By Mike Paradise
With the exception of a Super Night type of program Saturday’s Hawthorne card will give its players a very rare nine consecutive races of either state-bred stake elimination events or a stake series contest to handicap.
Tonight’s enjoyable 12-race card basically comes down to a series of “three’s.” There is a trio of Violet 2-year-old filly pace eliminations, the same number of Cardinal freshman pacing colt or gelding elims, and threesome of $12,000 divisions of the Robert F. Carey stakes for ICF sophomore males.
A third place finish or higher is needed in each of the Violet and Cardinal eliminations to assure an advancement to next weekend’s finals. A drawing will determine which of the fourth place finishers get a shot at either the Violet or Cardinal championships.
Saturday’s Carey races are the second round of four legs of the series with the highest point earners making that Final on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions (Sept. 23). Another victory by first leg winners Fox Valley Nemitz or Royale Big Guy would wrap-up a starting berth for either, or both, of these 3-year-olds.
The often late-charging Fox Valley Nemitz drew nicely in race five with the one-slot for his regular driver Casey Leonard. The Nick Giberson trainee comes out of an open company conditioned pace where he was too far back to be a major factor. Tonight’s post should remedy that from re-occurring for the even-money program favorite.
“Nemitz’s” six opponents all are looking for their first stop in a winner’s circle as a 3-year-old with the Jim Horvath Stable’s Captain Rhett especially knocking at the door. After a solid second place finish in his first Carey leg Captain Rhett followed with two big efforts in June, finishing a competitive second and third. The move to the inside tonight could bode well for Captain Rhett.
From the third post to the seven in race five you’ll find Fox Valley Jeter (Jim Pantaleano), Gabe Henry (Ridge Warren), Fox Valley Reggie (Tyler Shehan), Uptown Sleaze (Bob Smolin), and Fox Valley Hoss (Kyle Wilfong)
Royale Big Guy went back to Pennsylvania after his game 1:53.3 first Carey triumph when he was parked most of the mile and still rewarded his many supporters. The Norm Parker trained gelding found the last field at The Meadows a bit too tough and is now back in his home state with his regular driver Jim Pantaleano.
Royale Big Guy will be challenged by Decent Lawyer (Casey Leonard), Mississippi Rabbit (Mike Oosting), Trail Blazer (Ridge Warren), Ima Skydancer (Tim Curtin), Spirited Encounter (Bob Smolin) and Sporty Redhot (Kyle Wilfong).
Hawthorne’s unreliable computer generated morning line is way off base in this one. It has Sporty Redhot as the 2-1 favorite with Decent Lawyer next at 5-2. Mississippi Rabbit and Royale Big Guy are both at 4-1.
While Royale Big Guy is certainly no “lock” to win this race the chances of him going off as the third or fourth choice in the betting is about the same as the Chicago Bears and the Cleveland Browns matching-up in the next Super Bowl.
It ain’t happening.
The ninth race third Carey division is headed-up by the 2016 two-year-old Illinois-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year Fox Valley Herbie (pp 1, Mike Oosting), the Mike Paradise Late Closer Series champion In Your Eye (Ridge Warren) and the Nelson Willis overdue trainee Slzburgerslzburger (Casey Leonard).
Looking to pull off an upset in the third split are Zone Blitz (Ryan Anderson), Sullivan (Tim Curtin), Et Tu Brute (Brian Carpenter), Fox Valley Inferno (Kyle Wilfong) and Commondiscourtesy (Kyle Husted).
The Violet freshman elimination events will go races one, two and three while the Cardinal elims are races four, six and eight.
Chalks Disappoint: The second leg of the Plum Peachy stake series didn’t produce the huge upsets that the first round did but once again the betting favorites didn’t fare well. Only one of the three Peachy winners last night was a public’s choice.
In the first $12,000 Plum Peachy, Princess Sage (Freddie Patton Jr.) wore down the 4-5 favorite Lady’s Party (Casey Leonard) in the lane and posted her initial victory as a 3-year-old. Last season’s Illinois Harness Horse of the Year paced a new lifetime mile of 1:53.2 when she popped at $10.00 for Freddie and his co-owner Keli Jo Bell of Windsor, Illinois.
The second division saw another surprise as Fox Valley Dandy ($17.00) uncork a strong late rally with veteran Tim Curtin at his lines to win in 1:54.1 for trainer Ray Hanna and Joplin, Missouri owners Hugh Lake and Susan Lacey. My Mona Me (Matt Avenatti) was second best, one length behind..
There was no return to glory for Plum Peachy first round champion Fancy Creek Jolene and her driver Matt Avenatti in Friday’s third division. The Sportsmaster filly was about to clear to the top on the backside when she went into a gallop and eliminated herself.
The 8-5 favorite, A Real Doozie (Mike Oosting) held off the stretch bid of Filly Forty (Jamaica Patton) and picked-up her third sophomore triumph for Arlington Heights, Illinois owner Ira Steinberg. The Mike Brink trained filly lowered her lifetime mark with her 1:53.4 clocking with her one-length margin. Boogie On Down finished well for third.
Oosting’s first place finish with A Real Doozie was one of Mike’s four winning drives on the Friday card. Tim Curtin had a driving double.