Round 1 of 2 Freshmen Series
It’s the half-way point of Hawthorne’s summer harness meeting and that means it’s time for a bevy of state-bred stakes series to begin that will lead to no less than eight $50,000 championships to be decided on closing night, Saturday, August 4.
Tuesday evening it’s round one of the Star Slinger Series for freshman filly trotters and the Fox Valley Dynamic for first season Illinois bred pacers. After two rounds of racing, the leading money earners in each series advance to their respective division series August showdowns. A pair of Star Slinger divisions and two 11-horse fields of Fox Valley Dynamic events head up the 11-race card.
The ninth race first split of the Fox Valley Dynamic finds the Erv Miller Stable’s 3-1 favorite King Of Kings starting in the second tier behind The Voice Of Truth (9-2). King Of Kings had a very impressive winning debut at Hawthorne last week, closing in :26.4 to post a 1:54.1 victory.
"King Of Kings is a very nice horse. He won pretty handy tonight,” said driver Brent Holland after colt’s July 6 victory. “I never had to touch him and I never popped the plugs. I qualified him at Springfield in June and he got interfered with that day. I never really got to open him up."
One of his chief rivals in the ninth race is the home bred freshman Too Much Pepper (6-1), who won his first Hawthorne start on June 29 with Dave Magee, who took him out of the pocket and to the front after the first quarter.
“I think this colt has a lot of potential. He got this win pretty comfortably,” said Magee after that race. “He’s a long-gaited colt. He’s goes along quite easily and a slow pace really doesn’t help him so that’s why I took him out (of the pocket) and went to the front. I wanted to insure that we would be rolling along pretty good.”
Owned and bred by James and Donna Crebs of Cantrall, IL, Too Much Pepper is trained by Rick Schrock.
“Jim Crebs asked me to take some of his young horses and race them for him,” said Schrock. “He has his wife (Donna) have had a lot of very good winners through the years and it this was a great opportunity for me to train some nice youngsters like this one.
“I had Too Much Pepper for only two weeks and he was ready to race, so the Crebs did all the work,” Schrock said. “He’s a very good eater and a playful colt. And he’s a good size horse. In fact when we raced him for the first time at Balmoral I had to change and hook him up to a bigger bike because he was hitting himself on a smaller one.
“He’s green and in that first race he got excited when horses came up behind him at the start. He lifted his head up and his over-check came out his mouth at the gate. We did some re-rigging and we put some ear plugs on him and Dave said he was much better in his Hawthorne start.”
The tenth race second colt split has the No. 1 horse Aint No Hearsay (7-2) looking to make it two straight wins. The Robert Phillips trainee won Balmoral’s Mimi Me stake last month in 1:54.4 with Ryan Anderson. Starting right behind him (p.p.11) is this division’s 3-1 first flash favorite Mucho Sleazy (Mike Oosting).
The two opening leg divisions of the Star Slinger have been carded as races one and three with seven fillies slugging it out in the opener and eight others in the second split.