On its releases, its signage, and throughout the website, Hawthorne makes mention of being "100 years family owned". The family in charge of Hawthorne since 1909 is the Carey family. To this day, the Carey family still oversee the racetrack (namely, President Tim Carey). Along with four generations of ownership, the surname is in play for the feature race for October 12th. The namesake is Robert F. Carey, who served as the President and managing director of Hawthorne from 1947 until his death in 1980.
Graded as recently as 2010, past winners include Recoup the Cash (1994), who also won the G2 Hawthorne Gold Cup that year and Mystery Giver (2003), who thrice won the G3 Fair Grounds Handicap.
Hawthorne Race Course - - Race 8 - - Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap - - 1 1/8 miles on turf - - post time 5:40 pm CT
As seen last week, fall weather in Chicago can be a crapshoot. (Warm to wet to chilly/sunny in three days.) We remind that picks given in this space are given "turf only" and for a course rated "good" or "firm".
It's hard to find fault with THE PIZZA MAN, who got back on the beam last out in the Illinois Owners' Stakes across town at Arlington. He had to squeeze through at the rail (not an issue) while not having the clearest of runs (an issue). Francisco Torres, who rode last week's Hawthorne Derby winner, gets the pick up mount. Not to fear: he's half of a jockey/trainer combination that is three-for-three in wins in the young meet. He's a one run closer, and MR. VEGAS should, as in the Owners', provide the appropriate pace target. Perhaps Homesiter puts TAZZ closer too (when taking back didn't work), and that's another plus in his favor. The 4/1 morning line quote won't hold, think he goes off at half that. A solid stakes type, MISTER MARDI GRAS won a minor off-turf stakes two back in the Twin Cities in his only win of the year. Yet he's been in the same zip code as good horses like Hogy (won G3 Hanshin Cup) and Willcox Inn (3rd, G1 Shadwell Turf Mile that was neither on the turf not or at a mile). Last out in the G3 Washington Park at today's nine furlong distance, he closed decently while trying to chase down a loose leader who slowed the poly race to a crawl. Don't think the pace is that slow this time around, helping his cause. Autumnal turf tends to be less firm than the hard summer turf, and that helps MR. VEGAS in this spot. Runner up in the IL Owners to THE PIZZA MAN, he was on the pace as a two-speed number and nearly took the Owners. Rider Tim Thornton has been hot to open the Hawthorne meet. Upgrade his chances if the course is not firm for the Carey.
#5 THE PIZZA MAN (4/1)
#1 MISTER MARDI GRAS (7/2)
#3 MR. VEGAS (9/2)
Longshot: After getting into a form funk in the first half of the Arlington meet, #8 FRANCOIS (12/1) dropped back into hybrid starter allowance/claimers, never saw the claim box, and got back on the beam. Since then, he's got three wins and a second, the lone loss coming at 1 1/16 miles at Arlington where there's a short run into the first turn and he was out wide. That's also against the profile of the Arlington polytrack that played favorably to inside paths and front speed. He's a rally-wide type, so if TAZZ and MR. VEGAS set crazy-go-nuts fast fractions, he'll have a puncher's chance. And apprentice Esquivel can certainly boot a closer home; he and this trainer connected earlier in the meet in the opening day feature.
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