Day At The Track


11:18 AM 24 Jun 2007 NZST
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Courtesy Of Hawthorne Race Course

On Saturday (June 23), Hawthorne Race Course introduced two new stakes for 3-year-old pacers, The Chicago for colts and The Lady Chicago for fillies. Hopefully all future renewals will be just as exciting as its premier.

The Lady Chicago

Lady’s First, quick ladies. The $61,000 Lady Chicago featured two of the finest sophomore filly pacers in the land, Chicagoland or elsewhere.

HBH Standarbred’s Sportsfancy, winner of six straight, faced off against L&L Devisser, Sawgrass Farms and Helping Hand Stable's, Cabana Fever, a seven time winner as a freshman and a strong third in the 2006 Breeders Crown.

Despite a ten horse field, the race screamed out match race and it lived up to those expectations.

Sportsfancy, driven by Ryan Anderson, showed her customary early gate speed but had to contend with the Erv Miller trained Kiss of Heaven who also broke alertly.

Down the backstretch, Sportsfancy finally saw the front end, but was forced to pace 56.2 to get there.

Cabana Fever, not usually quick early, showed enough speed to tuck in fourth. Her pilot Dave Magee, not content with allowing Sportsfancy a breather, made a powerful brush just before the three quarters mark forcing Anderson to make a split second decision.

Anderson decided to yield to Cabana Fever as they approached the 3/4s in 1:24.2.

From there it was a matter of who could sprint home quickest, and in the end, Cabana Fever prevailed by a diminishing head, the mile clocked in 1:52.4. Kiss of Heaven angled out late to be a hard charging third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner

For Magee the race didn’t unfold exactly as planned, but it worked out well enough to beat a pretty talented filly.

“That is a fast filly we were up against. My filly was uncomfortable sitting there after we dropped in and Ryan was taking advantage of a slight breather,” said Magee.

“I’d hoped to be sitting right behind Sportsfancy, but my filly didn’t offer as much gate speed as I would have hoped. In the end though, it all worked out.”

Cabana fever returned $5.40 to win as the second choice in the wagering.

Other quotes from The Lady Chicago:

Ryan Anderson (driver of runner up Sportsfancy):

“She (Sportsfancy) raced super. I was thinking about leaving Cabana Fever out there, but then we would have gone 26 and change and we might have cooked ourselves and not gotten anything. I had to leave pretty hard to get the front also.

“She never gave up through the lane”

Brent Holland (driver of third place finisher Kiss of Heaven) “It was her 2nd start back and I like her a lot. She’s a real nice filly. I was hoping those two fillies would mix it up a little bit. I had to steer her through, buts he was really coming late, and was pacing at the end as hard as any of them. I look forward to next time.”

The Chicago

The $68,000 Chicago carded two races after the Lady Chicago, was no less exciting than its filly counterpart.

The Ken Rucker trained pair of Johnny Charisma and Exterminator, separated by a nose one week ago in the Hanover at Balmoral, finished one, two again this week, with Johnny Charisma getting the better of his stablemate and reversing last week’s decision.

Winning driver Michael Oosting had a pretty good idea who would be closing late, since he’d seen that act before.

“I figured he’d (Exterminator) be coming and since he nipped me last week I knew we better get going. It’s awfully hard to race that hard against each other (stablemates) all the time, but it’s just part of the game.”

Johnny Charisma paced the mile in 1:52.2 in bringing his 2007 record to three wins from four starts.

Saratoga John, following the live cover of Johnny Charisma, had enough through the lane to finish third and round out the trifecta.

As part of a coupled entry, Johnny Charisma paid $3.40 as the favorite.

Other Quotes from the Chicago:

Ken Rucker (trainer of the first two finishers):

“Both horses had to overcome trouble with the bad posts. Mike (Oosting) found a hole early due to a breaker and Todd (Warren, drove Exterminator) got shuffed three deep early. Everything turned out good though it looked ugly for a little while.”

odd Warren (driver of 2nd place finisher Exterminator):

“The horse raced a big mile tonight. This horse is a grinder. Maybe a few more strides we get there.”


Hawthorne Race Course presents live harness beginning on June 22 and concluding on August 4.

During this time only Mondays will be a dark day for our live program. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL, 60804

Courtesy Of Mitch Dernick for Hawthorne Race Course

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