By Mike Paradise
With a Late Closer Series Championship now on his résumé the Mike Brown Stable’s In Your Eye steps up to takes on some of the elite ICF 3-year-old pacers when the first leg of the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series gets under way Saturday evening at Hawthorne.
A week ago In Your Eye put it all together in the Mike Paradise Series Final and came flying down the stretch to take home the winner’s share of the $15,400 pot ($7,700) for his Lyme, Connecticut owner James Behrendt.
As a 2-year-old In Your Eye had only moderate success, earning $7,931 with a nine race record of one win, one second and a third. This year the Sportsmaster gelding already has banked $12,200 in just three trips postward and lowered his lifetime best mile almost three full seconds with his 1:54.2 mile in the Paradise finale.
In Your Eye is still far from behind he finish product as a racehorse this early in his second season but he’s showed he has the potential to be a player in the Illinois bred 3-year-old male pace division.
“In Your Eye is still green but he has a motor to him,” said his trainer Mike Brown. “He likes racing covered-up. He loves to see horses in front of him but he’s a little hard-headed.
“Last year he had a few different drivers. I told them to keep him off the gate because if you get him close he can get out of control. A lot of young horses can get hot-headed and then they start to hit their knees. That’s what happened to him last year.
“Ridge (Warren) is driving him this year and he has been doing an awesome job with the horse getting him off the gate and things like that,” continued Brown who has been training horses for 27years.
“The thing about In Your Eye is that right now when he gets pass horses he thinks ‘okay I’m done.’ When he gets close to them he can hang there a little bit. He’s still learning to be a racehorse,” added the 51-year-old Chicago native who resides in Momence, Illinois, about 20 miles south of Balmoral Park.
In Your Eye drew into the eighth race $12,000 second division of the Casey stake series. He’ll start from the seven-slot in the nine horse field with the likes of the 2016 ICF 2-Year-Old Male Pacer of the Year Fox Valley Herbie (Mike Oosting) and last year’s Cardinal runner-up Fox Valley Nemitz (Casey Leonard) inside of him with posts 4 and 1, respectively.
The $100,000 Incredible Finale second place finisher Fox Valley Jeter (Tyler Shehan), landed the two post while Sporty Redhot (Kyle Wilfong) who went 5 for 9 as a freshman, leaves from the five spot.
Other second division Carey aspirants are Bo Master (Bob Smolin), Tiny Jim (Kyle Husted), Sullivan (Tim Curtin) and Daddy Let Me Driver (Trenton Watson).
The fifth race $12,000 first Carey division will see the first start in Illinois as a 3-year-old for the Megan Rogers Stable of Chicago’s Royale Big Guy who has been in tough open company at The Meadows.
His driver Jim Pantaleano and trainer Norm Parker should be familiar to Hawthorne fans. They were the winning combination twice in 2016 on the track’s Night of Champions, first with Unlocked in the $50,000 Molaro and then with Dr. Drake Ramoray in the $100,000 Carey.
I doubt that Pantaleano, the fourth leading driver at The Meadows, is making the long trip in from Pennsylvania to check out the Chicago nighttime eating establishments.
Royale Big Guy has an outside post (the eight) so his task tonight could be challenging. One of his major threats is the Tom Graham Stable’s Gabe Henry (Ridge Warren). Last year’s Springfield champion has the rail after a needed initial sophomore start.
Posts two through seven will be manned by JD Jay Dee (Kyle Wilfong), Commondiscourtesy (Kyle Husted), Fox Valley Reggie (Freddie Patton Jr.), Fox Valley Hoss (Tyler Shehan), Captain Rhett (Casey Leonard) and Decent Lawyer (Mike Rogers).
The outside nine-hole belongs to the Mike Brink Stable’s Ima Skywalker, the runner-up in last Saturday’s Mike Paradise Final after winning two earlier legs of the series, first in come-from-behind fashion and then on the front end.
Peachy Bombshells: Friday night’s opening legs of the Plum Peach stake series for ICF 3-year-old pacing fillies produced major surprises in both divisions.
First The Kim Hamilton Stable’s Fancy Creek Jolene pulled off a shocker in the sixth race first division when she came roaring down the stretch with 23-year-old Matt Avenatti at her lines and rewarded her supporters to the tune of $92.90.
Sent off at 45-1 odds from the outside 10-hole Fancy Creek Jolene had gone winless in her first nine career starts, three of them coming this year however the Sportsmaster filly proved fastest when it counted the most in her winning 1:55.3 mile for S. Chicago Heights, Illinois owner Frank Marcolini.
The heavy 3-5 favorite Princess Sage (Freddie Patton Jr.), had command at the half, reached in 58.3 with Fancy Creek Jolene racing ninth, some eight-plus lengths behind, however the 2016 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year as a freshman came up empty in the lane in her season debut, fading all the way back to seventh at the end of the mile.
Boogie On Down (Mike Oosting) was second, beaten a half-length, while the 28-1 longshot Dandy’s Dududidudu (Kyle Husted) rallied for the third place money of the $12,500 purse.
The tenth race second Plum Peachy split saw Dossie Minor’s Filly Forty, nicely handled by Jamaica Patton, pop at odds of 58-1and get it done in a romp.
Sprinting out from the rail, Jamaica had Filly Forty in the three-hole after the prohibitive 3-5 favorite Lady’s Party powered her way to the top at the half-mile pole (:57.3) while the early pacesetter Rousey Ronda settled into the pocket.
Filly Forty was pulled out of turn in the last turn, came alongside Lady’s Party in the lane, and then showed her heels to the betting favorite, drawing off by almost seven lengths in her 1:53.3 mile and returning $118.40 for a winning two dollar ticket.
Filly Forty is owned by her Springfield, Illinois trainer Dossie Minor. The Duneside Perch filly hadn’t hit the board in her first two starts of the meet before Friday’s night’s stunning victory.
Lady Rousey won the battle for second over Lady’s Party.