By Mike Paradise
There’s no place like home for the ICF trotting filly Anna’s Lucky Star,
The 9-5 morning line favorite in Saturday night’s Open Trot feature at Hawthorne brings a gaudy record in home state of Illinois into the fourth race $10,000 feature that will see her on the outside looking in at her six foes.
The now four-year-old mare has been so dominate in her last three outings, all in Hawthorne Opens, that the Race Office has assigned her the 10-post in the seven horse field. The way the home-bred Cassis mare has been racing she may be good enough to overcome it.
Anna’s Lucky Star, owned by her breeder Danny Graham of Salem, Illinois, by margins of 4 and 1/2 lengths, 3 lengths, and almost 4 lengths, against mainly the same trotters she’ll battle Saturday night.
“Anna’s” latest win two weeks ago was a 1:54.4 season best clocking for trainer Nelson Willis. Regular driver Kyle Wilfong will be in the sulky when she takes on tonight Meadowbrook Glider (Ryan Anderson), Louscipher (Curt Grummel), Held In Balance (Tyler Shehan), Primed N Powerful (Tim Curtin), Picky Picky Valor (Casey Leonard) and Walter White (Kyle Husted).
Anna’s Lucky Star has been victorious in 19 of 28 lifetime starts. Four of the mare’s losses came at Hoosier Park at the end of her 3-year-old campaign, three in rugged open company events.
In Illinois she’s won 19 of 24 trips postward, an amazing 79 per cent winning clip. She has three seconds and two thirds in her home state. The mare’s last defeat was by a scant nose in the June 3rd Hawthorne Open.
Interestingly, Anna’s Lucky Star spent most of her 2 and 3-year-old campaigns racing on or close to the front. Her last three victories at Hawthorne have all been in come-from-behind fashion. She was named the 2014 Illinois Trotting Filly of the Year and took the same honor last season as a 3-year-old.
One of her chief rivals in the featured fourth race is the Gerald Hansen Stable’s Picky Picky Valor who saw his three-race Hawthorne winning streak snapped back on June 10 when he was the assigned 10-hole by the Hawthorne Race Office.
Another major contender is the 6-year-old trotter Walter White from the barn of trainer Jim Eaton. The Cantab Hall gelding has amassed over $435,000 in his first four and a half-season of competition and owns a mark of 1:53.4, taken at Pocono at the age of four. Walter White broke on the move in his Hawthorne season debut last week.
Later Saturday evening (race nine) another Open will be decided. This one is for strictly filly and mare purses and has been dubbed an Open II with a $8,800 purse. The 10-horse field likely won’t have a heavy betting favorite with posts draw by groups.
Expected to get the bulk of the public’s support are the four outside mares—Char N Mar (Casey Leonard,) Phyllis Jean (Ridge Warren), Bucklegirl Bobette (Ryan Anderson) and Pretty Image (Tim Curtin)—with slots seven through ten, in that order.
Looking to pop at a likely double digit mutuel are the mares with the first six posts—Town Temptress (Cliff Bell), I Dance U Prance (Kyle Wilfong), Swinging Jenny (Tyler Shehan), Velocity Layla (Kyle Husted), Sweetshadyshark (Travis Seekman) and Fancy Creek Jolene (Juan Franco).
Hawthorne’s morning line has the Rob Rittof Stable’s Bucklegirl Bobette as the 3-1 favorite after last week’s impressive 1:50.3 lifetime fastest mile. The next victory for the 5-year-old ICF mare will be her 20th.
Hawthorne’s Saturday opener lured the unbeaten 2-year-old ICF filly pacer Yankee Joanie (Ryan Anderson). The daughter Yankee Skyscraper is 3-for-3 to start off her racing career and captured her $29,925 Violet division in mid-June and a first round division of the Incredible Tillie six nights ago.
Feature Upset: The 9-1 longshot Dakota Roadster was given a picture-perfect pocket trip by driver Travis Seekman and the 6-year-old pacer took advantage of it, overtaking the pace-setting Terror Of The Nite in deep stretch in Friday night’s Open II headliner.
Dunside Roadster ($21.20) uncorked a very quick 26 last panel to gain the neck victory in 1:52.3 for trainer and owner Perry Smith of Crete, Illinois.
Kyle Husted bagged four winning drives on the 10 race program.