Despite what NTRA Polls or the lack of television coverage of others may say, there is racing after the Breeders' Cup.
The post-Breeders' Cup action at Hawthorne shifts to Illinois-bred racing. This weekend is the first of two weekends with two stakes sharing a card. In past years, the races in this space would be part of the Illinois Festival of Racing Day in Fall.
For the second Saturday of November, "Picks and Ponderings" features the two-year-olds. Split by gender, colts and geldings go in the Sun Power. For the fillies, the female complement is the Showtime Deb. Both stakes races are at six furlongs on the dirt and carry purses of $100,000.
Hawthorne Race Course - - Race 3 - - Sun Power Stakes - - Six furlongs on dirt - - post time 3:10 pm CT
The race honors Sun Power , who made nine career starts in Illinois in the early 1980s, all at ages two and three. He was in the top two six times out of nine, with three stakes victories.
A short field of five see the starter. Not much in the way of quantity or in quality as everyone in the field is eligible for a first level allowance. The only two-time winner in the field is SOLAR FLAIR, and we'll use him on top. He earned his career best figure two back in the Troy Our Boy, a $50K stakes for Illinois-breds at downstate Fairmount. He also appears to be somewhat tactical as he took just off the pace to win that afternoon. He also won off the pace three back to break his maiden at cross-town Arlington. Toss the last race where we he went two turns on the grass against BC entrants Poker Player. Our top pick has a jockey/trainer team that is four-for-twelve in wins on the meet. One runner that will go from the bell is RAMBLING RICHIE. He'll go from the bell as he hasn't raced since early September at Arlington, turned in a bullet work at Hawthorne, with respect to the clock, of three furlongs in :34, and rider E. T. Baird is as good as any at the gun-and-run. He won't have a free lunch on the front, but he's drawn off the rail (which can be good). Goes first time dirt in this hundred grand stakes. BAD BOY PETER was second last time in the Troy Our Boy to SOLAR FLAIR, but gets a rider change here to Seth Martinez in this stakes. He'll be one of those out on the front end, but he was good enough after winning his maiden to try stakes company in Iowa before returning to Earth against Illinois-breds. Think the rider switch from Geroux to Martinez could help him in this spot. Solid connections here as well.
#1 SOLAR FLAIR (2/1)
#3 RAMBLING RICHIE (3/1)
#2 BAD BOY PETER (9/5)
Longshot: Two left, and we take either the shipper or the horse from Fairmount whose highest career Beyer Figure is less than my age. By process of elimination, #4 EASY SOLUTION (4/1). A well traveled two-year-old who broke his maiden at Woodbine but raced at Del Mar, he comes in to the Tom Amoss barn (that won a gazillion races at Indiana Downs) and like the top pick, goes back to sprinting. He also goes first time dirt in this spot. If he goes as quickly as he did two back in a first-level allowance at Del Mar maybe he's the speed of the speed and takes them all the way.
Hawthorne Race Course - - Race 7 - - Showtime Deb Stakes - - Six furlongs on dirt - - post time 5:10 pm CT
The race honors Showtime Deb, who made eleven career starts in Illinois in the late 1980s, all at ages two and three. She was in the top two ten times out of eleven, with five stakes victories.
A tricky race. Rafael Hernandez has quietly become one of the top riders at Hawthorne (it helps when you get on the train powered by owner Midwest Thoroughbreds and trainer Roger Brueggemann), but here he's riding for downstate-based conditioner Steve Manley. CHURCH ROAD was second to Maria Maria last time in a first-level allowance optional claimer. Sure, you could have taken for $75,000 last time. If you did, you'd have a filly that graduated in career start two at Arlington, then two back hit the board in the All Sold Out downstate. The figures post summer freshening are back on the upswin. TANGUERAY MISS graduated last time at today's distance of six furlongs over the same Hawthorne dirt. Before that, she had three so-so starts and three minor awards at Arlington on their polytrack. Perhaps dirt is her game. Perhaps also is she'll be coming off the pace in a race that see a lot of front-end pace. Carlos Montalvo gets the return call here. Perhaps the speediest of them all is SASY MS ELIZABETH. Winner of the All Sold Out, a $50K stakes at Fairmount for frosh fillies bred in-state last time out. Her figure there stands long and tall in this bunch, but it's possible she returns to normalcy. Still, she's a two time winner in a field full of runners mostly eligible for a never-won-two allowance.
#6 CHURCH ROAD (5/1)
#10 TANGUERAY MISS (6/1)
#2 SASY MS ELIZABETH (4/1)
Longshot: #3 RICHIES SWEETHEART (12/1) comes out of the $100K Arlington-Washington Lassie that is turning into a positive key race. (Battlefield Angel had a troubled trip and was third; Maria Maria won a first-level allowance). This one went to Keeneland and won a $30K claimer last time out. She's only made one start on dirt, that in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill in the summer. But we can excuse that start as she had a bad break, threw a fit, and never got involved.
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