By Mike Paradise
If you’re a harnessillinois.com reader you should have a smile on your face this morning. I do, and a big one at that.
Call it luck. Call it good handicapping. Call it anything you want. The bottom line is The Ross Leonard stable’s Double A Goldrush pulled off an upset in last night’s $13,700 Open Trot with the help of a heads-up drive by Travis Seekman and popped at $48.20, just as I forecasted.
Only in my mind it wasn’t really a huge surprise because yesterday we wrote:
“When I saw the 15-1opening odds on Double A Goldrush I choked on my coffee.
“The trotter has the most career earnings in the field ($352,491), the fastest lifetime mark in the field (1:53) the favorable inside post, has shown a likeness for a big track and didn’t make the 300-mile trip from Ohio to look at the nearby Cicero, IL waste management plant.”
And I also wrote that the horse has made three starts at Hawthorne in his career and came away with Open Trot wins in two of them.
So how did we get such as big price?
You can thank the far-too-often crappy USTA computer-based morning line that had the Double A Goldrush listed at 15-1, obviously duping a lot of novice or casual Hawthorne players.
Along with the $48.20 winner on top, we had the $230.40 Exacta of 1-7 cold for two bucks, and the 50 cent Trifecta 1-7-6 in perfect order for $102.85.
But let’s give the credit where it belongs and that’s to Double A Goldrush and driver Travis Seekman for the come-from-behind neck victory. Travis settled the eight-year-old gelding into fourth, flushed Rockyroad Aldo out of the third, and proceeded to out-game the pacesetting Simply Swan when it counted.
Heavy Chalk Beaten: The real upset of Saturday night came in the eighth race $13,700 filly and mare Open when Hosea Williams seven-year-old mare Rollin Coal beat the overwhelming favorite Maggie Rhee.
Driver Juan Franco gave Rollin Coal ($28.20) a perfect two-hole journey and the mare came up with a two-length victory at 13-1. In fact, Maggie Rhee had to settle for third when another longshot, It’s Time For Fun (Kyle Wilfong), got up for second.
Vel Donna (Mike Oosting) cut the fractions with Rollin Coal in the pocket. Maggie Rhee floated out enough from the eight hole to drop in sixth in the early going. Warren had her out on the backside, and she slowly made her way towards the leaders but after a modest 58.4 half, the 1 to 10 choice was in trouble.
Rollin Coal dug in for her 23rd lifetime victory and now is only a few thousand dollars shy of the quarter of the million mark in lifetime earnings for her Chicago owner.
Day-Time Racing Today: With all eyes on tonight’s Super Bowl, Hawthorne has gone to an early two o’clock post this Sunday.
The headliner is the second leg $11,700 Winter Wonderland trotting series where a larger-than-normal 11 horse field of trotters tangle. The early co-favorites are Spice-It-Up (Casey Leonard) and Sly Little Fox (Mike Oosting), both comfortable first round winners.