STICKNEY/CICERO--A full field of twelve three-year-olds took to the Hawthorne grass for the Saturday, and before the sophomores took to the sod, the Hawthorne turf was soaked by all-day showery rain and then by a strong downpour just before the field broke.
The wet course certainly didn't bother TWO MONTHS RENT, however. More known for having his saddle slip in the Virginia Derby, two starts ago in a listed stakes at Penn National he ran on soft turf and was third. That soft turf showing, and a decent race last time at Delaware Park, prompted the connections to take a shot at the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby and their share of the race's $200,000 purse. It was the second Hawthorne Derby for winning trainer James Toner, who won the 2007 edition with Bold Hawk.
At the break, FINALE and ALL STORMY broke alertly, the former in front of the latter by about a half a length to a length all the way through opening fractions of :23.83, :48.71, and 1:13.75. In the stretch the closers started to come, among them FRANCOIS and CONTROL TOWER. The cavalry charge of closers got there, with TWO MONTHS RENT, closing from mid-pack to pass them all, including another fast closer, FILM SHOT. TWO MONTHS RENT got the victory for Toner and Jesus Castanon was aboard. FILM SHOT was just behind in second, a head behind, after leading in the shadow of the wire. 3-1 favorite LEA was third and CONTROL TOWER was fourth.
TWO MONTHS RENT (with red cap) pounces to take the Hawthorne Derby. Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
TWO MONTHS RENT, a three-year-old son of Purim, ran the mile and an eighth on "soft" turf in 1:52.58. He went off at 20-1 odds and returned $43.20 to win.
Winning rider Jesus Castanon after the race remarked that "[TWO MONTHS RENT] gave me exactly what we needed. As soon as he broke from the gate, I knew he could handle the turf. I just got him outside and gave him room to run. We had a good trip, he handle the turf, and and we got up for the win."
Winning co-owner Justin Nicholson indicated that today's Hawthorne Derby, before the day, was likely the last race of the year for TWO MONTHS RENT. After the race, the mood changed. While Nicholson indicated that today's win is likely the last appearance of the year for TWO MONTHS RENT, they may reevaluate their options. For certain, "we'll take him to etiher Palm Meadows or Tampa Bay over the winter".
The $2 6-1 exacta of TWO MONTHS RENT and FILM SHOT netted winners $426.60. The fifty cent 6-1-10 trifecta of TWO MONTHS RENT, FILM SHOT, and LEA rewarded winning punters with $719.30. Dime 6-1-10-8 superfectas with CONTROL TOWER in the fourth position paid $802.74.
Special thanks to Asst. GM Jim Miller for considerations.