2013 Illinois Champions Day Preview

We head into closing weekend at Hawthorne Race Course of the Spring 2013 meet. This weekend, the Illinois-Breds get a chance to shine.

Along with the six stakes on the penulimate Hawthorne program of the Spring, the 2012 Illinois Champions will be mentioned throughout the day.  Following the races at Hawthorne, formal awards for Illinois-bred champions of 2012 will be given at an awards dinner at Hawthorne.

For punters, the six-pack of stakes is also a nice handicapping tune-up for the stakes-laden Kentucky Oaks Day and Kentucky Derby Day programs the following week.

Take note that all six of the stakes discussed below will be contested at Hawthorne Race Course on the dirt and carry a $100,000 purse.


Race 4 -- Peach of It Handicap -- 1 1/16 miles -- post time 3:13 pm CT.

This stakes is for older females going two turns, and is in honor of the Illinois-Bred 1992 Sixty Sails Handicap winner.

When it gets cold at Hawthorne after a few hard freezes, the track tends to favor speed and forward-placed types.  The second half of December featured that, so the starts two back and three back for CHAIN OF DESTINY where she was fourth don't appear as poor as they do on paper.  She's normally an off-the-pace type, and closing on those cold weather carousel tracks  is easier said than done. She's made six starts at Hawthorne on the dirt, and she has three wins, a third, and those two better-than-appearing fourths. BRADEN'S DREAMS is brought to you by the potent owner/jockey/trainer team of W. Stiritz/S. Becker/C. Emigh.  Emigh is a top three rider on the grounds, as well.  He hops on a horse that has never been out of the trifecta in her nine start career and beat Illinois-bred N2X types last out at Hawthorne at today's 1 1/16 mile distance.  Certainly a player in a field that features few stakes veterans. The race's defending champion, SEANS SILVERDANCER, breaks from the four post here.  She can make one run, but she's more comfortable on the pace as she's got a limited passing gear in the eyes of this observer.  Still, Wayne Catalano saw fit to claim her for $35,000 at the end of the Fall meet last year, a 36% win proposition.




Longshot: Same horse, different year, new trainer.  One more time back to the well with #3 SAINT INDEED (20/1), who rallied to cash a check last time in a first level allowance.  Sure she was beaten 14 3/4 lengths, but the winner, SUMMER AGAIN won by 14 lengths last out.  Goes third off the layoff in today's Peach of It.  Perhaps Roman woke up the horse last time.  And she'll get pace to attack.

Race 5 -- Robert S. Molaro Handicap -- 6 furlongs --  post time 3:44 pm CT.

For older male sprinters, this was race was formerly known as the Chicagoland Handicap. Honors the former state senator.

For a sprint race, there doesn't appear to be too much in the way of crazy-go-nuts front speed.  Perhaps the speed of the speed will dictate the terms on the front end.  The potent Thornton/Reavis jockey/trainer team are the force on that speed, SHELLYS WILD.  Six of seven in the money at Hawthorne, and has found new life as a forwardly placed sprinter.  Cleared the open N1X condition last time.  The class of the field is NAGYS PIGGY BANK, who goes first off the shelf in the Molaro.  Second in the Lightning Jet last fall, but also won a stakes downstate at Fairmount for fifty grand.  Shows two bullet workouts going into this effort.  Certainly logical, but the edge is to SHELLYS WILD due to this maybe needing a race first off the shelf.  SIGNSEALNDELIVER bested NAGYS PIGGY BANK in the Lightning Jet last fall at Hawthorne.  That day, this Brueggemann-conditioned runner broke from post ten on a track that favored outside paths.   Even without the positive outside path bias, he was good enough to cash second place checks. And those checks were in three stakes that River Bear won last year, and he was second in this event last year.  Will he get enough pace to set up his closing kick?




Longshot: If you're a believer that outside posts in sprints are more advantageous than inside posts, you might want to look at the outside runners.  If you think there's not a lot of pace, you might want to look at a presser.  #9 STATIC KILL (8/1) is both of these things, and the trainer is 23% in sprints.   The fact you could have had him for $25,000 at the claim box two back could scare some punters away.  But he could get a cozy outside-inside trip given his post and pace profile.

Race 6 -- Third Chance Handicap -- 6 furlongs -- post time 4:15 pm CT.

Formerly known as the Governor's Lady Handicap, this race for older sprinting females honors Third Chance.   This locally owned mare won Illinois-bred stakes at ages two, three, and four.  She closed out her career last year in the Cammack at Arlington.

MISSJEANLOUISE goes out for top trainer Roger Bruggemann and returns from a winter freshening in this stakes.  She won the Powerless last fall coming off a summer layoff.  Last spring, she came off a layoff to win a first-level allowance.   Nine of ten in the money at Hawthorne is also an asset. The horse she beat in the Powerless, ALGONQUIN POSSE, is here in this event.  Another that returns from a winter freshening, as she was last seen last November on the grass. She has fired fresh before, as seen three back in the Lady Riss downstate for fifty grand.  She's been working regularly in the morning over the winter.  DOLLY PEACH returns to the scene of the crime, when she won the Pretty Jenny a year ago at over 50-1.   As was on that day, R. Homeister, Jr. is in the irons.  This time around, DOLLY PEACH is looking to maintain form: she spent most of her summer at Arlington showing that upset was no fluke.   And finishing second to G3 winner La Tia and winning an upper tier allowance qualifies.  Another coming out of the mothballs.



#9 DOLLY PEACH (6/1)

Longshot: We go to the "other" Brueggemann, #2 BEAUTY OF SCARLET (5/1). She's only got one bad race, back on December 6th when she knocked me out of Hawthorne Showvivor.  The other races have seen two wins, a second, a third, and a disqualification from third.  Although she's only won a first-level Illinois-bred allowance, she's race tested with recency, and is making the third start of the form cycle.   I think the 5/1 price holds, especially if the money comes in on the 1-2 from the Powerless.

Race 7 -- Pretty Jenny Stakes -- 6 furlongs -- post time 4:46 pm CT

This sprint stakes for sophomore fillies honors the Christine Janks-trained, Illinois-bred earner of over $500K.  Formerly known as the Lady Hallie Stakes.

Rarely does an Illinois-bred stakes day go by without a win from Chris Block, and he brings Illinois Champion frosh filly MY OPTION to the Pretty Jenny.  It's her first start since winning as the Whitworth Debutante last winter at Hawthorne.   Works have been recorded regularly, Eddie Perez takes the call, and Block quietly has a good meet: 35 starts, 9 wins, 24 money finishes.  There should be enough up front pace to help her closing kick that was displayed in the Whitworth.  SCARLET POWER has a win against fellow sophomores last out and two back cashed a check against older.  The only other career start was a win at first asking.  In her most recent win in a first-level allowance optional claiming, this filly was up for sale for $50,000 and was claimed that day.  Now a Stiritz/Becker production, the trainer is one out of three off the claim. BEEWAY has a win and a second, with solid figures, in her two career starts. Perhaps she is the "now" horse of the bunch.  Trainer C. Janks is another that usually comes to Illinois-bred stakes with a loaded gun.  She's speed, and she may not have a free lunch on the front end.  But perhaps she's good enough and quick enough to still be around at the line.

#9 MY OPTION (7/2)


#7 BEEWAY (4/1)

Longshot: MY OPTION is a logical favorite, but she's no slam dunk in this spot.  Showtime Deb winner #3 JULMAE (12/1) takes a drop in class to today's effort.  She's been in open company, racing in upper level allowances against older ladies and in the Cincinnati Trophy against open three year olds at Turfway.  So when she sees the starter, she'll be dropping in class.  In all her local sprints, she's never been out of the money.  Acquiring Cisco Torres doesn't hurt either.

Race 8 -- Milwaukee Avenue Handicap -- 1 1/16 miles -- post time 5:17 pm CT

This stakes going two turns for older males honors Milwaukee Avenue, an Illinois-bred who was the runner-up in the 1977 Hawthorne Gold Cup and an earner of nearly $375K over five seasons.

You won't get 9-1 on P D Q Kiddo this time around, as the defending champion looks for two in a row for the potent owner/trainer Midwest Thoroughbreds/R. Brueggemann.  He's going first of the shelf in the Milwaukee Avenue, but he's won off layoffs before.  Spent all of last year cashing checks in upper crust allowances and minor stakes.  After cashing checks during the second half of Arlington, DAD ARE WE HERE got into form, clearing the first open allowance condition and just missing in the second level in the meet's final days.  He stepped up to an N3X allowance last time, and won with a pressing trip at today's distance.  Emigh stays aboard, and the jock/trainer connected earlier in the meet on an 8-1 horse.   HOPE FOR TODAY will likely be one of the controlling pace factors in this event.  With an outside draw, he'll quicken for early position.  He's been nibbling in stakes for a while, and the fifth two back could be discarded as he was  a likely rabbit for the classy G3 type Mister Mardi Gras.  Looks even better if you give him a pass for needing the race last time off the winter vacation.

#6 P D Q KIDDO (3/1)

#9 DAD ARE WE HERE (4/1)

#11 HOPE FOR TODAY (5/1)

Longshot:  It could get hot on the front end with a number of horses who like to be in the front.  If pace makes the race, it could be fast up front and set up a closer.  The other Block horse, MAVERICKING, would be the choice if this were turf.  But on dirt, not so much.  Let's instead use #8 KING ROOTIN TOOTIN (30/1). The horse does have a doughnut in the win column for last year.  But three back he won when passing them all in the lane to clear the N1X condition.  Last out in a good N2X, he encountered traffic trouble and yet just missed to fellow entrant COSTILLA RANGE and Hattash, who cashed a 4th place check last fall in the G3 Washington Park (and recently was 5th in the G3 Ben Ali).  These Illinois-bred days sometimes have a bomb that comes from left field and here's a good candidate.

Race 9 -- Land of Lincoln Stakes -- 6 furlongs -- 5:48 pm CT.

The male complement of the Pretty Jenny Stakes. After the statebred two turn N2X featuring CHATFIELD ROAD and LASSELL, the feeling from this corner was both are better as routers going two turns instead of going today's six furlong single turn sprint distance.   But when trainer Carlos Silva goes from routes to sprints, it's a 25% win and 50% in the money proposition.  And LASSELL goes third off the layoff, a 50% win proposition.  The statistics are too much to ignore, and he didn't get to the winners' circle in any of his three routes.  Maybe going back to a sprint revives him.  Or perhaps coming off the pace in a field with some confirmed gas on the lead helps, too. FAB A DASHER goes out for the Thornton/Rivelli jockey/trainer team that in the past two weeks has started four runners, half of which won and the other half have hit the board.  He's outside speed in this spot, and he goes second off the layoff, a 24% proposition, after beating N2L claimers last out on a wet track.  Trainer is nearly a fifty-fifty proposition to hit the board this meet. The other half of the uncoupled Silva-conditioned entry is SMOKIN GLOCK.  They meet for the third time in stakes company in the Land of Lincoln. But SMOKIN GLOCK is getting blinkers for the first time in the Land of Lincoln, and the two times the trainer has done it before have netted a win and a money finish.  Note the rider switch to Chris Emigh in this six figure state-bred stake.

#4 LASSELL (3/1)

#12 FAB A DASHER (10/1)


Longshot: #7 FLATHEAD RIVER (12/1) is eligible for a first-level open allowance, and has only two wins in five career starts.  But those three losses come with justifiable excuses that aren't in play in the Land of Lincoln.  The career debut was on polytrack across town, not the dirt between Cicero and Laramie.  Three back in the Edgar Futurity he was five wide on the turns, which compromised his chances.  And perhaps he needed the effort last out coming off the winter freshening.  He's beaten winners before, two back when up for sale in an entry level allowance optional claiming at the end of the Hawthorne Fall meet last year.

Good luck.

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