For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700
Top Local Stars Return to the Track as Hawthorne Meet Begins
STICKNEY, IL – The 92 night extended harness season at
Hawthorne kicked off last weekend as numerous state-bred champions were on the
track to make their first starts of the year.
The two nights of opening weekend saw chilly temperatures, but a fast
track made for solid times, big performances, and some upsets along the way.
Saturday card opened with a strong field of trotters as trainer Steve Searle
had a pair entered. Lousraptor
was the heavy favorite off a strong showing during last year’s Night of
Champions but it was the second Searle entrant, Louscardamon
who kicked off the season with the win at 27-1 in 1:57.2 for owners Flacco Family Farms, LLC and Dr. Patrick Graham.
quality field of Open trotters took to the track in Saturday’s fifth race. A pair of horses with a few races on the year
battled through the lane as Lindy’s Big Bang (1:55.4) was able to catch Pine
Dream for driver Casey Leonard.
races later an Illinois champion took to the track as Fox Valley Gemini made
his 2020 debut. Coming in off just one
qualifier, the champ was game, rallying in the lane to finish second, beaten
only a neck to Account Rollover in 1:51.2.
night ended the same way it began, with a pair of Steve Searle trained trotters
finishing one-two past the wire. This
time the favorite was much the best, as another Illinois champion in Louzotic was a clear winner over Skippymalou.
brought about another 11 race card, featuring more talented state-bred
pacers. In the third race on the card,
one of those horses in Valar Morghulis
was game, carving out the early fractions before being caught late by Queens N
Tens in 1:56.1.
Steve Searle sent another to the winner’s circle in Sunday’s fifth race as
Illinois-bred Coming Up rallied for driver James Molitor
to win by a neck in 1:57.0.
Open pacers were the focus in the Sunday feature. Favored Pretty Image didn’t disappoint,
rolling out to the lead and digging in to win by a length over Tarport Belle in 1:54.2.
Casey had the winning drive for owner and trainer Rodney Freese.
the horses were the focus on the racetrack, our horsemen did a great job of
having their athletes ready for the opening weekend. Driver Brandon Bates had success at Hawthorne
last summer in limited action while driving mainly at Hoosier Park. With Hoosier still over a month away, Bates
got off to a hot start at Hawthorne, leading all drivers for opening weekend
with five wins and 10 of his 14 drives finishing in the top three. Casey Leonard, Mike Oosting,
and Todd Warren all had strong starts, each guiding home four winners in the
first two cards.
Steve Searle’s big weekend led the way as he sent out three winners and four
second-place finishers from nine starters.
2020 leading trainer Terry Leonard had two victories, along with Ronnie
Roberts, Harold Herrera, Hector Herrera, and Jace Sundeen.
Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, returned
for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday,
September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10
PM. Fall thoroughbreds close out the
year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or
contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.