By Mike Paradise
This second time around for Sunday’s Open Trot feature race will have a much different look than it did a week ago.
The $10,000 seventh race headliner has almost twice as many starters (from only five to nine tonight) and last week’s dominate Open winner Walter White has moved on for an opportunity for a much greener, as in moola, purse.
You can’t blame Walter White’s connections for a quick exit from Illinois. The top-notch trotter will be racing for 2 and 1/ 2 times more dough tonight at Ohio’s Miami Valley Raceway than he would here. Their Open is for $25,000. Ours goes for $10,000.
Then again without Walter White Sunday’s Hawthorne headliner does appear to be much more competitive. Back are the second through fifth place finishers from last week— Swan Handicap (pp 7, Brandon Bates), Madwell Hanover (pp 8, Todd Warren), Louscipher (pp 3, Pat Curtin) and Banker Volo (pp 9, Kyle Wilfong).
Moving up from an Open III to the Open I are two the three trotters who hit the finish wire at the same time in the Chicago circuit’s first triple dead-heat for win—the Gerald Hansen Stable’s Picky Picky Valor (pp 2, Mike Oosting) and the Larry Lee Smith Stable’s Skyway Jaylo (pp. 5, Smith).
They’ll be joined by Whatevershe’sgot (pp 1, Sam Widger), Schwarber (pp 4 T. Curtin) and Primed N Powerful (pp 6, Jamaica Patton).
As far as the Hawthorne’s morning line on the Open Trot is concerned, perhaps the USTA’S computer generated odds system had a glitch.
A look at it shows Banker Volo at 5-2 and that makes sense. Swan Handicap at 7-2 sounds around right, however Madwell Hanover, the third trotter who had had to draw for one of the three outside posts won’t be anywhere near 12-, 1 and the sixth choice in the nine-horse field.
Madewell Hanover raced first over last week in his first start in two months and ended up third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by the second place horse Swan Handicap and ahead of Louscipher and Banker Volo.
Madewell Hanover is owned by Allard Racing and is locally trained Payton Ode and all he did the first three days of the Hawthorne meet was have 4 winners, 4 seconds and 1 third with 14 starters.
Oh yes, Skyway Jaylo (pp 5) who steps up from the Open III trot, is a second horse in the line at 7-2 odds while Picky Picky Valor (pp 2), one of the two horses he triple dead-heated with, opens at 8-1 despite drawing inside of his rival.
Maybe that’s another computer glitch too.
The supporting cast for tonight’s card is a trio of second leg events of the Cicero Claiming Series. This time they’ll all race with $7,500 claiming tags instead of the $6,000 stickers they had in their opening rounds.
Round two of the Cicero Series for male pacers has three $6,000 divisions with opening leg winners Maserrati Seelster (Kyle Wilfong), Want Me (Brandon Bates) and Bestnotlie Hanover (Todd Warren) all slugging it out in the eighth race.
John Barnard’s Mighty Hot Shot (pp 4, Tim Curtin), finished in a dead-heated for first at odds of 30-1with Bestnotlie Hanover last week at odds of 30-1. Needless to say the 6-year-old ICF pacer won’t be anywhere near those boxcar figures in tonight’s second race division of the series. He’ll open at odds of902.
Mighty Hot Shot, from the barn of Bill Crone, takes on Feel My Pain (Mike Oosting), Four Starz Kyle (Brandon Bates), Wildcat Bobby (Travis Seekman), Royal Rex (Todd Warren) Likeavirgin (Sam Widger), Skyway Fireball (Kyle Wilfong) and Vital Terror (Pat Curtin).
The lone leg of the claiming series for filly and mare pacers will see first round winner Another Temptation (Brandon Bates) aiming to extend her winning streak to four straight for trainer Loralee Johnson when she tangles with Skyway Dusty (Travis Seekman), Thedayyouhavemade (Keith Crawford), Her Royal Hottness (Kyle Wilfong), Fox Valley Bailey (Todd Warren), Summer Party (Mike Oosting), Sweetshadyshark (Sam Widger) and Scarlet V (Tom T. Tetrick).
First Round Action: Saturday’s first two opening legs of Late Closers provided upsets with close finishes but not so in the ninth race first round series leg for fillies and mares with less than $40,000 in earnings as of last November first.
Late Closer event No. 8 was strictly no contest as the Tom Simmons Stable’s Rockin Praline dominated by five lengths with Sam Widger, his fourth winning drive of the night.
Owned by Red Barn Stable of Morrison, IL, Rocky Praline ($5.20) covered the mile in 1:57.1 on another evening of single digit temperatures.
Earlier Princess Oshie (Mike Oosting) got her neck in front Susie’s Soul (Todd Warren) at the end of a 1:59 mile to take Late Closer event No. 1 at 5-1 odds.
In the Tim Wilson Sr. (No. 6) Late Closer for strictly ICF mares, C Far ($32.00), trained and driven by Gary Rath, found late racing room at 15-1 to gain a neck triumph over the pace-setting Lacarmelilina (Matt Avenatti) in 2:00.1.
C Far (No. 2) got away nicely and settled in third but when the outer flow took place the 4-year-old Sportsmaster mare got locked-in fifth and was bottled up through much of the stretch drive before shaking loose for Marengo, Illinois owners Gary and Kathryn Rath.