Freshmen Class Step Forward

By Mike Paradise

There will be some nervous owners and trainers Thursday night when the first pari-mutuel race for strictly 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers takes place at Hawthorne’s summer meet in race four of the 11-race card.

Nine of the 10 freshmen going postward had their owners dish out a $1,250 check to make their “babies” eligible to the upcoming Incredible Finale stake series events that gets under way in two weeks.

The only freshman in Thursday’s fourth race with a start under his belt is the 10-horse Ima Scrappy Scaper (Kyle Wilfong) who had an unsuccessful debut four nights ago for trainer Bob Phillips who will also end out Fox Valley Cortez (pp 1, Cliff Bell) and Romeo Rocks (pp 6, Pat Curtin).

Romeo Rocks is a son of Sportsmaster out of the Broadway Express broodmare Rock N Roan and that makes him the sister of the successful mare Just By Design, an 31-career winner with a mark of 1:51.3 and almost $310,000 in purse earnings.

Other siblings to Romeo Rocks that have are past winners on the Chicago circuit include Schmatie (1:53.3), Rip N Rock (1:52), Rockin Cassinova (1:55.1) and Exclusive Design (1:58.1).

One of the possible fourth race favorites is the Freddie Patton Jr. Stable’s Fox Valley Reggie, who breezed in his 1:59.4 qualifying race at Springfield last week. A $4,600 yearling purchase by Ron Phillips (Athens, Illinois) and Erica Pechin (Platteville, Colorado) he is out Ron’s Girl, a very prolific racehorse before becoming a productive broodmare.

You might remember Ron’s Girl (1:49.3, $576,458). She raced out of the Joe Anderson Stable in 2000 and that year went on to capture the Breeders Crown Aged Mare Pace for Illinois owners John Leahy and Robert Ranquist Jr. and their partner Gregg Pistochini of California.

Ron’s Girl’s first foal was Western Tsunami, a 1:50.1 pacer who had amazing70 victories as a racehorse. Ron’s Girl was acquired by Fox Valley Standardbreds in late 2004. Her first foal for her Sherman, Illinois owners was Fox Valley Ruler (1:53.1). She later gave us MJ’s Bid (1:50.4).

Another youngster who will get plenty of play at the betting windows is Sork (Todd Warren) co-owned by his namesake Ernie Sork and his partner Noreen Kay Nessa, both of Fairfield, Illinois. Sork had a very fast 27 flat last panel in his Hawthorne qualifier and it came on a racing strip listed as sloppy.

The Nelson Willis Stable’s Fox Valley Sparty was raced easy in the same qualifier before he closed in 27.3. His dam Fox Valley Lianna also produced Girls Hunt Too (1:56).

Other first time freshman starters in the race are Bigtime So N So (Jamaica Patton), the lone freshman not Incredible Finale eligible, Gabe Henry (Travis Seekman), Vitality (Charles Arthur) and Captain Rhett (Kyle Husted) who won his qualifier in 2:004 in the slop.

Post night nightly at Hawthorne’s summer meet is 7:35 p.m.