STICKNEY/CICERO — It is mid-December at Hawthorne, but one would hardly know it. The mercury edged close to fifty degrees, and not a flake of snow could be found on the ground. The crowd was lively, particularly due to the celebration for race caller Peter Galassi, who was calling his 65,000th race this weekend. Though the racing season continues for three more weekends, today’s races marked the end of the 2014 stakes season in Illinois. The card featured a pair of 1 1/16 mile, $100,000 stakes races for Illinois-bred juveniles: the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante for the fillies, and the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity for the colts and geldings.
Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante: TIZGORGEOUS Becomes Freshman Sire Tizdejavu’s First Stakes Winner
Five horses headed postward for this year’s renewal of the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante. All five last appeared in the race’s sprint complement, last month’s Showtime Deb Stakes. The Showtime Deb winner Timeaday did not return, having not been nominated, but the second, third, fourth, fifth, and eighth place finishers all returned for a shot at two turns. Two of the runners, Tizgorgeous and Flight Pattern, had tried two turns before — though only on grass. All five were new to a dirt route, and all five were stretching out to the longest distance of their careers. Tizgorgeous had finished the best among them in the Showtime Deb, crossing the wire second beaten 3 3/4 lengths by Timeaday. However, it was James DiVito trainee Razamajazil — the fourth-place finisher from that earlier stakes race — who was drawing a bit more attention from the wagering public. Razamajazil opened 3/5, and though Tizgorgeous briefly assumed favourite status just before post, it was Razamajazil who went off the 9/10 choice, with Tizgorgeous at 9/5. Rock My Dreams, a Tom Swearingen trainee who finished third in the Showtime Deb, was a clear third choice at 7/2.
Rail-drawn Razamajazil set the pace early, with Rock My Dreams and farther outside Tizgorgeous tracking her closely. Flight Pattern and Turtles Surprise settled a few lengths behind them going into the clubhouse turn. Razamajazil’s early fractions were far from strenuous: the quarter in 25.18, the half in 49.59. Entering the far turn, both Rock My Dreams and Tizgorgeous began to move in on the pacesetter, and they were three in a line turning for home. Rock My Dreams started to lose a little steam passing the sixteenth pole, but Tizgorgeous was just getting started. She got ahead by about a length passing the furlong pole. Razamajazil was not done yet, and dug in gamely. She made up some ground approaching the wire, but Tizgorgeous kept herself in front to prevail by half a length. Rock My Dreams faded down the stretch, crossing the wire 8 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Flight Pattern and Turtles Surprise completed the order of finish.
Tizgorgeous is a two-year-old Illinois-bred filly by Tizdejavu, out of the Sandpit mare Ayla. She is trained by Richard Scherer, and was ridden by Julio Felix. Tizgorgeous is owned by Michael Schrock, and was bred by John and Candy Wiseman. Tizgorgeous debuted at Arlington this summer, and broke her maiden third time out against state-bred maiden special weight company. After two off-the-board finishes in turf miles at Keeneland and Churchill, she returned to the Chicago area and tried dirt in the Showtime Deb. She was second in that race, her stakes debut.
Tizgorgeous’s win was the first stakes triumph among progeny of her freshman sire Tizdejavu. Tizdejavu, a nine-year-old horse by Tiznow, won four graded stakes on the grass during his racing days. His racing career brought him to the Chicago area: Tizdejavu won the American Derby (GIII) at Arlington in 2008 and finished third in the Secretariat Stakes (GI) that same year. There is no shortage of classy local connection in the bottom half of her pedigree, either. Her dam, Ayla, won an Illinois-bred maiden special weight at Arlington. Her damsire was the Brazilian turf horse Sandpit, who finished in the money in three straight runnings of the Arlington Million (GI), 1995 through 1997.
Tizgorgeous’s trainer, Richard Scherer, is currently based at the Fair Grounds, and trainer Chris Block has been working with her on the homefront leading up to the race. Said Block, “I did what he [Scherer] told me to do to get her ready to run. She was training real well. She’s kind of an aggressive filly, so I’ve been working with her, trying to get her to relax, and she has cooperated. And, I think that made the difference in the race.”
Jockey Julio Felix, who returned to the irons, had to be strategic due to the early pace. “I knew there were a couple horses with a little speed. The only thing that worried me was that they would try to slow it down, and that’s exactly what happened. So, I kind of had my hands full, and I kind of took a little too much hold, but I didn’t want to make the lead too soon on her. It worked out good. Richie Scherer did a good job, and Chris Block did a good job with her. Between those two guys training her, I had nothing to worry about.”
Per Tizgorgeous’s owner Michael Schroeck, “We’re probably going to give her a little rest. That’s her seventh race, as a two-year-old this year.” Schroeck suggested they would look for some races come February or March. He suggested the Illinois-bred races next year as a possibility, though also kept open the chance she would run at the Fair Grounds, where trainer Richard Scherer is based over the winter.
Rider Florent Geroux rode second-place Razamajazil today. It was his first time riding the Jazil filly, and his plan was “just to play the break, play by ear. She broke very sharp, put me ready on the lead. She ran great, just got beat by a better filly today.”
Tizgorgeous stopped the clock in 1:50.05 for 1 1/16 miles over fast dirt, and paid her backers $5.60 to win. The $2 exacta with Razamajazil in second returned $11.40. A $0.20 trifecta with Rock My Dreams in the third slot returned $1.62, and the superfecta with Flight Pattern slotted below returned $3.14 for each $0.20 base wager.
Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity: Dom the Bomb Completes the Stakes Sweep
Three weeks ago, Dom the Bomb defeated a field of four other runners to win the Sun Power Stakes, a six-furlong test over the Hawthorne dirt. Saturday the Larry Rivelli tried two turns for the first time, and twelve other Illinois-bred juveniles entered for a chance against the most explosive new face in Illinois racing. My Man Richie scratched on race day, but a field of twelve remained to see the starter. Despite the full field, many bettors saw it as a two-horse race: Dom the Bomb versus Oak Brook. A Chris Block trainee, Oak Brook is a full brother to Grade I winner Giant Oak; he broke his maiden last out going 1 1/16 miles over the grass at Churchill Downs. The early money favoured Oak Brook, as he was 7/5 at first flash compared to 2/1 on Dom the Bomb. The only other horse to open below double digits was a maiden: Market Rad, a Carlos Silva charge who had hit the board in all four starts and was adding blinkers for the first time. As post time drew closer, the public became more keen on the Sun Power winner; Dom the Bomb was 7/10 by the time the gates flung open. Oak Brook drifted to 5/2, with 11/1 shot Market Rad holding firm as the public’s third choice.
Dom the Bomb had been the a frontrunner in all three of his previous races. Still, one gate inside of him broke recent maiden winner Giantstepsbdancing, and it was that 22/1 shot who had the lead as the field entered the first turn. Dom the Bomb settled outside, a length and a half behind. Oak Brook stalked along the rail inside Dom the Bomb, and Block stablemate In the Chamber about two lengths further back. Coming down the backstretch, Dom the Bomb inched closer, but it was still Giantstepsbdancing who dictated the quarter in 25.14 and the half in 49.75. Approaching the turn for home, his pursuers made their moves. Dom the Bomb gained just to Giantstepsbdancing’s outside, and Oak Brook angled off the rail to commence a three-wide move. In the Chamber moved as well, swinging out four wide to take a run at the pacesetter. Only one of that intrepid trio was able to surpass the pacesetter. Dom the Bomb got his head in front just past the quarter pole. Giantstepsbdancing tried to come back on him, but the new leader had more than enough in the tank. Dom the Bomb blasted away from the field in the final furlong, and prevailed by 5 1/4 lengths. Well-bet maiden Market Rad, midpack early, proved the stretch out to two turns to be to his liking. He overtook both Oak Brook and In the Chamber down the stretch, and came within a neck of catching one very game Giantstepsbdancing. The pacesetter held on for second; Market Rad settled for third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths. Oak Brook flattened out to fourth and crossed the wire 8 1/4 lengths behind the winner, with In the Chamber just a neck behind him. Chadwick, Crafty Navigator, Que Facil, Wildwoodsbigwin, Fort Dixie, Beauziggity, and Stevie Smoothboy completed the order of finish.
Dom the Bomb is a two-year-old Illinois-bred colt by Bring the Heat, out of the Five Star Day mare Richiesgirlgotgame. He is trained by Larry Rivelli, owned by V-Leaf Stables LLC and Richard Ravin, and was bred by Larry Rivelli and Richard Ravin. This was the second straight year that a horse bred by Rivelli and Ravin, and trained by Rivelli, swept the two Illinois-bred juvenile stakes at Hawthorne. Last year, Rambling Richie performed that sweep. Rambling Richie was owned by Rivelli, Ravin, and Patricia’s Hope LLC at the time, although he was subsequently purchased and no longer races from the Rivelli barn.
Dom the Bomb had raced three times before the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity. He broke his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Illinois polytrack in August, and then resurfaced to finish fourth in an N2L allowance in October at 6 1/2 furlongs over the Keeneland dirt. Three weeks ago he prevailed in the Sun Power Stakes, a six-furlong test for Illinois-bred juvenile colts and geldings, by a decisive 11 3/4 lengths.
Jockey Tim Thornton had faith in his mount’s ability to get today’s distance. “We figured that we’d be on the lead…when he kind of stumbled a little bit leaving from there, I let the 11 [Giantstepsbdancing] go on and rated off of him. He relaxed nicely, and when I asked him to run, he opened up and showed us what he’s got.” Thornton has grown to know Dom the Bomb well; he has been aboard for all three of his wins, and even before that. “I’ve been on him since his first eighth of a mile work. I’m very familiar with the horse; I love getting on him. I’ve been fortunate to ride nice horses for Larry, and I appreciate everything that he’s done.”
Trainer Larry Rivelli reflected, “He’s the type of horse that I was a little bit concerned that he didn’t make the lead, and he’d be engaged all the way down there, ’cause he’s always aggressive. But, he relaxed well, which is good when you’re going long.” Regarding his future plans for Dom the Bomb, Rivelli stated, “You’ve got the Illinois stakes next year, but I’m probably going to take him to Gulfstream. I think he’s the type of horse that could probably beat others than Illinois-breds, but you never know until you do it. We’ll try that, try him on the turf, and then give him a little break.”
Dom the Bomb completed 1 1/16 furlongs over fast Hawthorne dirt in 1:47.32, and paid his backers $3.40 to win. The $2 exacta with Giantstepsbdancing on the underside returned $42.60. A $0.20 trifecta with Market Rad slotted third paid $23.20. A superfecta with Oak Brook slotted fourth paid $59.02 for each $0.20 base wager on the combination.
All photography courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.
You can take “Picks and Ponderings” with you anytime, anywhere. You can get Twitter updates @picksponderings for on-scene reports from Hawthorne Race Course. And you can get “Picks and Ponderings” in your e-mail by typing your email address in the box and clicking “Create Subscription.” It’s a FREE service, and you’ll never get any unwanted spam.