By Mike Paradise
Hawthorne’s 2016 Night of Champions is behind us and we would like to congratulate all the owners, trainers and drivers who came away with one of Saturday’s eleven ICF championships.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the race track on achieving a new Super Night or Night of Champions record.
No it didn’t come in the mutuel handle. That figure came in at “$1.3 million” according to the race track. Not great but not too bad. About on par with Balmoral’s 2015 figure of $1.4 million however the far south suburban track conducted 13 races compared to just 12 at Hawthorne.
That’s what makes Hawthorne’s 12:10 Sunday morning new achievement for the latest off-time for a Super Night/Night of Champions stake race more remarkable. They did it with fewer races.
The old final off-time record on a Super Night card was 12:05 am, last set in 2009 and equaled in 2007 and 2008. The year 2006 was right there with a 12:04 am last off-time.
However, all those past Balmoral Park Super Night record late times came with 14 races. Hawthorne blew past those years with two less races.
Going into the 12th and last race last Saturday the Balmoral record didn’t appear to be in jeopardy. Hawthorne’s eleventh race went off at 11:25 pm and with no other tracks in the United States still racing at that late hour, a new dubious record looked unattainable.
Nevertheless Hawthorne persevered and somehow managed to do it as 45 minutes went by before the 12th race was off. It was the second time on the card Hawthorne went 45 minutes in between races.
To put a 45 minute wait between races in perspective, you could watch a Hawthorne race, then watch an entire half of pro football game, and still have time to watch the next Hawthorne race.
The time in between races on last Saturday’s card went from a long of 45 minutes to an extremely short 6 minutes between the 10th and 11th, surpassing the earlier briefest time in between races by three minutes. The fourth went off at 8:45 pm and just nine minutes later the fifth followed at 8:56 pm.
I can offer no common-sense explanation why there was almost a 40 minute difference in time between some races on the card. Perhaps Hawthorne can.
Here’s the breakdown of Saturday off-times according to the U.S.T.A. official charts:
First 7:07 pm. Second 7:36 pm. Third 8:00 pm. Fourth 8:45 pm. Fifth 8:56 pm. Sixth 9:22 pm. Seventh: 9:55 pm. Eighth 10:23 pm. Ninth: 10:54 pm. Tenth 11:19 pm. Eleventh 11:25 pm and Twelfth 12:10 am.
The Meadowlands 13-race card on Saturday started at 6:22 pm Chicago time and ended at 10:42 pm, Central Daylight Time. It’s always a ho-hum repetitive 20 minutes in between races at the country’s No. 1 racetrack.
Eight of the 10 mares in Hawthorne’s 12th race Saturday were Lasix users. They were given the bleeder medication for a race that was “scheduled” to go off at 10:40 pm. We knew that off time wasn’t going to happen but don’t you think that an one hour and 30 minutes later off-time might have affected any of those mare’s performances?
Most likely and I’ll write about that in a later column after concurring with some local vets.
By Mike Paradise