Day At The Track

Big weekend for Leonard, Warren and Franco

09:01 AM 24 May 2016 NZST
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Juan Franco
Juan Franco records the first pari-mutuel victory of his career

As the second full weekend of harness racing wrapped up at Hawthorne Race Course, the temperatures warmed and a couple of drivers heated up.

Leading driver Casey Leonard had a big weekend in the bike as he guided home 13 winners over the four day racing week.

Leonard opened the racing week with a three bagger on Thursday. On Friday evening, Leonard guided home five winners, some at big prices. Leonard won the fourth race with Little Miss Torie ($57.20), followed by favored Financial Effort two races later. In the ninth race Leonard was back in the winner's circle with the longest shot on the board as Dali Treasure ($51.00) rallied late. The following race Leonard drove home Sure You Are ($33.20) and closed out the evening with favorite Jiggles the Clown in the finale.

Leonard won three more times on Saturday, including another impressive score by Ontario Success (1:51) in the Saturday feature. He closed the 13 win weekend with a pair of victories on Sunday evening.

Driver Todd Warren also had a fine weekend, winning seven races over the four day span.

Warren opened the week winning a pair on Thursday night. After going winless Friday, he came back with a trio of scores Saturday, driving home both Old Man River and KC Rambunctious Boy to their second wins each on the meet.

On Sunday, Warren won twice more as John Jay and It'saswan both continued their fine Hawthorne form.

Capping the Sunday card was a first for driver Juan Franco as he recorded the first pari-mutuel victory of his career in the Sunday finale. Franco drove 25-1 shot Parklane Dragon to a 2¼ length score for trainer Nelson Willis in Sunday's tenth race.

Stakes Nominations for Two-Year-Old Races Posted

The nominees for the four two-year-old stakes races have been posted on the Hawthorne website. Two-year-old filly trotters will compete in the Fox Valley Flan stakes as 31 fillies were nominated.

The Kadabra Stakes for two-year-old colt trotters closed with 30 nominations.

In the Incredible Tillie Stakes for two-year-old filly pacers, 72 were nominated. The Incredible Finale Stakes for two-year-old colt pacers ended up with 61 nominees.

To view the full list of all stakes nominations, visit the Hawthorne website at and click on the "Horsemen" tab.


Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the 4th oldest racetrack in the nation and the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. Located in Stickney, Illinois on the edge of Chicago's city limits, the 125 year old facility hosts thoroughbred racing in the Spring and Fall/Winter, and standardbred harness racing in January and the Summer. The family-owned and operated business has been an innovator in horseracing for more than 100 years and features the nation's most rewarding players program.

For additional information: | | @ClubHawthorne.

Jim Miller

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