Archive for April 2014

2014 Derby Dozen 5

Welcome to Kentucky Derby Week.  The list below is made before the draw, and a final round of Kentucky Derby Picks and Ponderings will be made after the draw. These polls are done five times before the Derby, done every three weeks, and each time there’s been a different number one.  WICKED STRONG, step up... Read more »

2014 Illinois Champions Day Recap

STICKNEY/CICERO — Rather than the six stakes of years past, a quartet of stakes, all carrying purses of one hundred thousand dollars and restricted to Illinois-breds, were contested on the final Saturday of the Hawthorne Spring meet.  On a bright but blustery late-April afternoon, the in-state breds all got a chance to shine.  The biggest... Read more »

2014 Illinois Champions Day Preview

We head into closing weekend at Hawthorne Race Course of the Spring 2014 meet. This weekend, the Illinois-Breds get a chance to shine. While on-track the main focus will be the state-bred stakes showcase, Hawthorne has designated the final Saturday of the meet — April 26 — as “Thoroughbred Rescue Day”, with information found in... Read more »

Kentucky Derby Round Table

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Had the pleasure of joining hosts C. Johnson and C. Hare on the Roundtable edition of their “Down to the Wire” weekly video series.  Special thanks to the hosts for setting it up, and a shout-out to the fellow panelists – P. May, E. White, and S. Shapiro – for making it fun.

ChicagoNow vs Jim Miller

We’re back at Laramie and 35th for a special mid-week card and I (representing “Picks and Ponderings” on ChicagoNow) am taking on Hawthorne Race Course on-air personality and morning-line maker Jim Miller, the Jim of the “Jim Versus” competition. Each Wednesday, Hawthorne Race Course offers the chance to be a contestant. Contestants go on the... Read more »

2014 Illinois Derby Day Recap

STICKNEY/CICERO — Spring came to Chicago with the year’s first turf race and the year’s first stakes at Hawthorne Race Course.  Four stakes, two for Illinois-breds sprinting and two Grade Three stakes, were contested on a picture-perfect Spring afternoon. Third Chance Handicap: C’MON FEET Steps Up in Stakes Triumph Early tote action saw G3 winner... Read more »

2014 Illinois Derby Day Preview

The most important race of the Hawthorne spring meet is upon us.  It’s Illinois Derby Day, with the feature set for race nine on a ten race card set for April 19th, the day before Easter Sunday.  In a twist to the stakes schedule this year, two Illinois-bred stakes from next week’s Illinois Champions Day... Read more »

Kid Cruz, Midnight Hawk Eyeing Illinois Derby

STICKNEY/CICERO — Hawthorne Race Course will kick off its brief two-week stakes season on April 19 with the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby, to be run at one and one-eighth miles on the dirt at Hawthorne for strictly three-year-olds. The race was excluded two years ago from the Kentucky Derby points qualification list but now... Read more »

2014 Derby Dozen 4

Okay, I’m going to spoil it here and now.  California Chrome is not my number one. In fact, he doesn’t crack the top five. There’s a new number one this go around, CONQUEST TITAN, who is one of three on my list pointing for the April 12 G1 Arkansas Derby.  I could be Mr. Cynical,... Read more »

Handicapping Mail Bag (Transylvania, Santa Anita Derby, Polytrack)

Horse racing, by its nature, is a social game. You get together with your friends, you have some food or a beer, you might pool some money for a large pool, and you hope for the best.  In this new world with e-mails and social media, you could be at one track and discussing the... Read more »