By Mike Paradise
You might remember a story posted here about two weeks ago entitled: “It’s a Tough Time for Picking Winners.”
In it I wrote: “The most difficult time for handicapping a horse race on the Chicago circuit comes at the start of a meeting, especially in the winter time. Many horses are competing after a layoff, some after weeks others following months without a start. Horses that have been racing were doing so elsewhere, mostly on smaller ovals and in some cases in warmer weather.”
The results in last weekend’s Hawthorne races pretty much substantiate we were right on target in that column, according to the racetrack’s latest press release that stated:
“With 21 races conducted between last Saturday and Sunday at Hawthorne, only four favorites were victorious. Through six nights of racing for the Hawthorne meet, favorites are winning at a low 30% clip.”
Keep that in mind when handicapping tonight’s first Friday card of the meet. The three-night-a week format will continue through the end of Hawthorne’s 2020 harness racing season on September 20th.
While some horses competing tonight are making their third trip postward at the meet, there are plenty of others with only one outing this year, and some without a start in 2020. And there are several that last raced on smaller out-of-state ovals.
One horse that got my attention when handicapping Friday’s card was Perry Smith’s talented gelding Ima Real Ladys Man in the eighth race. The homebred looks well placed for his four-year-old debut in a mid-level conditioned race however he hasn’t raced in over four months and shows a break in one of his two recent qualifiers.
“I’m not sure if I have him straighten out yet,” said Perry. “He’s had some quirks and some breaks but he is a fast horse. When he’s right he can go with those 1:49 pacers.”
Ima Real Ladys Man took a mark of 1:50.1 as a three-year-old at Hoosier and has hauled in over $173,000 in his first two campaigns racing mostly in Indiana sire stakes for his Crete, Illinois owner and trainer.
Ima Areal Ladys Man did make a trio of starts at Hawthorne last year winning two and was third in another. One of his victories (1:53.1) came against a nice local field with Heza Real Diamond, Royale Big Guy and Meyer On Fire in it.
“Those Hawthorne races were preps for Indiana sire stakes,” said Perry, a former Chicago Circuit trainer titleholder.
Ima Real Ladys Man is a son of the Indiana sire Tellitlikeitis, out of Smith’s mare Ima The Real Lady, who had a brief but successful racing career. The filly made over $91,000 as a 2-year-old for Perry in 2015.
“She only raced one season. That winter she fell on the ice in the field and cut a tendon. We sewed it up, gave her time off and trained her back for her three-year-old campaign however she broke down. I wanted to breed her but it was late in the breeding season and there weren’t many stallion choices. Tellitlikeitis, a new stud in Indiana, was available I took a chance and bred her to him. And that’s how I got Ima Real Ladys Man”
Travis Seekman will be at the lines of Ima Real Ladys Man tonight who didn’t draw well. They’ll leave from the nine-hole in a ten horse field. The gelding’s last start came late last October when he went unplaced in a division of the Circuit City stake at Hoosier.