By Mike Paradise
Two more summer champions were crowned last night at Hawthorne. In one case the winner had to work hard to get the job done, in the other the victorious filly hardly broke out in a sweat to earn a stop in the winner’s circle.
The 3-5 favorite Apple Valley, nicely handled by Jordan Ross, wouldn’t be denied in the $50,000 Plum Peachy three-year-old Illinois bred filly championship.
It wasn’t easy but the James Molitor trained filly put away bids by Kzzzmelikeumissme and later by Pattycake Moose to win in 1:52.4 by a little more than one length. Pattycake Moose (Casey Leonard) was a game second while the 63-1 longshot Bombay Parkway rallied for the third-place dough with Wyatt Avenatti at her lines.
An early first quarter duel saw Pattycake Moose have command with Apple Valley dropping into second at the 28.1 first quarter pole. When Kyle Wilfong took Kzzzsmelikeumissme out of fourth and after the lead on the backside, he flushed out Apple Valley who sprinted to the top and hit the half in 55.4. The winner put away at bid by Kizzzmelikeumissme going into the last turn and then held tough for win number five in nine season starts for Glenwood, Illinois owner Michael Perrin.
Funny Wiggle (Kyle Wilfong) dominated the opposition in the $50,000 Beulah Dygert Memorial Championship for second season state-bred trotting fillies.
When the dust settled the Curt Grummel trained winner was almost seven lengths better in 1:55.4 than the bridesmaid Ironclad Creation (Atlee Bender), with Creations Dream MV finishing third.
Funky Wiggle ($3.40) was taken back at the start and settled in fifth, almost 10 lengths off the earlier pacesetter Ironclad Creation who got to the first quarter in 28.4 and the half in 57.4. Wilfong got the cover he wanted behind Lous Xanadu through the second and third quarters before the Steve Searle trainee went off stride.
The 2021 Illinois Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year powered past and drew off in a convincing manner for her third win in five season starts and upped in career earnings to $155,478 for her owner and breeder Dr Patrick Graham of Lockridge, Iowa.
“Tillie” Finalists Set: Three divisions of the Incredible Tillie stakes were contested last night to determine next week’s starting field for the $50,000 championship for ICF freshman filly pacers.
The first $12,000 division saw South Gate Sally (Atlee Bender) and Dandy’s Showtime (Casey Leonard) put on a torrid stretch duel with South Gate Sally ($7.60) proving best by a neck for trainer Mark Walker.
Both fillies came from far back, as did the fourth-place finisher, and the 4-5 favorite, Filly’s Revenge who broke at the start, fell far behind, and made-up ton of ground. The 70-1 longshot Lots Of Sass made the final with a third place finish to join South Gate Sally and Dandy’s Showtime as finalists.
South Gate Sally’s initial career victory came in her fifth start for Illinois owners Blake and Geoffrey Driskill and Mark and Karen Sue Walker, all of Carrollton.
In the third Incredible Tillie elimination Rona Mae, at 13-1 odds, put on a gutsy wining performance for her driver Phil Knox, beating the prohibitive 1 to 9 favorite The Magical Woman (Atlee Bender) in 1:56 flat.
Knox sent Rona Mae out at the start from the outside nine-slot. Bender took The Magical Woman out of fourth on the backside and raced first over to Rona Mae until the stretch and then passed the pacesetter only to have Rona Mae come back later in the lane to grab the victory,
Also making the “Tillie” final was the show horse U R My Shiningstar (Kyle Wilfong).
Daddys Revenge (Casey Leonard) uncorked a 27 flat last panel and pulled away to five-plus length 1:55 triumph in the last Incredible Tillie grouping. Trainer Mike Brink shares ownership with the $3.40 winner with Lori Searle of Springfield, Illinois.
Joining Daddys Revenge in the final are the second and third place fillies Roan By Design (Travis Seekman) and Rags To Riches (Atlee Bender)
“Flan” Finalists Secured: Only two divisions of the Fox Valley Flan for two-year-old state bred trotting fillies were needed with the first five finishers going on that championship.
In the first “Flan” division, Dawn Of Creation ($5.00) found room on the inside in the lane with driver Atlee Bender and won for the Mike Brink Stable by one length in 2:01.4.
Also making the final was the 50-1 longshot runner-up Lou Sangreal. Along with Fox Valley Adira (Gary Rath), Fox Valley Lisbon (Kyle Husted) and Lou Lexi Lou the third through fifth place trotters.
The overwhelming one to nine favorite Marvelous Mystery ($2.20) was dominant in the second Fox Valley Flan division winning by more than five lengths for driver Kyle Wilfong and trainer Curt Grummel in 1:59 flat.
The daughter of Lou’s Legacy is now unbeaten in six career starts for Carrolton, Illinois owners Curt and Craig Grummel. She’ll be joined in the championship by the second through fifth place finishers El Brea Brea (Jamaica Patton), Fox Valley Shania (Atlee Bender), Trotamileinmyshoes (Richard S. Finn) and Olympic Champion (Casey Leonard
Twice As Much: A double dose of Open paces highlights Sunday’s bigger-then-normal 13-race program. They’ll be contested as races three and four.
Two-time Illinois Harness Horse of the Year He’zzz A Wise Sky is back at Hawthorne for a third consecutive week and this time, unlike the last pair, he doesn’t have an easy assignment.
Assigned the outside six-slot, the star of the John Filomeno stable faces a much stronger group of pacers in the $12,300 fourth race open and horses and geldings.
Awaiting He’zzz A Wise Sky is Gardy’s Legacy A (Atlee Bender), winner of the July 15 local Open for the Erv Miller stable. The six-year-old Australian needed it all to eke out a nose victory over Primo Giovanni (pp 2, Todd Warren) and neck decision over Hidden Assassin (pp 3, Travis Seekman) in last week’s local Open. Gardy’s Legacy was allotted the five slot by the Hawthorne Race Office.
The four post went to Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard), second best to He’zzz A Wise Sky in the Molaro events. Unlike those starts, tonight he’ll have help pushing the speedy He’zzz A Wise Sky.
Hello Sweetie Boy (pp 1, Kyle Husted), owned and trained by Kimberly Roth, completes the field.
A race earlier is the filly and mare open and it’s a wide-open affair according to the morning line and I’ll agree with that assumption. The Erv Miller stable’s Late Night Date A (pp 3, Atlee Bender), makes his Hawthorne debut as the 5-2 first flash favorite. Another Aussie bred, Late Night Date A won 3 of his last 4 starts at Hoosier.
Fox Valley Exploit (pp 4, Kyle Husted), Rock It Out (pp 5, Kyle Wilfong) and Live Is Hill (pp 6, Casey Leonard), all will open at 3-1 odds.
“Exploit” captured Hawthorne’s July 2nd Open. Rock It Out was a double Open winner recently in Kentucky, while Love I Hill was second in a Hoosier Park Open last week after winning her previous two starts at Hawthorne.
Ashlee’s Joy (pp 1, Todd Warren) and Tiamogonedancen (pp 2, Travis Seekman) are the longshot hopefuls in the race.