whole lot to go on, so we’re making what I would call, at best, an “educated guess.”


In other words, we don’t know for sure either.


Nevertheless, remember, it’s not how a two-year-old trotter starts out in the Night of Champion stake series, it’s how he or she finishes it.


While a victory in one of the first leg series stakes on Sunday’s card would be a feather in the cap for any horseman and their owner, and half of a $17,500 purse being offered is nothing to sneeze at, there’s a whole lot more at stake in mid-September when the championship pots are in the six-figure range.


Also take tonight’s program morning line with a grain of salt. It’s the same USTA computer tout system that had the three-time Illinois Harness Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini at 12-1 in the morning line when he made his season debut. And, yes, he won that race.


Rndmnunpredictable (Casey Leonard) seeks a repeat win tonight in a second-round division of Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Series. (Four Footed Photo)

Here are some notes concerning tonight’s two-year-old Night of Championship series trotters you might find interesting, or not:


***In the initial Fox Valley Flan filly trot (race one), Lous Xanadu is a full sister to the Flacco Family Farm’s star trotting filly Louzoti, the winner of last week’s Open Trot and closing in on $300,000 in lifetime earnings.


***Mailboxmoney is now driven by Todd Warren and the Mike Rogers trained filly is the sister of Mike’s good trotter Captansblacksparrow (1:58).


***Ironclad Creation (Kyle Wilfong) is out of the same dam that produced Tour Hall, a former ICF champion a few years back for trainer Mike Brink.


  ***In race two, the first division of the Kadabra, Brink will handle Fox Valley Cairo, a $34,000 yearling buy that Mike shares ownership with fellow Illinoisans Charlie Briggs and Robert Lacey.


***Lous Barbossa (Kyle Husted) is the brother of Lousrolando, a Kadabra leg winner last season who was also second in the Cardinal.


  ***The second Kadabra split, race four, the Curt Grummel driven and trained filly Lou’s Di Nomite, is the first foal of the mare Surviver DI, winner of 32 races, including the Violet in 2016 in her three years of competition for owner Steve Renard of Hamilton, Illinois.


 ***The seventh race second Fox Valley Flan division sends out the John D Finn trainee Hot Trotn Trixie, a daughter of Tropical Trixie that gave us such ICF goodies as Captain Greedy (1:551), Trixie’s Jethro (1:54.3), Sunny Sasha (1:55) and Trixie’s Turbo (1:57).


***In that same seventh race is Lous Monamie, another Searle trained trotter driven by Kyle Husted. Her Flacco Family Farms broodmare Olives and Caviar delivered Searle’s Illinois bred champions as White Pants Fever, Louscardamon, and tonight’s eighth race Beulah Dygert series favorite Loulita, the 2020 ICF Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year.


***I should also point out in race seven that Casey Leonard chose to drive Herman Wheeler’s Creations Dream MV, a $14,000 yearling buy, over Lous Monamie in the seventh race.



Coco D’Lascito (J D Finn) looks to follow his recent Cardinal victory with another trip to the winner’s circle in the second Erwin Dygert split for 3-year-old ICF male trotters, (Four Footed Photo)

Crowded Field:  Loulita and driver Casey Leonard leave from post seven in the 11-horse Beulah Dygert second series leg for sophomore state bred fillies. To her inside are Lou Lou Lamour, BC’s Rose, Ting Ting, Lucky Valerie, Myonly Sin and BBR Lady. Posts 8, 9 and 10 belong to recent Violet victor Rock N Sandra Lou, Breeze At Sunset and Lous Livia. In that order Starting in the second tier (pp 11) is Lous Voodoo Woman.


Double Your Pleasure: The third race first split of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial stake series has a seven-horse field comprised of Sudden Approach, Shady Maple Spirit, Salute The Hero, Shady Maple Valor, Cardinal champ Rndmnunipredictable, and Emsroscoletrain, a Dygert first leg victor earlier this season.


Coco D’Lascito (J D Finn) is the first flash favorite in the second Erwin Dygert grouping after breezing in his Cardinal division on June 6th. He’ll take on Loyz Say When, last season’s two-year-old male trotting division champ Fistfullofdollars, along with Sumbodygetdisfool, I’mnotalocaldude, Release Cassis and Big Approach.


It all gets under way at 6:30 tonight.


Saturday Highlights: The Tim Roach 12-1 longshot Rmissashlee ($27.00) captured the first Incredible Tillie division for freshman filly pacers, overtaking the betting favorite Swanky Diamond in the lane. Ridge Warren guided the Kyle Lamer of Michigan owned filly to her 1:56.4 victory on a sloppy track.


One race later the 3-5 favorite Dandy’s MNM (Kyle Wilfong) led at every pole in her 1:57.2 win for trainer Merv Chupp and California breeders and owners A Piece Of The Action LLC.


The Terry Leonard stable’s Ideal Big Guy ($4.20) followed his recent Cardinal triumph by drawing away by a two and one-half lengths in round two of the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series in 1:56 on a track listed “good.” It was the first of two more driving wins for Casey Leonard, now six away from the No. 3,000 plateau.

Fledgling Gals Step Forward Tonight

By Mike Paradise


The young ladies take over the spotlight at Hawthorne tonight.


It’s the opening round of the Incredible Tillie Night of Champions stake series and with 14 ICF distaff pacers passing the entry box, we’ll have two early divisions on a 12-race card.


Five of the seven starters in the second race first “Tillie” split will make their pari-mutuel debuts. The exceptions are the Erv Miller trained Lady Bombay (Atlee Bender) and Herman Wheeler’s Swanky Diamond (Casey Leonard), the 2-1 first flash favorite.


Lady Bombay competed against mostly three-year-old horses last week and gave a good account of herself, finishing third while pacing in 1:57.3 with a fast 27 flat last panel.


Lady Bombay, a half-sister to Western Perch, starts from post six.


Swanky Diamond (post three) had a noticeably strong effort against other juvenile pacers. The $10,000 yearling buy was saddled with the 10-hole and was parked out to a 57.4 first half before finally making the front as the betting favorite. The World Of Rocknroll filly ended up second.


Iwannarocknroll (Rick Schrock), Sweet Sweet Connie (Kyle Husted), Eris (Juan Franco), Rmissaslee (Ridge Warren) and Trendy R (Kyle Wildonf) are the other first Incredible Tillie hopefuls.


The third race second division could see another Erv Miller trainee get plenty of play. She’s Fox Valley Captiva (Atlee Bender), a $21,000 yearling buy and another World Of Rocknroll offspring. The filly qualified at Hoosier Park in 1:56.4 and landed the pole position tonight.


Peaceful Yankee, from the Mike Brink Stable, is an Ed Teefey home-bred who qualified in 2:02.4 on an “off” Springfield track. The Yankee Skyscraper filly should also receive a good share of the public’s wagering money.


Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard) was all by himself at the finish of the recent Cardinal stake at Hawthorne. Tonight, he’ll open as the even-money favorite in round two of the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series. (Four Footed Fotos)

The Merv Chupp stable’s Dandy’s MNM (Kyle Wilfong) is listed as the 3-2 program choice based on back-to-back wins in her first two outings in the Kentucky Proud Series on a pair of the Bluegrass state’s fair tracks.


They will be opposed by Stardust Gram (Kyle Husted), Rollnroz (Jamal Denson), Aniemaybombay (Cornelius Cavett) and Pattycake Mooss (Todd Warren).


  Ideal Situation: A few races later the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake, another Night of Champion series contest, will see seven three-year-old Illinois bred male pacers square off in leg two of the added money event.


Recent Cardinal champion Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard) will open at even-money after his five and one-half length romp earlier this month, the Terry Leonard trainee’s first start on Lasix.


Listed at 4-1 is the Dossie Minor stable’s Bombay Bobby (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong) winner of the first leg of Carey series and the Cardinal runner-up.


Diamond Diesel (Juan Franco), Ryans Loan Shark (Travis Seekman), Partyatmosasplace (Todd Warren), Sportsmadness (Jordan Patton), BC’S Tufftiger (Jamaal Denson) and Prince Of Style (Cliff Bell) will be looking to pull off an upset in the $12,500 ICF stake.


Impressive Debuts: Sent off as the heavy 2-5 favorite, Major Grin (Casey Leonard) didn’t fail his many supporters in the first leg of the Incredible Finale stake series for ICF freshman male pacers.


Major Grin gained command on the backside and won rather comfortably with a 1:58.3 clocking on a track listed “good” after taking on a lot of rain earlier in the afternoon.


Owned by his breeder Ed Teefey of Mount Sterling, Illinois, the good-looking son of Major Bombay finished more than two lengths ahead of Frontier Bombay, who came from far out of it, coming home in 27 seconds flat.


Casey was back in the winner’s following the second Incredible Finale division, this time with the Gary Rath trained Fox Valley Ozzy ($3.60), two plus lengths the best.


Owned by Steven Mc Mackin and David Samuelson of Marengo, Illinois, Fox Valley Ozzy put away a strong stretch bid by runner-up Fox Valley Crete before pulling away in the 1:56.2 mile as the 4-5 public’s choice.


Casey had four winning drives Friday, and goes into Saturday’s program just eight shy of 3,000 in his career.


Plenty of Heart: Heart’s Hart (Kyle Wilfong) and Scorecard Dandy (Juan Franco) put on another torrid stretch duel, just as they did in the Violet pace, but this time Hart’s Heart got revenge with a half-length victory in Friday’s $12,500 second leg of the Plum Peachy.


Trained by Mike Brink for Illinois owners Donna Crebs and Judy Gonzo, Heart’s Heart paced the winning mile in 1:55.1.


Easy Does It: Triple ZZ Stable’s He’zzz A Wise Sky (Kyle Wilfong) cruised to a front-stepping 1:50.2 triumph.in the $12,000 Open Pace at 3-5 odds.



“Baby” Watching and a Whole Lot More

By Mike Paradise

This weekend it’s time to unveil the season’s ICF two-year-old stake pacing and trotting aspirants as Hawthorne’s Night of Champions series gets under way for state-bred juveniles.

In addition Hawthorne players will have the advantage of at least one past performance line to gaze at on most of these freshmen horses thanks to the ICF Two-Year-Old Standardbred Preview conducted 10 days ago at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Ten races were run off and for most of the two-year-olds it was the very first time these “babies” ever competed in a race.

While one event from these youngsters undoubtedly is not much to go on as far as how their racing futures will unfold, it’s a step in the right direction for some, and a learning experience for all.

They’ll be off and racing Friday night at Hawthorne with a strong 13-race card featuring the first round of the Incredible Finale 3-year-old colt and gelding stake, second round action of the Plum Peachy stake series, and the popular Open Pace. (Four Footed Fotos)

The fasting winning time, hands down, was the 1:58.3 mile by Ed Teefey’s homebred Major Grin (Casey Leonard) in a freshman male pace division. Trained by Mike Brink, the son of Major Bombay, out of the Western Terror broodmare Terror Grin, came off the pace to finish first by two and one-quarter lengths.

Major Grin will go postward tonight in the first race with Casey as the 6-5 programmed favorite off his strong Springfield mile.

Major Grin will be challenged by nine state-bred freshman colts and geldings including Kingofmyheart (pp 5, Atlee Bender), a Erv Miller trained pacer plucked for $45,000 at last year’s Illini Classic Sale, and Frontier Bombay (pp 8, Todd Warren), acquired by trainer Jim Eaton for $22,000 at the same auction.

Frontier Bombay is the younger brother of Frontier Charley, the 2020 winner of the Incredible Finale final for Eaton.

Also going to the gate in this year’s opening round of the Incredible Finale are Knox The Fox, Royale Ryan, Illini Storm, Magazine Theme, No Way Bombay, Pericles and Likely Blue Bayou.

Foxy Matchup: The fifth race second division could see a lot of play go to both the Nelson Willis stable’s Fox Valley Crete (Kyle Wilfong), the 2020 Illini Classic Sales topper at $52,000, and the Gary Rath trained Fox Valley Ozzy, a $14,500 buy who beat “Crete” by more than four lengths when they met in Springfield on June 17.

Those two will be confronted by Getaway, Dandy’s Sushi, Bigday Bombay, Cuz We Have Eight, Cole Thornton, Arcadia Sportacular and Get E Up., a $30,000 yearling purchase.

Peachy Keen: Friday’s larger than normal 13 race program will also deliver the $12,500 second leg of the Plum Peachy stake for three-year-old ICF pacing fillies.

The Night of Champions event is headed up by first round winner Hart’s Heart (Kyle Wilfong) and Violet stake champion Scorecard Dandy (Juan Franco), a head better than his Mike Brink trained rival earlier this month.

Looking to knock off the above pair is Bootsy Bombay, the 2020 Incredible Tillie champion, along with Princess Mooss, Kandi’s Fortune, Ryans Secret and Clearly The Bomb.

Our Stars Shunned: Just to make things even more enjoyable for your viewing the $12,000 Open Pace will go as race six with Illinois top two aged pacers Fox Valley Gemini (pp 7, Casey Leonard) and He’zzz A Wise Sky (pp 8, Kyle Wilfong) squaring off for a fifth time this season.

So far, they talented duo have split their first four season meetings. Whereas “Gemini” received last week off He’zzz A Wise Sky went to Hoosier Park and took on the best in Indiana where he finished a respectable third.

A newcomer to the Hawthorne Open is the Running Aces invader SB Bodacious (pp 6), who will be driven by his trainer Rick Magee. The Iowa bred standout has won 3 of the last 4 Opens, the best in 1:51.2, at the Minnesota track, good enough says the USTA computer generated morning line to open as the 2-1 favorite.

Wanna bet?

Posts one through five in the Open belong to Tremendous Play, On Duty, Pokerface Bluechip, Fox Valley Ren and Dash Of Danger.

Merv’s Dream Horse Going Postward

By Mike Paradise


You might call the veteran trotter Pine Dream the horse that keeps on giving.  As far as the Merv Chupp Stable is concern, the now nine-year-old gelding has delivered in a big way since he was purchased some three years ago.


Sunday night the perennial money-maker of the Chupp stable looks to make another substantial contribution to the family’s bank account when he leaves as the likely favorite in the $12,000 Handicapped Open Trot.


It’s an event Pine Dream has already won five times this season, twice at Hawthorne, and last weekend he did it coming from far out of it, an unexpected change from a horse who usually does his best work on or close to the front-end.


Saddled with the outside ten-hole by the Hawthorne Race Office, regular driver Todd Warren took Pine Dream back at the start and the pair were ninth, about eight lengths behind at a half, trotted in 57.3. with the outer flow going nowhere.


Warren had to wait until the field came out of the final turn to get his trotter into high gear and when the son of Pinetucky was asked to deliver the goods he did so, coming down the middle of the track with a wicked 26.3 last panel and overtaking Walter White (Ridge Warren) in deep stretch.


The victory was Pine Dream’s 25th since he joined the Chupp stable and No. 20 in a Midwest Open’s for the Indiana native.


Chupp paid $27,000 when Pine Dream was a six-year-old at the 2018 Blooded Horse Sale and the trotter has since banked more than 10 times that amount since he was acquired.


Pine Dream sold for less than what Merv thought he would go for and later he found out why: Some people in Ohio called the horse “an idiot.”.


When Merv got his trotter back to his Crete, Illinois farm he began realized he could have his hands full with his talented but erratic trotter.


It took a long while and a lot of hard work for Merv and his wife Kelly to make the horse happy and productive and it has paid off handsomely. Pine Dream has earned $281,872 for the Chupp’s and shows no signs of slowing down at the age of nine and with 185 lifetime starts on his résumé.


Pine Dream was again delegated the outside post in Sunday’s second race feature but with only five other foes inside of him, so don’t be surprised if his driver again changes tactics with the trotter.


The ICF mare Louzotic (Casey Leonard) was allocated the pole position. Posts two and three were drawn with Walter White getting the two (Ridge Warren) and Silverhill Volo (Jim Lackey) on his left,


Lousraptor (Juan Franco) and Never Say Uncle (Kyle Wilfong), both Open winners at the current meet, landed the four and five spots, respectively.


Maggie Is Back: Patiently handled by her trainer Todd Warren, Maggie Rae ($5.00) put at end to her recent runner-up role and overpowered a field of seven other rivals in Saturday night’s $12,000 Open Pace for fillies and mares.


Burdened with the outside eight post, Warren took the 1-2 public’s choice back at the start and was about a dozen lengths behind Rock It Out when she wrestled command away from Fox Valle Exploit at the quick 27.1 first quarter pole.


Rock It On remained on top at the 55.1 half and Maggie Rae was still trailing the field, some nine lengths back when last week’s Open winner U’ll Learn made her move from seventh (Ridge Warren) and Todd quickly put his mare’s nose on his son’s helmet.


Down the lane there was no question Maggie Rhee was full of pace and the four-year-old mare blew past the leaders, winning by one and one-half lengths in 1:51 flat for Illinois owners Wilson Racing Stable (Martinsville), Norman Neil (Roselle) and Mark Eichberger (Chicago).


It was the third Open season victory at Hawthorne for Maggie Rhee to go along with three second place finishes in six trips postward,