By Mike Paradise
It’s the weekend of Hawthorne’s “Summer Series” finals. Two were decided last night, another, the Bob Larry, is Saturday’s headliner, and two more five figure showdowns will be determined on Sunday evening.
Saturday’s sixth race Bob Larry carries an inviting $17,500 pot and there is no clear-cut favorite.
Elimination winners Play Me Rock (Travis Seekman) and Pianno Roll (Cordarius Stewart) will no doubt get plenty of play and so will last week’s runner-up’s Bobcat Bay (Ridge Warren) and Mighty Tony Mac (Todd Warren) who raised some eyebrows with his 26.4 last quarter.
When the gate springs open the public choice could very well be the beaten favorite Yankee On The Move who was sent off at 30 cents to the dollar but gave way in thee late going and finished third. The Dean Eckley trained four-year-old was making his first pari-mutuel start since last November,
The Yankee Skyscraper offspring spent the summer of 2020 competing on fair tracks in Iowa and did the same in his two-year-old campaign where was a consistent money-earner. Late last summer the gelding was purchased by Floridian Cliff Grundy and joined the Eckley stable.
Yankee On The Move then went to Oak Grove in Kentucky and made almost $12,000 in five starts, winning four of them with tonight’s driver Kyle Wilfong, while lowering his career mark to 1:52.1.
Yankee On The Move gets away from the six slot tonight in a 10-horfse field with Readyforthelays, Play Me Rock, Silverstar’s Flash, Mighty Tony Mac and Straight Munro inside of him and Bobcat Bay, Holden Steady and Patton Plus to his left.
Play Me Rock is the 5-2 program favorite after a strong 1:54.4 victory last week with tonight’s driver Travis Seekman. The Perry Smith owned, and trained pacer has made over $30,000 as a three-year-old racing at Ohio’s Miami Valley Raceway and Indiana’s Hoosier Park. The horse is certainly well placed for this series and landing the two-post in the Larry final undoubtedly helps his chances of being successful tonight.
Pianno Roll (pp 6, Cordarius Stewart) and Bobcat Bay (pp 8, Ridge Warren) are from the Springfield based Tom Simmons stable. Pianno Roll was bred by his Stockton, Illinois owner Larry Breed and owns a mark of 1:52.1. Bobcat Bay spent 2020 competing in conditioned claimers for Nancy and Donald Musillami of Lemont, Illinois and banked nearly $28,000, winning 7 of 19 trips to the starting gate.
Mighty Tony Mac (Todd Warren), one of two ICF pacers in the Larry finale, was the runner-up in last season’s Cardinal stake at Hawthorne for trainer Tim Roach and Michigan owner Kyle Larner.
Friday’s Highlights: Two of Friday tonight’s three Summer Series finals were decided by a neck.
Kim Roth’s (Rockyroad Aldo), the 3-2 favorite, held off a fast-closing Reign And Shine (Jordan Patton) to take the $18,500 Bea Farber trot final with a 1:56 .3 clocking.
Casey Leonard gave Wildcat Delight ($7.00) a perfect pocket trip behind the pacesetting Nora Tova (Kyle Wilfong) and the Dean Eckley trainee responded with a fast 26.2 last quarter to win the $16,000 Walter Paisley in 1:53.3
Trainer Larry Lee Smith had to be all smiles after the $18,500 was concluded. Smith drove Look At Dat Kat ($14.80) to one-length victory over stable-mate Skyway Bebop (Tyler Shehan) in 1:57.2. Smith trains both trotters owned by Suellen Smith of Ostego, Michigan.