By Mike Paradise
Time is running out for ICF freshman pacers and trotters to earn a starting berth in the lucrative stake finals on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions.
While some youngsters have pretty much locked up a landing spot in this year’s richest state-bred stakes championships, most of the finalists are yet to be determined.
Friday night’s $16,000 third round of Hawthorne’s stakes series for 2-year-olds, the Fox Valley Flan Trot and Incredible Tillie Pace, will go a long way towards clearing up those still cloudy final fields.
Two of the filly trotters in tonight’s first race Fox Valley Flan division are in good shape to make the freshman championship—Good Design (pp 7, Kyle Wilfong), with 100 points and Trotting Grace (Kyle Husted), with 50. Two others, Frontier Jackie (pp 3, Tim Curtin), with 26 and Lous Silver Star (pp 5, Mike Oosting), with 24, could solidify their chances to gain the final with a purse check.
The 10 highest point earners in each of the 2 and 3-year-old stakes series gain a trip postward in their respective championships. A series win is worth 50 points, then its 25 for second, 12 for third, 8 for fourth and 5 for fifth, with a single point awarded for starting and finishing sixth or further back in a series race.
The Mike’s Brink Stable’s likely heavy favorite, Maui Mama (pp1, Casey Leonard), in the second Fox Valley Flan has the Hawthorne’s Violet, and both State Fair championships on her résumé, but missed the first leg of the Flan Series and her third place finish in leg two, only earned her 12 points so this is a key start for the Bill Wright owned filly.
E L Miss Kaibra (pp 4, Tim Curtin), has second place finishes in the first two rounds of the Fox Valley Flan and is sitting pretty with 50 points. Fox Valley Winnie (pp 3, Ridge Warren), has 16 so a high finish could be imperative.
None of the other three second division starters tonight—White Pants Fever (Mike Oosting), Honey In A Hurry (Freddie Patton Jr.), or Lous Lovely Lady (Ronnie Gillespie)—have more than one point.
With the three leaders in the ICF filly pace division all drawing into the second division tonight of the Incredible Tillie, it’s the right time for some of the longshot hopes to make hay in the fourth race first split.
Lex Two (pp 5, Juan Franco), won her second thus leg start, so she’s a likely finalist with 50 points. Right now Red Hot Packerette has 25 points (pp 7, Brian Carpenter), and is tied for sixth in the Incredible Tillie standings. Frontier Cuzin (pp 9, Casey Leonard), has 12 and currently is in ninth place.
Allbeastnobeauty (pp 2, Bobby Smolin), and Yank’s Rendezvous (pp 4, Mike Oosting), both have 8 points so they’ll have to step up tonight and the same goes for Jazzy Bern (pp 1, Cliff Bell), and Poppy Seed (J D Lewis), with 6 points each.
No doubt the strongest starting field of tonight’s four stake series races is the fifth race second Incredible Tillie split, with the top three current point earners slugging it out—Fox Valley Jazzy (pp 8, Ridge Warren) at 75 and The New Americana (pp 7, Mike Oosting) and Rollin Coal (pp 1, Casey Leonard) next with 62 points each.
Fox Valley Jazzy has a first and a second, this far in the Incredible Tillie Series. Springfield champion The New Americana has a third and a first in her two legs, while Violet titleholder Rollin Coal has a victory and a third.
Shelby Rae (pp 2, Gary Rath), is presently in fifth place with 30 points, followed closely by Sheincrediblenasty (Kyle Husted with 25). JB’s Shooting Star (pp 3, Tim Curtin), is in tenth place with 9 points.
An Even Dozen: It’s been a while since we had a 12-race card at Hawthorne, but we do have one tonight.
In addition to the ICF stake series events there’s a $13,500 Open Pace drawn by groups with last week’s winner A Bettor’s Choice assigned the outside eight-hole. The Payton Ode trainee had the nine post a week ago when he sped home in 26.3 to notch his third Open win at Hawthorne.
Posts one and two went to Best Man Hanover and Dinky Dune, in that order. Slots three through seven were drawn. They’ll be manned by Trashytonguetalker, Hash-Tag Swag, Aimo Hanover, Gibbs and Coal Hanover, respectively.