A trio of “Lou Lous” in Open Trot

By Mike Paradise


After having to compete in Indiana in two of his last three starts, the Merv Chupp Stable’s “money making machine” Pine Dream is back on the local scene for Sunday’s $12,000 Open for trotters.


Not unexpectedly, the now nine-year-old veteran was assigned the outside seven-post by the Hawthorne Race Office in the seventh face feature where half of his opposition are Steve Searle trained “Lou Lou’s. Otherwise know has stable-mates Louzotic (Casey Leonard), Lousraptor (Juan Franco) and Louscardamon (Kyle Husted).


Louscardamon (Kyle Husted), winner of the August 8th Open Trot at Hawthorne, is one of three Steve Searle trained horses in Sunday’s featured seventh race. (Four Footed Fotos)

The Searle threesome each have the capability to come out on top tonight. The five-year-old Louscaramon did just that on August 8th, the last time the trotting Open was contested at Hawthorne. The five-year-old mare Louzotic prevailed in a mid-June Open and Lousraptor proved best in an Open back in May.


Reign And Shine (pp 1, Jordon Patton), Cash Hit (pp 2, Travis eekman) and Walter White (pp 4, Ridge Warren) are Sunday’s other three Open hopefuls with the latter displaying signs he could be ready for an overdue victory.


The nine-year-old Jim Eaton trained Walter White boasts a career bankroll over more than $550,000 and comes off a pair of game efforts at Hoosier Park. The gelding has showed he can unleash gate speed and that may be the strategy tonight in hopes of ending a nine-race losing streak.


Meanwhile Pine Dream has continued to pad his ever-growing bank account for trainer Merv Chupp. The last time this old-timer missed a purse check was 19 starts ago back in early March, the horse’s last outing in Ohio. Pine Dream’s 2021 earnings are over $57,000 and we’re only in the month of August.


Three years ago, Chupp bought Pine Dream at a sale for $27,000. Since then, the trotter has raked in $306,921 for his 64-year-old Goshen, Indiana native with over 1,200 wins as a driver and 926 as a trainer.


  Du Quoin Next Up: With the two-day harness racing meeting at the Du Quoin on tap this upcoming weekend, Illinois trotting queen Annas Lucky Star is skipping tonight’s Hawthorne Open to prepare for the ICF aged mare trotting championship at the southern Illinois facility on the Friday, August 27th card that begins at 7 pm. The Saturday Du Quoin State Fair program has a 12 noon first post.


Hawthorne will be dark Friday evening and instead will race on Monday night, August 30th, following their regular Saturday (August 28th) and Sunday (August 29th) evening programs.


Easy Does It: The 2-5 favorite Dreaming Image (Atlee Bender) breezed to almost a five-length victory in last night’s $12,000 Club Hawthorne series final for filly and mare pacers.


It was the third consecutive win for the trained mare who Matt Rodriguez (Aurora, Illinois), who shares ownership of the mare with Dylan Niefeldt (Peotone, Illinois).


Sweetsadyshark (Travis Seekman) and Helen’s Girl (Juan Franco) were second and third, respectively.

Sweet Revenge for He’zzz A Wise Sky

By Mike Paradise


He’zzz A Wise Sky didn’t just reclaim the crown last night as the top aged pacer at the Hawthorne meet, the four-year-old ICF pacer took it back with an abundance of conviction.


The John Filomeno trained pacer demolished his five Open pace rivals with a sizzling 1:49.1 mile, finishing more than five lengths ahead of the two-time Illinois Harness Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard), an honor that He’zzz A Wise Sky won in 2020 at the age of three.


He’zzz A Wise Sky (Kyle Wilfong) left no doubt he was the best in last night’s $12,000 Open Pace. (Four Footed Fotos)

Regular driver Kyle Wilfong, as expected, hurried He’zzz A Wise Sky away from his designated six slot, and as anticipated, Ridge Warren sent Bobcat Bay out from the five and Kyle Husted did the same with Lying In Cash from post three.


Bobcat Bay had command at the quarter mile pole but at the cost of a scorching 26.3 first quarter. Lying In Cash was right behind, but not for long, as Wilfong settled He’zzz A Wise Sky into third as Casey dropped “Gemini” into fourth.


On the backside Husted quickly took Lying In Cash out of the pocket and to the front while Wilfong, for the time being, kept He’zzz A Wise Sky in third. Heading to the half Wilfong pulled the 4-5 favorite out and went after the leaders.


It took a sub 27 quarter by He’zzz A Wise Sky ($3.60) to make the top at a quick 53.2 half. Fox Valley Gemini then started to make his bid in the final turn however He’zzz A Wise Sky still had a ton of pace left, pulling away for his seventh win on the season for Justice, Illinois owner Triple ZZZ Stable.


Primo Giovani was a distant third, beaten 10-plus lengths, in the second race Friday headliner.


It was sweet revenge for He’zzz A Wise Sky and his connections. After his victory in the July 6th Hawthorne Open, the pride of his breeders, Donald and Joann Filomeno, He’zz A Wise Sky was a tiring third to Lying In Cash in the July 30th Open and third best to Bobcat Bay in the August 8th feature.


A trip to Hoosier Park a week ago saw He’zzz A Wise Sky turn things around in a big way as he popped at 14-1 odds in a $51,000 Invite with a 1:49.1 clocking, a new career mark the horse equaled Friday night.


Worth the Wait: Looking over Saturday’s nine race card at Hawthorne the top two events look to be the best two, both for filly and mare pacers.


The eighth is the $12,000 Club Hawthorne Series final, a 10-horse field with the Matt Rodriguez Stable’s Dreaming Image (pp 7, Atlee Bender at 5-2) and Helen”s Girl (pp 2, Juan Franco at 3-1) as the pre-race favorites. Both come off strong wins in last Saturday’s second leg.


In fact, Dreaming Image is going for a series weep. The four-year-old mare also was an easy winner in her first leg. In both series outings she has been hammered at the betting windows, going off at 3-5 on August 7th and at 1-5 a week later,


Also looking to grab the winner’s share of the $12,000 purse are Party Belle, Daybreak Girl, Finley’s Filly, Ezpay, Fox Valley Sierra, Double Parked, Sweetshadyshark and Tempest Heart.


An Open 2 in Disguise: While the filly and mare Open didn’t fill with only four entries, two of those—My Uptown Girl and Rollin Coal—were moved to race nine, a very competitive conditioned pace.


In fact, at least five other distaffers in the field, have competed in Hawthorne Opens this summer. It’s a wide-open event and it was wisely placed as the finale because it should get plenty of play with four gimmicks available to be wagered on.


From the pole position out you’ll find Vel Donna, Lilly Von Shtupp, Look Kimbo, Eliza Dushku N, Pootie Cat, Allbeastnobeauty, My Uptown Girl, Charlotte Royal N, Rollin Coal and Mamama Moonshine.


Hail the New Springfield Champions

By Mike Paradise


With sunny skies and a warm 88 degrees, the 2021 harness racing meet at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield came to an end Thursday afternoon.  Eight Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes championships were decided on the 13-race card and as usual there were some surprises.


Here’s out it all played out:


No Doubt About It:  ICF freshman filly trotters kicked off the first of the ISFSC championship events and when the dust settled it was the 3-5 favorite Funky Wiggle, nicely handled by Kyle Wilfong, clearly the best.


It was the first of five $40,000 pots on the line for ICF first season pacers or trotters.


The 1:56.1 mile was more than two seconds faster than the Curt Grummel trained filly had trotted in her previous seven starts. Owned by her breeder Dr. Patrick Graham of Pittsfield, Illinois, the Lou’s Legacy offspring rallied from fifth at the half to draw away by about four lengths over Ironclad Creation with the pacesetting Hot Trotn Trixie ending up third best.


Driver Archie Buford looks ready to celebrate Rollnroz’s victory in the ISFCS championships Thursday at Springfield. (Four Footed Fotos)

Just Rollin Along: The two-year-old filly pace championship was next and the Roshun Trigg trained Rollnroz gave driver Archie Buford his first career major stakes winner and the filly did it rather easily.


The 30-year-old Mississippi native got Rollnroz on top on the back side and the Fort Knox filly never looked back, two lengths the best over the favorite Dandy’s MNM with Iwannarocknroll getting third.


Owned by Eric and Rosalind Jaynes, of Magee, Mississippi, the win was the 10th in 15 trips postward for Rollnroz and the time of 1:53.2 shaved more than two seconds off the filly’s previous fastest mile.


Where They Go! The Mike Brink Stable’s Fox Valley Cairo was the dominating winner of the two-year-old colt and gelding trot showdown., perfectly rated by driver Ridge Warren.


Sent to the top, Fox Valley Cairo coasted to a 58.4 half and had plenty left in the tank for the stretch drive, so much so that Ridge had time to look over his should in the lane to see where the opposition was.


Fox Valley Cairo, owned by the Illinois trio of Charles Biggs (Altamont), Dr. Robert Lacey (Nokomis) and trainer Mike Brink (Springfield), trotted the mile in 1:57 flat and was well in hand at the wire, some three and one-half lengths ahead.


Pocket Trip: The last of the five two-year-old ISFCS championship was for male pacers and it saw trainer Kyle Husted give Get E Up a winning two-hole journey over the 1-2 favorite Fox Valley Ozzy (Casey Leonard) with a quick 1:52 flat clocking.



Get E Up (Kyle Husted) edges out Fox Valley Ozzy (Casey Leonard) in Thursday’s two-year-old colt and gelding pace championship at Springfield (Four Foot Fotos)

Get E Up got his driver’s desired trip behind Fox Valley Ozzy right from the start and “Ozzy” never got much of a breather, pressured to a 27.3 first quarter and a 55.3 half.


The two ICF freshmen raced side-by-side through the stretch with Get E Up winning for the third time in five lifetime starts for owners Kyle Husted (Altamont, IL), David Brigham (Litchfield, MI) and John Schwarz (Wood Dale, IL). Kingofmyheart finished third.


The three-year-olds took over the Springfield spotlight for the last five $30,000 championship showdowns.


Patience Pays Off: A patient drive by Atlee Bender enabled him to guide the 6-5 second choice Breeze At Sunset to a 1:55.2 winning mile for Erv Miller in the filly trot. One length behind was BC’s Rose while Loulita held on for third:


Bender hurried Breeze At Sunset away from the outside nine-slot however Casey Leonard did the same with Loulita from the eight and Kyle Wilfong with BC’s Rose from the seven.


Breeze At Sunset settled in third and stayed there behind the front-stepping even money favorite Loulita with BC’S Rose in the two-hole. They remained that way until mid-stretch when Breeze At Sunset kicked into a faster gear and rolled past the early leaders for her Shorewood Illinois proprietor Bowie Racing LLC.


No Fooling Around: The colt and gelding sophomore trot gave the crowd a thrilling stretch duel with the 8-1 longshot Sumbodygetdisfool (Todd Warren) putting his head in front of the heavy 1-2 favorite Coco D’Lascito (J D Finn) right before the finish wire..


Coco D’ Lascito cut the fractions, going to a 57 half, but Todd Warren had a firm hold of Sumbodygetdisfool in the middle of the pack after three horses went off stride at the start, and the Roshun Trigg trained trotter got up in time for owner Laquinton Shavers of Brandon, Mississippi.



Juan Franco drove Scorecard Dandy (8-1) to her upset win Thursday in the three-year-old filly pace final at Springfield. (Four Footed Fotos)

“Juanderful” Victory: In the filly division a heads-up drive by driver Juan Franco saw his filly Scorecard Dandy upset the overwhelming 1 to 5 favorite Hart’s Heart (Kyle Wilfong).in 1:54.3.


Franco hustled Scorecard Dandy away from the gate the fastest while Hart’s Heart was dropped into fifth in the eight-horse field. The Guatemala native was able to back the field down to a leisurely 59.2 first half with the first over Hart’s Heart now second on his outside.


In the lane, Franco asked the Gregory Kain trained filly for more and she delivered, pulling away and getting the job done for Green Acres LLC (Beecher, IL) and Mike Klimas (Oak Lawn, IL)


  A Game “Big Guy”: In the finale for pacing colts and geldings Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard) nailed the 3-5 favorite Ryans Loan Shark (Travis Seekman) in the final stride to take home the winner’s share of the $30,000 purse.


Casey hurried Ideal Big Guy to the front from the outside seven slot at the start, but Seekman came out of third at the quarter pole and zipped to the top. After a 58.1 half it appeared Ryans Loan Shark was in good shape, but Leonard and Ideal Big Guy had another outcome in mind.


Casey pulled the Terry Leonard trainee out of the pocket coming out of the last turn and the two state-bred pacers battled down the lane with “The Big Guy” getting his nose in front when it counted the most.


Ideal Big Guy is owned by the Illinois trio of Dandy Farms Racing Stable (Glenview), Terry Leonard (Harvard) and Peter Kouchis (Palos Park).


They’re Back: The $12,000 Open Pace returns tonight with a stellar field of six horses, four of them—Lying In Cash (pp3, Kyle Husted), Fox Valley Gemini (pp4, Casey Leonard), Bobcat Bay (pp5, Ridge Warren) and He’zzz A Wise Sky (pp 6, Kyle Wilfong)—are a winner of Hawthorne’s top overnight event in either July or August.


He’zzz A Wise Sky was assigned the outside six-slot after a sizzling winning performance last week at Hoosier Park  winning a $51,000 Invitational in a career fastest time of 1:49.1.


The John Filomeno trained ICF home-bred had to leave from the eight-slot in an 11-horse field with two trailers and was parked-out the first haft to scorching fractions of 25.4 and 53:3 to get command and still was a neck the best for driver John Delong


Primo Giovanni (pp 1, Todd Warren) and On Duty (pp 2, Atlee Bender), complete Hawthorne’s second race headliner.