By Mike Paradise
A pair of Opens are the center of attention for the first Saturday card of the summer meet with likely post time favorites looking to start the new session in the same manner they left the winter meeting, with a victory.
Kyle Husted Fox Valley Exploit shapes up to get a lot of play in the sixth race $12,300 filly and mare open after a strong campaign at the Meadowlands where she more than held her own against some very good distaffers.
The five-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster went to the gate in New Jersey 10 times, mostly in high level conditioned paces, and never missed a check. “Exploit” banked over $33,000 in her Meadowlands campaign for owners Kyle Husted (Altamont, IL) and David Bringham (Concord, MI).
Fox Valley Exploit has been a winner in 25 of her 58 lifetime starts and three of those victories have come on the Night of Champions—The Incredible Tillie at two, the Plum Peachy at three and last year sweeping of the Tony Maurello Memorial at four.
The star of the Husted stable goes into tonight’s race with over $355,000 on her lifetime card and boasts a pair of Open triumphs at the Hawthorne winter session.
Fox Valley Exploit leaves from post six in a seven-horse field with Double Parked (Kyle Wilfong), Dune Dame (Casey Leonard), Ashlee’s Joy (Atlee Bender), Bluewater Beach (Kyle Wilfong), and Rollin Coal (Juan Franco) to her right and Eliza Dushku N (Cordarius Stewart) on her left.
More to Come? The Gerald Hanson stable’s star Talk About Valor (Travis Seekman looks to continue his supremacy in the Open Trot ranks in Saturday’s finale.
The Yankee Valor gelding ended his Hawthorne winter campaign with coasting to victories in the meet’s last two Opens, first by five lengths and then by more than three lengths. After a couple of months of R&R Talk About Valor came back to crush an ICF Open field at Springfield about a week ago by three and one-half lengths in 1:54.2.
The seven-year-old ICF trotter owns a mark of 1:54.1, established at Du Quoin last summer. Not surprising Talk About Valor was assigned the outside eight-slot by the Hawthorne Race Office.
Five of the seven trotters who start inside the very likely post time favorite are ICF horses—Lous Abigail (Juan Franco), Heath Bar (Jamaica Patton), Reign And Shine (Cordarius Stewart), Louzotic (Casey Leonard) and Louscardamon (Kyle Husted).
The two “outsiders” in the field are Aunt Percilla (Kyle Wilfong), from the barn of Jim Eaton, and trainer Merv Chupp’s newest trotting hopeful Rock Party who looked very good at Springfield.
The six-year-old Cantab Hall gelding breezed in both downstate starts with 1:56.3 and 1:57 clocking’s and was allocated the seven slot tonight. Disregard the 12-1 morning line odds on Rock Party. He is one of the major to Talk About Valor. Atlee Bender gets the catch drive on the Chupp Racing Stable aspirant.
Worth Remembering: Reader Rich Hoffman conveys that yesterday (July 1st) was the golden anniversary (fifty years) of Albatross setting the world record of 1:54.3 for a 5/8’s mile track at Sportsman Park. It is one of the great moments in Illinois harness racing history. Rich should know, he was fortunate to be there that night.
By Mike Paradise
Six state-bred Illinois conceived and foaled Standardbreds were crowned Illinois Department of Agriculture stake champions last night with the most impressive performance going to Michael Perrin’s Apple Valley in the second division of the Violet Pace for sophomore fillies.
Apple Valley blew away the field in her division, winning with a quick 1:51.4 mile, one of many new lifetime marks on the nine-race program.
Twenty-four-year-old provisional driver Jordon Ross guided Apple Valley to her swift winning mile.
Rollnrozz took early command before Ross took Apple Valley out of third and after the leader. But Rollnroz ‘s driver Archie Buford wasn’t going to give up the lead without a fight. Th pair raced side-by-side most of the backstretch enroute to rapid 27 flat second quarter.
In the stretch Apple Valley was simply too good for this field, drawing off by more than six lengths. Rollnroz was a game second while Kizzzmelikeumissme grabbed third.
Big Night for Casey: Driver Casey Leonard had five driving victories, four in stake races, on the program while trainer Steve Searle sent out three winners. Flaccco Family Farms own and bred three of the night’s champions. All Wright Racing shared two winners with Flacco Family Farms.
Casey fourth triumph came with the favorite Loudobbs in the $44,100 Cardinal trot for ICF second season colts and geldings, Casey gave the Steve Searle trainee a two-hole trip and Lousdobbs did the rest, drawing away by four lengths with a new mark of 1:56.2.
Fox Valley Cairo (Mike Brink) came a long way to take the runner-up role. Romanic Warrior (Gary Rath) made up a lot of ground to be third.
Surprise in Finale: The shocker of the night came in the $46,700 Cardinal trot, the final race of the night, when Josie Rocksmyworld, patiently handled by Travis Seckman, powered past the top Illinois bred pacing males at 32-1odds.
Seekman took the Michele Weinmann trainee back at the start and Josie Rocksmyworld raced in sixth most of the way while a heated battle for the lead saw Fox Valley Crete take the field to a quick 55.3 half.
Josie Rocksmyworld, a homebred owned and bred by Janet Betley of Wright City, Missouri, rush past the likes of Kingofmyheart, Get E Up, Fox Valley Crete and Fox Valley Ozzy, the second through fifth place finishers.
The winning time of 1:51.4 was almost three seconds faster than “Josie’s” previous fastest mile as the winner returned a hefty $67.00 to his backers.
“Monamie” Stays Hot: The first division of the $23,550 Violet trot for ICF three-year-old fillies kicked off the opening night stakes bonanza and it went to the Steve Searle stable’s Lous Monamie, nicely handled by Casey Leonard.
The 8-5 second choice in the wagering sprinted out from the outside six post and into a quick lead and when the 6-5 favorite Fiftini (Kyle Husted) made a break in the first turn while in the two-hole Lous Monamie ($5.40) had things to herself from then on.
After a :57.3 half, Lous Monamie turned it on in the lane and won in a new lifetime mark of 1:56.4 by three and one-half lengths. Creations Dream V (Jamaica Patton) rallied for second and the pocket horse Hot Trotin Trixie settled for third.
Lou’s Monamie, bred by Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois who share ownership of the trotter with All-Racing Racing of Morton, Illinois only had one win in six starts as a freshman but she’s a perfect three-for-three as a sophomore, the last pair coming at Springfield.
Never in the Hunt: The 2021 ICF Two-year-old Trotting Filly of the year Funky Wiggle was hammered down to 1 to 2 odds but never made the gate. She dropped back before the start and was never a factor.
Instead, it the Lous Xanadu ($10.40) who prevailed for trainer Steve Searle and owners and breeders Flacco Family Farms. The 1:56.2 mile knocked two full seconds off the daughter of Lous Legacy previous fastest mile.
Ironclad Creation was second and Jazleyn took third. The pacesetting Armbro Lark (Kyle Husted) faded to fourth in the lane.
Heavy Favorite Falls: All eyes were on Merv Chupp stable’s heavy 1 to 5 favorite in the initial division of the Violet Pace and the three-year-old filly event but the 6-1 shot Pattycake Mooss (Casey Leonard) had another idea in mind.
Pattycake Mooss ($13.40) shot to the front right from the start and Kyle Husted was satisfied to race Dandy’s MNM in the pocket. They vied that way through a 57.3 half and into the stretch where Dandy’s DNM took over the lead however later in the lane the Gary Rath trainee found another gear and pulled off the upset with a 1:54.2 clocking and a career fastest mile.
Owned by Al Beals of Berwyn, Illinois, Pattycake Mooss finished three-quarters of a length the best.
By Mike Paradise
Hawthorne brings its summer session Thursday night with a unique loaded program, if you’re a fan of ICF stake races.
Of the nine races on the card, six are three-year-old state-bred stake events with the headliner, the $46,700 Cardinal Pace, the final race on the program.
It’s packed with 11-horses (one trailer), and it lured the crème de crème of the Illinois-bred sophomore division with the likes of three-year-old champion Fox Valley Ozzy, Springfield titleholder Get E Up, recent ICF Open winner Kingofmyheart and the current streaking Fox Valley Crete.
The draw was kind to Kingofmyheart and Get E Up but not so for Fox Valley Ozzy and Fox Valley Crete. The latter pair landed the two outside posts, the nine and the ten, in that order, while the Erv Miller Stable’s Kingofmyheart (Atlee Bender) is sitting pretty with the two slot and Kyle Husted’s Get E Up is in an enjoyable spot with the three.
Get E Up comes off four starts at Hoosier Park where he picked up a 1:52.1 winning mile earlier this month. Kingofmyheart looked good breezing in 1:55.2 last week at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Fox Valley Ozzy (Casey Leonard) has been campaigning in Minnesota where he comes off a pair of second place finishes in Open company at Running Aces. Fox Valley Crete looks like he’s going to be a force in his division after rattling off three straight triumphs at Springfield.
Looking for an upset in tonight’s finale are Frontier Bombay (Kyle Wilfong), Josierockmyworld (Travis Seekman), Pericles (Archie Buford), Cole Thornton (Todd Warren), Major Grin (Cordarius Stewart), Hondo (Clifton Bell) and Spoken For (Mike Brink) who starts in the second tier.
The $44,100 Cardinal Trot also came up with 11 starters and last season’s Night of Champions victor Lousdobb figures to get the bulk of the gambler’s money with the pole position and two impressive wins downstate in his first sophomore outings.
Lousdobb (Casey Leonard) was a romping nine-plus winner on May 29th and two weeks ago also breezed with a 1:57.4 clocking. The Lou’s Legacy prodigy annexed the $114,000 Kadabra in his freshman year and went on to capture division honors for Illinois owners Flacco Family Farms (Alexis) and All-Wright Stable (Morton).
With 13 horses entered for each of tonight’s Violet’s, it was necessary to split both the pace and trot into two divisions. The Violet Trot will carry a $23,550 pot while Violet Pace goes for a little more $24,350.
The likely post-time favorite in the initial trot (second race) is Lous Monamie (Casey Leonard) who hails from the barn of conditioner Steve Searle. She’ll have to overcome the outside six slot when she battles Fiftini (Kyle Husted), Loyz Singgenesing (Todd Warren), Hot Trotn Trixie (Archie Buford), Rita’s Legacy (Mike Brink) and Creations Dream MV (Jamaica Patton),
The other Violet trot has freshman division champ Funky Wiggle (Kyle Wilfong) in great shape with the rail in a seven-horse field. The star of the Curt Grummel Stable was impressive when she dominated the filly juvenile division last year, going 8 for 12 and raking in over $130,000 for owner and breeder Dr Patrick Graham of Lockridge, Iowa,
Tring to chase Funky Wiggle down will be Mailboxmoney (Todd Warren), Lous Xanadu (Casey Leonard), Armbro Lark (Kyle Husted), Jazelyn (Archie Buford) Ironclad Creation (Atlee Bender) and Fern B (Juan Franco).
The first Violet pace split (race four) is headed up by Merv Chupp’s Dandy’s MNM (pp 2, Kyle Husted) who puts a three-race winning streak on the line, including a 1:54.3 victory in the Kentucky Proud Series at the Oak Grove facility and last year’s Du Quoin Director Awards division winner Lady Bombay (pp 7, Atlee Bender) from the Erv Miller stable.
Providing the opposition are Ellis Gray (Juan Franco), Pattycake Mooss (Casey Leonard), Swanky Diamond (Archie Buford), Stardust Gram (Kyle Wilfong) and Rmissashlee (Todd Warren).
The second Violet pace division lured Night of Champions Incredible Tillie titleholder Apple Valley (pp 1, Jordon Ross), owned, and trained by Michael Perrin.
Taking on the Major Bombay filly is from the two slot out: Kizzzmelikeumissme (Kyle Wilfong), Rock Of Angels (Jamaica Patton), Rollnrozz (Archie Buford), Mommy Said Nonono (Wyatt Avenatti), Iwannarocknroll (Atlee Bender) and Fox Valley Hadley (Kyle Husted), a 1:55.2 winner last week at Springfield.
First post for the opener, and every other live night of racing at Hawthorne, is 7:10 pm.