Funky Wiggle’s Season Not Over

By Mike Paradise

 

The Illinois bred three-year-old filly trotter with the funny name and overflowing with talent will be Indiana bound later this month.  The Curt Grummel stable’s record-breaking champion Funky Wiggle will compete in a trio Hoosier Park stake races sponsored by the Hambletonian Society.

 

“She deserves a chance to race against some of the good open fillies in her division,” said Grummel. “If I knew she would be as good as she is, I would have nominated her in more stake events.

 

“She’s been special, doing even more than what I could have hoped for.”

 

Funky Wiggle (Kyle Wilfong) became the fastest Illinois bred trotting filly in history with her 1:51.4 mile last month at the Du Quoin State Fair. (Four Footed Foto)

Funky Wiggle, a “lock” to capture her division honors and a strong candidate to go on and be named 2022 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year, was to race in last week’s Open Trot at Springfield but was scratched due to sickness.

 

“I put her in to keep her sharp, but she got sick,” continued Curt, who also shares ownership of Funky Wiggle with his father Leo and his brother Craig. “There’s been a bug going around the barn. She’s still sick but I’ve got almost four weeks to get her ready for the Pegasus (stake) at Hoosier on the 28th.

 

“She’ll go next in the track’s Crossroads (Nov. 4th) and again in their Thanksgiving Classic later in November.”

Funky Wiggle will carry a flashy record of nine wins and a second in 11 season starts into her next outing. She’s made $117,531 thus far in her second racing season and is closing in on $250,000 in her career.

 

The daughter of Lou’s Legacy, out of the Mr Cantab broodmare Hoosier Wiggles, is 17-for-23 lifetime with 4 seconds for her owner and breeder Dr. Patrick Graham Lockridge, Iowa.

 

Funny Wiggle stunned the Illinois harness racing community, and her trainer, when she rattled off a 1:51.4 winning mile in Du Quoin’s Windy Skeeter stake with her regular driver Kyle Wilfong in late August.

 

It was the fastest mile ever for a ICF trotting filly and just one fifth of a second behind Kadabra’s all-time record for any Illinois bred trotter.

 

“The time was totally unexpected,” said Curt. “I thought she could be a 53 trotter but to go as fast as she did was a complete surprise. I did tell Kyle (driver Wilfong) before the race that she warmed-up the best that she ever had.

 

“Kyle said that day he just let her trot comfortably (on the front end). I was with my dad at the draw gate watching the race.

 

“When she went 27 and change to the first quarter, I told dad ‘She’s trotting pretty good.’ When she went to the half in 55.2, I started to get excited. They weren’t gaining on her. When she reached the three-quarters in 1:23.2, I said, ‘Holy Moly’ and jumped up and started yelling ‘Let’s go, keep going,’ and she did, coming home in 28 and change and winning by more than nine lengths.”

 

“Kyle told me that when he saw me waving my arms, I looked like a third base coach waving a baserunner home.

 

“It was only the second time Kyle ever pulled the ear plugs on the filly. The first was in the Springfield final when she made a break before the start, fell far behind, and still came back and overtook that field.”

 

Going to the starting gate can be conundrum for the talented filly. In her rare losses she’s gone off stride heading to the gate.

 

“She’s handy but the gate’s not her friend,” said Wilfong after the filly’s Night of Champions victory.

 

When Funky Wiggle drew the second tier with the 11-slot in her Night of Champions elimination there was a bit of concern.

 

“As it turned out she handled it much better starting behind horses than going to the gate,” said Curt looking back on her five-plus length romp.

 

Not only did Funky Wiggle win the $85,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions, but earlier that night her stable-mate Marvelous Mystery captured the $125,000 Fox Valley Flan two-year-old filly trot with Wilfong.

 

“This year has been some kind of ride,” said Curt.

 

And it’s not over yet.

 

Looking for No. 14: Defending ICF aged trotter of the year Talk About Valor is competing Saturday night in Hoosier Park’s $22,000 Open with regular driver Travis Seekman at his lines. The star of the Gerald Hanson stable has won 13 of his 20 season starts.

 

That’s a Wrap: With the harness racing season over in Illinois over, today’s IHHA story wraps things up for this year.

 

Hope to rejoin you sometime in 2023.

Toss-Up for ICF Juvenile Pacing Honors

By Mike Paradise

 

When USTA District 5 members make their upcoming selections for the 2022 year’s Illinois harness racing division honors they won’t have an easy task in the ICF two-year-old colt and gelding pacing category.

 

It seemed that when one state-bred freshman pacer would power his way to the top spot, another would come along and knock him down a notch and take over.

 

The major Illinois bred stakes winners and their purse money were pretty much spread out among four youngsters—(in alphabetical order: Fox Valley Jasper, Fox Valley Langley, Ghost Shark, and Illini Jetset—and a case can be made for any of the talented foursome of pacers to take the division award.

 

Fox Valley Jasper (Atlee Bender) won his first six starts as a two-year-old for the Midwest Division of the Erv Miller stable. (Four Footed Fotos)

Bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, Fox Valley Jasper, a son of Somestarsomehwere out of the Yankee Cruiser dam Subway Hanover, won the first six of his eight season starts and banked almost $56,000 for the Midwest Division of the Erv Miller Stable and Illinois owners Bowie Racing LLC (Shorewood) and Engle Stable LLC (Northbrook).

 

Fox Valley Jasper (Atlee Bender) swept Hawthorne’s $50,000 Summer Incredible Finale stake series and his Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes elimination and the final at Springfield where he took his mark of 1:52.3.

 

Nevertheless, “Jasper’s” winning streak ended with a fourth-place finish in a division of Du Quoin’s Director’s Cup and he was a disappointing sixth in his Incredible Finale elimination and failed to advance to its lucrative final on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions.

 

Fox Valley Langley, a Somestarsomewhere offspring from the Art’s Conquest dam Red Hot Lady, rattled off five consecutive victories to start his career for Illinois owners Lyle Liles (Springfield) and Melvin Schonoweis (Petersburg) including a division of the Cardinal before the Jamaica Patton trained juvenile dropped a head decision in July’s first Incredible Finale showdown.

 

Fox Valley Langley (Kyle Wilfong) had five consecutive victories among his eight freshman wins for trainer Jamaica Patton. (Four Footed Fotos)

Fox Valley Langley fastest mile of 1:52 flat came in his Springfield elimination. He was fourth in the final. The gelding was second best by a head in his Director’s Cup division at Du Quoin. Fox Valley Langley made a break in his Incredible Final Night of Champions elimination and missed the championship.

 

The Fox Valley Standardbred freshman did rebound with a victory in the stake’s consolation to reach $57,480 in earnings and a record of seven wins and a pair of seconds in 11 trips to the starting gate.

 

The Tim Roach trained Ghost Shark, driven exclusively by Travis Seekman, came on strong in the latter part of his two-year-old season and finished with $63,958 on his card.

 

Ghost Shark’s (Travis Seekman) 1:51.3 win in a division of Du Quoin’s Director Cup was the fastest among this season’s ICF freshmen male pacers. (Four Footed Fotos)

A son of Revenge Shark out of the Well Said dam Give Up The Ghost was at his best coming from behind, getting his initial victory in late August in a division of Du Quoin’s Director Cup stake with a season’s best mile time of 1:51.3. He followed it by winning his Incredible Finale elimination at Hawthorne a week later.

 

In the Night of Champions two-year-old final Ghost Rider was sent off as the 4-5 public’s choice, had the lead in the stretch however ended up second best by less than one length.

 

Ghost Shark made nine starts for owners Kyle Larner of Warren, Michigan and Brian Hochman of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, with two wins, two seconds and three thirds.

 

Illini Jetset, another Evn Miller trained two-year-old only had two victories in 10 first season starts but one came on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions in the $154,000 Incredible Finale Final with Todd Warren at his lines.

 

Illini Jetset (Todd Warren) proved best on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions by winning the $154,000 Incredible Finale final. (Four Footed Fotos)

The Travel Playlist gelding, from the Real Artist broodmare Ty’s Artist, was just $569 from banking a division high $100,000 in his initial campaign with $69,300 coming in his final race of 2022 for owners Erv Miller Stable (Windcap (PA), Bowie Racing LLC (Shorewood, IL) and Sara K. Miller (Stroudsburg, PA).

 

Illini Jetset’s other triumph came in a division of the Cardinal in early July. The youngster was the runner-up in the Springfield championship, one of his five second place finishes of his 10 starts. He never missed a check in any outing

 

As you can see, it’s a toss-up for division honors.

Chupp’s Trotter Rocking at Springfield

By Mike Paradise

 

When the Merv Chupp Stable’s veteran trotter Pine Dream was retired prior to the 2022 racing season, his owner and conditioner faced a tough assignment replacing who I called the barn’s “money-making machine.”

 

Acquired for $27,000 at the 2018 Blood Horse Sale, the now 10-year-old Pine Dream raked-in over $300,000 for Merv and his wife Kelly, more than 10 times what they dished out for the Pinetucky trotter who Merv calls “probably the best sale buy I ever made.”

 

Pine Dream ended his racing career with 48 first place finishes, a mark of 1:53.1 taken at the age of six at Ohio’s Miami Valley Raceway, and earnings of $458,144, with much of that amount for the Chupp’s.

 

The Chupp Racing Stable’s elite 10-year-old trotter Pine Dream (shown here) was retired earlier this year and has been replaced with Rock Party, gunning for his third consecutive win today at Springfield. (Four Footed Fotos)

“The horse went through a surgery and a long layoff, and it was just time to retire him,” said Marv. “He’s earned it.”

 

Merv might have hit another sale goodie with last fall’s $14,000 purchase of the trotter Rock Party who will bring a three-race winning streak into Friday’s Open trot at Springfield.

 

The five-year-old son of Cantab Hall, out of the Muscles Yankee dam Scream And Shout (1:53.1, $302,734), has been perfect for the Chupp family on the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt track with its sweeping turns, going 4-for-4 there this year.

 

Thus far in his first season for the Crete, Illinois based stable, Rock Party is a seven-time winner, mostly in Midwest track Opens, and is nearing the $50,000 plateau in purse earnings.

 

“Rock Party is a good trotter, but I don’t think he’s another Pine Dream,” added Merv. “He’s hard-headed but he has been better lately.”

 

Rock Party made just under $100,000 in his first three racing seasons and was highly regarded as a yearling, going for $90,000 at the 2017 Lexington Select Sale, so his successful 2022 campaign for Chupp isn’t exactly a bolt from out of the blue.

 

“I’m concerned about him after Springfield closes though,” continued Merv. “He’s not good in the turns. Hawthorne and Springfield are mile tracks that suit him.”

 

It Won’t Be Easy: Rock Party’s winning streak at Springfield landed him the assigned outside eight-post in today’s fifth race $12,300 Open and there are plenty of tough foes starting inside of him.

 

Night of Champions winners Talk About Valor (Travis Seekman) has the six-slot while the Carl Becker Memorial winner Annas Lucky Star (Cordarius Stewart) starts from the seven.

 

A surprise starter is the talented three-year-old Illinois bred filly Funky Wiggle, a strong candidate of the state’s 2022 Harness Horse of the Year award with her gaudy record of 9 wins in 11 starts and a 1:51.4 mile at Du Quoin, the second fastest ever for any ICF trotter. The streaking (eight in a row) Curt Grummel trainee was assigned the one-post against a field of older and more seasoned horses.

 

The two through five slots belong to Louzotic, Loulita, Cash Hit, and Heath Bar. All six figure career earners.

 

Dygert Replay: The Steve Searle stable’s Lousdobb (Casey Leonard) is making his first start today since winning his fifth consecutive race in the September 10th Erwin F. Dygert Memorial championship at Hawthorne.

 

The “lock” for this year’s ICF 3-year-old male trotting honors will take on a small but solid field that includes the Dygert runner-up Fox Valley Cairo (Kyle Wilfong) and Reign And Shine (Travis Seekman), who drops out of Illinois Opens.

 

That’s It: The curtain comes down on harness racing in Illinois for this season today and it won’t return to the Land of Lincoln for nine long months. When it does in June of 2023 it will be at Springfield for another non-wagering meeting.

 

The return to Hawthorne and pari-mutuel betting in Illinois unfortunately won’t take place until next September.

Scorecard Dandy One Virtuous ICF Mare

By Mike Paradise

 

A horse’s four-year-old campaign is often a pivotal one. Many horses don’t do as well the first go around against older horses as they did as a three-year-old. Some do. Rarely are they even better.

 

Gregory Kain’ Scorecard Dandy is one of those rare exceptions. If consistency is a virtue, then Scorecard Dandy is one virtuous Illinois bred mare.

 

“Scorecard Dandy hasn’t had a bad race all year. The mare is always up to the challenge,” said trainer and part-owner Gregory Kain.

 

After making $35,622 as a freshman and over $60,000 as a sophomore, the Sportsmaster mare out of the Artiscape broodmare Mahna Mahna as added $123,090 to her card at four, finishing third or better in 24 of 31 starts with ten victories.

 

The four-year-old ICF mare Scorecard Dandy (Kyle Wilfong) has been a model of consistency for trainer Gregory Kain. (Four Footed Fotos).

Scorecard Dandy has missed only one check in her nine-month campaign that started in early January at Hawthorne, making her a candidate for ICF aged pacing mare division honors along with its defending champion Fox Valley Exploit, the pride of the Kyle and Amy Husted stable.

 

“I really wanted to beat (Kyle) Husted’s horse on the Night of Champions,” said Gregory. “We had the lead in the stretch, but she got us at the wire. That’s how it goes in racing. We did beat her in the first Maurello final earlier in the summer, so we split the two ICF mare championships.

 

Scorecard Dandy will be after for her third consecutive win in today’s opener on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Assigned the outside eight-slot. The mare is in pretty tough.

 

“She’s up against a good field Thursday, especially with Late Night Date back in Illinois for it. That mare was really good at Hawthorne, but we did beat her earlier in the season at Hoosier, so we’ll just see how things playout in Thursday’s race,” said the Green Acres (Beecher, IL) proprietor who shares ownership of Scorecard Dandy with Mike Klimas of Oak Lawn, IL.

 

From the rail out, today’s $12,300 filly and mare Open Handicap is comprised of My Uptowne Girl (Travis Seekman), Tiamogonedancen (Kyle Husted), Eliza Dushku N (Cordarius Stewart), Rojo Caliente (Casey Leonard), Late Night Date A (Atlee Bender) and Scorecard Dandy (Kyle Wilfong).

 

Scorecard Dandy’s race today at Springfield will be her last for the 2022 season.

 

“I’m going to give her a deserved time off after Springfield closes” continued Kain.  “She’s been at it all year and I want to turn her out while the weather is still warm. I want to bring her back as a five-year-old and give her the opportunity to be even a little bit better next year.”

 

Scorecard Dandy has had no extended time off all season long.

 

The mare made10 starts at Hawthorne’s winter meeting that started in January, winning twice and then went straight to Hoosier Park in late March where she made nine more trips to the starting gate, with three victories including the $22,000 Mike Weller Memorial Final in 1:52.1 with Mike Oosting driving at 13-1 odds, beating Late Night Date with a new lifetime mark.

 

Scorecard Dandy went two-for-two in June at Springfield with Juan Franco at her lines. When Franco chose a different mare for the summer’s $50,000 Tony Maurello Memorial prep and final, Kyle Wilfong took over the driving chores in early July, winning with the mare three times to go along with a pair of second place finishes and a trio of thirds.

 

He’zzz Back

By Mike Paradise

 

Two-time defending Illinois Harness Horse of the Year He’zzz A Wise Sky returns to the races Thursday afternoon at Springfield after a two-week layoff to make his second start in the last five weeks and his first since he was upset in the $62,000 Robert F. Carey Jr Memorial on Hawthorne’s September 10th Night of Champions.

 

“He’s about 90 to 95 per cent healthy right now,” said his trainer, John Filomeno. “When I send him to Hoosier, I want him at 100 per cent. Let’s face it, the competition at Springfield will be a lot softer. He’ll need to be sharp to take on the better horses in Indiana. ”

 

The pride of Triple ZZZ Stable of Beecher, Illinois, the Illinois bred speedball was caught in deep stretch by three-time ICF horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini as the prohibitive favorite two weeks ago after missing the Carey prep event a week earlier with a fever.

 

“I almost scratched him out of the Carey final,” revealed Filomeno. “I didn’t make up my mind to start him until the morning of the race. The horse was a little short on the race but don’t take anything away from Fox Valley Gemini’s win, he’s an Illinois champion and has shown time and time again to be at his best in the big races. He was the better horse that night.”

 

He’zzz A Wise Sky’s problems starting a few weeks earlier in a $100,000 race at Scioto Downs.

 

“What could go wrong did go wrong in that race,” continued Filomeno. “He had a new driver who had the horse three-wide to the first quarter (25.4), ducked him into fourth, took him out, and then parked him out the rest of the way.”

 

He’zzz A Wise Sky ended up with a sixth-place finish and things didn’t get better for the homebred soon after.

 

“My horse was running a temperature, so I had to scratch him out of the prep. The reason for the fever was an abscess in his foot. We had to get it popped and healed before he could race again.”

 

Competing on all dirt Springfield oval should be helpful to He’zzz A Wise Sky, and for that matter any horse with a sore foot. The dirt track isn’t as hard as the clay and limestone surface at Hawthorne, which some drivers complained was often too hard this summer.

 

This will be only He’zzz A Wise Sky’s third lifetime start at Springfield and the five-year-old’s first since 2020. Since then, he’s lowered his mark to 1:48.3, taken earlier this year at Oak Grove in Kentucky, while his career purse earnings are closing in on the half a million-dollar plateau ($486,677) in less than four years of competition.

 

With over $167,000 in season earnings, and certainly more to come before he’s finished racing this year, and a 1:48.3 mile to his credit, don’t write off He’zzz A Wise Sky’s chances of a “threepeat” for Illinois Horse of the Year honors quite yet.

 

“He’zzz” back and he’s ready to start rolling again.

 

Filemeno plans on racing He’zzz A Wise Sky through the winter. “He won’t be starting every week. Maybe every other week or so,” said the 53-year-old Melrose Park, Illinois native. “The horse can pace as fast in the turns as he can on the straightaways so the extra turns on the Ohio tracks will suit him.”

It’s D Day for Illinois 2023 Race Dates

By Mike Paradise

 

It’s “D-Day” for Illinois horsemen. That “D” is for decision time by the Illinois Racing Board for allocation of both the Standardbred and thoroughbred racing dates for 2023.

 

Unlike some of the past years when rival in-state racetracks provided some rambunctious, and at times entertaining Race Date Hearings arguing over who gets what, today’s allocations are a slam dunk.

 

With Arlington Park having pulled out of the Illinois thoroughbred industry and Balmoral Park, Maywood Park and Sportsman’s Park distant memories, Hawthorne Racecourse stands alone in the once thriving state’s horse racing industry.

 

So, what Hawthorne wants, Hawthorne gets, and the in-town racing facility wants its current thoroughbred meeting to continue through the start of the new year and all the way into mid or late August of 2023.

 

If today’s Illinois Racing Board’s allocation of 2023 race dates goes as expected, harness horses won’t be coming down Hawthorne’s long stretch again until next September. (Four Footed Fotos)

The racetrack doesn’t want what it says is a six-figure expenditure to switch from a surface for runners to another surface for Standardbreds so soon. It’s thoroughbred meeting begins tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.  The track also just put up a length hub rail along with other expenses to make the switch.

 

With the thoroughbreds racing at Hawthorne until late next summer, it would be nine months before another track make-over would take place, rather than just three.

 

Harness racing will likely return to Hawthorne, a year from now, sometime in September of 2023.  It’ll be the only time pari-mutuel racing in Illinois will take place for pacers and trotters all year long.

 

Hawthorne then would conduct harness racing through the end of 2023 and several weeks of 2024, about six consecutive months on its big mile oval.

 

Hawthorne (Suburban Downs, Inc) does plan on sponsoring a lengthy harness racing meet in Springfield next year, probably beginning around June but without pari-mutuel wagering.

 

Those Springfield dates are not allocated by the Racing Board since the meeting will be non-wagering and don’t have to be decided at this time. Instead, Hawthorne, the IHHA, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Illinois County Fair Associations will work out a schedule to avoid as much as possible a conflict with the county fair racing circuit.

 

Racing on Monday and Tuesday afternoons at Springfield are in the discussion while a shortage of horses is the primary concern.

 

The purse money for the current Springfield condensed meet that concludes next Friday, September 30th, and a 2023 meeting on Springfield’s Illinois State Fairgrounds, is being made available by Hawthorne.

 

Call it a “loan” to the Illinois horsemen. Collection time will come when the Hawthorne’s Racino starts generating revenue, hopefully sometime in 2024.

 

Racino construction was to start in April of this year but that didn’t happen. September was then proclaimed as the next start date, but again it was a no-go. It’s now said that November is when construction begins and while there are those in the Illinois racing industry who are saying: “I’ll believe it when I see it,” this time it may very well materialize.

 

The Illinois harness horsemen’s purse account is about $2.5 million in the hole and is projected to be down between $2.7 and $3 million at the end of the year. With Hawthorne’s the current purse structure expected to continue when the Springfield meet pops up next year, that’s a lot of “skin” the racetrack has rather generously put up to keep the state’s Standardbred industry from further declining.

 

Although not bright, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Gals in Spotlight: Harness racing returns to the Illinois State Fairgrounds today with a 12 noon post time and it’s headed up by the $12,300 Open for filly and mare pacers.

 

Carroll Hays’ Eliza Dushku N (Kyle Husted) and Gregory Kain’s Scorecard Dandy (Kyle Wilfong), the one-two finishers in last week’s Springfield distaff headliner, will slug it out again.

 

They’ll be joined by Wild Eyed Girl (Randall Finn), Rollin Coal (Juan Franco), My Uptowne Girl (Travis Seekman) and Tiamogonedancen (Casey Leonard) in the sixth race feature.

 

The Megan Roger Stable’s Fox Valley Crete (Juan Franco), fresh from his Robert F. Carey Memorial championship 12 days ago, is back in action in race ten. Among the challengers is the Amy Husted trained Get E Up (Kyle Husted) who earlier captured Hawthorne’s summer Carey showdown.

 

Last week Casey Leonard had 11 winning drives on the first two days of the abbreviated Springfield meet. Cordarius Stewart was next with five winners.

 

Don’t Overlook Lousdobb

By Mike Paradise

 

When the balloting gets under way later in the season for the 2022 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year, one of the prime contenders should be the gifted three-year-old trotter Lousdobb from the barn of trainer Steve Searle.

 

The gelded son of Lou’s Legacy wrapped up divisional honors for a second year in a row with his victory in last Saturday’s $88,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trotting championship, nicely handled by his regular driver Casey Leonard.

 

Lousdobb, the pride of the Steve Searle stable, is a candidate for 2022 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year honors. He’s shown here with driver Casey Leonard winning Du Quoin’s Pronto Don final. (Four Footed Fotos)

The Dygert victory was Lousdobb’s fifth in a row and gave the pride of the Searle stable a gaudy season record of 8 wins in 10 starts and the $44,000 share of the $88,000 pot propelled the horse’s purse earnings for the year to $114,720 for owners All-Wright Racing LLC of Morton and Flacco Family Farms LLC (Alexis, IL), also the breeders of the good-looking trotter.

 

A bad foot and a bad break likely kept Lousdobb from a ninth season win, and possibility a tenth and a unbeaten 2022 campaign.

 

After the horse’s Dygert win his trainer explained Loudobb’s problems in midseason after the horse won his first three starts that included the Cardinal stake and five consecutive more in August and September.  Loussdobb went off stride in those only two losses.

 

“The horse had an abscess in his foot,” revealed Searle. “We scratched him out of the first Dygert prep and thought he would be okay for the summer final, but he started pacing at the (July 22nd) start. Two weeks later he raced at Altamont, and it appeared his foot was still bothering him.

 

“The horse had a 27-length lead (at the half) when he made a break. It was a heartbreaking loss,” added his veteran Illinois based trainer. “He’s really a good horse.”

 

No doubt about that statement.

 

In two years of competition Lousdobb has raked in $192,851 for his Illinois owners, taken a new mark of 1:54.1(Springfield), and has made 11 trips to the winner’s circle in an even 20 starts.

 

The trotter swept the championships at both Illinois State Fairs this year and his Night of Champions victory gave him back-to-back ICF stake final wins on Hawthorne’s showcase evening of racing.

 

NOC Finalists in Action: There are some interesting races on today’s 13-race card that gets under way at noon with some top-notch Illinois bred youngsters going the gate.

 

In race two the recent Maurello Night of Champions runner-up Scorecard Dandy goes postward against a field, like her, have been Hawthorne Open participants this summer.

 

Gary Rath gets the catch drive behind the four-year-old Scorecard Dandy who is having a breakout campaign for trainer Gregory Kain with nine wins and earnings of almost $114,000.

 

Mary’s Pretty Girl, Rollin Coal, In Rockin Country, Bluewater Beach, Eliza Dushku N, and Tiamogonedancen will provide tough competition.

 

The Mike Brick stable’s good looking freshman filly pacer My Daddys Revenge (Casey Leonard), the third place beaten favorite in last weekend’s $185,000 Incredible Tillie final, looks to avenge that loss in Friday’s ninth race.

 

The Revenge Shark filly won the $50,000 Lt. Governor Cup in late August at Du Quoin and a win today would put her over the $90,000 mark in her juvenile season.

 

Brink also sends out his competent ICF three-year-old trotter Fox Valley Cairo in a division of the Autumn Allowance (race 12). Fox Valley Cairo has five consecutive second place finishes to Lousdobb, coming in the Springfield and Du Quoin championship, and again on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions $88,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot.

Casey Leonard will take over the driving chores on the Cassis gelding with a two-season bank account of over $180,000.

 

Five Will Do: Casey had himself a very productive Thursday’s opening day of the abbreviated Springfield meet.  The 45-year-old from Harvard, Illinois brought home five winning horses. Cordarius Stewart and Kyle Husted did quite well, too. Both had a three-bagger.