By Mike Paradise
The second half of Du Quoin historic long-standing ICF stake races will be contested tonight and all four added money events are for fillies of both gaits. That means that trainer Steve Searle will again be a very busy man just as he was last night.
Searle had nine horses in Friday night and he’s back with nine more tonight and two of them, Lous Abigail in the fifth race Windy Skeeter and Loulita in the ninth race Shawnee, will carry three race winning streaks into $29,000 events with Casey Leonard at their lines.
You might remember that the now three-year-old Lous Abigail emerged as strong contender in the two-year-old state-bred filly trot class in mid-June and went on to take division honors, earning over $98,000 for her breeders and proprietors Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois.
The daughter of Lous Legacy posted seven wins and three seconds in 10 first season starts and she’s again on a mission to be the best in her division. She’s 4-for-8 with a pair of second place finishes this summer and she’s closing in on adding another $40,000 to her lifetime bankroll.
Loulita, also a Flacco Family Farms homebred with her ownership shared with Dr. Patrick Graham of Pittsfield, Illinois, waited until to August to develop into a top contender in her freshman class.
After going winless in her first three career starts, Loulita has rattled off three consecutive wins and lowered her mark to 2:01.1.
What brought about her turnabout?
“Early on Loulita was a little hard to handle in the turns so we put a hood on her and that helped a lot,” said trainer Steve Searle. “What really improved Loulita the most came about when I took her to Springfield for the Downstate Classic earlier this month and put (racing) hobbles on the filly. I was hoping it would give her a little more confidence and it did. She’s been close to perfect with them.”
Loulita will have some familiar faces going against her in the seven-horse Shawnee field. Three of them are stable-mates Lous Voodoo Woman (Kyle Wilfong), Lou Lou Lamour (Juan Franco) and Lous Livia (Steve Searle).
Taking on the Steve Searle quartet are Myonly Sin (Atlee Bender), Lucky Valarie (Todd Warren) and BBR Lady (Freddie Patton Jr.)
Friendly Foes: Lous Abigail will have to again fight off her buddy Bee Cee, another Searle trainee, in the Windy Skeeter. Bee Cee came within a head of beating her pal in last week’s $30,000 State Fair Championship.
Fox Valley Lush (Todd Warren), Really Railee (Juan Franco), El Oh Govner (Mike Rogers) and Celone Hall are the other Windy Skeeter hopefuls.
Hearty Match: The $29,000 Director’s Award goes as the third race with a compact field of five freshman filly pacers including last weekend’s one-two ICF stake finishers—Hart’s Heart (Juan Franco) and Princess Mooss (Kyle Wilfong).
They’ll be challenged by Pure Sin (Atlee Bender), Bootsy Bombay (Travis Seekman) and Dandy’s Duchess (Steve Halford II).
Revenge Motive: The three-year-old Time Dancer comes later in the evening as race twelve with Fox Valley Exploit (Kyle Husted), Sign Her Up (Juan Franco) and Sleazy Gal (Atlee Bender) likely to get the bulk of the public’s wagering dollars.
Sign Her Up ended Fox Valley Exploit’s five race winning streak a week ago and did it my more than three lengths in 1:54.1.
The possible up setters are Ashlee’s Fine Girl (Todd Warren), Amazon Princess (Ridge Warren), Style And Spirit (Cliff Bell), Fox Valley Mia (Casey Leonard), Castielle (Richard S Finn) and June Dale Gram (Cordarius Stewart).
The Heat is On: This weekend’s king-size 16 race cards came about when the Covid-19 epidemic closed down both State Fairs and made it necessary for its races to be moved to Hawthorne.
In the case of Du Quoin being a no-go this year that sliced off a substantial driving time for many upstate horsemen like Searle.
“From where I’m at (Grant Park, Illinois) it’s about an hour drive to Hawthorne with our horses. It’s more like five hours to get to Du Quoin, so I didn’t mind racing these stakes at Hawthorne.
“Last year it just kept raining so we had to come back up north to Hawthorne to get our horses raced.”
Oh, by the way, the heat index two days ago at Du Quoin was a stifling 101 degrees.
Warren Doubles Up: Nicely handled by driver Todd Warren, Frontier Charley ($6.20) got back on the winning track by capturing last night’s $29,000 Governor’s Cup raced at Hawthorne.
Warren was contend to take a pocket trip being the pace-setting Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard) who went unchallenged to a soft 1:00 first half. The Jim Eaton trained winner worn down Ideal Big Guy and went on to a 1:56.1 clocking for owners F. Langley Estate (Chicago), Jim Eaton (Crete, IL) and Robert Siberberg (Michigan).
The 6-5 favorite Well Basically (Atlee Bender) finished third, another two-plus lengths behind.
A few races later Warren was back in the winner’s circle, this time with the Mike Brink stable’s Crooked Creek, the 3-5 favorite. Fox Valley Quest (Casey Leonard) had a rugged first half leaving from the outside none-slot and still ended up second one length behind. On Higher Ground took the Show spot.
Bred by his owner Ed Teefey of Mount Sterling, Illinois, Crooked Creek ($3.40) won for the seventh time this season in 10 outings.
Surprise: The stunner of the night came in the $29,000 Darn Safe freshman trot championship when the 50-1 longshot Lousrolando, driven by his trainer Kyle Husted, ended the six race winning streak of Bobalou (Curt Grummel) in front-end fashion.
Lousrolando ($108.60) sprinted out from the pole position, and was perfectly rated through fractions of 30.1. 29.4 and 1:30 with Bobalou right behind him through the second half of the mile and held on by three-quarters of a length in his maiden triumph. Lousrolando is owned by Husted (Altamont, IL) and Dave Brigham (Concord, MI).
The three-year-old Dudley Hanover male pace turned out to be another overpowering win for He’zzz A Wise Sky ($2.40, Bobby Smolin. The Don Filomeno owned and bred colt paced a new lifetime mark of 1:51.2, finishing 3 and 1/2 lengths ahead of RG’S Tracer (Travis Seekman).