By Mike Paradise
Hawthorne’s longshot players cashed-in last week if they backed veteran driver Tim Curtin. The Illinois native won with a third of his drives and came up big when it counted the most, posting victories in four ICF stake eliminations, and all were double-digit winners.
In fact of the eight first place finishers Curtin had in his 24 drive span, from Sunday, June 25th through last Saturday, July 1st, only one of the 59-year-old’s winners came behind a betting favorite.
Curtin, with 3,093 career driving victories coming into this week, steered the Mike Brink’s Stable’s Ima Skydancer to the 3-year-old pacer’s surprise triumph in a $12,000 division of the Robert F. Carey memorial. The 21-1 longshot paid $43.80.
On the same Saturday card Tim guided 2 of the 3 Cardinal freshman pace elimination victors, first hitting with Dane May’s first-time starter Dandy Dune ($10.80) and then with the 18-1 upset winner Thebestmanicanbe ($38.00) for trainer Cornelius Cavett.
Last Friday night Curtin struck with the 3-year-old ICF Fox Valley Dandy who pulled off an upset in her Plum Peachy stake division for trainer Ray Hanna at a $17.00 mutuel.
In a four program span Curtin also delivered the goods with Straight Shooting ($25.00), Talk About It ($12.00), and Caffeine Kid ($20.80). His only winning chalk was Dee Rocks ($2.20) last Thursday night.
Way to go Tim.
Seeing Red and Purple: The finalists for this Saturday and Sunday’s Cardinal and Violet 2-year-old pacing and trotting stakes have been determined after last weekend’s elimination events.
In addition to Curtin’s two Cardinal elim winners (Dandy Dune and Thebestmanican), the Terry Leonard Stable’s Fox Valley Gemini elimination victory also insured the freshman pacer a starting berth in Saturday’s $29,800 Cardinal freshman colt and gelding showdown.
Also advancing to the ICF pace championship was Beach Shooting Star, Sagebrush Sharp, Molina, Backstreet Lawyer, Mykonos and Heza Real Shooter plus Bootleg Island, one of the fourth place elimination finishers.
The three Violet elimination victors—JB’s Shooting Star, Rollin Coal and The New Americana—will take on Sheincrediblenasty, Fox Valley Miranda, The Sis Master, Allbeastnobeauty, Shelby Rae and Fox Valley Jazzy. A drawing set Breathtaking Star, one of Violet elim fourth place finishers, to the Violet final.
Last Sunday the John D Finn Stable’s Mt Erie Mafia (Jared Finn), looked very good capturing the single Cardinal elimination for the Illinois quartet of Finn Racing (Newton), Dustin Fitch (Geff), along with and Dennis Garner and Jason Atteberry, both of Mount Erie.
Also advancing were the second through seventh place finishers: Fox Valley Strpwr, Krispy K, Vic’s Pizza, Legal Entry, Talk About Valor, and Jiggle The Handle.
Landing byes into Sunday’s $19,950 Cardinal Final based on first season purse earnings were Cruzen Cassi, True Detective and Freddie Da Fox.
Sunday’s $22,350 co-featured Violet trot championship field will have the Mike Brink Stable’s Maui Mama and the Steve Searle Stable’s Trotting Grace, last weekend’s elimination conquerors meeting for the first time.
The other eight filly Violet finalists are: Sunny Sasha, Fox Valley Flan champ Good Design, New Queen, Fox Valley Persia, Lou’s Silver Star, Fox Valley Winnie, Frontier Richard S Finn and Powerful Temtrist.
The 3-year-old filly Violet pace eliminations are Hawthorne’s Friday feature races, while the Cardinal elims for sophomore pacing colts and geldings will be part of Saturday night’s program.