By Mike Paradise
The Hawthorne Race Office entry box for Thursday’s card was flooded, especially with trainers wanting to get their 2-year-old pacers raced. As it turned out, most of them will. No less than an even half dozen events for freshman will make up the 10 race program.
Tonight’s two-year-old contests start with race two and go through race seven with both ICF and open company freshman squaring up. A trio of the paces is for colts and geldings and the other three for fillies.
The lion’s share of the ICF juveniles competing tonight went postward in the opening round legs of last Friday or Saturday’s Incredible Tillie (fillies) or Incredible Finale (colts) stake series and are now being pointed to next weekend’s (July 1 and July 2) Cardinal or Violet state-bred stake eliminations.
Heading up the second race is the Bill Crone Stable’s Heza Real Shooter (Bob Smolin) a 1:59.2 winner in his Incredible Finale division last Saturday. He’s Cardinal eligible along with second race starters Sporty Dune, Sagebrush Sharp, Backstreet Lawyer and Fox Valley Gemini.
Cardinal eligible pacers from race three Thursday are Beach Shootingstar, Smokin Eyes, Molina and JB’s Enigma. Herman Wheeler’s Molina (Kyle Husted) was a close second in his Incredible Finale race while the Tom Simmons Stable’s Beach Shootingstar made up a ton of ground in the stretch to finish fourth in his division.
Six freshmen nominated for the Cardinal—Shooting Straight, Majesticterminator, Ricky The Flash, Not Me Gram, Bootleg Island and Max Hotspur—in race six will have to take on the M T Gunslinger, trained and driven by Charles Arthur, who was a romping seven length winner in his initial start and is listed at low-end 4-5 odds in the morning line.
The eight-horse fourth race for first season fillies, has seven Violet hopefuls in it: Breathtaking Sky, Shooting Cool, Over Speeding, Yank’s Rendezvous, Fancy Creek Annie , Shelly On My Mind and Darlin Dune. No. 1 Allbeastnobeauty wasn’t nominated for the Violet.
Four more fillies in race five are Violet candidates: Jazzy Bern, Lotus Gram, JB’s Shooting Star and Poppy Seed. Those four along with Call Sign Charlie, Rippin An Runnin and Poppy Seed will challenge Dee Rocks (Tim Curtin) from the barn of Springfield based trainer Dossie Minor.
On June 15 Dee Rocks, a Rockin Image filly, led from start to finish in her winning in 1:57.2 and most impressively paced a sizzling 25.4 last panel.
For more Violet aspirants, The Sis Master, Among The Elite, Fox Valley Miranda and Watch Me Nae Nae, are among the eight fillies in race seven. The first-time starters Among The Elite (Ridge Warren) and Fox Valley Miranda (Matt Avenatti) are half-sisters to some fast former Illinois bred champions.
The Nick Prather Stable’s Among The Elite is out of the Broadway Express broodmare Broadway Elite who gave us sub 1:50 pacers Enemy At The Gate (1:49.2, $451,782) and Let’s Get Started (1:49.4, $532,230).
Fox Valley Miranda is trained by Martin Woodward for Fox Valley Standardbreds and had a 1:58 flat winning qualifier a week ago at Hawthorne with Matt Avenatti at her lines.
“Miranda” is a daughter of Yankee Skyscaper out of the Sportsmaster dam Slammin Annie and six of her foals took lifetime marks under 1:55 with the fastest by 2008 Woodrow Wilson champion Fox Valley Barzgar, a 1:50.2 mile in that prestigious $370,414 Meadowlands freshman stake.
The seventh race early favorite is the Herman Wheeler Stable’s Sheincrediblenasty (Kyle Husted) second best in her division of the Incredible Tillie stake series last Friday.