By Mike Paradise
After a five week absence the Chicago circuit’s Open for strictly filly and mare pacers returns Saturday evening where it will share top billing with a rare Hawthorne 10-horse field Open Trot.
The top older gals at the meet will slug it out early on the card with their six-horse field going as the second race. The trot, stocked with horses that do their best racing on or close to the front, is race eight on the 10-event program. Both Opens have a $13,500 purse on the line.
The 8-5 morning line favorite OK Heavenly is enjoying another very productive season of racing. The Angie Coleman trained filly is an eight-time season winner with four of those victories coming earlier in the year at Pompano Park and the other four in Hawthorne Opens with tonight’s driver Casey Leonard at her lines.
The 5-year-old Sportswriter mare banked over $77,000 in 2016 in 35 starts and has over $70,000 on this year’s card this year in her first 23 trips postward for Illinois owners Dandy Farms Inc. (Glenview) and Mark Winship (Glenview).
However, Ok Heavenly does come off back-to-back disappointing outings. She was a non-threatening fifth in an Open II event at Hawthorne two weeks ago where she faced some colts and geldings and was the victim of a less-than-desirable trip when she was parked out to a 55.1 first half at Hoosier and was beaten some 14-plus lengths in her first August start.
Meanwhile the Jim Ellison Stable’s Vintage Babe (5-2, Jim Lackey) has hit the board in all of her last five starts, including a trio of second place finishes in her most recent races. The 4-year-old Vintage Master mare captured a Hawthorne Open on July 15.
Owned by the Illinois quartet of Anna Ellison (Park Forest), Robert Onysio (Brookfield) Steve Collins (Crete) and George Dremonas (Oak Lawn), Vintage Babe’s $82,400 season purse earnings are tops in the second race field.
Vintage Babe raced out east before she was bought in late May by her Illinois owners where the mare was the first place finisher in a $20,000 leg of the Petticoat Series at Yonkers back in March.
The two likely favorites should get a stern test from Fox Valley Charm (pp5, Mike Oosting), and the first three inside horses Wings (Tim Curtin), Mimosa Party (Trenton Watson) and Phyllis Jean (Juan Franco),with posts 1, 2, 3 in that order.
Take Your Pick:Trainer Angie Coleman also sends out the 2-1 programmed choice in the eighth race Open Trot. Banker Volo came to her barn in time for Hawthorne’s July 30 Open and extended his winning streak to five in a row for Grinnell, Iowa owner Daniel Roland.
Banker Volo then made an unsuccessful venture into the Invite ranks at Hoosier Park. The eight-year-old trotter returned to Hawthorne for last week’s Open, hammered down to 1 to 5 odds, but was passed in the late going by the winner Big Expense (Kyle Husted) and runner-up Pridecrest (Jared Finn).
Posts for the Open Trot were drawn by groups: (1-4) (5-6) (7-8) and (9-10).
Banker Volo ended-up the 10-hole. Big Expense is to his left with the nine and Pridecrest didn’t fare much better with the eight-post. Both Banker Volo and Big Expense do their best racing up-close and the same can be said for the trotters Skyway Jaylo (Larry Smith) and Primed N Powerful (Freddie Patton Jr.) who landed the one and two slots, respectively.
Posts three through seven will be manned by Jackie Goldstein (Jim Lackey), Sand Swan (Ryan Anderson), Bo I See Time (Casey Leonard), Held In Balance (Tim Curtin) and All About Cowboy’s Brian Carpenter).
Chalk Up Another: Sent off at even-money by the betting public, thee Mike Brink Stale’s Tookadiveoffdipper (Mike Oosting) didn’t disappoint his many supporters the Friday’s $11,000 Open II Pace with a front-stepping victory in 1:52.2.
Oosting took Tookadiveoffdipper out of third in the first turn, grabbed the lead after a 28 first quarter, and was never headed in the seventh race feature for his eighth win in 10 season starts. Trashytonguetalker rallied strongly to be second, beaten three-quarters of a length, and Coal Hanover was third best.
Tookadiveoffdipper was Oosting fourth winning drive on the card. Earlier he brought home longshots All In No Out ($16.00) in race two, One And Only ($29.00) in race four and NJ’s Go Johnny Go ($21.40) in race five.
Du Quoin Draw Sunday: Entries for the Wednesday, August 30 racing program at the Du Quoin State Fair are due by 10 am tomorrow (Sunday morning.). Trainers are encouraged to use online entering for Du Quoin. Phone entries will be accepted at Hawthorne (708-780-3690.).
A $200 entry fee is required for the trio of ICF stakes on the last day of racing at Du Quoin: The $17,000 Dudley Hanover for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the $31,000 Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old pacing males and the Darn Safe for freshman trotting colts and geldings, also with a $31,000 purse.