We caught our breath last week, after the end of the Derby trail, but now we're back. We're not previewing the Derby yet -- that comes next week, after the draw! -- but we're staying a little closer to home. It feels like Hawthorne's spring meet just started. Saturday, it ends, but not before we preview the card from beginning to end.
First post is at 3:10pm, and it's a good day to come out to the track. In addition to a full eight-race card, it's also Help a Horse Day, so you'll have the chance to meet the people of both CANTER Chicago and Galloping Out at their tables in the grandstand, get to know what they do for racehorse retirement in the Chicago area, and perhaps meet your perfect new off-track Thoroughbred!
Races 1 and 2, originally carded for turf, are handicapped for dirt because Hawthorne has already stated that they will be off the turf Saturday. Updated Saturday, April 27 to account for scratches.
Most Likely Winner: Glamala (4, Race 8)
Price Play: Greenhorn (6, Race 7)
Race 1: Allowance Optional Claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L OR $18,000 claiming price, five furlongs on the dirt (originally carded for turf), post time 3:10pm CDT
Selections: Mexico Memories (6), Caleb's Heir (3), Savemethelastdance (4)
This race has plenty of speed, but Mexico Memories stands to be the real rocket of the bunch. If he can clear in the opening furlong, he may be gone. Caleb's Heir may find this trip on the short side, but he has tactical speed and good off-track form. Trainer Michael Reavis entered two, but scratched R Fast Life (our original top selection). He leaves in Savemethelastdance, who will need to improve off a disappointing effort last time, but has solid off-track form and can show tactical speed.
Race 2: Allowance Optional Claiming, three-year-olds and up, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L OR $18,000 claiming price, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt (originally carded for one mile on the turf), post time 3:38pm
Selections: Sailing Solo (6), Never Even Called (4), Antrim's Giant (7)
Louie Roussel rarely keeps a horse (or, at least, a horse not named Boyfriend Material) in on the dirt, but it looks like Vincitore is his turf entrant and Sailing Solo is his dirt entrant. He broke his maiden in the Fair Grounds slop in December, returned with a third-place effort against allowance company there in Marc, and may just be faster than these. Never Even Called faces winners for the first time, but he stands to get the lead and he keeps hot-riding Chris Emigh in the saddle. Antrim's Giant is a dependable placegetter at this level, has run second in both tries over an off track, and after the day she had on Friday his trainer Dee Poulos might be hitting a hot streak.
Race 3: $4,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races in 2018-2019 OR non-winners of a race since May 27, 2018, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 4:06pm
Selections: Chernyahovskiy (3), Little Ike (4), Hide the Evidence (6)
In a short field rife with closers, rail-drawn Hourly was well set to wire it, up until the point he scratched. Chernyahovskiy has been a wild card throughout his career; sometimes he recedes to the clouds early, but sometimes he tracks closer in range. With jockey Molina keeping him fairly close and trainer Leonard Ellis making the most of limited starts this meet, he looks the main threat despite the layoff and the limited worktab. Little Ike, the one Hugo Rodriguez leaves in the race, is the other who doesn't have to drop all the way back to the clouds, especially with rider Edgar Perez aboard. The dodgy off-track form is a question, but he will have less to do late than the two Hughes entrants. Between those, Hide the Evidence is the one who is in a decent part of his form cycle.
Race 4: $10,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, three years old OR N3L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:34pm CST
Selections: Daniera (1), Lucky at Justice (4), She Is Gorgeous (5)
Daniera went gate-to-wire last time. She steps up in condition, and still has to prove herself over an off track, but with a good break she may be long gone. Trainer Terry Young has two wins and two third from just six starts this meet, and his trainee Lucky at Justice can improve on that. This is an easier beaten $10K claimer than the one in which she finished third last month, and in her only off-track start, she stalked, pounced, and mugged for Nicole and Ryan in the winners' circle. She Is Gorgeous has never been in this easy, and her off-track form has been solid. Her form this meet isn't much, but it has been coming against some true IL-bred allowance-level horses like W W Fitzy and Miss Juilana, whereas this is (for all intents and purposes) a $5K claimer in $10K dress.
Race 5: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:02pm CST
Selections: High Hero (1), Party On Dude (7), Blackhawk Warrior (6)
With the scratch of Codetowin, this race goes from straightforward to wide open. High Hero faces winners for the first time, but he ought to show pace from the rail, making him the one that the rest will have to catch. Speed can be its own bias -- and rarely does that adage hold more strongly than in a field with so many N2Ls who have had their chances. Party On Dude hails from an outfit that rarely wins, but should improve over this shorter trip, especially since there should be moisture in the track. Blackhawk Warrior has been in some his better form lately, and should at least fill out the exotics again.
Race 6: Maiden Special Weight, three-year-olds and up, six and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:30pm CST
Selections: Fridley (5), Club Soda (4), Boogy Soks (3)
On debut last month, Fridley set the pace most of the way before getting run down late by a horse who had already hit the board in an allowance race last year. That came in a route; now he cuts back to 6.5f, a distance over which his dam was a stakes horse. Club Soda was well bet on debut, though he didn't really kick on in the lane. He should be better for that experience, he adds Lasix, he gets a jockey upgrade to Chris Emigh, and given the rain in the forecast, it's good to see he is by nice slop sire Daaher. The biggest question is the lack of Edgar Perez on a live Brian Williamson horse. (Perez was named on Mummy Troll.) Boogy Soks makes his debut for a barn that has hit the exacta in eight of twelve starts this meet. There are plenty of works leading into the debut, and he has been at Fairmount -- a deep track that gets you fit -- for at least a month.
Race 7: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races since October 27 OR non-winners of three races in 2018-2019 OR N4L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:58pm CST
Selections: Greenhorn (6), Barnyard Fiddler (3), A J's Posse (4)
In a wide-open claimer, let's take a shot with Greenhorn. He has early speed, trainer Dee Poulos won a pair on Friday, and he won his only start over an off track. Especially with the scratches of Way and Word of Truth, he ought to get his trip. Barnyard Fiddler has a solid record over the trip, and can move forward second off his winter layoff. A J's Posse heads out for a barn that has missed the money only once in eight starts this meet, and can get up a little closer early than he was last time. My Curby, likely to take some action, is preferred strictly underneath.
Race 8: $15,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, Illinois-registered, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 6:26pm CST
Selections: Glamala (4), Rare Action Attack (7), Miss Izzy (1)
Glamala ran a credible second against open maiden claimers April 18, in her first race back from a year-and-a-half layoff. Reavis and Marquez have fired on all cylinders this meet, and she looks the biggest threat to the top selection. With the scratch of Dancing Well, the rest seem underneath contenders at best; Rare Action Attack gets the slight nod for second over Miss Izzy because she has dealt with an off track before, but neither would be a surprise to round out the trifecta.
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