By Mike Paradise
After back-to-back victories in the first two legs of the Tim Wilson Sr. Late Closer Series at double-digit odds perhaps the Gary Rath Stable’s C Far will get some recognition in Saturday’s $25,000 Final.
The now 4-year-old mare didn’t have the kind of sophomore season Gary and his wife Kathryn had hopes for, banking $16,499 in 17 season starts but C Far already has $7,400 on her 2017 card through the first three weeks of January and a legitimate shot to pad that total with tonight’s $25.000 pot on the line in the eighth race feature.
The Wilson Sr. is for ICF mares without $30,000 in earnings through last October 1. C Far earned $28,463 in 33 outings as a 2 and 3-year-old and her last win in 2017 came in a non-winner of two races with a $9,000 claiming tag.
There were no takers on that night or the previous week when she won at the same class and the Marengo, Illinois couple has to be pleased the Sportsmaster mare is still in their barn.
After a needed start on January 7, her first since last September, Gary found room with C Far in deep stretch in the first Series leg and popped at 15-1. A week later she went off at 10-1, and again a favorable journey saw the mare deliver the goods for her owner, trainer and driver.
“She got a perfect trip both times and got through there. C Far needs things to go her way and they did the first two times of the series. Both were identical trips. She got covered up and she got loose at the right time.”
I guess we could call C Far a “trip horse?”
“Yes, for sure,” Gary replied.” She needs a trip to do well.”
Rath put C Far in the Dave Magee Late Closer Series when the filly started her 3-year-old campaign at Hawthorne and she did well. After a second place finish in the first round, she won her second leg and then got the fourth place check of the $16,600 Final.
However, when July and August came around, C Far struggled.
“She got sick on me and I never was able to get her completely over it,” explained Gary. “In the winter she finally got over whatever it was and she’s turned out to be a decent mare. I hope she can keep it up. That’s a nice purse we’re going for Saturday ($25,000). I’m not getting greedy but I sure would like to get a small piece of it. She’ll need a perfect trip like she’s been getting to get there,”
More Finals Tonight: Saturday’s sixth race Late Series #7 Final pits last week’s easy second leg winner Susie’s Soul (pp 1, Todd Warren) against first round winner Princess Oshie (pp 5 Mike Oosting) who edged Susie’s Soul by a neck on January 5.
Also going postward for that series $15,000 purse are Pennysfromheaven (Tom T. Tetrick), Chromed Out (Jared Finn), Queens N Tens (Sam Widger), Ideals Oath (Kyle Wilfong) and Speechwriter (Ryan Anderson),
The Tom Simmons Stable’s Rocky Praline (Sam Widger) looks to complete her sweep of the Late Closer #8 series for fillies and mares when she leaves from the rail in race s even.
Taking on Rocky Praline in that $15,000 final are Lakeside Ms Queen (Kyle Wilfong), Morgangetsherway (Tim Morgan), Turnitdownforwatt (Travis Seekman), Beautiful Brew (Pat Curtin), Blissful Pansy (Brandon bates), Savanah Georgia (Mike Oosting) and My Mona Me (Matt Avenatti).
Not Just Another Opener: Saturday’s opener is a good one. It’s the filly and mare Open Pace drawn by groups. Last week’s winner Narcian Jewel (Todd Warren) was assigned the outside eight-slot by the Hawthorne Racing Office.
The meet’s first Open Pace winner Rockin Katie (Casey Leonard), the 5-2 programmed favorite, leaves from the six post with Mystical Nectar (Sam Widger) to her right.
Posts one through five will be manned by Place’N First (Travis Seekman), Backwood’s Barbie (Brandon Bates), Wings (Tim Curtin), Bucklegirl Bobette (Kyle Wilfong) and Rockin Racer (Jared Finn), in that order.
Gutsy Win for Reggie: The $25,000 Carl Becker Late Closer Final turned out to be one of the most exciting stretch duels of the meeting as co-favorites Fox Valley Reggie and Zone Blitz fought it out to the finish wire.
The winning photo showed Fox Valley Reggie ($5.00, Pat Curtin) by a scant nose over Zone Blitz (Mike Oosting) at the end of the 1:54.1 mile.
Zone Blitz had to work a bit to get to the top just before the first quarter was hit in 28.4. Daddy Let Me Drive had the pocket and Fox Valley Reggie left well enough to grab the three-hole. However the Jamaica Patton trained winner was flushed out at the half mile pole, reached in 58.1 and had to race on the outside of Zone Blitz the rest of the way.
Fox Valley Reggie got his series sweep of the Carl Becker with a gutsy performance for his owners Ron Phillips (Athens IL) and Sharry Boledovich and now has banked over $20,000 in the first month of the year.
Chalk Players Stunned: The betting public hammered Mojoto Hanover (Todd Warren) down to 1 to 5 odds in the Late Closer #5 Series Final and if the race was three-quarters of a mile there would have been a ton of winning tickets. However since it was a mile race Mojovo Hanover never hit the board.
Warren took Mojoto Hanover tight to the top where the gelding rattled of quarters a 27.3 first quarter went to a 55.2 half and a 1:23.1 three-quarters before reality set in.
Mojovo Hanover was passed in the lane by the winner Sharkfire (Mike Oosting) who rallied from fifth and last in the 1:53.3 mile for trainer Tom Simmons. My Friskie Boy and E R Vincent also zipped past for second and third place honors behind the $19.60 victor
Also last night the 30-1 longshot Fox Valley Eli (Sam Widger) grinded-out a neck victory in 1:57 flat over the ground-saving 50-1 longshot Shady’s Dream Boy (Brandon Bates) in the Late Closer # 4 Final.
Trained by Clark Fairley the Fairley family owned Fox Valley Eli paid $60.60 and along with Shady’s Dream Boy produced a winning 3-4 Exacta of $894.60.
Sam Widger had three winning drives on the night, also bringing home Somestartsomewhere to his 1:53.1 triumph in the $10,000 Open Pace for conditioner Tom Simmons who posted a training triple.