Renewed for the final month of Hawthorne Race Course's Fall meet, Hawthorne Showvivor once again offers a $2,500 top prize to the player who lasts the longest picking horses in the top three. "Picks and Ponderings" is back to try it again, and we get the benefit of a head start. The contest started on Saturday December 1, as recapped below.
Day 1 Recap: We gave out on Twitter (see box at right) MY OPTION in the Whitworth Debutante as we doubly used her as the top pick in the race preview and as our contest horse in Showvivor. She won by 4 1/2 lengths, returned $4 to win, and we build on that in the contest's second day.
Hawthorne Race Course - - Race 1 - - $17,500 "B" Claimer - - 1 1/16 miles on dirt -- Post Time 2:10 PM CT
The horse given out for Showvivor is a horrible bet. She does her best running on the lead, but only when she's got the lead. Also she's the 9-5 morning line favorite and won at this level last time. But this a Showvivor competition, not a betting and money making exercise. That means it's okay to take a horse like STELLAR PRIZE in the opener at Hawthorne despite the fact (A) you won't make a ton of cash on her, as she'll be the favorite and (B) she's one-dimensional. However, she's the speed of the speed, the only one with a penchant for going to the front end and dictating the pace, and trainer Frank Kirby has quietly had a good Hawthorne Fall meet (99 starts, 16 winners). She's a three-year-old and is able to run in this condition again as three-year-olds can run an unlimited number of times per year in these "B" claimers (whereas those aged four and older cannot have won more than thrice). Let's play but not bet. PLEASANT ANGEL has zero early speed and will likely need a fellow rival to soften up STELLAR PRIZE on the front end. She's only made five starts, so maybe there's a bit of upside still left in this Pleasantly Perfect filly. Like STELLAR PRIZE she's a three year old, so she can take better advantage of this condition. Second two back in an N2L, then double-jumped up last time to the "B" level and was second to STELLAR PRIZE on November 16. AWALKINTHEMOONLITE drops a level, from $25K to $17,500 but (as a three-year-old) stays in the "B" condition. Won two back for $25K in a race taken off the turf, but showed nothing in the spring on fast dirt. Did have a wide trip that afternoon from post position ten. Moving a few positions inside will help her, but like PLEASANT ANGEL has zero early speed and is at the mercy of pace.
#3 STELLAR PRIZE (9/5)
#5 PLEASANT ANGEL (4/1)
#6 AWALKINTHEMOONLITE (2/1)
Longshot: As mentioned, if you're one of those that's a four-year-old or older, you have to never won more than three times to qualify for this condition. In other words, this race is an N3L claiming race if you're among that age bracket. There's a third three-year-old in the field, #4 ABBY'S SLEW but she's one for twenty-two and while she drops in the class, she was beaten double-digit lengths in the last four starts. Let's not take her but let's instead use one of the two-for-a bunch horses. Our longshot selection is #7 SILVER CRUSH (10/1), who is two for thirty-four. But she won three back going a mile on the grass at Arlington in an N2L claimer and switches to rider Chris Emigh, who's quietly having a solid meet. Another that needs pace help on the front end to set the table. But Emigh rode this one four back to an even fourth place finish across town at Arlington, and that familiarity could be an asset.