By Mike Paradise
The young ladies take over the spotlight at Hawthorne tonight.
It’s the opening round of the Incredible Tillie Night of Champions stake series and with 14 ICF distaff pacers passing the entry box, we’ll have two early divisions on a 12-race card.
Five of the seven starters in the second race first “Tillie” split will make their pari-mutuel debuts. The exceptions are the Erv Miller trained Lady Bombay (Atlee Bender) and Herman Wheeler’s Swanky Diamond (Casey Leonard), the 2-1 first flash favorite.
Lady Bombay competed against mostly three-year-old horses last week and gave a good account of herself, finishing third while pacing in 1:57.3 with a fast 27 flat last panel.
Lady Bombay, a half-sister to Western Perch, starts from post six.
Swanky Diamond (post three) had a noticeably strong effort against other juvenile pacers. The $10,000 yearling buy was saddled with the 10-hole and was parked out to a 57.4 first half before finally making the front as the betting favorite. The World Of Rocknroll filly ended up second.
Iwannarocknroll (Rick Schrock), Sweet Sweet Connie (Kyle Husted), Eris (Juan Franco), Rmissaslee (Ridge Warren) and Trendy R (Kyle Wildonf) are the other first Incredible Tillie hopefuls.
The third race second division could see another Erv Miller trainee get plenty of play. She’s Fox Valley Captiva (Atlee Bender), a $21,000 yearling buy and another World Of Rocknroll offspring. The filly qualified at Hoosier Park in 1:56.4 and landed the pole position tonight.
Peaceful Yankee, from the Mike Brink Stable, is an Ed Teefey home-bred who qualified in 2:02.4 on an “off” Springfield track. The Yankee Skyscraper filly should also receive a good share of the public’s wagering money.
The Merv Chupp stable’s Dandy’s MNM (Kyle Wilfong) is listed as the 3-2 program choice based on back-to-back wins in her first two outings in the Kentucky Proud Series on a pair of the Bluegrass state’s fair tracks.
They will be opposed by Stardust Gram (Kyle Husted), Rollnroz (Jamal Denson), Aniemaybombay (Cornelius Cavett) and Pattycake Mooss (Todd Warren).
Ideal Situation: A few races later the Robert F. Carey Memorial stake, another Night of Champion series contest, will see seven three-year-old Illinois bred male pacers square off in leg two of the added money event.
Recent Cardinal champion Ideal Big Guy (Casey Leonard) will open at even-money after his five and one-half length romp earlier this month, the Terry Leonard trainee’s first start on Lasix.
Listed at 4-1 is the Dossie Minor stable’s Bombay Bobby (pp 2, Kyle Wilfong) winner of the first leg of Carey series and the Cardinal runner-up.
Diamond Diesel (Juan Franco), Ryans Loan Shark (Travis Seekman), Partyatmosasplace (Todd Warren), Sportsmadness (Jordan Patton), BC’S Tufftiger (Jamaal Denson) and Prince Of Style (Cliff Bell) will be looking to pull off an upset in the $12,500 ICF stake.
Impressive Debuts: Sent off as the heavy 2-5 favorite, Major Grin (Casey Leonard) didn’t fail his many supporters in the first leg of the Incredible Finale stake series for ICF freshman male pacers.
Major Grin gained command on the backside and won rather comfortably with a 1:58.3 clocking on a track listed “good” after taking on a lot of rain earlier in the afternoon.
Owned by his breeder Ed Teefey of Mount Sterling, Illinois, the good-looking son of Major Bombay finished more than two lengths ahead of Frontier Bombay, who came from far out of it, coming home in 27 seconds flat.
Casey was back in the winner’s following the second Incredible Finale division, this time with the Gary Rath trained Fox Valley Ozzy ($3.60), two plus lengths the best.
Owned by Steven Mc Mackin and David Samuelson of Marengo, Illinois, Fox Valley Ozzy put away a strong stretch bid by runner-up Fox Valley Crete before pulling away in the 1:56.2 mile as the 4-5 public’s choice.
Casey had four winning drives Friday, and goes into Saturday’s program just eight shy of 3,000 in his career.
Plenty of Heart: Heart’s Hart (Kyle Wilfong) and Scorecard Dandy (Juan Franco) put on another torrid stretch duel, just as they did in the Violet pace, but this time Hart’s Heart got revenge with a half-length victory in Friday’s $12,500 second leg of the Plum Peachy.
Trained by Mike Brink for Illinois owners Donna Crebs and Judy Gonzo, Heart’s Heart paced the winning mile in 1:55.1.
Easy Does It: Triple ZZ Stable’s He’zzz A Wise Sky (Kyle Wilfong) cruised to a front-stepping 1:50.2 triumph.in the $12,000 Open Pace at 3-5 odds.