Illinois Champions Day: Three for Torres

STICKNEY/CICERO -- Jockey Francisco "Cisco" Torres was the riding star of Illinois Champions Day at Hawthorne Race Course. His wins in the Land of Lincoln, Governor's Lady, and Milwaukee Avenue assure him the crown as the meet's leading rider.

Torres, after the third win on the day, was understandably happy with his day. "I can't express how grateful I am," he said in a post-race interview.

In race-by-race news:

  • SEANS SILVERDANCER ($17.20) sat close to slow fractions and rolled down the stretch to take the Peach of It Handicap for older routing females. Catalina Way, the winner last year, was second and America's Blossom was third. One and one-sixteenth miles was contested in  1:45.89. Tim Thornton and Lisa Merritt were the leading jockey and trainer. Commented Merritt, "I told Thornton to try to get her to relax. She did. It was perect. She had the perfect stalking trip."

SEANS SILVERDANCER winning the Peach of It Handicap. Photo Courtesy Four Footed Photos.

  • There's usually a face-melting upset on state-bred stakes days, and it was DOLLY PEACH that closed, pounced, and blew up the toteboard. Still eligible for an open N1X allowance, she provided rider (and new Chicago riding colony addition) Rosemary Homeister Jr. and trainer Percy Scherbenske the victory in the Pretty Jenny Stakes for sophomore sprinting fillies. She paid $104.00 to win and covered the six furlongs in 1:12.14, winning by a length and a half.  Trainer Scherbenske after the race said "She ran a big race. The race set up the way we hoped it would, where we could lay off the speed and hope that the speed backed up."

DOLLY PEACH upsetting the Pretty Jenny Stakes. Photo courtesy Four Footed Photos.

  • The first of the three victories for Torres came with 13-10 favorite REPORT CARD in the Land of Lincoln Stakes for sophomore sprinting males. He led every step of the way and won by four and one-fourth lengths. He completed the six furlongs nearly a second faster than the girls, stopping the clock in 1:11.22. REPORT CARD paid $4.60 to win for trainer Danny Miller. Miller said after that REPORT CARD ran "a beautiful race. He did it in great style. He did it easily."

REPORT CARD going wire-to-wire in the Land of Lincoln. Photo courtesy Four Footed Photos.

  • THIRD CHANCE ($4.20) gave Torres a natural double (that paid $13.20 for two dollars. Bred and part-owned by WLS-TV weeknight anchor Ron Magers, the 11-10 favorite sat just off early splits of :22.42 and :46.16, moved through the stretch, and won the Governor's Lady Handicap by a length and a half.  The final times for the six furlong dash for older female sprinters was 1:11.03. Torres said after that he "kind of let the race develop in front of me. The way it developed, she had enough to kick in down the lane and she prevailed."