Day 2 Recap: Though not a good bet (with closing odds of 3-5), we did get our winner home in the opener at a $3.20 return. Two days, two heavily favored winners. We're on the leaderboard (yahoo!) under our Twitter name but with over four hundred entrants to go, our goal is to stay on the leaderboard.
For Day 3, we're going into battle. We're taking on Hawthorne Race Course Assistant General Manager Jim Miller, the Jim of the "Jim Versus" competition.
Each Thursday, Hawthorne Race Course offers the chance to be a contestant. Contestants go on the Hawthorne in-house feed and offer selections. Air time is 1:30 PM central time, forty minutes before first post.
"Picks and Ponderings" has a cheat sheet below for the entire card with a Showvivor play as well. All selections are for the Thursday December 6 program at Hawthorne Race Course.
Race 1 --$25K N2L Claimer -- Six furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 2:10 PM CT
Looks to be a hot pace on the front end in this claimer for two-year-olds, and maybe that sets up TRY A LEMON DROP on the turn back. Goes sprint to route this afternoon, and met some decent males (Ultimo Trago was trolling in stakes at Arlington) last time that were too much. Dropping from allowance company back to a claimer should help right the ship. SEA LION comes from the formidable Geroux/Catalano team that just missed in this condition last time. Rider upgrade in play and did win two back at seven furlongs across town. SHERIFF BART won at first asking in the summer, then was put away until reemerging in the fall in an N2L spot. He was claimed that day from trainer J. DiVito, and reappears here at the same level. Helped by the outside post and having two speeds break to his left.
#4 TRY A LEMON DROP (6/1)
#3 SEA LION (2/1)
#7 SHERIFF BART (3/1)
Longshot: #6 GAMBLIN JACK (12/1) has the meet's leading rider in five pound apprentice A. Canchari and could be rounding back into form third off the layoff. He's won before, but that was eons ago at Arlington on the poly. However, he was facing way better competition last time in the Sun Power and in that first level allowance, both being Hawthorne sprints. Today's the first time he's up for sale, and this could be the time to buy.
Race 2--$5K N2L Claimer -- 1 1/16 miles on dirt -- Post Time 2:40 PM CT
A full field of bottom level never-won-two types. REGAL QUEST graduated last time in a bottom level $7500 claimer dictating all the terms in the first start with Edgar Perez up (not Eddie Perez of the Perez/Block team, by the way). Said win was at today's 1 1/16 mile distance at Hawthorne. Should get a cozy spot near the rail. TACTICS BEST showed some life last time going nine furlongs on fast Hawthorne dirt. Jockey R. Hernandez put him in the race much earlier than when at Fairmount and he's rewarded with a return call. Jockey/trainer team hits at 24% at Hawthorne. HERE COMES MARIO takes half off the claiming price (ten thousand to five thousand), and should get a good set up from REGAL QUEST to his left. Aside from a first-level Illinois-bred allowance loss to Real Power, he's been nibbling in these N2L claimers and does have four thirds in seven Hawthorne starts.
#2 REGAL QUEST (7/2)
#8 TACTICS BEST (8/1)
#5 HERE COMES MARIO (3/1)
Longshot: #1 STOLE MY SOUL (8/1) tries the dirt for the first time this afternoon. From a pedigree point of view, going dirt should be nice given the broodmare sire. But, this is a never-won-two nickel claimer. And if you feel pedigree is moot in these races, consider that he's been dropping multiple levels from his last start and the trainer hits at 23% winners on the dirt.
Race 3-- Illinois-Bred N1X Allowance - - 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 3:10 PM CT
We go here for the Showvivor play with BEAUTY OF SCARLET for the trainer/owner team of R. Breuggemann and Midwest Thoroughbreds. She's a neck from being two for two, and lost to a next-out winner at first asking. Both starts have been at Hawthorne around one turn. Beat open company last time. I think she gets the lead or a stalking position from the outside post and holds on for the win, and having S. Martinez aboard (27% team on the year) gives peace of mind. Rider T. Thornton was injured earlier in the meet in a spill and looks to be back accepting mounts, one of the first being CAMAGIN. Nine of thirteen in the money at Hawthorne and four back cashed a check in a downstate Illinois-bred stakes. Concerned that at today's 6 1/2 furlong distance, she might find it too far as she faded on the lead two back. Note that she cleared the condition at Fairmount (for far less money and thus qualifies upstate for this race under the "haven't won $8,800 once" condition). CYBERPHONE has two straight wins for $18K at five furlongs. One was on a wet dirt track (the race was taken off the turf) and the other was on wet turf on Sun Power Day. Team is 27% on the year, and has some minor awards at Arlington in this state-bred N1X condition.
#8 BEAUTY OF SCARLET (3/1)
#2 CAMAGIN (9/2)
#7 CYBERPHONE (7/2)
Longshot: Illinois-Bred first-level allowances are often good fodder for bombs that blow up the toteboard. #3 PASSIONATELY SWEET (20/1) qualifies for that, beaten ten lengths last time at 31-1. So why back this one? The jockey/trainer team has two wins in seven starts, and with a broader sample the accuracy still holds: 18% on the year and a positive win ROI. Most importantly, her best prior races were going six and a half, not six, at Arlington.
Race 4--Illinois-Bred Maiden Special Weight -- Six furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 3:40 PM CT
Frosh fillies will see the starter. We go back to the S. Martinez/Breuggemann/Midwest triumvirate with first time starter SCARLET POWER. The dam has dropped two winners from two starters, and the trainer hits at a respectable 15% with first time starters and a very respectable 21% in maiden special weight races. Gets first time lasix in the first career start. JAGUAR POSSE took a bunch of cash--enough to make her the 5/2 favorite--in a maiden special weight during the last days of the Arlington meet. JAGUAR POSSE was fourth, but the 1-2 finishers that day were Indygo Kiss and My Option. They run 2-1 in last week's Whitworth (and MY OPTION is a two-time career winner). Could a quality maiden special weight give another winner? NOWTHATSALADY adds the lasix for today's third start. Showed speed last time to be third in this condition, and was second two back. Been in the same zipcode as some runners (Huntgoddess, C'Mon Feet) that were good enough for the Whitworth.
#5 SCARLET POWER (4/1)
#3 JAGUAR POSSE (9/2)
#6 NOWTHATSALADY (7/2)
Longshot: Florent Geroux has put together a nice Hawthorne meet with a 15% win percentage and three state-bred stakes wins. Quite a turnaround given how dreadful his Arlington meet was. In this juvenile filly maiden special weight, he takes the mount on #10 HOLLYWOOD BEBA (8/1). Outside post is a plus, and so is a trainer that has a profit with first starters. Another that gets first time lasix in the first career start.
Race 5--$5K Claimer -- 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 4:10 PM CT
The D. Bennett trained entry looms large here. SHE'S ON HER WAY has all of her career wins on dirt (which is what is under her today). After gettting bumped up to the $7,500 level she was claimed out of that blah effort. The trainer wins one out of four times off the claim and won two back at today's level. Gets a rider upgrade from U. Lopez to I. Ocampo. AT THE FINISH may love the synthetic at cross town Arlington (four wins during the meet), but she ran a credible second during the Keeneland fall meet in a $5K starter. Drops down to the sale rack today, and while this start may be used to renew the starter conditions (typically for those who started for a maximum claiming price since a date) she did win for double the price two back and four back, and does have four wins at today's 6 1/2 panel distance. L. Rivelli has hold a solid Hawthorne meet, to the tune of 24% winners. His go-to rider E. T. Baird takes the mount on J S P PALS FOREVER. While he won at the distance and the level here at Hawthorne last time, he wins in excruciatingly slow times. In the money all four times he's traveled six and a half furlongs.
#1 SHE'S ON HER WAY (part of entry) (5/2)
#1A AT THE FINISH (part of entry) (5/2)
#7 J S P PALS FOREVER (3/1)
Longshot: Not a lot of toteboard zing here, with a 6/1 morning line quote on #10 KENTUCKY GAL (6/1), but she's a must use among our top three if half or all of the entry doesn't see the starter. The Felix/Mason team that has a positive return and a 23% win percentage bring you this mare, who won last time at six panels for $5K, and has five top two finishes in seven starts over the 35th Street course.
Race 6--N2X/$35K Allowance Optional Claiming (AOC) -- Six furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 4:40 PM CT
A double entry and the cross entry of SEAN'S SILVERDANCER make this a brutally hard race to handicap. Given what's constituted (all four parts of two entries), we'll look to an off-the-pace runner. FIRE TRICKS took a ton of money two back in the Powerless, as she was 15-1 morning line and bet down as low as 5-1 before going off at 6.30-1. Toss the last race, two turns isn't her thing. She cuts back to a sprint, and the team is two for six at Hawthorne, four for eleven on the year with nice ROIs. Held her own against state-bred types three back. PRINCESS FREEBIE closed well last time in today's $35K claiming condition, and she's always had an affinity for Hawthorne (seventeen starts, ten wins, six seconds). Concern with her is going to be the twelve post, as she's done her best work from inside posts. But her Hawthorne affinity should get her another check. REMEMBERMEALWAYS cleared the allowance condition in July. But since then, she was stepped over her head against Honey Chile and Miss Jean Louise. Back in the $35K claiming level, she was third last time and has a puncher's chance on a track where she blossomed at two and at three during Hawthorne Spring.
#5 FIRE TRICKS (10/1)
#2B PRINCESS FREEBIE (7/2)
#9 REMEMBERMEALWAYS (8/1)
Longshot: #7 ITZACOLDCASE (15/1) got was on the rail in the Powerless Handicap last time out and turned in a clunker that October afternoon. Two things were against her that October afternoon: she was in deep against stakes runners like Algonquin Posse and Powerless winner Miss Jean Louise. She's dropping down in class to today's $35K claimer, having cleared the N2X allowance condition three back. In the Powerless, she also got stuck on the rail, and the rail was unkind that day. Getting to a middle post should doubly help her.
Race 7--$10K N2L Claimer -- 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 5:10 PM CT
Trainer T. Domenosky claimed SENATOR DAVE two back for $16K at Arlington, and she stepped this four-year-old gelding up to $25K company last time at Hawthorne, in waters too deep. He drops back to $10K, the second-from-bottom level (which $16K N2L is at Arlington for the never-won-two subset), and takes off blinkers. All the changes may just revive him. But I really like his chances as he goes back to dirt, where he has four starts, two seconds, a third on dirt. It's nice to see trainer J. DiVito back at the entry box, and he's represented with GALLANT PLEASURE. Graduated last time going a single turn polytrack mile across town at Arlington and race his best races there with a long backstretch to work with. Trainer hasn't been seen at the entry box due to the EHV quarantine, but not an issue when 23% off layoffs. DOCKTOR DEMENTED projects as speed of the speed. That's fine, but there's not a lot of speed signed up in this event, which could make him loose on the front end. He almost wired a bottom-level maiden bunch last time and gamely repelled some challengers in the lane last time out at today's distance. Jockey/trainer team shows a positive return.
#2 SENATOR DAVE (9/2)
#6 GALLANT PLEASURE (5/1)
#10 DOCKTOR DEMENTED (12/1)
Longshot: If the morning line price holds, give a hard look at #3 ACROSS TIME (15/1). He drops out of allowance company and goes for solid humans A. Canchari and C. Janks (jockey and trainer, respectively). Not often you get these connections-the meet's leading rider and a trainer of state-bred stakes heroes--at these prices. And if you call now and you'll also get a sharp December 2 workout.
Race 8-- $5K N1Y Claimer -- 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt -- Post Time 5:40 PM CT
Looking for REPENT N RECEIVE to get an inside-outside trip behind two speeds to the right in this low-level claimer. There have ascending speed figures this meet, and of his three lifetime wins two of them are at Hawthorne. I think REPENT N RECEIVE makes the move as the best horse on paper, HAMMERS BULLET, will likely got softened up from the speed in the six post. Still, HAMMERS BULLET deserves consideration here. He plunges from the open $10K level to this spot, and the jockey/trainer team hits at nineteen percent here at Hawthorne. Upgrade to the top spot if AZTEC RUN comes out. BIGSURPISEMISTER goes for the Vigil/Dorris team that doesn't work together often but when they do, it's to the tune of big bombs. They're two out of three at Hawthorne and four out of seven on the year with double digit positive ROIs. Moves back to an inside post and goes third off the layoff.
#4 REPENT N RECEIVE (9/2)
#5 HAMMERS BULLET (2/1)
#2 BIGSURPRISEMISTER (5/1)
Longshot: Being marooned in post twelve would be a burden going two turns. But coming out of Hawthorne's chute that's not an issue. And while #12 VOY POR UNO MAS (10/1) qualifies for the senior citizen discount (an eight-year-old), he's been racing against better and drops to the bottom today. If the old guy can call on the back class (Tazz, Mr. Mischief, Proceed Bee, Rahystrada appear in his PPs--though long ago, obviously) his late kick will be useful.
Race 9--$7500 Maiden Claimer -- 1 1/16 miles on dirt -- Post Time 6:10 PM CT
We close out the day with the lowest level on the grounds. SOMEWHERE IN TIME drops from state-bred maiden special weights and $25K maiden claimers to this basement spot. Jockey and trainer have worked together twice before during the Hawthorne meet, winning once and blowing up the toteboard. Trainer hits at a positive ROI with maiden claimers. SIR KIPLING seems to be a bit of a garbage collector: a one-paced plodding type that excels in picking off tiring runners late and collecting minor awards. Still, Martinez is a solid finisher and he has rallied before from a double-digit post. IMPYS STAR is a three-year-old that will get a weight allowance for being younger, and gets the services of C. Emigh to ride for R. Brueggemann, a team that has hit at a flammbale 41% winners this meet. Showed a faint pulse going two turns last time at today's distance on the Stickney dirt. Don't think the 8/1 morning line holds up at all, however.
#3 SOMEWHERE IN TIME (9/2)
#10 SIR KIPLING (5/1)
#11 IMPYS STAR (8/1)
Longshot: #8 NO TIME TO KID (6/1) is the "other" Dini in this bunch, the classic uncoupled entry. Comes out of Maiden $25Ks on grass and maiden $15Ks on dirt, hence there's a class drop. Two back and three back he cashed checks, and maybe last time he didn't like the Hawthorne turf course.