Todd and Casey Nearing Milestones

By Mike Paradise

Todd Warren had the hot hand in last week’s races at Hawthorne with 11 winning drives, highlighted by a four-bagger on Saturday night.

The meet’s leading driver Casey Leonard wasn’t far behind with nine first place finishers. The 38-year-old Harvard, Illinois native is closing in on 2,000 career wining drives. He’ll go into Thursday program with 1,982.

Warren (pictured) isn’t far off a major achievement himself. Horses Todd has driven have banked only $117,988 short of $20 million in earnings. The next winning drive for 51-year-old who resides in Manhattan, Illinois will be No. 4,400.

It was also a good week for Kyle Husted who made four stops at Hawthorne’s winner’s circle. Matt Kruger, Kyle Wilfong and Tim Curtin all had three each. The 58-year-old Curtin bagged his trio of winners in just 12 opportunities.

Freshmen to Debut: The initial races for the season for 2-year-old pacers are on this week’s conditioned sheets with freshman colts and geldings slated for Thursday and fillies for Friday.

The first legs of the 2-year-old ICF stake series is only two weeks away for both pacers and trotters.

The Fox Valley Flan for 2-year-old ICF filly trotters acquired 33 nominations while the Kadabra for freshman colts has 30 youngsters available for its stake series. The Incredible Finale for state-bred juvenile colt pacers came up strong with 61 noms however the Incredible Tillie for first season filly pacers did even better, landing 72 young distaffers to its eligible list.

A one-time $1,250 nomination fee was needed to make a 2-year-old IOF trotter or pacer eligible to all four legs of their respective stake series, along with its final or consolation event.

Rolling in the Dough

By Mike Paradise

The Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series got under way Saturday night and its ICF 3-year-old colt division went pretty much as expected.  However the $12,500 second split didn’t . . . at least for most players.

  Jesse and Austin De Long’s Holdonwe’rerolling came from far out of it for driver Todd Warren and overtook the favorite Royale Rose in deep stretch at 53-1 odds, and paid $108.00.

  (Four Footed Photo)

The Clinton, Wisconsin owners, trainer Bob Rittof and Warren weren’t the only ones with smiles on their face after the 1:54.1 victory. I had to admit I had a grin on mind as well.

Holdonwe’rolling was a “Mike’s Price Shot” selection in my line. His victory wasn’t a huge surprise but his price certainly was. The pacer had a 1:54.4 win at Hoosier in early May and looked very good taking his Hawthorne debut a week ago in 1:554.4.

The horse’s breeding was also selling point for me. He’s by Party At Artsplace out of the Big Towner mare Maura Hanover. That makes him a full brother to 2011 Super Night champion Party Hangover (1:51.1, $371,608) who was trained by his co-owner Jesse De Long.

Party Hangover is currently racing out east for the Ken Rucker Stable and boasts 35 career wins.

Warren ducked Holdon’werolling at the start of Saturday’s sixth race while the 2 to 5 favorite Royale Rose took over the lead on the backside. After a modest 57.4 half things didn’t look good for Warren and Holdonwe’reolling who was in eighth, eight-plus lengths off the pacesetter and behind three other horses in the outer flow.

Warren got Holdonwe’rerolling out and rolling in the final turn, taking the gelding five deep and once the Rittoff trainee straighten out for the stretch drive he suddenly became a factor. The horse was still almost nine lengths behind at the three-quarters (1:26.3) but was flying. He paced the last quarter in a very quick 26 flat for his longshot backers.

Royale Rose was second best while JB’s Hero took third.

When the pre-race favorite Dan D Dune, last year’s Orange and Blue Colt champion, was scratched a second week due to sickness in the first Carey division, the red-hot Caffeine Kid was hammered down to 4-5 odds and ended up a comfortable front-end winner, his fourth straight at Hawthorne, this one in 1:55.2.

Trained by Rodney Freese for Sherman, Illinois owner Peter Karras, Caffeine was also driven by Todd Warren who had four winners on the card.

Carey Lures Top ICF Sophomore Colts

By Mike Paradise

The top 3-year-old ICF colt and gelding pacers, the glamour division of horse racing, will strut their stuff Saturday night with the first round action of the Robert F. Carey Memorial Stake Series at Hawthorne.

With 20 state-bred sophomores passing the entry box the initial legs of the Carey were split into a pair of 10-horse $12,500 divisions, with the “Big Four” of the 2015 freshmen class looking to take their first stride towards a berth in the $100.000 (est.) Carey Final on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions in mid-September.

As 2-year-olds Dan D Dune, Royale Rose, BS Tyrrific and Wondrous Sport accounted for just about every major ICF stake victory and rewarded their owners with a huge hunk of the purse money in those first season stakes.

Cynthia Kay Willis Dan D Dune(pictured) put $120,628 on her card with over $83,215 of that amount coming via the home-bred’s Orange and Blue Colt Championship on Super Night. Dan D Dune also captured the $16,500 Governor’s Cup at Du Quoin for trainer Nelson Willis.

  (R.E.B. Photo)

Dan D Dune will open as the 3-2 morning line favorite while freshman-stake champion Wondrous Sport starts off at 15-1 programmed odds from the 10-hole in the same eighth race co-feature.

Wondrous Sport took the $52,000 Mini Me Final and was runner-up on Super Night to Dan D Dune. The gelding won half of his starts (6-for-12) and banked over $88,000 for the Gary Rath Stable. He was sold this past winner and now races out of the barn of Springfield conditioner Mike Brink,

Lightly raced as a 2-year-old with only four starts, No. 6 Caffeine Kid (Todd Warren) will carry a four-race winning streak into Saturday that includes a sweep of a Late Closer Series. The Rodney Freese trainee is early 5-2 second choice.

Goinduneside (Kyle Wilfong), Impressive Art (Randall Finn), Mr. Big W (Freddie Patton Jr.), My Man Red (Kyle Husted), Sagebrush Sam (Tyler Shehan), Trixen Gram (Pat Curtin) and He Gone Jack (Matt Krueger) are the other first division hopefuls.

Vying for the favoritism in the tenth race second division is the Lyle Scurlock Stable’s Royale Rose and BS Tyriffic (Kyle Wilfong), trained by Bob Sanders.

Royal Rose went 9 for 12 in 2015 and amassed $58,454 in earnings. He took a Hanover stake at Balmoral, the Cardinal at Maywood and the Springfield State Fair crown.

BS Tyriffic made eight trips postward and captured five of them when he pulled down over $68,000 in earnings. The Richesss Hanover gelding also won a Hanover at Balmoral and followed it up with a first place finish in a Review stake at Springfield.

Four pacers who have nailed down one or more victories at Hawthorne’s summer meet are among their challengers: Bowedfortyova (Tyler Shehan), Red Dog Ryan (Ridge Warren), Holdonwe’rerolling (Todd Warren) and IYQ YQR (Trenton Watson).

Party Falls (Kyle Husted), J B’s Hero (Casey Leonard), Dr. Drake Ramoray (Pat Curtin) and the first-time starter Chlo s Richess (Tim Curtin) complete the second Carey division.

Filly Domination: Friday’s opening rounds of the Plum Peachy ICF 3-year-old filly stake both saw dominating victories. Lexington Lady ($2.60) was much the best in the first split and Chae N Marg ($4.00) blew away the opposition in the second.

Lexington Lady (pictured), sent off at 20 cents to the dollar, rewarded her backers in front-end fashion, cutting fractions of 28.1, 57.4 and 1:26.2 before uncorking a 27.3 last panel in her 1:54 flat mile with driver Matt Krueger for her initial 2016 win for owner and trainer Hosea Williams.

 (Four Footed Photo)

Casey Leonard hustled away Char N Marg  from the seven-slot in the second $12,5000 division and was able to drop the Nelson Willis trained filly into third in the early going. Casey was content to keep her there while Likeafireballshot took the field to a 56.3 first half.

Midway through the last turn Casey took the even-money favorite out and she collared the leader at the three-quarter pole, reached in 1:25.4, and then went into high gear, pulling away to her half-dozen length while well in hand. Whiskersonkittens took second and Ashlee’s Fine Lady was third.