By Mike Paradise
It doesn’t seem that long ago Hawthorne’s summer harness racing meet got under way and yet here we are at the half-way point of it.
This week it’s already round three of the ICF two-year-old stake series four 2-year-olds. The highest point earnings through the four series legs will move on the third respective finals on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions of Saturday, September 10. The Consolations will be contested a night later.
Thursday’s Fox Valley Flan for fillies and the Kadabra for colts and geldings both were split into two $12,000 freshman divisions as races 2, 5, 6 and 7.
The first Fox Valley Flan spit brings out both second leg victors Dandy’s ESP (Todd Warren) and She’s Savvy (Matt Krueger) while the second has both first leg winners Lou’s Credit Report (Jamaica Patton) and Sis’s Ellie Mae (Jared Finn).
The fifth race first Kadabra division should see first leg champion Trixie’s Jethro (Jared Finn) and second round winner Totally Pazzazzed (Casey Leonard) getting a good portion of that races’ betting dollar.
All eyes will be on Quaid Racing’s Matt Q (Casey Leonard) in the seventh race Kadabra. The Nelson Willis trainee has rattled off three consecutive triumphs and two of them came in the first two legs of the colt and gelding stake.
Friday’s third round of the Incredible Tillie stake series for state-bred pacing fillies will no doubt be carded in multiple divisions and the same goes for Sunday’s Incredible Finale colt and gelding juvenile stake series.
Hopefully Hawthorne’s Race Office won’t have the same poor judgment as it did last time with these 2-year-old babies when they put them in 11-horse fields, with trailers, under the lights.
A Darker Saturday: As you probably know by now Saturday’s racing card was called-off because Hawthorne was committed in an early contract agreement to host a “Rave” Concert on its grounds complete with fireworks.
With the safety of both equine and human athletes the foremost concern and likely noise levels of epic proportions, the IHHA Board reluctantly went along with the cancellation with the stipulation that additional races on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to make up for those race losses.
While the Illinois Racing Board approved Hawthorne’s request at its July meeting don’t make plans to attend Saturday’s concert and fireworks show. There won’t be any.
It seems Hawthorne got the word one day after the IRB’s approval that its “Concert” was cancelled. The next day they hastily asked the IRB to reinstate the Saturday program but the Board had enough of the racetrack’s off-again, on-again carrying-on’s and said “No.”
Now what could have been a profitable night of racing for both the track and the horsemen instead will be a quiet and darker evening with no live racing, no concert, no fireworks, and one less day of work for many track’s employees and some state employees,
Oh yes, the track will be open for full-card simulcasting wagering. There will be plenty of parking available.
By Mike Paradise