By Mike Paradise
There are no certainties in horse racing. That’s been proven time and time again.
No matter how good a horse looks in a particular race there’s always the possibility of an upset and a major one occurred a week ago in the meet’s $13,500 Open Trot.
J P Racing’s Simply Swan carried a six-winning streak into the headliner and was much the best in his first two Hawthorne starts, sent off at 40 cents and 30 cents to the dollar in those outings.
However, it was the 2021 ICF Aged Trotter of the Year Talk Abou Valort who prevailed 1t 15-1 odds thanks to a patient journey by his driver Travis Seekman and a not-so-favorable trip by the overwhelming public’s choice Simply Swan.
Not surprisingly, as he often does with the Yankee Valor gelding, Travis Seekman sought and got a spot up close from the get-go giving the star of the Gerald Hansen stable a shot pulling off a surprise victory.
While Yankee Valor was enjoying a two-hole trip, Simply Swan was taken back for the first time in a Hawthorne race and would have to get the job done racing first over. The Swan For All gelding was fourth at the half, reached in a slow time of 59 flat.
While we anticipated the 1 to 5 favorite to power past. . . it never came about.
Meanwhile Talk About Valor looked hopelessly locked-in as the field bunch-up in the lane as Seekman kept searching for an opening with his trotter. It eventually came and Talk About Valor made the most of it, drawing away from his six foes to win in 1:57.2.
Now seven, Talk About Valor has often shown he can hold his own with Hawthorne trotters for owner Shelly Steele when he’s healthy. Staying hale and hearty has been the problem. The horse has only averaged about10 starts a year.
You might remember that the full brother of Hansen’s former Illinois champion Picky Picky Valor was scratched out of the Plasac final on the 2020 Night of Champions because of health issues.
Tonight’s fourth race trot feature were drawn by groups with Reign and Shine (Casey Leonard) and Lousraptor (Juan Franco) getting the one and two posts, in that order.
Post three through seven were drawn with Simply Swan (Joey Putnam) assigned the outside eight-hole. Talk About Valor did well, landing the four with Louscardamon (Kyle Husted) inside of him and Annas Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong), Magic Night (Todd Warren) and Rockyroad Aldo (Mike Oosting) to his right.
My guess tonight is that we’ll see a more aggressive drive from Simply Swan’s 24-year-old trainer and driver. That’s what worked with the talented trotter when he rattled off those six consecutive Open triumphs earlier in the winter.
A Charming Victory: Jesse Delong’s Seventimesacharm was a comfortable front-end winner in her Hawthorne debut, taking the $13,700 Open filly and mare pace in 1:53.1 by two lengths.
Sent off as the 3-5 public’s choice. Driver and trainer John Delong hustled the five-year-old mare away from the gate from the six-post, as did Todd Warren with Rollin Coal from the two.
The Indiana bred mare strolled to a 58 first half with Rollin Coal on her back and when Seventimsacharm uncorked a 26.4 last panel, Rollin Coal had to settle for second best.