By Mike Paradise
The gals turn over the Illinois harness racing limelight to the guys tonight when Hawthorne hosts the third legs of the Incredible Finale and Kadabra stake series for ICF male freshman pacers and trotters in that order.
A trio of $16,000 Incredible Finale 2-year-old pace stakes make up three of the first five events on Saturday’s 12-race card. No doubt those contests will see some colts or geldings solidify a starting berth on Hawthorne’s Night of Champions and perhaps some others currently on the low end of the point series totem pole make a big leap upward.
Sitting on top of the point standings is Mykonos after first place finishes in his first two Incredible Finale races. He’s a non-starter in the third round however with 100 points he has a championship berth locked-up.
Unbeaten Fox Valley Gemini (Casey Leonard) will be a heavy favorite in tonight’s second race, first stake division after he dominated at Springfield. The Terry Leonard trainee has 50 Incredible Finale Series points and didn’t make the trip to DuQuoin. After a week and a half off the Cardinal champ should be fresh and fit for tonight when he tries to make it 7-for-7.
First division starter Molina (pp 5, Wilfong) is currently fifth in the point standings with 33 while Shooting Straight (pp 7, Jim Lackey), is next with 30 and followed by Beach Shootingstar with 25. Looking to make their moves up the point standings is Hart To Heart (pp 3, Bobby Smolin), a winner of his Governor’s Cup division at Du Quoin, and Fox Valley Hijinx (pp 8, Kyle Husted), the runner-up in both State Fair championships.
The third race second division has the morning line favorites Lambo (5-2, Casey Leonard) tied for second with 50 points and Backstreet Lawyer (2-1, Mike Oosting) with 25 points, the same as two others. The Clark Fairley Stable’s Al’s Briefs (7-2, Kyle Wilfong) is another late-bloomer. He wasn’t ready for the first series leg and finished fifth in the second one however he won his Governor’s Cup division in a convincing manner 10 days ago with his 27 flat last quarter.
Tonight’s 8-5 programmed third Incredible Finale division favorite Dandy Dude (pp 1, Kyle Husted) is at 25 points and has been first or second in each of his first five career starts. Bootleg Island is another with 25 points, and a high finish by either or both pacers tonight can enhance their chances of being a finalist.
With only a single third round leg tonight of the Kadabra series for ICF freshman male trotters, getting any check could go a long way for a youngster to make the $75,000 (est,) final field on the Night of Champions two weeks from tonight.
True Detective (pp 2, Casey Leonard) is atop the Kadabra standings with 75 points with a second and a win in his first two legs. Cruzen Cassi (pp 7, Jared Finn) won his first leg and has 51 points.
Vic’s Pizza (pp 4, Mike Oosting) missed the first series round and his second place finish in the second leg puts him at 25 points. The Mike Brink trainee carries a four race winning streak into the sixth race after coming away with both the Springfield and DuQuoin State Fair crowns.
After the first three spots in the standings there’s a big drop
Currently in fourth with 13 points is Fox Valley Strpwr (pp 9, Freddie Patton Jr.). His stable-mate Freddie Da Fox (pp 3, Cornelius Cavett) has 12 while Majistic Caprice (pp 8, Ronnie Gillespie) is at 9.
Krispy K (pp 10, Tim Curtin) has 5, and Illinimight (pp5, Mike Brink), just 1 while others starters in the race Lous Martini (pp1, Jamaica Patton) and Hegemon (pp 6, Kyle Wilfong) are making their initial start in the Kadabra series.
The final field in each of the Night of Champions races will be limited to the top 10 points earners in each series event.
Worth the Trip: Friday night tuned out to be a very successful evening for the Mike Brink Stable. The Springfield based trainer sent out Maui Mama in a division of the $16,000 Fox Valley Flan trotting stake and Allbeastnobeauty in a division of the Incredible Tillie pacing stake and both made trips to the Hawthorne winner’s circle.
Maui Mama ($2.20) was never seriously threaten as the prohibitive 1 to 9 favorite in the first Flan split and coasted to her third consecutive victory, this one by almost seven lengths in 2:00.4 with Casey Leonard at her lines. The daughter of Cassis is owned by Bill Wright of Morton, IL.
White Pants Fever was second while Fox Valley Winnie was third best.
The first Fox Valley Flan division saw Good Design ($9.20) prove fastest in the lane as she powered past the 4-5 favorite Trotting Grace and notched her fourth win in eight season starts for trainer Brett Wilfong. Mr. Lynn Wilfong owns the home-bred daughter of Designer Lady who trotted the mile in 2:00 flat.
Trotting Grace had to settle for runner-up honors and Fox Valley Unleash held on for third.
Fox Valley Jazzy ($6.40, Ridge Warren) remained on top of the Incredible Tillie standings with her second stake series win at the meet when she powered past the pacesetting favorite The New Americana in mid- stretch and then held off the late charge of Rollin Coal and paced a new mark of 1:54.2.
Trained by Dale Kanitz and owned by Cathy-Finn Kanitz of Olney, IL, Fox Valley Jazzy has 125 series points and wrapped up a starting berth in the Night of Champions final.