By Mike Paradise
Trotters take over the Hawthorne limelight Sunday evening. On tap are the first legs of the three-year-old Night of Champions stakes and for the ICF second season colts and geldings the battle for crucial series points will take place before the regular wagering program.
With an even dozen state-bred male trotters entered for round one of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial added money event, a pair of $12,500 six-horse divisions were necessary, not exactly the kind of races that are conducive for good-size betting pools, so instead they’ll be non-wagering stakes.
The first division goes off at 6:30 and the second at 6:54 pm. A bigger-than-normal 13 race betting card follows, starting at 7:10 pm.
Springfield based horseman Mike Brink will send out four trotters in round one of the Ervin Dygert: Fox Valley Briton (pp 1, Todd Warren) and Desert Sheik pp 6, Bandon Bates) in the first Springfield State Fair winner On Higher Ground (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong) and Kadabra champion Crooked Creek (Mike Oosting) in the second.
Fox Valley Quest (pp 4, Casey Leonard), the 2019 Illinois Harness Two-Year Old Colt Trotter of the Year, along with Lou Pascal (Cordarius Stewart), Heath Bar (Jordon Ross) and Red Thunder (Richard S Finn) complete the second Dygert field.
Fox Valley Kobe (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong), Easy EO (Tyler Shehan), Twin Cedars Rocket (Travis Seekman) and Fitchey For Fun (Mike Oosting) complete the opening stake.
Fox Valley Quest came into the Night of Champions showdown with 10 victories in 12 starts but the Tom Simmons trained gelding made an early break on a sloppy track at prohibitive 2-5 odds and eliminated himself.
More Than Enough: The initial leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial stake drew eleven 11 sophomore fillies into the fray, making it a viable candidate for a good wagering affair and it’ll go as race five.
Last season’s ICF filly trotting champion Lous Abigail (Casey Leonard) had the misfortune to land the 10-hole for trainer Steve Searle, however his other talented second season filly Bee Cee (Kyle Husted) is in great shape with the pole position.
Interestingly the Brink Stable ‘s Celone Hall (Mike Oosting),a three-time winner as a freshman, has post 11, enabling him to start right behind the possible betting favorite Bee Cee. Celone Hall’s stablemate Fannie flirt (Ridge Warren) leaves from the six-slot.
Princess Poprocks (Freddie Patton Jr.), Fox Valley Extacy (Brandon Bates), El Oh Govner (Todd Warren), Tropical Rosie (Cordarius Stewart), Fox Valley Lush (Kyle Wilfong), Really Railee (Bobby Smolin) and Flashy Dancer (Tyler Shehan) are the other Beulah Dygert filly contestants.
The 10-Hole Blues: With last week’s winner Tempus Seelster sitting out tonight’s filly and mare Open Pace contest, the $10,500 handicapped event is even more wide-open.
Young American (Frank Petrelli) was allocated the pole position however slots two through nine were drawn and they’ll line up thusly: Look Kimbo (Cordarius Stewart), Pretty Image (Brandon Bates), Debt Motivated (Ridge Warren), Boogie On Down (Kyle Wilfong), Hawthorne new comers J. Rockin B (Mike Oosting) and Black Jack Pat (Tyler Shehan), along with Audrey Anna (Travis Seekman) and This Peach Rocks (Ross Leonard), also making her local debut.
The connections of Windsum Brooklyn, (Casey Leonard) can’t be pleased that their six-year-old mare was assigned the 10-hole after her Open second place finish a week ago at 46-1 odds, beaten more than three lengths from the same outside post. The Terry Leonard trained mare is programmed at 9-1 tonight. In her previous two starts at Hawthorne, back in March, she finished second and first in much less talented conditioned paces.
The 4-5 favorite Fox Valley Exploit came on ($3.80) with a rush (26.4) to rally in time and capture last night’s $12,500 first leg of the Plum Peach stake series for ICF pacing fillies for driver and trainer Kyle Husted who also shares ownership of the Sportsmaster filly with David Brigham of Concord, Michigan
Perfectly Done: Driver Kyle Wilfong carved out a pocket rip with Fox Valley Ren ($7.20) and the Nelson Willis trained gelding did the rest, overtaking the heavy 1-2 favorite in deep stretch to take last night’s opening round of the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake series with a 1:53.2 clocking.
Chick Magnet (Kyle Husted) was third best in the $12,500 event for state-bred sophomore pacers.
It was Fox Valley Ren’s eighth victory in a dozen career starts for his Chicago owners Megan Rogers Racing Stable endings a six race winning streak
A few races earlier the 4-5 favorite Fox Valley Exploit came on ($3.80) with a rush (26.4) to rally in time and capture the $12,500 first leg of the Plum Peach stake series for ICF pacing fillies for driver and trainer Kyle Husted. The Altamont, Illinois native also shares ownership of the Sportsmaster filly with David Brigham of Concord, Michigan