Erwin F. Dygert, the founder of Suburban Downs, Aurora Downs, and the primary force who brought night time racing to Chicago, loved nothing more than a good trotter.
How fitting then that the race named in his memory has become a virtual showcase of trotting champions at Hawthorne Racecourse.
Dayan won the first two editions of the race, in 1970 and 1971, with driver W. Myer in the bike. The purse of the first Dygert was $35,000. It was raised to $$37,850 the following year.
It wasn’t until 1991 that the purse of this race reached $100,000-$101,900 in fact.
It was lowered again, to $80,000 for a couple of years, down to $70,000 for a couple more, but then started to creep up again. It 1996 the purse for the race again reached $100,000 and has been there ever since.
It was in 1996 that Eliminations for the race were presented for the first time. Nine finalists returned one week later to vie for that $100,000 prize. Federal Yankee was victorious that year.
Hunt M Down, with Eric Ledford piloting, won the 2004 edition of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot. He just got up to beat 3-5 shot Upalazyriver, who had beaten him in the Dygert Elimination. Hunt M Down paid $13.40 for that victory while covering the mile in 1.54.
Two members of last year’s Dygert are scheduled to race in this year’s edition.
Dink Adoo who finished sixth in 2004, placed in last Friday’s Elimination while Mr Mackintosh, fourth in last year’s Dygert, finished fifth in his Elimination a week ago.
This should be quite a race.
The two Trotters who were victorious in the Eliminations, Fox Valley Flan and Mr McNally, set track records in their respective divisions in those triumphs.
Both stopped the timer in 1.53.3. However, it won’t be a two-horse race.
With 10 projected starters, and a talented bunch they are, you just might be able to expect the unexpected.
S IT YOUR LUCKY DAY?
Obviously, the highlight of tonight’s card is the Erwin F Dygert Memorial Trot.
But, you could make the night even more memorable if you can conquer Hawthorne’s Pick 5 Challenge.
It’s a free wager. It starts with race three and ends with race seven.
The premise is simple but putting it into practice might not be. Participants need to select five winning horses. But, you can select five horses from race three, four from race four, then three from race five.
Now it starts to get tough.
From the sixth race you make only two selections. Then, in the seventh race, you need to use all your handicapping skills.
You can make only a single selection from race seven.
t really doesn’t seem that tough but we had no winners the first week.
Therefore, the prize money gets carried to Week Two.
A single winner would win up to $7500 this week. In the event that there are no winners again, the prize pool would continue to carry over, with a mandatory payout on the final Friday of the meet.
A free entry form should be attached on Tuesday night’s (June 14) program. For complete rules please check out http://www.hawthorneracecourse.com/ .
o you have what it takes?
Courtesy Of Jim Miller, Publicity Director, Hawthorne Racecourse