By Mike Paradise
Hawthorne’s $10,000 Open Pace returns Saturday night with a slightly different look than a week ago when the ICF pacer Cole Heat pulled off a stunner when he popped at 44-1 odds with a torrid stretch move.
The 8-year-old Ray Hanna pacer is back with driver Ridge Warren(pictured) and could offer inviting odds again (he’s 8-1 in both the morning and my line).
The ninth race headliner was handicapped by groups (1-6) and (7-9) with Cole Heat getting the seven while the likely post time favorite Kolt Power (Casey Leonard) has the outside nine-hole and the newcomer The Onlyest One (Todd Warren) the eight.
The Onlyest One was competing at Pocono for trainer Dean Eckley after he was claimed for $20,000 in early April for Howell, Michigan owner Cliff Gundy. The 7-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight now races for veteran Illinois conditioner Ronnie Roberts.
Returning from Ohio is the Jim Ellison trained Freedomformysoul (Dale Hiteman) who comes off a tough trip at Scioto Downs when he finished fifth. The 4-year-old gelding was a steady purse-earner in Hawthorne’s highest level Late Closer Series that concluded at the end of May.
Landing the one-slot could be significant for Freedomformysoul who likes to compete on or close to the front and very likely will be doing just that.
Posts two through six will be manned by Somestarsomewhere (Dale Hiteman), Extravagant Art (Matt Kruger), Sunset Dreamer (Kyle Wilfong), Fiveknuckleshuffle (Travis Seekman) and Southwind Scorpion (Artie Dick).
The Tom Simmons trained Somesartsomewhere comes off a big effort in last week’ Open when found his best stride late (26.4) and ended up third, beaten only by a half-length.
The 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere boasts the highest career bankroll in the field at $350,015 and the fastest career win at 1:49.2, taken as a 2-year-old at Lexington.
Cole Heat is the only other pacer in the field with a sub 1:50 mile on his résumé. He paced had a 1:49.4 win last year at Balmoral.
Kolt Power was only a head behind Cole Heat last week despite a mile that had him working hard through the 56.1 first half to gain and keep the front. The John Zawistowski couldn’t hold off the high-flying Cole Heat who posted a 26.1 last quarter at the end of his 1:51.4 mile.
One to Go: With two more wins Friday night Casey Leonard heads into Saturday’s Hawthorne program just one winner short driving of 2,000 in his career.