By Mike Paradise
Three more Late Closer Series get under way on the weekend at Hawthorne and this time around they’re strictly for the gals, the four-legged kind.
The most interesting of Saturday’s first round Late Closers might be the seventh race, the Tim Wilson Sr. for ICF fillies and mares without three lifetime wins or $30,000 in career earnings as of October 1, 2017.
Eleven state-bred distaffers will go postward and the field closely resembles last summer’s $30,000 Plum Peachy 3-year-old Consolation. Four of the fillies in that state-bred stake race are back for tonight’s first leg of the Wilson Late Closer including the one-two finishers Beamer N Bud (pp 4, Ryan Anderson) and November Rain (pp5, Ross Leonard).
Last September 24 Beamer N Bud pulled out an upset victory at 16-1 when Anderson gave his filly a perfect two-hole trip behind the overwhelming 2-5 pace-setting favorite November Rain and nipped her at the end of a 1:54.1 mile.
Two other of tonight’s seventh race starters didn’t fare well in the Plum Peachy Consolation. Fox Valley Charliz (pp 1, Mike Oosting) raced first-up to November Rain and ended up sixth. C Far (pp 2, Gary Rath) got shuffled to tenth and last and could do no better than finish seventh.
Those four ICF fillies will be challenged tonight by Lacarmeliliana (Matt Avenatti), Miss M A Jones (Kyle Wilfong), Send For Me (Travis Seekman), Wimple’s Dimple (Tim Curtin), Cowgirl Two (Mike Rogers), Rosebud’s First (Sam Widger) and the No. 11 pacer Dune On Time (Todd Warren) who starts in the second tier.
Miss M A Jones, now in the barn of trainer Payton Ode, comes off a close third place finish at Northfield Park. The 4-year-old mare had been racing at The Meadows, mostly at higher classes, and did win eight races as a sophomore.
November Rain made a very good impression in her 3-year-old season at Hawthorne. At one time she won four races in a row and rose from the non-winners of one to be claimed for $8,000 ranks to a fourth place finish in her Plum Peachy elimination where a locked-in journey kept her out of that championship.
November Rain joined the Terry Leonard Stable in early September and won her first two starts for her new barn. After Hawthorne closed she went to Hoosier Park under the care of Ross Leonard (tonight’s driver) and did pick-up an $8,000 second place check in a non-winner of six races to be claimed for $22,000.
Ohio was next for November Rain but the filly could only manage one check ($800) for a fourth place finish. She went unplaced in her other two outings at Daytona Raceway.
The Wilson Sr. Late Closer will be preceded by Late Closer No. 7. It’s for open company fillies and mares without $20,000 or more in purse earnings as of last November 1st.
Tonight’s ninth race Late Closer (No. 8) is strongest of the Saturday’s first legs of the filly and mare series. It’s for open company distaffers and mares with less than $40,000 on their card as of November 1.
A full field of 10 distaffers will vie for its $6,500 purse. One posts one through ten you’ll find Rockin Praline (Sam Widger), My Mona Me (Matt Avenatti), Gran San (Juan Franco), Lakeside Ms Queen (Kyle Wilfong), Straight Image (Todd Warren), Beautiful Brew (Frank Petrelli), Dandy’s Dududidudu (Travis Seekman), Morgangetsherway (Tim Curtin), Savanna Georgia (Mike Oosting) and Blissful Pansy (Brandon Bates).
Lakeside Ms Queen swept the Peter Galassi Late Closer Series last May, winning two legs and the final. The Indiana bred pacer had five victories in 2016 all they all came at Hawthorne for trainer Jace Sundeen.
Rocky Praline was a game second last week in her first start in almost two months for the Tom Simmons Stable and drew well with the pole position.
The program favorite is Blissful Pansy (Brandon Bates) despite landing the 10-hole. The Loralee Johnson trained mare showed good gate speed from the 10-slot last week when she finished second behind Morgansgetsherway (Tim Curtin) who pulled away to more than a seven-length triumph for trainer John Woodley. It was the mare’s first outing since mid-November.
The No. 7 Late Closer for non-winners of $10,000 lifetime as of November 1, 2017, will go as tonight’s sixth race.
Easy Does It: Three Late Closers got under way Friday night with Mac Aanover (Kyle Wilfong) a convincing winner in the sixth race (series No. 4) for trainer Payton Ode. Wilfong pulled the 1 to 2 favorite out of second in the last turn and Mac Anover drew off by almost three lengths in 1:58.2 on another very cold night.
Earlier Wolfman’s Brother (Ross Leonard) breezed on the front-end (1:59 flat) in the third race first division for non-winners for $20,000 lifetime since 11/01/17.
Pat Curtin gave the Jamaica Patton Stable’s Fox Valley Reggie an excellent two-hole trip and the 4-year-old pacer worn down the heavy 2-5 public’s choice Zone Blitz with a 1:57.1 mile in the Carl Becker Late Closer for strictly ICF pacers.
The ninth race No. 5 Late Closer for pacers without $40,000 in career earnings as of 11/01/17 turned out to be another easy triumph for Mojoto Hanover (Todd Warren). The Zack Miller trained 4-year-old went wire-to-wire for his third win in a row, this one in 1:55 flat.