Casey Wasted Little Time Notching His 3,000th
By Mike Paradise
Illinois No. 1 driver Casey Leonard didn’t wait long last night to notch his 3,000th career victory. It came in the second race behind the veteran mare Cracklin Rosie, trained by his dad Terry Leonard.
The eight-year-old chestnut pacing mare Cracklin Rosie made it three consecutive wins at Hawthorne, all in front-end fashion, for Illinois owners Peter Kouchis (Palos Park), George Dremonas (Oak Lawn) and Terry Leonard (Harvard).
The 43-year-old Leonard hurried Cracklin Rosie ($12.40) away from post six in a seven-horse field and in a flash, she had command.
Cracklin Rosie sped to a 27.2 first quarter but Casey was able to back her down on the backside, giving the mare a 28.4 second quarter breather.
Casey let Cracklin Rosie out a notch turning for home and the pacer got far enough ahead to hold off a fast-closing Casa Miasa (Atlee Bender) by a neck with a 1:52.4 clocking, providing Casey his major milestone of 3,000 dash winners.
Casey has won the last seven driver titles at Hawthorne and horses he’s driven are approaching the $20 million mark in purse money earnings.
Our congratulations to one of the classiest guys in the Illinois harness racing industry.
Maggie Red-Hot: A couple of races later the 3-5 public’s choice Maggie Rhee showed her heels to another filly and mare Open pace field for driver and trainer Todd Warren.
The four-year-old old mare had to work to bet to the front from the outside assigned eight hole, clearing after 28.3 first quarter, however Todd was able to get away with a leisurely third quarter (28.3) and Maggie Raee was on cruise-control at the end of her winning 1:52.2 mile.
Owned by the Wilson Racing Stable (Martinsville, IL), Norman Neff, Roselle, IL, and Mark Eichberger of Chicago, “Maggie” has now won four distaff Opens at Hawthorne and was second in her other three tries. She’s made almost $45,000 in her 10 season starts.
Fox Valley Exploit (Kyle Husted), who enjoyed the pocket trip, was second best.
Staying Sharp: Three of the four top finishers in last week’s second leg of the Plum Peachy filly stake are in action Sunday night with the third round of the three-year-old ICF Night of Champion series still three weeks away.
Plum Peachy champion Hart’s Heart (Kyle Wilfong) goes to the gate against a solod field of open company mares in race seven. The Mike Brink trainee has locked-up a starting berth the mid-September championship with wins in the first two rounds, worth 100 series points.
The Plum Peachy third place finisher Princess Mooss (Rridge Warren) takes a big class drop into Sunday’s eight race while Bootsy Bombay (Travis Seekman) does the same in the eleventh event. Bootsy Bombay won the Incredible Tillie championship as a two-year-old.
The Gregory Farina Stable’s Scorecard Dandy, the Plum Peachy runner-up, is taking the week off.
Looking Ahead: Most of the highly viewed state-bred freshman pacers and trotters will return to the races next weekend when the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s sponsored Cardinal and Violet stakes will be contested,
The Cardinal for two-year-old ICF pacers goes next Friday. The Violet pace for Illinois bred fillies is slated for next Saturday. Both the Cardinal and Violet juvenile trotting stakes will be contested next Sunday. All are likely to be split into divisions.