Holland Wins His First Chicago Title
Congratulations go out to Brent Holland who has won his first Chicago circuit driving crown by taking this season’s Hawthorne meeting. The 36-year-old Ohio native is in his 18th season as a driver and the last 16 have been on the local scene.
Brent started off the Hawthorne meet on a roll, zipping to the top of the driver standings after the first full week of racing, a lead he never relinquished. Through last Thursday night Holland had 71 winning drives at Hawthorne. Mike Oosting was next with 58, putting him 13 behind Brent.
At deadline time for this story the Hawthorne trainer’s race was still too close too call. With three programs to go Ken Rucker had a five win lead on Erv Miller, 40 to 35.
While Holland was consistently bringing home winners throughout out summer meet, Brent was particularly hot at the start of our nightly programs. In Hawthorne’s first 35 programs, Holland won the first race almost a third of the time, and on four occasions he drove both ends of our Daily Double.
“The key to winning races is having the opportunity to drive horses and those horses have to be classified right,” says Brent. “I’m been fortunate this year to drive a lot of Erv’s (trainer Miller) horses, especially his youngsters and Erv always has his horses ready and well classified.”
Holland explained the dissimilarity in horses to be driven and some subtle differences when driving at Hawthorne.
“Usually you have two types of horses—grinders or sprinters—and you have to drive them accordingly,” said Brent. “And a trainer can be a big help for a driver. They know their horses and they can give a driver good input on how they might race best and some of their tenancies.
“Without a passing lane you drive a little differently at Hawthorne, particularly with cheaper horses. You have to be a little more patient with them. If you use a cheap horse hard early here, they are usually done midway through the lane. And Hawthorne’s turns are tighter than Balmoral’s and you have to drive each particular horse accordingly.”
SUNDAY NOTES: While no award is ever given out for the most improved horse at a meeting, if there was, the winner would be Prime Xample by a landslide. The five–year-old Australia import came here with only one win in five outings, and a problem of going off stride before the start. Going into Sunday night’s ninth feature race the 2-1 early favorite is five-for-five at Hawthorne for trainer Kimberly Roth, sweeping the White Sox Series and then winning back-to-back “Winner’s Over” events while lowering her lifetime mark from 1:53.1 to 1:51.4. She had $5,200 earned prior to Hawthorne and has added $42,801 to her purse account since for Rock And Roll Stables of Chicago, IL . . .Trainer Ken Rucker has the favorites for both of Sunday night’s claming series finals. In the seventh race Cicero Championship the newly claimed Demack’s Quick and his entrymate NJ’s Super Sport will open as the 5-2 wagering choices and they drew the first two inside posts . . . In the tenth race Forest View Final for fillies and mares Rucker sends out Kailey’s Spitfire and Don’t Rain Yet and they’ll be the 5-2 first flash favorites. Don’t Rain Yet was bought by the Rucker Stable on July 20, just two days prior to the Forest View opening rounds. The 3-year-old comes off a 1:55.3 new lifetime mark . . . Talk about post relief: Rucker’s Isn’t That Crazy (race two) has the two slot Sunday night and it’s a big deal for the gelding. In his previous nine winless season starts he either had the 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 . . . Erv Miller’s two-year-old filly Latin Doll (race five) was bought for $57,000 at last year’s Harrisburg (PA) Sale.