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Turf Stakes Provide Exciting Finishes

Turf Stakes Provide Exciting Finishes


                Last weekend at Hawthorne kicked off the start of the state-bred stakes schedule as a pair of turf stakes returned and provided exciting finishes.  Illinois-bred females were featured on Friday in the Illini Princess Handicap while the boys were the focus Saturday in the Buck’s Boy.


Illini Princess Handicap

                A field of eight lined up in the Illini Princess Handicap as New York shipper Bramble Queen was sent away as the 2-1 choice for trainer Mike Dini.  Leaving quickly from the gate and crossing over was speedy Kool Kate as she carved out fractions over the firm turf course of :23.99, :48.33, and 1:12.47 in the 1 1/16 mile event.  Chased throughout by Lovely Loyree, Kool Kate maintained her lead into the lane as Bramble Queen geared up her move for jockey C.H. Marquez, Jr.

                Mid-stretch, Kool Kate was still up by a length as Lovely Loyree continued to chase but Bramble Queen was closing quickly.  Inside the final sixteenth, Bramble Queen ran on by, winning by a length and a quarter over Kool Kate.  Lovely Loyree held third.  After a steward’s inquiry, Kool Kate was disqualified from second to third for crossing over early and impeding Lovely Loyree.

                Bramble Queen stopped the clock in 1:43.26, earning $33,030 in the $55,050 event.  Bramble Queen is owned by Ballybrit Stable LLC and returned $6.40, $3.40, and $2.40.  Lovely Loyree came back $4.00 and $3.00 while Kool Kate paid $2.60 to show.


Buck’s Boy Handicap

                Saturday’s feature saw ten battle in the Buck’s Boy as trainer Michelle Boyce’s Blue Sky Kowboy was sent off at the 8-5 favorite.  Trainer Chris Block had a pair in the Buck’s Boy as speedy Don’task Don’ttell cleared the early lead and opened up through fractions of :23.84, :47.99, and 1:11.36 on the firm turf in the 1 1/16 mile event.

                Into the lane, it appeared Don’task Don’ttell may steal the race as he had opened up a five length lead for jockey Julio Felix.  Mid-stretch, a pair picked up the chase as 2018 Buck’s Boy champ Cammack and 2017 Hawthorne Derby runner-up Blue Sky Kowboy were closing quickly.  Late in the lane Cammack grabbed the lead between horses as Blue Sky Kowboy rallied on the outside.  It was a head bob on the wire with Blue Sky Kowboy winning by a whisker over Cammack in 1:41.78.  Don’task Don’ttell held on the finish third.

                Blue Sky Kowboy returned $5.40, $3.80, and $2.60 for owners Terry Biondo, Oak Rock Racing LLC, Laura Donohoe, Cherrywood Racing Stables, II, and rider C.H. Marquez, Jr.  Cammack paid $5.80 and $3.80 while Don’task Don’ttell paid $3.00 to show.  Blue Sky Kowboy earned $33.540 in the $55,900 Buck’s Boy.

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