By Mike Paradise
Casey Leonard isn’t just closing in on 2,000 career driving victories he’s achieving that milestone in impressive fashion. The 38-year-old native drove six first place finishers on Sunday’s Hawthorne card and goes into this week with 1,996.
Casey’s six wins on Sunday followed a four-bagger last Thursday, two more on Friday and another driving double last Saturday. He has 44 wins since Hawthorne’s four-day-a-week summer meet began in early May far and away the most.
Leonard didn’t just bring home “chalks” on Sunday. Casey posted a victory with the Curt Grummel trained trotter Rose Guida at a $36.20 mutuel in the first and clicked on another double digit winner, Dakota Road ($11.00) in, the sixth.
His other Sunday winners were the trotter Shez So Sassy ($9.40) from the nine-hole, and pacers Window Wiper ($6.00), Duneside Sport ($2.60) and Capelo ($5.20).
Todd Warren had a driving triple on Sunday’s card and trails only Casey in the driver standings.
Veteran Dale Hiteman came in from Indiana to drove on the last three cards at Hawthorne and made the trip very worthwhile with six first place finishers. Four of the Ohio native’s victory came on Friday’s all filly and mare program.
The Kim Roth Stable is on a roll. Out of the last nine horses Kim has sent postward 3 have visited the Hawthorne winner’s circle—Master of Excuses, Fox Valley Cupid and the 25-1 longshot Beauty’s Life. The latter two winners were driven by James Lackey, the California native still going strong at the age of 64.
It’s not often a driver can give at 50-1 or higher longshot a winning steer at a meeting but that hasn’t been the case for Matt Krueger.
The 41-year-old Manteno, Illinois resident has done it twice this month at Hawthorne Matt won with the Tom Simmons trained trotter Homershobbyhorse ($127.80) at 62-1 odds on June 2 and then delivered with Lodi Machete Man ($130.90) at 64-1 odds for trainer Kennedy Lindsey on the Sunday, June 12 card.