HAWTHORNE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS

10:29 PM 02 Aug 2005 NZST
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Hawthorne Racecourse is pleased to present the inaugural Night Of Champions on Friday (August 5).

The Night Of Champions is the culmination of a series of Series races, each comprised of three legs, covering eight different divisions.

With a special 7.00 pm first post time these Series were restricted to Pacers and Trotters, Conceived and Foaled in Illinois.

The Series were named for the winners of these divisions in last year’s Hawthorne Harness meet. The Final of each of the Series carries a purse estimated at $100,000.

Asked how he came up with this Series format, Hawthorne’s Assistant General Manager of Harness Racing, Dan Poprawski, had this to say:

“I’ve thought about this for a long time. I appreciated the format of Balmoral’s Super Night but, with that format, horses were one break or bad trip or away from being eliminated.

With this format, utilising three separate legs, horses can have a bad race but with two more chances, could still bounce back. I figured that with three legs leading into the Finals, we would get the best 10 or so horses in each division and racing luck wouldn’t be as much of a factor.”

Director Of Marketing, Joe Scurto, thought that a night such as this would be a perfect occasion to introduce more people to standardbred racing.

“When you have an opportunity such as this you need to do everything possible to build rapport with your fans. We want everybody to have a great time.

"In addition to the terrific racing, we have compiled a series of promotions to accommodate fans of varied interests.

"We have the colouring contest and pony rides for the kids, the Colgate Country Showdown for our music fans.

"The free glass giveaway, the first in the series, commemorating this event. The FREE Pick 8 Challenge, which could be worth up to $8,000 to a single winner, Crazy Eights which will randomly award some Club Hawthorne members with points in their Club Hawthorne accounts, fireworks between races, and of course, the incredible Hot To Trot experience, a mind-blowing pyrotechnics experience.”

Plus, with the $25,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 pool and the 10-cent Superfecta, patrons will have the opportunity to make a lot with a small outlay.

The real highlight of the night, however, is the racing. The Series, and the divisions, are listed below:

Silhouette Star…2-Year-Old Filly Trotters

Vicster…2-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trotters

Sleazebisquit…2-Year-Old Filly Pacers

Perdition…2-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pacers

Fox Valley Flan…3-Year-Old Filly Trotters

Customize…3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trotters

Creative Lass…3-Year-Old Filly Pacers

Enemy At The Gate…3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pacers

We would be remiss in not noting the superb effort of Woody Woodrow on Monday night.

The talented trotter, in spite of beating many of this field last time out, was relatively ignored in the wagering but turned in a masterful effort, wiring the field and demolishing the track record for 4-Year-Old trotters and in fact, trotting the fastest mile ever at Hawthorne, beating the record generated by the talented Windsong’s Legacy who went on to take the Trotting Triple Crown.

Woody Woodrow covered the mile in 1.52.3. After getting the opening quarter in a normal 27.3 seconds, he tripped the timer for the half in 54.4s, and the three quarters in 1.23.. He paid $24.60.

Courtesy Of Jim Miller, Publicity Director, Hawthorne Racecourse

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