Yesterday, first-time starter Meadowlee's Afleet won the 2nd race at Hawthorne, a $15,000 maiden claimer at six furlongs on the dirt. The five-year-old Ohio-bred was a 60/1 longshot -- and his victory keyed a carryover of both the Pick 5 and the early Pick 4 going into Saturday's card at Hawthorne. $6,289 carries over into the Pick 5, which covers races 1-5. $7,924 carries over into the early Pick 4 pool, which covers races 2-5. Both the early Pick 4 and the Pick 5 have a $0.50 minimum and a 15% takeout. The Pick 5 is a regular Pick 5 -- no jackpot rule, so the whole pool pays out as long as at least one player has five out of five.
Here, we take a look at the first five races of the card, in A/B/C/X chart style, to help you compile your tickets for today's early sequences. Given the rainy overnight weather, and the prediction that rain will continue for the rest of the day, these selections slant toward horses who like an off track.
Race 1: $7,500 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, one and one sixteenth miles over the dirt, post time 4:10pm CDT
- #5 JUST JIM - Second off the layoff here, and drops to the lowest level for the first time. The fastest horse of the bunch, and has held his own against better.
- #2 PYRITE LION - Second-time starter hasn't raced since December, but a fine string of works heading into this start. Did not start well last out, and perhaps blinkers-on gives him a tactical edge in a paceless race on paper.
- #3 MCLAVE - Second off the lay, and goes blinkers-on, with strong maiden rider Edgar Perez in the irons.
- #4 SAY IT ISN'T TRUE - Needs to take a step up, but is the only one in the field dropping from maiden special to maiden claiming for the first time. Also second off a lay.
- #6 ASCOT JOHN - Scratched out of a sprint race yesterday for this two-turn spot. Gets a significant drop in class.
- #1 SUGAR VISION - Too slow to contend here. Only horse in the field with an off-track start, and it was a dreadful fourth at Fairmount.
Race 2: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, non-winners since August 25, races where entered for $4,000 or less not considered for eligibility, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:37pm CDT
- #5 COMPULSIVE - The layoff is the question. But, he tends to bring his best when it's sloppy, his speeds are good, and he has pace versatility. He can send or rally.
- #6 TORO GRANDE - top selection - Likes the six-furlong distance, and some decent form over an off track. Likely takes this field gate to wire.
- #3 HOTROD STICK - Second off the lay, so could improve. He does not typically bring his best form north from Fairmount to Hawthorne -- but does typically run well on a wet track.
- #1 W W DISTINCTION - Never won in the slop, and never won going six furlongs. This race is too short for him.
- #2 GYP ROPE - 0-3 on an off track, and has been off form for a while.
- #4 HALF FOXY - Has no chance to get the lead with TORO GRANDE and COMPULSIVE here, and he needs the lead.
- #7 RUSHMORE - Trainer George Iacovacci and rider Kelly Spanabel are winless at Hawthorne, and Hazel and Mountaineer form tend to be a toss at Hawthorne.
Race 3: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:04pm CDT
- #1 GO BEEJA - Speed of the speed here. Mud breeding is fine, and has a strong chance to go gate to wire.
- #2 UNBRIDLED RULER - top selection - Ran an enormous effort to get a close second on a dead rail last out. Stepping up from state-bred to open MSW here, but that race is grading out fine. Winner Cat's Runaway didn't embarrass himself against winners yesterday, and the next two horses home in that race filled out the exacta in a state-bred MSW yesterday.
- #5 SHERIDAN ROAD - Sire Bellamy Road's babies like an off track, and his only half-sibling to race, the classy Devine Aida, won second out. Adds blinkers here, too.
- #8 ROYAL COMMISH - Tries dirt for the first time, moves to a little easier circuit, and sent out by the always-dependable trainer Scott Becker and rider Victor Santiago.
- #3 TRAVEL WEST - Questionable in the mud, but showed some form at this level last fall, and gets Edgar Perez back in the irons.
- #4 MIAS MOONBEAM - First-time starter who scratched out of a state-bred MSW yesterday for this open spot. The worktab is solid, and he has a half-sibling (Community Property) who won first out.
- #6 SILVER PLUME - Filly facing boys. Laid off since last July, and showed poor form against state-bred MSW fillies in Iowa. Silver Poet is a solid mud stallion, but everything else weighs against her.
- #7 GENTLEMAN RICHIE - He is cutting back to his best distance, but has had plenty of chances against this level and weaker. Makes sense underneath, but take a pass on top.
- #9 PROSPECT POINT - Second off the lay. Does have a decent start on mud, but that came against far weaker ($15K Iowa-bred maiden claimers. In too deep here.
Race 4: Illinois-bred allowance, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once OR non-winners of a state-bred race other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 5:31pm CDT
- #3 LITTLE IKE - Second off the lay for Scott Becker and Chris Emigh. Placing him in this protected spot is a vote of confidence, and his stalking style should suit.
- #8 DAKOTA CANDY - top selection - Has speed, but can fight or stalk a bit back if needed -- useful with SUPERMAN'S CAPE entered. Won in his only wet track attempt. On speeds, a standout.
- #2 THEGHOSTBDANCING - Should be sharper second off the lay. Looms a late-running danger if DAKOTA CANDY and SUPERMAN'S CAPE hook up on the front.
- #5 FORT DIXIE - Inconsistent, but his best contends with this set, and he will be a bomb price. Trainer Leonard Slager has seen success with rider Carlos Ulloa this meet, and FORT DIXIE gets a switch to Ulloa here. Only run on slop twice, but did hit the board once.
- #1 GARY LUKE - His breeding suggests he may be okay in the mud, but he will probably need a race first off the lay.
- #4 FRONTIER FORCE - He needs grass, simple as that.
- #6 WIN D PRADO - Consummate underneath type. Usually rallies late against company of this quality, but rarely gets all the way there.
- #7 SUPERMAN'S CAPE - Patti Miller's barn can be dangerous first off the claim, but hard to see him winning unless he's the best of the front end. With DAKOTA CANDY here, that's not the case.
Race 5: Allowance, three-year-old fillies, N2L, post time 5:58pm CDT
- #2 SATURDAY'S SONG - This race has a ton of speed, but this one showed an effective pace-pressing dimension in her maiden win. One of two from the hot Scott Becker barn.
- #4 ROAD SHOW - There are questions, as she will be part of a hot pace, and she may be better at shorter than six furlongs. But, she has a solid race over mud, and suggested in that debut (the mud race) that she could take back and finish.
- #5 AMAZING PEYTON - top selection - Stalked the pace, moved up, and held gamely in her maiden win two weeks ago. Stalking style should help here, and she comes second off the lay. Looks to be the better of two solid Becker entries.
- #8 KALISPELL - Likes the course, and her stalking abilities will help her here. Missed the board in two mud starts -- but in one, she was in over her head at Oaklawn. In the other, she was a competitive enough fourth.
- #6 HAL'S MISCHIEF - Her ability to sit off the pace should prove useful here. She doesn't win a whole lot, but has usually put forth an honest effort. Her maiden win came at six furlongs, the same distance as today, from a few lengths off the pace.
- #1 COUNTESS ST MICHEL - Second off the lay and gets a bit more ground, but likely to be a pace casualty here.
- #3 HEY HEY - ROAD SHOW's stablemate. Stands to help make pace for a while, but in a bit too deep here.
- #7 SPINNING STAR - The cut back to a sprint is a positive sign, as is the drop back against same-age company. But, there are better and faster off-pace horses her than she is.
Photo by Nicolle Neulist.