Chaos ensued in Saturday's Hawthorne finale, as the first-, third-, and fourth-place horses all went off at odds north of 20/1. No one hit the superfecta. Though that meant ticket confetti for everyone who played the wager for Saturday's 9th -- it also means a $15,659 carryover into the superfecta pool for Thursday's 1st. Hawthorne has a $0.20 base for the superfecta. If anyone hits, the whole pool pays; if no one does, the field carries over to the next race. The odds of a carryover past this race are virtually nil, given the relatively short field and the interest the carryover will generate.
For a superfecta player, this race proves tricky. Only seven horses entered, but the field abounds with inconsistent horses. It lacks a clear standout. Here we identify major players, price players, and horses to consider standing against as you construct your superfecta.
Hawthorne Race Course - Thursday, December 1
Race 1: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N3L OR non-winners of a race since June 1, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt, post time 12:55pm CST
#1 GIFT OF GABBY (8/1) - GIFT OF GABBY takes a welcome class drop here. Though she finished an okay fourth against far better company last out, that race came on turf. And, though those races came against better company, they are still a bit slow for this set, and this mare has never hit the board in seven starts over fast dirt. GIFT OF GABBY's connections are also as cold as they could be: trainer George Iacovacci is 43-0-0-3 on the meet, and jockey Kelly Spanabel is 36-0-0-2. Use her in fourth if you hit the ALL button there, but otherwise look elsewhere.
#2 BE GOOD TO US (3/1) - The morning-line favourite, BE GOOD TO US, is as close to a consistent horse as this field has. She has done her best work going two turns on the Hawthorne main. Both of her wins have come in such races, including a decisive victory in April that showed she could handle a short field. Thursday, BE GOOD TO US comes in third off a short freshening. Her form has been fine: she has rounded out the trifecta in both her starts at Hawthorne this meet. She closed for third last out at this same level, and though she was well-beaten, she has some back races that prove she does not need to come from the clouds. Should Carlos Castro be able to keep her up a bit closer early, she likely turns the tables on BELA MENINA, the second-place finisher in BE GOOD TO US's last race. This filly is the one to beat, and makes sense in any rung of a ticket.
#3 BONITA RITA (4/1) - BONITA RITA is better across town on the polytrack, but does like this distance, and turned in one of her better dirt outings last time out. She is one of the more frustrating horses on the Chicago circuit, in that she is a devoted speed horse but an unreliable gate horse. Last out, she flashed her better form. Out of the gate fast, she led almost every step, until red-hot Prize Arch finally wore her down. BONITA RITA faces no one quite so sharp here, and a repeat of that last outing makes her a win candidate as the speed of a short field. However, in addition to being her own worst enemy out of the gate, BETTY GRABLES LEGS may have enough early speed to be a gadfly early. In short? If BONITA RITA brings her best, she could finish first or second. If she doesn't, she could finish up the track.
#4 REALITY STAR (6/1) - REALITY STAR did not fire against similar last time out, but hit the board at this level in her previous two starts. It has been a long time since she saw the inside of the winners' circle, and another visit there seems a bridge too far today. But, with two money finishes already this meet and a solid 19-2-4-6 career record over the distance, REALITY STAR could clunk up for third or fourth once again if BONITA RITA and BETTY GRABLES LEGS lock up early. Better than that, even in that situation, may be tough with BE GOOD TO US and BELA MENINA in the field. But, she will be the right price to err on the side of including somewhere underneath.
#5 LET'S SKIP FIJI (7/2) - LET'S SKIP FIJI will take money: she is the class of the field, and has some fine races at the distance. But, she comes in with massive red flags. She was competitive against state-bred allowance company a year ago, disappeared for almost half a year, had one poor start in May against salty open $16K company, then dropped off the face of the earth again until this start. In addition to the class drop, LET'S SKIP FIJI (like every Steve Fridley trainee in recent times) likely needs one off the lay. And, her deep-closing running style will be poorly served by this small field. Use her if you hit the ALL button in 4th, but stand against this chalky underlay otherwise.
#6 BETTY GRABLES LEGS (10/1) - A reliable undersides type earlier in her career,, BETTY GRABLES LEGS has missed the board in her last six starts. She did make the early lead last out for the first time since a layoff, a positive sign given her running style. However, she could not stay on, and finished a well-beaten eighth against a field that also included BELA MENINA and BE GOOD TO US. BETTY GRABLES LEGS does get a ten-pound weight break with apprentice Carlos Ulloa, which may help her stay on here. With that, she does generate some interest as the biggest price on the morning line; should BONITA RITA blow the break once again, getting longshot BETTY GRABLES LEGS into the higher rungs of the superfecta is the most logical chance at a big score here.
#7 BELA MENINA (9/2) - The question with BELA MENINA is whether she can run back to her last. Sent off at 41/1 against similar company last out, she rallied for second behind J. Jett -- and ahead of third-place BE GOOD TO US. That race was a similar level as today's, a significant class drop compared to BELA MENINA's previous tries. It was her first try on the Hawthorne main, and her first with rider Denny Velazquez in the irons. Velazquez returns today. A run back to that last-out race makes her competitive here. Her closing style is suboptimal for a field this small, but she does have some of the better late pace in the group. She could be third, even second. And, though this space finds it a bit more likely that one or the other speed horses will hang on, any tickets of the opinion that BONITA RITA and BETTY GRABLES LEGS are likely to duel each other into oblivion could have BELA MENINA as the other win candidate (along with BE GOOD TO US).