For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700
Mixed With Upsets on Night of Champions at Hawthorne
STICKNEY, IL – Eleven Championship races and two
invitational events comprised a big Saturday evening at Hawthorne as the Night
of Champions event paid out over $1.1 million in purses. While some of the favorites didn’t
disappoint, there were some upsets the surprised everyone. A recap of the night’s racing action:
THE INCREDIBLE FINALE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Incredible Finale Championship, for Illinois Conceived
and Foaled three-year-old Colt and Gelding Pacers carried a purse of $136,142.
A field of nine lined up to meet the starter after a single scratch of Fox
Valley Julius. The Bucket took the lead soon after the start but Maximus took
over early on the backstretch and led almost all the way. Favored Engel Stable
of IL LLC’s Meyer On Fire, driven masterfully by
Michael Oosting, just got up, winning by a nose.
Meyer On Fire is trained by Erv
Miller. Maximus held on for second while The Bucket got up for third.
Owner Marty Engel, “Beautiful weather. I don’t know how you
guys did this but the weather is perfect. Nice crowd. I couldn’t be happier.
Meyer on Fire was a little green to start his career and it took a number of
races to get straightened out but Erv Miller did a
super job with him. He’s named after my grandson Meyer. When you win with a
homebred, it’s especially exciting. I didn’t think he got up in time. Mike (Oosting) did a great job. He’s not an easy horse to drive.
He’s on the lazy side. But, Mike gets along super with this horse. I wouldn’t
be here without him.”
Meyer On Fire traveled the mile in 1:55.2 after fractions of :29.0, :58.2, and
Meyer On Fire $3.20 $2.40 $2.10
Maximus $3.40 $2.40
The Bucket $2.40
THE PLESAC CHAMPIONSHIP
The Plesac Championship, for
Trotters, three-years-old and up, Illinois Conceived and Foaled, offered a
purse of $45,000. Favored Picky Picky Valor appeared
to be home free late in the stretch but longshot Spirit O’Mar
had other ideas. He continued to grind and wound up getting the victory. Owned
by Jeanne Marquis, while trained and driven by Steven Searle, Spirit O’Mar finished a length and a quarter ahead of Annas Lucky Star. Picky Picky
Valor held on for third.
Steven Searle, “He is what he is. We put him in there
because we knew we would get our money back and maybe a little more. Plus, he’s
fun to race. He got good at the right time and everything worked out. We were
actually shooting for fifth and anything above that was a bonus. Around the
half, I was thinking, ‘Maybe we’re going to get our fifth’. Then, halfway
around the turn, I was thinking, ‘Ya know, fourth is
looking better’. Then at the top of the stretch, I was thinking that this
couldn’t be real. But, he kept trotting. That one thing he does, he does trot.”
They got the mile in 1:56.2 after fractions of :28.0, :57.2 and 1:27.1.
Spirit O’Mar $108.80 $37.20 $10.40
Annas Lucky Star $3.80 $2.40
Picky Picky Valor $2.10
THE INCREDIBLE TILLIE CHAMPIONSHIP
10 Trotters lined up to contest The Incredible Tillie
Championship. The race, for two-year-old Illinois Conceived and Foaled Filly
Pacers offered a purse of $122,504.
Fox Valley Torrid, the 6-5 favorite, had a great trip and
got up late for the score. Owned by Fox Valley Standardbreds, trained by Rodney
Freese and driven by Casey Leonard, Fox Valley Torrid
set a new lifetime mark of 1:54.3, winning by a length and a quarter, after
fractions of :29, :56.4 and 1:26.1.
Fox Valley Halsey took the lead quickly but Valar Morghulis soon took over
and led until about the eighth pole when Fox Valley Torrid took over. Valar Morghulis held second while
Perch finished third.
Casey Leonard, “The track is a little tiring, a little
loose. I knew Kyle had to get Perch out of there and then when the horse broke
there was a little confusion. But there was enough early speed to set up for
“Torrid”. When Kyle got in front of me I knew he had to come with me so it
worked out the way I hoped it would. We had to steady a bit on the turn but she
gave her all in the lane like she always does.”
Fox Valley Torrid $4.40
Valar Morghulis $4.20 $3.20
THE KADABRA CHAMPIONSHIP
The $132,874 Kadabra Championship,
for Illinois Conceived and Foaled two-year-old Colt and Gelding Trotters,
featured a well-matched field of eight.
Driver J D Finn took advantage when a couple of rivals broke
early and he was able to guide eventual winner Trixie’s Turbo right to the
front end. They were able to stay there throughout; winning for the seventh
time in 10 races.
Fox Valley Cruise tracked Trixie’s Turbo pretty much the
entire way and held on to finish second, a length and three-quarters back. One
of the more impressive trips of the night, however, was that of third-place
finisher, Louscardamon. He broke on the backstretch
and was nearly last when they turned for home but he simply flew late to get up
for third and he finished only a couple lengths back.
Trixie’s Turbo is owned by Charles Doehring
and trained by Jared Finn
“I raised him and his brothers out of a really good mare
that really produces good colts. I’ve been blessed.”
He generated fractions of :29.2,
:59.3, and 1:29.3 on his way to a mile in 2:00.1
Trixie’s Turbo $8.20 $5.00 $3.80
Fox Valley Cruise $8.20 $4.40
THE TONY MAURELLO CHAMPIONSHIP
The $45,000 Tony Maurello
Championship, for Illinois Conceived and Foaled Filly and Mares Pacers was won
by favored Fox Valley Charm. Driver Mike Oosting had
this mare tracking the pace set by Bucklegirl Bobette, but moved about a sixteenth out and got up to win
a popular victory, winning by two and three-quarter lengths.
Trained by Dirk Simpson and owned by Peter J. Karras, Fox Valley Charm covered the mile in 1:52.0
following fractions of :28.3, :56.3 and 1:24.2
Dirk Simpson, “I left her here at the farm so she didn’t
have to ship. She does really well off the farm. That was what made the
difference over last week. Plus, she had a trip over the track. We shipped from
a smaller track and the long stretch takes some getting used to.”
Fox Valley Charm $4.80 $3.40 $2.60
Bucklegirl Bobette $5.00 $3.40
Fox Valley Aubrey $5.40
THE FOX VALLEY FLAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The $122,504 Fox Valley Flan Championship featured a romp by
favored Louzotic. Winning for the seventh time in 11
starts, Louzotic, driven by Kyle Husted, drew off to
a five and a half-length victory. Louzotic is owned
by Flacco Family Farms LLc
and trained by Steven Searle. Those are also the connections of third-place
finisher Lou’s Paramour (Searle drove).
Doc Flacco, “We
have a wonderful team and God was very kind by sending us Lou’s Legacy.
We bred this horse, raised it, broke it. It gives you
a special feeling. We own the mare and the sire. Steve also finished third with
our other little girl. He had better go to church tomorrow.
Rick (farm manager), “We broke her at the farm. She was kind
of small. She had a nice way of going but, just like
Steve said, she was a small baby with a big heart.”
Steve Searle earlier, “Louzotic is
probably the barn favorite. She’s the little horse that nobody wanted. She was
a June foal. But, she has the heart of a champion.”
Fractions for the mile were :29.2,
:58.3. 1:29.2 with a final time of 1:59.0
Louzotic $3.80 $3.00 $2.60
Notanangel $23.80 $10.60
Lou’s Paramour $17.00
THE ROBERT S. MOLARO CHAMPIONSHIP
Favored Stonedust made a
valiant effort to get past Unlocked in the waning yards of the $45,000 Robert
S. Molaro Championship for Illinois Conceived and
Foaled Pacers. Unlocked had taken the lead midway through the backstretch and
was able to repel the belated challenge of Stonedust,
holding on for a neck victory. Unlocked, owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables
and trained by Norm Parker, was driven by regular pilot Jim Pantaleano.
Fractions of :27.3, :55.3,
1:24.0 were set prior to the final time
Unlocked $5.00 $2.80 $2.40
Stonedust $2.60 $2.40
He Gone Jack $6.40
THE BEULAH DYGERT MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The $99,032 Beulah Dygert
Memorial Championship for three-year-old Illinois Conceived and Foaled Filly
Trotters was won by favored Trotting Grace. Trotting Grace was piloted by Kyle
Husted and trained by Steven Searle. Owned by H W Wright, Mystical Marker Farms
LLC, and Steven Searle, Trotting Grace won for the fifth straight time.
Kyle Husted, “I wanted to follow Juan (New Queen) as long
as I could late. Juan’s horse looked like she was drifting out so I made the
decision to go inside and she exploded. She’s especially good on clay tracks
and she went downstate and got her confidence down there. Steve Searle can do
it all. He’s a very sharp horseman and it shows.”
New Queen held for second, a length and a half back,
while Maui Mama came along late to finish third.
They covered the mile in 1:57.0 following fractions of :28.4, :58.0, and 1:27.1
Trotting Grace $4.00 $2.40 $2.10
New Queen $4.60 $3.40
Maui Mama $2.40
THE ROBERT F. CAREY JR. MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
As expected, Jim Ballinger’s Fox Valley Gemini, trained
by Terry Leonard and driven by Casey Leonard, won the $160,080 Robert F. Carey
Jr. Memorial Championship. It might not have been expected, however, that he
had to work as hard as he did to get the victory. But, in the end he got the
win and that’s what counts. The Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial Championship was
for three-year-old, Colt and Gelding Pacers, Illinois Conceived and Foaled.
You’remyhearthrob wrestled the
lead on the backstretch, after the first quarter in :27.2,
and proceeded to lead most of the way, tripping the timer in subsequent
quarters at :55.3 and 1:24.3. He begrudgingly ceded the lead to Fox Valley
Gemini late in the stretch. He never gave up but neither did Fox Valley Gemini.
Fox Valley Gemini did have the perfect trip. He raced
with cover throughout and had plenty of pace when he finally tipped out. He did
get the victory, winning by a length. In 1:53.0. You’remyhearthrob held on to finish second while Backstreet
Lawyer finished third.
Jim Ballinger. “It’s very special having a horse like Fox
Valley Gemini, especially tonight. He’s as game as they come. If it hadn’t been
for the sickness, I don’t think he would have gotten beaten in Springfield. But
that’s part of racing. I’m sure glad that he raced good
tonight. The Leonards (Terry and Casey) are great
people. They did a terrific job with the horse and Casey did a great job
Fox Valley Gemini $2.60 $2.20 $2.10
You’remyhearthrob $3.80 $2.80
Backstreet Lawyer $2.60
THE PLUM PEACHY CHAMPIONSHIP
The New Americana emerged victorious in Saturday’s Plum
Peachy Championship. The Plum Peachy Championship was for three-year-old Filly
Pacers, Illinois Conceived and Foaled. The New Americana, owned by David F Falzone, James J Molitor, and
Steven J Leita, trained by Harold Herrera and driven
by Kyle Husted, hadn’t been in great form for much of the summer but woke up in
a big way last week, when she wired the field in the final leg of the Plum
Kyle Husted, “I tried to race her on the front in Du
Quoin and she got kind of trapped but I’ve been racing her from off the pace
ever since. Last year, she was a little bit of a front end horse, so the last
two weeks we had to try something different so we gave it a shot that way. I
got a little worried late since we had pressure early and I hoped we didn’t run
out of gas but I didn’t want to go slow enough to let Mike (Allbeastnobeauty)
and Ridge (Fox Valley Jazzy) into the race. I wanted their horses to go a big
mile to catch me.”
They paced the mile in 1:54 after fractions of :27.2, :55.2 and 1:24.1
The New Americana $7.00 $5.40 $3.60
JB’s Shooting Star $5.20 $4.20
Skeeter Machine $4.00
THE ERWIN F. DYGERT CHAMPIONSHIP
The Erwin F. Dygert, for Illinois Conceived and
Foaled three-year-old Colts and Geldings, was won by Dr. Patrick Graham’s Big
Lou. Trained by Curt Grummel and driven by Kyle Wilfong, Big Lou covered the mile in 1:59.1 after fractions
of :30.4, :59.2 and 1:29.4.
There was considerable traffic trouble
in the race but Wilfong managed to keep Big Lou clear
of it all. Big Lou was two and a quarter lengths clear at the wire. Longshot Cruzen Cassi got up for second while Illinimight
overcame considerable early trouble to finish third.
$6.00 $5.60 $4.60
Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, continues
the summer harness season through September 24.
Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through
December 29. For more information, visit
contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.