By Mike Paradise
The pre-holiday fireworks continue at Hawthorne with five ICF trotting stake elimination events Sunday evening headed-up by the $12.000 second legs of the Beulah Dygert for 3-year-old fillies and the Erwin Dygert for their male counterparts.
The gal’s stake event goes as race five while the guys battle it out in race eight. Before those Dygert added money events will be raced both the 2-year-old Cardinal and Violet trot eliminations will be contested.
With 13 entries for the Cardinal the three highest money earners—Cruzen Cassi, True Detective and Freddie Da Fox—drew byes into next Sunday’s Final. Tonight’s first seven finishers in race one will advance to take on those 1-2-3 finishers in the first leg of the June 18 Kadabra stake.
Early favoritism is expected to be divided between the Mike Brink Stable’s first-time starters Illinimight (Casey Leonard), coming off a solid winning qualifier at Springfield on a “good” surface and Vic’s Pizza (Mike Brink) who drew off in his downstate qualifier along with Mt Erie Mafia (Jared Finn). The latter breezed at the Newton County Fair track for trainer John D Finn five days ago.
Vic’s Pizza is a Pizzazzed colt out of the Valley Victory broodmare Yankee Victory, making him a full brother to Fox Valley Veto (1:54.3) and Fox Valley Yoko (1:55.2), a pair of Illinois champions.
The Violet eliminations were split into a pair of 8-horse fields when 16 fillies were entered. The second race favorite is the Brett Wilfong Stable’s Good Design who had a winning debut in the opening round of the Fox Valley Flan stake on June 18.
E L Miss Kaibra (Mike Oosting) a close second to Good Design in the Fox Valley Flan will open as the first-flash choice in the third race second Violet elimination division.
Anna’s Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong) last season’s Illinois Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year landed the outside 10-hole in the second leg of the Beulah Dygert after missing the June 4 opening ground. The Nelson Willis trained filly does have gate speed and boasts a career record of 7 wins in 9 starts. She’s the 2-1 morning line choice.
Daisy Lou Duke (pp 1, Kyle Husted), Lous Credit Report (pp 5, Jamaica Patton), and Fox Valley Elana (pp 3, Casey Leonard) the one-two-three finishers in the first leg of the Beulah Dygert also figure to get plenty of support at the betting windows.
Fox Valley Ella (Dale Hiteman), Sis’s Ellie Mae (Jared Finn), Holy Angel (Mike Oosting), Beatrice (Juan Franco), Heartland Honey (Freddie Patton Jr.) and Lous Game N Match (Steve Renard) are the other fifth race hopefuls.
A bulky 11-horse field comprises the second leg of the Erwin F. Dygert stake series and that could mean a Calvary charge from the get-go has drivers jockey their sophomore trotters for early position.
Among those likely having their noses on the starting gate is Dygert first round champion Trixie’s Jethro (Jared Finn) saddled with an outside slot (the eight). The home-bred made almost $50,000 as a 2-year-old and has captured 10 of his first 18 starts.
No. 7 Bands Houdini (Kyle Husted) and No. 9 Picky Picky Valor (Brian Carpenter) have also shown a propensity to race up-close. Bands Houdini won the Daryl Busse late Closer Series earlier at Hawthorne but has missed over a month due to some health issues.
A possible early speed battle could set things up for last year’s division champion Louscipher from the barn of Roshun Trigg. He’ll be driven for the first time by Casey Leonard and comes off a new lifetime mark of 1:55.3. As a freshman Louscipher bagged both the Kadabra and Cardinal championships at Hawthorne when he banked just under $80,000 for his breeder, the Flacco Family Farms of Alexis, Illinois.
Triple Treats: Three $12,000 second leg divisions of the Robert F. Carey stake series were decided Saturday night.
The first ICF 3-year-old male pace split saw a three-horse photo go to the prohibitive 2-5 favorite Fox Valley Nemitz (Casey Leonard) with Captain Rhett (Tim Curtin) only a head behind and the fast-closing Fox Valley Reggie (Tyler Shehan), beaten a neck in the 1:53 flat mile.
Fox Valley Nemitz made a first quarter move out of fourth after an early three horse battle saw the first panel go in 27.2. The Nick Giberson trained gelding got command before the 55.4 half but looked to be in trouble when Captain Rhett pulled alongside him in mid-stretch. Nevertheless, Fox Valley Nemitz ($2.40) dug in for his second season win.
The two post time favorites Royale Big Guy (Jim Pantaleano) and Sporty Redhot (Kyle Wilfong) battled through a quick 55.4 first half and to a 1:24 flat three-quarter time before tiring. Coming from out of it to pull off the upset was the late-rushing 21-1 longshot Ima Skydancer ($44.00, Tim Curtin).
Decent Lawyer (Casey Leonard) came on for second and Mississippi Rabbit rallied for third in the 1:52.1 mile, a new career mark for the winning Mike Brink trained 3-year-old.
Mike Oosting changed tactics with the usual late0charing Fox Valley Gerbie ($2.80), putting the Tom Simmons trainee on the front-end where he sped to a 1:54.1 mile, one and one-half lengths ahead of Fox Valley Inferno. Zone Blitz grabbed the third place money.
Stake Finals Set: Nine of the 10 finalists for next weekend’s Violet and Cardinal 2-year-old pace championships were decided Saturday night. The first three finishers in their respective elimination divisions gained the championships while a drawing will take place to determine which of the fourth place finishers will join them.
In the first Violet elimination the Bill Crone Stable’s JB’s Shootingstar (Bob Smolin) held off the 3-5 favorite Sheincrediblenasty (Kyle Husted) who broke before the start and made up 13 lengths on the $8.60 winner only to fall a neck short. Fox Valley Amanda was third in the 1:57.3 mile.
Hosea Williams’ Rollin Coal ($2.80, Casey Leonard) was almost four lengths the best in the second Violet elim with her 1:56.1 mile. The Sister Master took second while Allbeastnobeauty was third.
Fox Valley Jazzy was the even-money morning line choice but the pacesetter ended up a tiring third to the actual 3-5 post-time favorite The New Americana ($3.40) at the end of a 1:56.2 mile. Finishing second behind the winning Steve Searle trained freshman filly was Shelby Rae (Gary Rath).
Dane May’s Dandy Dune made his first lifetime start a come-from-behind victory in the initial Cardinal elimination with Tim Curtin in the bike. Dandy Dune ($10.80) overtook Beach Shootingstar in the late going to gain the neck triumph. Sagebrush Sharp got up for third while the 3-2 program favorite Bootleg Island was impeded by a breaker to be non-threatening fourth.
Fox Valley Gemini ($3.80), Casey Leonard) made it 2-for-2 in his brief racing career in the second Cardinal elim when the freshman came on with a rush in the lane to post a 1 and 1/4 length victory. The second and third place horses, Molina and Backstreet Lawyer, also advanced
Curtin steered another surprise winner in the last Cardinal elimination when 18-1 longshot Thebestmanicanve ($38.60) outfought Mykonos (Mike Oosting) by a neck in 1:57 flat. The 6-5 favorite Heza A Real Shooter rallied for third.
Casey Leonard had four more winning drives Saturday while Tim Curtin had a driving triple. Mike Oosting had a pair of victories.