By Mike Paradise
It’s Saturday at Hawthorne and that means the spotlight turns to fillies and mares. The usual $12,000 Open Pace for distaffers has a different twist and the secondary feature is comprised of ICF 3-year-old fillies bound for the upcoming Plum Peachy stake series.
What’s unusual about this week’s distaff Open, drawn by groups, is that the last two Saturday feature conquerors both hail from the same barn and share the same breeder and owner.
Landing the seven slot is It’s Time For Fun who won for fun on the front end a week ago in 1:52 flat with driver Kyle Wilfong. The 4-year-old bred made a Hawthorne debut two weeks ago in a conditioned pace and demolished that field by 13 and one-half lengths.
The Indiana bred is owned and bred by Mr. Lynn Wilfong, the father of trainer Brett Wilfong, who also sends out the 5-year-old ICF mare Boogie On Down, gunning for her fourth and her third straight win in a Hawthorne Open.
Lynn and Brett Wilfong bred Boogie On Down and share ownership of the Sky Hanover mare with their wives Barbara and Candice. When Kyle chose to drive his grandfather’s filly It’s Time For Fun, Kyle Husted got the catch-drive on Boogie On Down, who lowered her lifetime mark to 1:52.1 on June 22.
It’s Time For Fun was lightly raced as a 2-year-old starting six times at Hoosier Park where she won a pair of races and banked a modest $9,105 in her first season.
As a three-year-old the filly blossomed and at the right time. It’s Time For Fun mostly competed in Indiana sired 3-year-old filly events and won the division‘s big one, the $220,000 Indiana Super Final, last mid-October at 11-1 odds with Kyle at her lines.
The $100,000 winner’s share of that Hoosier Park huge purse pushed the filly’s sophomore bankroll to $200,840 for 2018. It’s Time For Fun established her career mark of 1:51.1 in an earlier ISS elimination.
It’s Time For Fun went winless in her first eight outings as a 4-year-old in Indiana. On the other hand she’s 2-for-2 at Hawthorne and the 5-2 programmed favorite to nail down a third local victory in Saturday’s fifth race feature.
The two Wilfong owned and trained distaffers will be tested by Skeeter Machine (Kyle Husted), Magnifique (Luke Plano), Over Speeding (Casey Leonard), Sweetshadyshark (Ryan Anderson), Rollin Coal (Juan Franco) and April Deo (Travis Seekman), with posts one through six, in that order.
The $9,500 eighth race for ICF 3-year-old pacing fillies could be a preview of next Saturday’s third leg of the Plum Peachy Stake series with implications of a starting berth in the Night of Champion final.
Slugging it out tonight are (from the pole position out): Fox Valley Lil Kim (Kyle Husted), Valar Morghulis (Luke Plano), Perch (Kyle Wilfong), Fox Valley Lolo (Ridge Warren), Fox Valley Halsey (Juan Franco), Lilly Von Shtupp (Travis Seekman) and Fox Valley Torrid (Casey Leonard). The latter was the ICF division’s two-year-old champion for owners and breeders Fox Valley Standardbreds of Sherman, Illinois and their trainer Rodney Freese.
The fillies Valar Morgulis, Fox Valley Halsey and Lilly Von Shtupp are all trained by Nelson Willis. The Jay Garrels trainee Perch has already wrapped up a starting berth in the Night of Champions showdown by winning the first leg of the Plum Peachy and a division of the stake’s second round. Fox Valley Torrid won the other June 22nd Plum Peachy split.
No Doubt About It: Perry Smith’s Rising To The Top ($5.80) left no doubt he was the best in last night’s $12,000 Open Pace as the 6-year-old gelding finished first in a convincing manner with driver Travis Seekman. Rising To The Top made the top right at the 56.2 half and drew away by six lengths in the lane before he was hand driven to the wire in the 1:51.2 mile. Ponda’s Prospect was second best, beaten two and one-half lengths at the wire, while Dash Of Danger came on for third.