By Mike Paradise
Castle Flight, nicely handled by Kyle Wilfong, showed last night he’s going to be a force this season in the Hawthorne Open Pace. The Derek Burklund trained gelding didn’t just beat a solid field in Saturday’s headliner he crushed it in front-stepping style.
The 7-2 second choice in the betting showed a start over the mile track was just what he needed, drawing off by five widening lengths with a quick 1:51.1 mile.
Wilfong sent Castle Flight ($9.00) out from the seven-post in the nine horse field, as did Todd Warren with last week’s Open winner Account Rollover (pp 8). After the latter took the field to a :28.1 first panel, Wilfong popped Castle Flight out of the pocket, took command, and sped to a 56.1 half.
Wilfong kept his foot on the gas pedal and the eight-year-old Indiana bred went to the three-quarters in 1:23.4. The eventual second place finisher Account Rollover tried to keep but was no match to Castle Flight last night. The 3-5 favorite Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) raced ninth and last to the head of the stretch and did well to be third, pacing a 26.2 last quarter.
The victory was Castle Flight’s 29th of his career and that includes a speedy 1:47.2 mile at Hoosier Park last year for Growth Opportunities LLC of North Canton, Ohio.
Double Your Pleasure: It didn’t take long for the first two-time winner at Hawthorne. It came in the first race when the Steve Searle trained Louscardamon ($2.40) breezed with Casey Leonard in a conditioned trot.
Casey had the heavy 1-5 public’s choice in third throughout most of the race as Gregory John (Todd Warren) battled for the lead with Trixies Turbo (Ridge Warren). Meanwhile Leonard bid his time with Louscardamon when Todd Warren was keeping his son Ridge, and the mare Trixie’s Turbo, parked out to a 59.3 first half.
Louscardamon came out of third in last turn, powered past with a three-wide move, and was well in hand at the end of the 1:58 flat mile. All-Star John was second, beaten four lengths and the 23-1 longshot Loussolataire rallied for third.
Louscardamon , a son of Lou’s Legacy, is owned by Flacco Family Farms (Alexis) and Dr. Patrick Graham (Pittsfield)
A race later the 4-5 favorite Louzotic ($3.60) coasted to her seventh consecutive victory in the second half of the Daily Double and again for the combination of driver Casey Leonard, trainer Steve Searle, and owner Flacco Family Farms.
The 2019 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year won for the 20th time in 27 starts, making it back-to-back triumphs as a four-year-old. Louzotic has now banked over $240,000 in less than 30 lifetime trips post ward.
Casey changed tactics in the second race, gunning his filly out and making the top before the first turn. A 29.2 first panel and casual 29.4 second panel pretty much insured another stop at the winner’s circle for Louzotic. Stable-mate Lousraptor (Ridge Warren) came on for second, holding off a fast closing Muscular Babe (Kyle Wilfong).
Casey Leonard had four winning drives on the night and Kyle Wilfong had three.