By Mike Paradise
Anna’s Lucky Star was perfection on the racetrack as a freshman for owner and breeder Danny Graham, nevertheless, the home-bred ICF filly trotter didn’t have an entire picture perfect season through no fault of her own. Anna’s Lucky Star went six-for-six last year, took both the Springfield and Du Quoin division crowns, and ran-away with the ICF 2-Year-Old Trotting Filly honors for her Salem, Illinois owner.
At the same time she earned just under $37,000; considerably less than any of the other 2 or 3-year-old division champions and that may have cost Anna’s Lucky Star a legitimate shot at 2016 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year honors. “She should have probably picked-up around $80,000 instead of making ‘37’,” said Graham. My wife and I thought we had her staked to everything but found out we didn’t. It was our mistake and that’s why she didn’t race in the Hawthorne (Fox Valley Flan) stake series.” The filly also stated her career on July 24th, about a month after most of the other ICF freshman trotting fillies and unfortunately, she ended it earlier than expected, when she got sick and had to be scratched-out of the $18,900 Violet in late September on race night.
This year you’ll find Anna’s Lucky Star’s name right at the top of Hawthorne’s Beulah Dygert stake series list of nominations and there’s more in store for the filly in her sophomore campaign. “She’s staked to everything in Illinois and later in the year to some stakes in Indiana when Illinois is over, continued Danny. She’s in training at Sawgrass Farms in Crete and her trainer Nelson Willis says she’s looking sharp. She’s down to about 2:20. Over the winter she filled-out a little bit but she didn’t grow much taller.” Of course Danny recognizes a sensational 2-year-old season by a horse doesn’t always translate into an exceptional 3-year-old campaign. “Last year Anna’s Lucky Star looked like she couldn’t be beat in her division. This year could be different. Some of those other fillies looked very sharp at the end of last season and could have grown since then. Hopefully this year my filly can make more money but you just never know in this business,” said Graham.
While Hawthorne’s 2-year-old stake series eligible pacers and trotters aren’t out yet (nominations are due on April 15), when the list is posted you’ll find two more of Danny’s young ICF trotters on it. “I have a 2-year-old full sister to Anna’s Lucky Star that I nominated, said Danny. Her name is Princess Ashley. My third grand-daughter named her. My second grand-daughter named Anna’s Lucky Star. Princess Ashley is also in- training at Sawgrass. I also nominated a colt named Sir Vinnie that I own with Jerry Graham. He’s looking really good. He’s been in 2:35, last half in 12.”
Sir Vinnie is by Cassius, out of the Yankee Glide mare Get Groovin, who also produced Leaveitonthetrack (1:56), a ISOBA stakes winner as a 3-year-old for trainer Jerry Vivani in 2010.
Stall Applications Due: A reminder to horsemen that stall applications for the 2017 Hawthorne harness meet are due tomorrow (Saturday, April 1st). Management asks that all trainers, regardless of whether they will be shipping in or stabling on-site to please submit the required stall application.
Nominations for all of the Late Closing Series events also, must be postmarked by April 1st. More information and nomination forms are available at www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com.
The deadline for Hawthorne’s ICF 2-year-old stakes program ($1,250 nomination fee) is April 15th; while nominations for the Cicero Claiming Series must be postmarked no later than April 24th.