By Mike Paradise
Saturday has been “Girls Night Out” at Hawthorne winter meet and that’s the circumstances again tonight with the top races on card all for fillies and mares.
The feature comes early with the $7,200 Open II Pace the second half of the Daily Double. The second race eight horse field was drawn by groups (1-3) (4-6) (7-8) with Savanah Georgia (pp 1, Ryan Anderson), Morgangetsherway (pp2, Mike Oosting) and Beautiful Brew (pp3, Pat Curtin) landings the inside slots.
Imajean Rocks (Sam Widger) guns for her third consecutive victory at Hawthorne when she leaves from post four. Backwood’s Barbie drops out of the Open I competition with the five-slot while the Tom Simmons Stable’s (Brandon Bates) has the six after her three race sweep of a recent Late Closer Series.
The second and third place finishers of last week’s Open I, Mystical Nectar (Kyle Wilfong) and Rockin Katie (Casey Leonard) leave from posts eight and s even, in that order,
Rockin Katie, a Terry Leonard trained stable-mate of Imajean Rocks, drew off on opening weekend in her only start at Hawthorne in an Open III Pace. She’s listed as the 5-2 morning line programmed favorite.
Tonight sixth race is a $7,000 Doc Walker Late Closer Prep. The eight-horse field is for ICF 3-year-old fillies without $10,000 in purse earnings as of last October 1st.
Rodney Freese’s Fox Valley Catwalk (pp 8, Tim Curtin) and Lilac Laurey (pp 7, Todd Warren), from the barn of trainer Rob Rittof, are the early Walker favorites. Both fillies come of victories on last Friday’s Hawthorne program.
The first six slots in the Walker Prep belong to Rine N Roses (Mike Oosting), Jazzy Bern (Matt Avenatti), Fox Valley Eurofic (Pat Curtin), Poppy Seed (Brandon Bates) and Ruby Doobie (Gary Rath).
Bucklegirl Bobette (Mike Oosting), Place’N First (Travis Seekman) and Wings (Tim Curtin, three mares dropping out Open Pace, square off in the $7,200 tenth race conditioned pace for non-winners of $5,000 (ICF $6,260) in their last four starts.
Char N Marg (Casey Leonard), Boogie On Down (Kyle Wilfong), On The Cusp (Sam Widger) and Blissful Pansy (Brandon Bates) figure to provide formidable opposition.
Last year’s Night of Champions winner Bucklegirl Bobette and Char N Marg were entered for the scheduled opening round of the Walter Paisley Late Closer, an ICF open series, but when inadequate numbers of entries came about, the Paisley and its $30,000 final went poof, so those two state-bred mares ended up in Saturday’s finale.
One Will Do: Friday night’s $10,000 Open Pace turned out to by a two-horse race down the lane with Fox Valley Nemitz ($13.00, Brandon Bates) holding off Firedrake (Kyle Wilfong) by a neck at the end of a 1:53.3 mile.
Tookadiveoffdipper (Mike Oosting) was third, six more lengths behind.
Fox Valley Nemitz was the only ICF pacer in the eight-horse field. The 5-year-old Richess Hanover gelding is trained by Tom Simmons for his owner Clinard Properties of Mount Sterling, Illinois.
Earlier Dakota Roadster ($5.80), Todd Warren) captured a $9,000 ICF pace by one and one-half lengths over Gabe Henry (Ridge Warren) in 1:54.3. The 6-year-old son of Duneside Perch is owned and trained by Perry Smith.
The opening legs of the Terry Hunt Late Closer Series didn’t provide any surprises. Frontier Frank (Mike Oosting) and Sumpun Great (Casey Leonard), the betting public’s choices, both prevailed in rather easy fashion racing on the front end.
Frontier Frank ($3.60), another Tom Simmons trainee, took the third race split in 1:57.3 by almost two lengths over Sagebrush Shocker. One race later the Rick Schrock Stable’s Sumpin Great ($2.80) led from start to finish in 1:58.3. Herecomesmagotta rallied on to be second.
A Night Off: A reminder tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and like the rest of the harness racing tracks in the country, Hawthorne will be closed. Instead there will be a 10-race card on Monday night headed up by an Open I Trot.