By Mike Paradise
Last weekend’s final legs of Hawthorne’s Night of Champions series turned out to be a major boon for a number of ICF horses. Instead of racing in consolation events this weekend, they’re eligible to compete in Saturday’s lucrative championships.
We recently told you about He’zzz A Wise Guy’s mercurial climb into the $102,000 Incredible Finale championship and it seems he wasn’t the only two-year-old state-bred male pacer to do so.
Western Perch (Ridge Warren), vaulted from 13th place to 10th in the final standings, good enough to make the lucrative championship with a second place finish in his Incredible Finale series leg for trainer Alan Bowen of Mount Sterling, Illinois.
The Mike Brink trained ICF freshman trotte,r Crooked Creek (Ryan Anderson), came all the way from 14th place to a top five finish in the final Kadabra standings with his series leg triumph for owner and breeder Ed Teefey, also of Mount Sterling.
Crooked Creek’s 2:02 flat win came in the freshman gelding’s eighth career start for his Springfield based conditioner, four of them victories. The Cassius colt earlier captured both the Downstate Classic at Lincoln, the Illinois Stallion Stake at Mount Sterling and a two-year-old trot event at Hawthorne in 2:00.3.
The top three point earners in the Kadabra standings were the Tom Simmons trained Fox Valley Quest (175 points) and Desert Sheik (137) and On Higher Ground (112), the last two also Brink trained youngsters. They’ll all vie for a $108,000 pot.
Old Swamp Master (Bobby Smolin), did just enough with a fifth place finish (five points), last weekend to land in this Saturday’s $109,000 Robert F. Carey championship. The Roshun Trigg trained sophomore only had six series points. He finished with a total of 11, good for 10th place.
The first nine point earners were the championship bound pacers: Maximus, Meyer On Fire, Fox Valley Triton, Coming Up, The Bucket, Fox Valley Julius, Smash N Sagebrush, Frontier Muffler and Master Sage, in that order.
Tropical Rosie’s fourth place finish last Friday with driver Bobby Smolin in a Fox Valley Flan series leg, worth eight points, snuck her into the 10th standings spot and a trip postward for the Roshun Trigg trainee in the $82,000, two-year-old filly trot final.
Steve Renard’s Lousolataire (Kyle Wilfong), moved to eighth in the final Beulah Dygert trot standings, thanks to a fourth place finish in the series final round. It was the busy three-year-old filly’s lifetime start No. 60, for her Hamilton, Illinois trainer and owner. She’ll go for her 28th career victory in that Night of Champions $95,000 final.