By Mike Paradise
Summer is already behind us and sadly so will the 2016 Hawthorne harness racing meeting after tonight’s 14-race program. Both pasted much too quickly.
Sunday’s last season card at Hawthorne is headed up by the $18,900 Violet Trot and the $31,050 Violet Pace. Both championships are for 2-year-old ICF fillies.
Danny Graham’s unbeaten home-bred Anna’s Lucky Star (Kyle Wilfong), seeking her seventh in a row, will no doubt he the heavy public’s choice in the ninth race Violet Trot however the tenth race Violet Pace doesn’t have a clear-cut prerace favorite.
Take your pick between Princess Sage (Freddie Patton Jr.), Razzleme Dazzleme (Kyle Husted), My Kind Of Dance (Casey Leonard) and Dee Tumbleweed (Cornelius Cavett) as far as the post-time favorite. All have the credentials.
And don’t be shocked in a longshot like Filly Forty (Jamaica Patton), C Far (Gary Rath), Send For Me (Tim Curtin, San Antonio Rose (Pat Curtin), Hope Hotspur (Mike Oosting) and Dandy’s Dududidudu (Todd Warren) pull off an upset. It’s happen before and it’ll happen again.
“Cornelius is not only by second trainer, he’s also my son,” said Freddie who had been racing on the County Fair Circuit over 15 years. ”I’ve taught him everything he knows.”
While Dee Tumbleweed is basically a stone-closer Princess Sage is versatile and comes into the Violet Pace showdown in peak form for Freddie who owns the filly in partnership with Kelli Jo Bell of Windsor, Illinois.
The Sagebrush filly captured her elimination last week by more than four lengths in 1:55 flat and nine nights earlier took the Incredible Tillie Final in easy fashion, too, drawing away by almost two lengths in 1:55.3.
In her freshman season Princess Sage has notched 7 wins in 10 starts with a pair of runner-up placings. Her only finish worse than second came in the fourth leg of the Tillie when she made three moves before tiring in the lane and ended-up fifth.
“She was a little off her game in that one,” said 52-year-old Mississippi native who has annexed numerous leading driver titles on the Illinois fair circuit. “She did some coughing a day or so before the race. She didn’t have a fever or anything like that but she wasn’t at 100 per cent going in that race. I probably should have scratched her.
“Princess Sage is a filly who wanted to pace right from the beginning. Unlike my other young colts and fillies who wanted to run at times she started pacing from day one for me.
“I waited a while to put the hobbles on her because she did it (pace) just natural She Sage likes to compete and I’ve used her every way possible in a race and she’s just fine with it. She doesn’t care how she’s raced. She’s one tough filly.”
Cardinal Favorites Prevail: The Tom Simmons Stable’s Fox Valley Herbie powered past to win last night’s $29,550 Cardinal Pace for 2-year-old ICF 2-year-olds while Louscipher (Pat Curtin) was an easy front-end victor in the $17,850 Cardinal Trot for the Roshun Trigg stable.
Fox Valley Herbie ($4.20) was Mike Oosting’s fourth winner on the 10-race card and the fifth triumph for the Benita Simmons owned colt who motored home in a quick 26.3 last quarter at the end of his 1:54.1 mile. Fox Valley Nemitz (Pat Curtin) closed strong to be second, beaten by three-quarters of a length.
Pat Curtin took the even-money favorite Louscipher ($4.00) to the front from the one-slot and the home-bred gelding, owned by his breeders the Flacco Family Farm of Alexis, Illinois made every pole a winning one, pulling away by four-plus lengths over the second place trotter Polar B in the 1:58.4 mile.