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Over $1 Million in Purses on the Line for Night of Champions

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700


Over $1 Million in Purses on the Line for Night of Champions at Hawthorne


STICKNEY, IL – The best in the state of Illinois will be taking to the track on Saturday night at Hawthorne Race Course for the Night of Champions.  Horses have been compiling points throughout the season, leading to the meet finale as 11 stakes races will be taking place with over $1 million in purses up for grabs, all for Illinois-breds.  The Saturday forecast looks promising with expected temperatures in the 60’s and dry conditions expected for the 11-race card. At look at each of the stakes finals:


Race 1 - $64,000 Robert S. Molaro Memorial Championship

A season-long back and forth battle gets decided between He’zzz A Wise Sky and Fox Valley Gemini.  Owned by Jim Ballinger, Fox Valley Gemini has been the king of Illinois racing, winning 44 of 75 lifetime starts and surpassing $500,000 in career earnings earlier this meet.  A four-time winner on Night of Champions, Fox Valley Gemini has twice won the Molaro and has finished first or second in 13 of 15 starts in 2021.  He posted a career-best 1:49.2 mark earlier this summer, defeating He’zzz A Wise Sky in open-company on July 2. Casey Leonard drives for trainer Terry Leonard.  He’zzz A Wise Sky is approaching $100,000 in earnings on the year and $300,000 for his career. He has finished in the top three in 17 of 19 starts this season, including back-to-back wins in 1:49.1 at Hoosier and Hawthorne respectively in August.  A Night of Champions Winner as a two and three-year-old, He’zzz A Wise Sky will look to unseat Fox Valley Gemini as the Molaro champ.  Kyle Wilfong drives for trainer John Filomeno and owner Triple Zzz Stable.


Race 2 - $120,500 Fox Valley Flan Championship

Two-year-old filly trotters line up in the Fox Valley Flan as post position could become very important.  Drawing the inside is the speedy Ambro Lark for driver and trainer Charles Arthur.  A winner of half of her 12 starts on the year, Ambro Lark’s style is to make the top early and never look back.  She is approaching $50,000 in career earnings and won in 1:57.2 in August at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.  The one looking to catch Ambro Lark is Dr. Patrick Graham’s Funky Wiggle.  Trained by Curt Grummel and driven by Kyle Wilfong, Funky Wiggle has finished first or second in seven of ten starts on the year for over $75,000 in earnings.  She rides a four-race win streak into Night of Champions which includes back-to-back stakes scores in Springfield and DuQuoin as the first of those stakes wins came in 1:56.0.


Race 3 - $79,000 Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial Championship

Three-year-old male pacers take to the track in one of the most wide-open stakes on the Night of Champions card.  One of the winningest three-year-olds in the nation draws the far outside as 12-time winner BC’s Tufftiger races for owner Jeremy Cavitt and trainer Roshun Trigg.  Racing mainly on the Illinois fair circuit during the summer, BC’s Tufftiger earned enough points to get into this final off a second-place effort in the final leg of the Carey last week.  Archie Buford drove that night and drives once again on Saturday.  The fastest in the field may be Ideal Big Guy for the ownership group of Dandy Farms Racing, Peter Kouchis, Martin Budkey and trainer Terry Leonard. After just one win in nine starts as a two-year-old, Ideal Big Guy is a four-time winner on the year and has found the board in nine of 12 starts in 2021.  He won a pair of legs leading to this final while finishing third in the other two legs.  Casey Leonard drives.  Drawing the inside is Ryans Loan Shark as he has come on strongly at the end of the summer.  Owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC, Dave Falzone and trainer James Molitor, Ryans Loan Shark has found the board in 10 of 16 starts on the year.  After a near miss behind Ideal Big Guy at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, he turned the tables on him, winning impressively in the Dudley Hanover at DuQuoin.  Travis Seekman returns in the bike.


Race 4 - $68,500 Plesac Championship

Aged trotters line up in the Plesac with a solid mix of top male and female competitors in the state.  Six-year-old gelding Talk About Valor is the likely one to beat for owner Shelley Steele and trainer Gerald Hansen. A winner of six of eight starts on the year, Talk About Valor posted multiple open-company scores at Hawthorne as well at winning at both Springfield and DuQuoin.  He was defeated as the 2-5 favorite in last week’s elimination by Annas Lucky Star but is expected to go favored from his inside draw.  Travis Seekman drives Talk About Valor on Saturday.  Annas Lucky Star has had a career of success, winning 47 of 97 career starts for over $450,000 in earnings.  The seven-year-old mare owned by Danny Graham for trainer Nelson Willis defeated female trotters in Springfield and DuQuoin before upsetting Talk About Valor is last week’s prep.  Kyle Wilfong has driven many of Annas Lucky Star’s career wins and is in the bike for this final. 


Race 5 - $68,500 Beulah Dygert Memorial Championship

Three-year-old filly trotters line up in the Beulah Dygert Memorial, a race where a pair of seven-time winners on the year face off.  Flacco Family Farms LLC and Dr. Patrick Graham’s Loulita, from the barn of Steve Searle has hit the board in 13 of 15 starts on the year, including those seven victories.  She was a winner in the Downstate Classic early in August and has raced well throughout the year. She draws favorably for the Dygert but needs her best as she has recently been chasing the likely favorite in this race late in the summer. Casey Leonard drives Loulita on Saturday. The filly who figures to go favored is Breeze at Sunset for Bowie Racing LLC and trainer Erv Miller.   A seven-time winner from 13 starts in 2021, Breeze at Sunset has been very sharp heading into Night of Champions.  She posted stakes scores at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and DuQuoin before recently holding off Loulita in the final leg of this series last week.  Regular driver Atlee Bender returns in the bike.


Race 6 - $97,500 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Championship

Three-year-old male trotters line up in a division that started the season with a clear standout but has now become a dogfight.  Coco D’Lascito opened the year on a roll for owner Madison Trot and driver/trainer J.D. Finn.  He scored in July in a leg of the Dygert along with winning his prep at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.  Upsets have come in the last three starts for Coco D’Lascito, facing three consecutive defeats at the hands of Sumbodygetdisfool, finishing second in stakes at Springfield and DuQuoin.  On the year, Coco D’Lascito has hit the board in eight of nine starts, with four of those coming as victories.  Sumbodygetdisfool has had an excellent season for owner Laquinton Shavers and trainer Roshun Trigg.  Racing between the fair circuit and at Hawthorne, Sumbodygetdisfool has won nine times from 24 starts on the year while hitting the board in 18 races total.  He sprung onto the scene in this division with late rallying stakes scores at Springfield and DuQuoin, nabbing Coco D’Lascito on the wire in both.  He won the final leg of this series and gets Todd Warren back in the bike on Saturday.


Race 7 - $114,000 Kadabra Championship

Two-year-old male trotters face off in the Kadabra as one of the night’s likely shortest favorites draws well.  From the barn of Mike Brink, Fox Valley Cairo has won six of ten starts for owners Brink, Charles Biggs and Robert Lacey.  As the season has progressed, Fox Valley Cairo has only gotten better, posting sharp stakes victories in both Springfield and DuQuoin.  After rallying too late behind talented filly Ambro Lark on September 11, he returned to the winner’s circle in the final leg of this event last week.  Regular driver Ridge Warren returns in the bike.  Looking for the upset is First and Goal for owners Adam Hawthorne and Super Bowl Champion linebacker Devin White.  A winner at first asking to open the season, First and Goal has raced well throughout the summer, hitting the board in seven of nine starts.  He was an impressive winner last weekend in the final leg of this series for driver Kyle Husted.  The Herman Wheeler trainee will need his best though to pull off the upset on Saturday.


Race 8 - $138,000 Incredible Finale Championship

A competitive field of two-year-old male pacers finds a trio of top contenders drawing next to each other in the night’s richest event.  A winner of seven of nine starts on the year with the other two runner-up efforts is Fox Valley Ozzy from the barn of trainer Gary Rath.  Owned by Stephen Mc MacKin and David Samuelson, Fox Valley Ozzy has never lost over the Hawthorne surface. Casey Leonard drives the versatile two-year-old gelding.  The only two loses of Fox Valley Ozzy’s career have come to Get E Up from the barn of trainer Kyle Husted.  On the board in all seven career starts, Get E Up defeated Fox Valley Ozzy by a neck twice in Springfield, each time with Husted in the bike.  Owned by Husted, David Brigham and John Schwarz, Jr., Get E Up was second in the final leg of this series to Fox Valley Ozzy last week.  The sleeper in the race could be Kingofmyheart, who draws in between Get E Up and Fox Valley Ozzy.  Trained by Erv Miller, Kingofmyheart was an elimination winner at Springfield and has found the board in seven of ten starts on his career.


Race 9 - $117,000 Incredible Tillie Championship

Two-year-old filly pacers follow in the Incredible Tillie with a wide-open field.  11-time winner Rollnroz draws near the outside for owners Eric and Rosalind Jaynes and trainer Roshun Trigg.  Splitting her races between the fair circuit and pari-mutuel events, Rollnroz didn’t disappoint in the final at the Illinois State Fair, winning by two-and-a-half lengths.  Archie Buford returns in the bike.  Apple Valley has made just six starts on the year but has won three of those races, including a pair in this series.  Owned by Michael Perrin and trained by James Molitor, Apple Valley was a strong winner on July 16 in a leg of this event.  After a tough trip in Springfield in August, she took a month off before returning to win the final leg of this event last week.  Kyle Wilfong has driven her throughout her young career and does so again on Saturday.  The most consistent filly in the field comes from the barn of Merv Chupp as Dandy’s Mnm draws in the middle of the pack.  A four-time winner from 14 starts, she has hit the board 12 times and hasn’t been worse than second in over a month.  Owned by A Piece of the Action LLC, Dandy’s Mnm will be driven on Saturday by Kyle Husted.


Race 10 - $76,000 Plum Peachy Championship

The race likely impacted most by post draw, the Plum Peachy features three-year-old filly pacers.  Drawing near the outside is likely favorite Hart’s Heart for owners Donna Crebs and Judy Conzo and trainer Mike Brink.  Hitting the board in 12 of 13 starts on the year with six victories, she finished second in the stakes final at Springfield before winning in DuQuoin next out.  She was impressive in victory at Hawthorne in the final leg of this series last week as Kyle Wilfong drives once again.  Seven-time winner Ryans Secret draws the far outside, a slot wider than Hart’s Heart as she has raced with mixed results on the year.  Archie Buford drives for trainer Roshun Trigg.  Scorecard Dandy could be the sleeper in the Plum Peachy.  Owned by Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas, Scorecard Dandy has found the board in eight of 13 starts on the year.  She was the one to upset Hart’s Heart in Springfield, making the top and never looking back for driver Juan Franco.  She looked to do the same in DuQuoin before being scratched with an injury in the paddock.  She returned last week at Hawthorne, rallying late from an outside draw to finish third to Hart’s Heart in the final leg of this series. Gregory Kain trains Scorecard Dandy.


Race 11 - $66,500 Tony Maurello Memorial Championship

The final race of the Night of Champions card also carries a mandatory payout in the High 5 wager, with a carryover pool expected to be approaching $100,000.  A winner of 20 of 37 career starts, including six wins this year is Fox Valley Exploit from the barn of trainer Kyle Husted.  Owned by Husted and David Brigham, Fox Valley Exploit has been sharp in the last month, posting an open-company win at Hawthorne, a victory in Springfield and a win in last week’s elimination.  Husted drives as Fox Valley Exploit gets a favorable inside draw.  Drawing the far outside is the winner of the second elimination division of the Maurello as Allbeastnobeauty races for driver/trainer Todd Warren.  Owned by Brookside Stables and Keith Ravis, Allbeastnobeauty has 37 career wins from 118 starts as she approaches $400,000 in career earnings.


Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races three meets in 2021.  The spring thoroughbred meet concluded on April 25. The summer Suburban Downs at Hawthorne harness meet began Friday, May 7 and races every Friday-Sunday until September 26.  The fall thoroughbred meet opens October 8 and races through December 27. First post nightly for harness is 7:10 PM. Beginning in June, post time on Sunday night will be 6:30 PM. For any information about Hawthorne Race Course visit the website

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