Rath Finishes Strong At Hawthorne

Gary Rath and Romantic Warrior team up for victory. Read more at Harness Racing Update. https://harnessracingupdate.com/2022/03/27/gary-rath-i-wish-i-had-a-whole-bunch-of-them-like-romantic-warrior/

Wilfong Edges Leonard As Leading Driver

Kyle Wilfong dethroned perennial winner Casey Leonard as leading driver for this year’s Hawthorne winter meet. Read more at Harness Racing Update. https://harnessracingupdate.com/2022/03/25/kyle-wilfong-dethrones-casey-leonard-as-hawthorne-winter-meet-ends/


Kyle Wilfong: Getting It Done

Kyle Wilfong was the leading driver at this year’s winter Hawthorne meet. Click here for more.  http://ustrottingnews.com/wilfong-happy-to-be-home-after-hawthorne-success/


Kizzzmelikeumissme Smacks of Future ICF Stardom

By Mike Paradise


Triple ZZ Stable’s Kizzzmelikeumissme passed her first major sophomore test with a convincing victory in Saturday night $30,000 ICF event for three-year-old pacers.


Nicely handled by the meet’s leading driver Kyle Wilfong, the John Filomeno trained home-bred used a different tactic to secure her third career victory in five starts by getting the job done this time on the front end.


Kizzzmelikeumisssme shot out of the three-hole on the backside once Pattycake Moose (Todd Warren) cleared to wrestle the lead away from the early pacesetter Rollnrozz (Archie Warren).



Kizzzmelikeumissme (Kyle Wilfong) was a compelling winner of last night’s $30,000 event for ICF three-year-old pacing fillies. (Four Footed Fotos).

With one big move Kizzzmelikeumissme ($4.00) powered her way into command and when asked for more in the lane, the Yankee Skyscraper filly did so, putting away a bid by freshman ICF filly champion Apple Valley (Joe Seekman), pacing a 28 second last panel on a wet-soaked racing surface, winning by almost two lengths.


Apple Valley was a late charging second best in her first start since the filly’s Incredible Tillie championship back in September of 2021. Pattycake Moose took the third-place money for trainer Gary Rath.


Kizzzmelikeumissme will likely get a well-deserved rest after five consecutive career weekend starts after skipping her freshman season. The upcoming future star of the state-bred sophomore division will carry a $28,496 bankroll for her Beecher, Illinois owners going into Hawthorne’s summer meet that gets under way On Friday, June 20th.


   Rath Trainee Prevails: The 4-5 favorite Romantic Warrior proved to be fastest in the lane and captured the $30,000 tor for ICF three-year-old. Driven by his trainer and co-owner Gary Rath, the Cassius gelding trotted the mile in 1:59.3 and a sloppy racing surface.


Lous Lancelot (Casey Leonard) rallied nicely to be second while Mr Mizzou was a close-up third.


Rath used his trotters pole position to carve out the winning journey. He hustled Romanic Warrior ($3.80) out, took the hole behind the second betting choice  Mr Mizzou in first tun, and then settled into third when Killyjoy, making his debut, came up to take over the lead near the half, reached in 1:00 flat in the slop.



Romantic Warrior (Gary Rath) rallied to capture Saturday’s night $30,000 Illinois bred trot over a sloppy racing surface, (Four Footed Fotos)

In the lane Rath swung Romanic Warrior out to the middle of the track, popped the horse’s earplugs, and rallied his trotter to his third win in his last four starts, last nights by three parts of a length. The Marengo, Illinois horseman shares ownership of Romantic Warrior with Bobby Beggs, also of Marengo.


Another Romp: A couple of races earlier Talk About Valor continued his dominance of the Open trot division, this time with a no-double-about-it victory in 1:56.3 on the sloppy surface.


Travis Seekman was content to race the Gerald Hansen trotter in the two-hole behind Magic Night (Todd Warren) through a 58.3 first half and then dashed to the front and pulled away to a seven and one-half length before being hand driven to the finish wire.


Talk About Valor’s win was the 21st in 65 starts for his Monee, Illinois owner Shelly Steele.  Muscular Babe (Kyle Wilfong) came on nicely in the lane for runner-up honors while Magic Night faded to third.


Heads-Up Drive: Fox Valley Exploit ($7.20) took advantage of an excellent trip provided by her driver, trainer, and co-owner Kyle Husted to take the Open for filly and mare pacers.


Fox Valley Exploit, the 5-2 third wagering choice of the betting public, worked hard in the early going, shooting out from the six-slot to gain a pocket trip behind the pacesetting Rollin Coal (Juan Franco), who set a quick fraction of 28 flat on a rather unsightly looking racing surface.


Husted kept the six-year-old ICF pacer in the two-hole until they turned for home, then powered to the lead and went onto hold off a late rush by the ground-saving Racing Forthe Mark (Joey Putnam), the bridesmaid finisher.


David Bingham of Concord, Michigan shares owners with Husted of Fox Valley Exploit.


A Wilfong First: We’ll have to wait until Sunday’s two racing cards to be contested for it to be made official. but it appears that Kyle Wilfong has ended Casey Leonard’s six-year streak as Hawthorne’s leading driver. The 30-year-old Watseka, Illinois native goes into Sunday with 51 winners at the meet, seven more than Casey.


Veteran horseman Terry Leonard has successfully defended his title as the meet’s leading trainer with 26 winning horses, 10 more than Gerald Hansen and Brittany Dillion, tied for second with 16 each,


The first Sunday card, originally slated for last Friday, will begin at 4:30 pm. The regular Sunday scheduled program will follow at 7:15 pm.


 Today’s column will do it for a while. I’ll take a couple of months hiatus and be back for Hawthorne’s summer meet that begins on the last day of June. The upcoming Springfield meeting with its race dates still to be determined, also will covered right here at www.harnessillinois.com, likely sometime in late June.

Free Sunday (March 20) Hawthorne Program

Click here for your free Sunday (March 20) night Hawthorne program. haw0320r


Free Saturday (March 19) Hawthorne Program

Click here for your free Saturday (March 19) night Hawthorne program. haw0319r


Don’t Kiss Off This Saturday Night

By Mike Paradise


The last Saturday program of Hawthorne’s winter meet is a good one with a pair of $30,000 ICF events, the Open Trot, the Open for filly and mare pacers, and with six of the eight races being offered boasting five-figure purses.


If I had to single out of the most captivating race on the card, I would select the eighth race $30,000 event for ICF filly and mare pacers.


It pits a likely upcoming star of the division Kizzzmelikeumissme, unraced as a two-year-old, against two of the very best in the freshman class, Night of Champions winner Apple Valley and Rollnroz, an 11-time first season winner including a series division of the Incredible Tillie.


Kizzzmelikeumissme has made only four career starts however she’s look very good in each of them for Triple ZZZ Stable of Beecher, Illinois, winning two and a game second in the other pair, and she’s a full sister to two-time ICF Horse of the Year He,zzz A Wise Sky.


“She’s green but she is coming along very well. She reminds me a lot of her brother,” said her trainer, John Filomeno.


“Kizzzmelikeumissme showed ability as a two-year-old, but she wasn’t ready to race last year. She did a lot of growing and she’s a big filly now. I’m looking forward to her racing against some of last year’s better Illinois bred fillies.”


Triple ZZZ Stable’s Kizzmelikeumissme (Kyle Wilfong) will career the role of the favorite in Saturday’s $30,000 event for ICF pacing fillies. (Four Footed Fotos)

Kizzzmelikeumissme (listed at 7-5) drew nicely for regular driver Kyle Wilfong with the two slot. Apple Valley (3-1) landed four with her new driver Travis Seekman) while Rollnroz (4-1) leaves from the five with regular reinsman Archie Buford.


Both fillies haven’t competed in a pari-mutuel race since last September and each qualified last weekend. The question is: How tight are they for tonight’ $30,000 event?


Apple Valley came on strong at the end of her juvenile season of trainer John Molitor and was named the 2021 Illinois Three-Year-old Filly Pacer of the Year for Glenwood, Illinois owner Michael Perrin after hauling in over $80,000 in purse money.


Gary Rath’s Pattycake Moose, programmed at 4-1) also figures to be in the thick of the race. The Major Bombay filly won a pair of Hawthorne races in early February before being scratched sick on Feb. 19. After a month off she obviously needed last week’s outing.


Sweet Sweet Connie (Mike Oosting) and Eris (Juan Franco) are the longshot aspirants of the co-featured eighth race.


The fourth race $30,000 ICF trot is a compact five-horse field headed up by Romantic Warrior (pp 1, Gary Path) and Mr Mizzou (pp 4, Brandon Bates). Both sophomores come off victories in their last start and look primed for big efforts.


Their opposition consists of Lous Lancelot (Casey Leonard) and a pair of first-time starters—Good Boy (Kyle Husted) and Killjoy (Kyle Wilfong). Both are sons of Lou’s Legacy,


Good Boy was a $10,000 yearling purchase at the 2020 Illinois Classic Sale by trainer Erv Miller. Killjoy is a Curt Grummel home-bred and a full brother to Curt’s 2018 Erwin Dygert Bight of Champion victor Big Lou. Killyjoy is bred and owned by Dr. Patrick Graham and Lockridge, Iowa and will race with totting hobbles.


A Pair of Opens: Shirley Steele’s Talk About Valor (Travis Seekman) guns for his fifth Open Trot triumph of the winter meet and was allocated the outside five-slot after his romping victory a week ago.


The Gerald Hansen trained ICF star has Louscardamon (Casey Leonard), Muscular Babe (Kyle Wilfong), Reign And Shine (Brandon Bates) and Magic Night (Todd Warren) starting inside of him, in that order.


The sixth race $13,700 filly and mare Open pace has been topsy-turvy all meeting long with seemingly a different weekly winner tonight’s is another competitive affair.


My Uptowne Girl (Travis Seekman) and Fox Valley Exploit (Kyle Husted) drew for the five and six slots with Exploit landing the outside post.


From the pole position out you’ll find Rojo Caliente (Casey Leonard), Rollin Coal (Juan Franco), Perch (Gary Rath), and Racing For the Mark (Joey Putnam).


So, grab your favorite beverage, have some snacks on hand, and sit back and enjoy the show.


  Last night’s Hawthorne races were cancelled due to poor track conditions. The Friday program will come back in full on Sunday at 4:30 PM followed by the originally scheduled Sunday card at 7:15 PM.