By Mike Paradise
After a two-day absence of racing when a strong snowstorm swept through the Chicago area forcing the cancellation of Thursday’s and Friday’s cards, the Hawthorne winter meeting resumes Saturday night with a much larger than normal 14 race program.
Thursday’s cancelled program was redrawn, as mandated by Illinois Racing Board officials, before it was incorporated into Saturday’s.
One of the additional races for Saturday night is the second Doc Walker Late Closer Prep for ICF 3-year-old filly pacers. Rodney Freeze’s Fox Valley Catwalk stepped up to the head of this class a week ago with a rather easy victory in the first prep.
Fox Valley Catwalk left from the outside eight-slot last week and still cruised by three lengths as the 4-5 betting favorite in a modest time of 1:59 flat during a snow storm for her Sherman, Illinois owner and trainer.
It was the daughter of Redhot And Richess second straight win since going on Lasix three starts ago. The Sportsmaster filly flew down in the lane on January 21st and prevailed in 1:57. She made a break on the move the previous week bowing on the bleeder medication.
The draw certainly went much better for Fox Valley Catwalk and her regular driver Tim Curtin in the second series prep event. This time around she landed the pole position. Fox Valley Catwalk went 1-for-9 as a freshman and made $8,588. She already has two wins and $8,000 on her card in her sophomore campaign with a $7,000 on the line Saturday night and a $16,000 pot for the Walker finale on closing weekend.
Lilac Laurey is another ICF filly in the Doc Walker prep on the road to a much better season as a 3-year-old. The home bred daughter of Richess Hanover hasn’t missed a check in five season starts for trainer Rob Rittoff and was a solid second behind Fox Valley Catwalk in the first Walker prep. A week earlier she made her first visit to a winner’s circle.
Lilac Laurey, owned by her Oswego, Illinois breeders Robert and Linda Grider along with Jim Kain of Hinckley, Illinois, is out of the Artiscape broodmare Mahna Mahna, making her a full sister to the 4-year-old pacer Dandy’s Dududidudu (1:56.3).
The eighth race Walker prep for state-bred sophomore fillies without $10,000 in earnings as of last October 1st is rounded out with Rine N Roses (Mike Oosting), Listentoyourheart (Kyle Wilfong), Jazzy Bern (Matt Avenatti) Poppy Seed (Brandon Bates) and Fox Valley Euforic (Pat Curtin).
Just a Postponement: As it turns out Fridays scheduled Open Pace wasn’t cancelled by the terrible winter weather conditions. Instead it was just postponed and will be held on Sunday’s card.
The Tom Simmons Stable’s Fox Valley Nemitz, who captured last week’s $10,000 feature and was slated to race in Friday’s, is a no-go for Sunday’s headliner, reducing the field from 10 pacers to nine.
Simmons still has the 5-2 programmed favorite Somestartsomewhere (pp 9) in Sunday’s headliner along with stable-mate Kelly D (pp 7). The race was drawn by groups and with the redrawn it’ll line up thusly: Want Me (Pat Curtin), Gibbs (Tim Curtin), Mobil Big John (Ryan Anderson), Gabe Henry (Ridge Warren), Trashytonguetalker (Casey Leonard), Brooklynite (Todd Warren), Kelly D (Mike Oosting), Somestartsomewhere (Sam Widger) and Firedrake (Kyle Wilfong).