By Mike Paradise
While a pair of Opens, one for trotters and the other for pacing filly and mares are the center of attention on Saturday’s Hawthorne card a number of ICF youngsters of both gaits and sexes are preparing for next week’s 2-year-old Night of Champions stake series and the 3-year-old legs the following week.
Two divisions of state-bred juvenile pacing fillies will go as races one and four on the 10-race program with Incredible Tillie series leg one winner Fox Valley Halsey (Casey Leonard) the 9-5 favorite in the fourth race and runner-up Fox Valley Torrid among the seven gals heading to the gate in the opener.
Taking on Fox Valley Halsey are Fox Valley Lil Kim (Tim Curtin) and Winter Gram (Ridge Warren), the third and fourth place finishers behind the Nelson Willis trained series winner. They’ll be joined by Cardinal Fancy (Ronnie Gillespie), first-time starter Brienne The Beauty (Travis Seekman), Ruby Ruby Ruby (Kyle Husted) and Grace Ann (Gary Rath).
Fox Valley Torrid (pp 7, Juan Franco) will meet Incredible Tillie bridesmaid Fox Valley Hotcake (Jim Lackey), Foolishlittlegirl (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong), second best in her Violet divisions. Caroline GR (Travis Seekman), Genie The Mooss (Gary Rath) and She’s So Funny (Merle Finn Jr.) are the other first race combatants.
The second race is a prep event for the upcoming third round of the Beulah Dugert stake series and most of the top ICF sophomore trotting fillies are in it including Good Design (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong), winner of two series legs, Violet champ White Pants Fever (pp 3, Steve Searle), second round Dygert winner Maui Mama (pp 5, Casey Leonard) and True Detective (pp 6, Curt Grummel), victorious in the Cardinal stake.
Trotting Grace (pp 1, Kyle Husted), second best in two Dygert series legs, and Fox Valley Strpwr (Freddie Patton Jr.) complete the field.
Saturday’s fifth race has three of the Plum Peachy 3-year-old stake series winners participating: Skeeter Machine (pp 1, Kyle Wilfong), Rollin Coal (pp 4, Casey Leonard) and Allbeastnobeauty (pp 6, Tim Curtin). Plum Peachy bound challengers in the race include The New Americana (pp 2, Kyle Husted), JB’s Shooting Star (pp 7, Robert Smolin) and Frontier Cuzin (pp 8, Gary Rath).
Saturday’s Opens will go back-to-back in races seven and eight with the 7-horse trot going first. The Jim Eaton Stable’s Walter White, a 1:54.1 winner a week ago, has been assigned the outside seven-slot with Anna’s Lucky Star from the barn of Nelson Willis, allocated the six after last week having to start from the 10-hole when her three race winning streak was snapped.
The ultra-consistent ICF trotter Pick Picky Valor, trained by Gerald Hansen, has the five with regular driver Casey Leonard while the Curt Grummel stable’s Louschipher (Travis Seekman) starts on his left,
The first three posts will be manned by Overandovervictory (Ridge Warren), Totally Pazzazzed (Tim Curtin) and Silverhill Volo (Jim Lackey), in that order.
The Chupp Racing Stable’s Kyles Secret (pp 7, Travis Seekman) goes after her third consecutive win at Hawthorne and her second in a row in an Open II filly and mare event in race five. Rodney Freese’s Pretty Image (pp 6, Tim Curtin) is the 5-2 first flash favorite.
The mares Char N Marg (Casey Leonard), Sweetshadyshark (Travis Seekman), Velocity Layla (Kyle Husted) Town Temptress (Cliff Bell) and Phyllis Jean (Ridge Warren) have the first five slots and each is capable of capturing the $8,800 affair.Doubling Up: Driver Kyle Husted was at the lines of both winning pacers in Friday night’s $10,000 Opens. First Husted rated Somestarsomewhere ($3.80) his third consecutive victory in the fourth race Open and then followed one race later by bringing home Account Rollover (1:52.)
Somestarsomewhere, trained by Tom Simmons for Clinard Properties of Mount Sterling, Illinois, finished a half-length ahead of Ponda’s Prospect in a 1:50.4 mile. The Jim Eaton stable’s Account Hanover was almost two lengths the best at the end of his 1:52.2 mile for Farmington Hills, Michigan owner Robert Silberberg. Fox Valley Reggie (Kyle Wilfong) was second.