By Mike Paradise
In what appears to be an effort to mimic the socialist dream of “Spreading the Wealth”, the pacing mare Maggie Rhee was banished from competing at Hawthorne almost the entire month of August for the ghastly sin of being “too good.”
You might remember that about a month ago I wrote that the star of the Todd Warren stable was on a three-week Hawthorne hiatus after winning four consecutive local Opens for fillies and mares,
After three weeks in her “time-out” stall, she was invited back to compete in the August 7th Open, but the talented mare had the audacity to go out and win her fifth straight and her seventh in nine Open starts at the Hawthorne meet.
Not surprisingly, Magee Rhee was “written out” of the Chicago circuit and after more two weeks later she showed up a $22,000 distaff Open at Hoosier Park where she finished third.
Now two more weeks later she has returned to Hawthorne and was dispersed to the outside seven slot in Sunday’s co-featured sixth race where she’ll take on a couple of new faces in the local Open—the longshot Rollonbeauty (assigned post one, Kyle Wilfong) and the red-hot Vel Donna (pp 3, Kyle Husted) from the Dean Eckley stable.
Vel Donna was claimed for $6,000 (plus F & M allowances) back on July 24th and after the mare dropped a photo in her first outing for her new connections, she has rattled off three victories in a row, all new lifetime marks, the last in 1:51.2, for West Bloomfield, Michigan owner Clifford Grundy.
Also looking to pull off an upset in the distaff Open are Dune Dame (Casey Leonard), Look Kimbo (Atlee Bender, Eliza Dushku N (Cordarius Stewart) and My Uptowne Girl (Ridge Warren).
Trot Favorites Outside: Later Sunday evening the $12,000 Open for trotters will reappear and it has a full 10-horse field with the three pre-race favorites allocated the outside posts—Annas Lucky Star (pp 8, Kyle Wilfong), Pine Dream (pp 9, Todd Warren) and Talk About Valor (pp 10, Travis Seekman).
The first seven slots will be staffed by Reign And Shine (Cordarius Stewart), Justa Nother Bag (Wyatt Avenatti), Rockyroad Aldo (Casey Leonard), Walter White (Ridge Warren), Louscardamon (Kyle Husted), Cash Hit (Atlee Bender) and Lousraptor (Kyle Wilfong).
Health issues have prevented Talk About Valor from making only eight starts as a six-year-old, but the Gerald Hansen trainee has made the most of his opportunities, winning five times and that includes his last four in a row. Prior to his two easy ICF aged horse titles at the Springfield and Du Quoin state fairs, the son of Yankee Valor captured the July 18th Open, and six weeks earlier the June 6th Open for Monee, Illinois owner Shelly Steele.
Annas Lucky Star (46) and Pine Dream (48) boast a total of 92 lifetime victories between them, including a multitude of Open triumphs on the Chicago circuit.
The Merv Chupp stable’s “money making machine,” better known as Pine Dream, proved best in Hawthorne’s August 22nd Open with regular driver Todd Warren. Four days alter the now nine-year-old trotter picked up the fourth-place check in a $22,000 Open on the Greenfield fair track in Ohio, located midway between Cincinnati and Columbus.
“Chalk” Haven: With three wends of racing left at this year’s Hawthorne meet, favorites have won at a high rate of 46.3 per cent. That’s about five per cent higher than at Hoosier (41.6) and The Meadowlands (41.6),
Horses leaving from post five at Hawthorne have the highest winning percentage at 15.3. The same post five is also delivering the highest rate at the Indiana and New Jersey big tracks.
You might think Hawthorne’s 10-hole is last percentage wise as far as winning horses, but you would be wrong. It’s at 9.4%, higher than the eight at 8.7% or the low-end nine at 7.5%. Surprisingly, the seven-slot is producing only one per cent higher at 10.4 than the ten post.