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Illinois-bred three-year-old fillies were the focus at Hawthorne on Friday night in a pair of divisions of the Plum Peachy Stakes. Race one on Friday kicked off the action as a field of seven lined up behind the starter. Leaving for the lead was Boogie on Down as she easily cleared the top through the opening quarter in :28.2. The field remained in line through the backside after a half in :57.4. On the turn, the field bunched up as Princess Sage moved to challenge the leader. After three quarters in 1:26.3, Boogie On Down maintained her lead while Princess Sage challenged. In the lane, Boogie on Down was kept to task by driver Kyle Wilfong and held sway at the wire, winning in 1:54.1. Fox Valley Charliz came up the inside to finish second while Princess Sage finished third. Boogie on Down is owned by Mr. Lynn and Barbara Wilfong, Brett and Candice Wilfong. Race four was the second division of the Plum Peachy as the field of seven was led by favored Lady's Party with Casey Leonard driving. Getting away quickly was Ashlees Cocktail but Lady's Party took over and led through the quarter in :28.2. On the backside, A Real Doozie and Mike Oosting took over, passing the half in :57.3. In the turn, A Real Doozie faced a fresh challenge from My Kind of Dance as the pair passed three quarters in 1:27.0. In the stretch, My Kind of Dance grabbed a brief lead but Lady's Party came back to take over late. At the wire, Lady's Party held on by a length over late closing Fancy Creek Jolene. My Kind of Dance finished third. The final time for the mile was 1:54.3. Lady's Party is owned by Mitchell Titus and Dennis Wright and trained by Terry Leonard. by Jim Miller for Hawthorne Racecourse

STICKNEY, IL - Hawthorne's meet leading driver to date, Casey Leonard, had a night to remember at Hawthorne, capping a big racing week. Entering the second half of the Hawthorne Standardbred season, Leonard held a 26 win margin in the driver standings over Mike Oosting and hasn't missed a beat. The week opened with Leonard winning a pair of races on Thursday, guiding home two-year-old Rippin an Runnin in race three followed by Gorgeous View in the sixth race. Although Leonard was winless on Friday evening, five of his drives found the board, including OK Heavenly finishing second in the filly and mare open pace. Saturday's night to remember for Leonard kicked off with a win by Fox Valley Gemini in the first division of leg two action of the Incredible Finale stakes. He came back to win with Mykonos in race three, the second division of the Incredible Finale. After finishing second with LK's Nancy Lee in race four and third behind Ashless Nannah in race five, Casey was back in the winner's circle for race six, sweeping all three divisions of the Incredible Finale, this time driving home Lambo. He drove Beatrice to a victory in race seven followed by Lucy Flew in the ninth. Leonard rounded out the big night taking both ends of the late double, winning with Dali Treasure in the eleventh and closing out the big evening as Slzburgerslzburger won race twelve. On Sunday evening, Leonard followed a third place finish with Lous Silver Star in race two by winning race three with Kickinitwithkohler. In the second leg of the Kadabra stakes, Casey struck again, controlling the pace with True Detective and drawing clear in the lane. Overall for the week, Leonard won 11 races, had four runner-up efforts and eight third-place performances on his big week. Jim Miller

The Sunday harness racing card at Hawthorne Racecourse opened with a field of six for the second leg of the Peter Galassi for filly and mare pacers. The 3-5 favorite was Leg one winner Lakeside Ms Queen at 3-5 and driven by Dale Hiteman. The filly by Rockin Image broke prior to the start and spotted the field seven lengths. Dali Delight took advantage and set the fractions through a comfortable :29.4 quarter and :58.4 half. On the turn, Dali Delight maintained her advantage as Lakeside Ms Queen picked up the chase while three wide. After three quarters in 1:28.1, Lakeside Ms Queen came to challenge Dali Delight. At the wire, Lakeside Ms Queen overcame the break at the start and won by a neck in 1:56.3. Dali Delight was second while Rear View finished third. Lakeside Ms Queen is owned by Jace Sundeen and Denise Jarka and trained by Jace Sundeen. Race five on Sunday was an open handicap for filly and mare pacers as OK Heavenly looked for her second consecutive victory at this level. Leaving for the lead was Seeyouatthefinish for Kyle Husted as she covered the quarter in :28.2. Moving to take over on the backstretch was Fox Valley Charm, through a half in :57.1. On the turn, Fox Valley Charm maintained her lead through three quarters in 1:24.4. In the lane, they lined up six across as favored Sportswriter mare OK Heavenly and driver Casey Leonard rolled by, winning in 1:53.4. Owned by Dandy Farms, Inc. and Mark Winship, OK Heavenly is trained by Angela Coleman. Multi-Win Evenings Drivers - Casey Leonard (3 Wins), Dale Hiteman (2 Wins) Trainers - Angela Coleman (2 Wins) Race Winners Race 1 - Lakeside Ms Queen (1:56.3) Race 2 - Schwarber (2:00.3) Race 3 - Real Sheila (1:56.3) Race 4 - Louscipher (1:58.3) Race 5 - OK Heavenly (1:53.4) Race 6 - Quantum Uptown Boy (1:57.4) Race 7 - San Antonio Rose (1:55.2) Race 8 - M T Ur Pockets (1:57.2) Race 9 - Pretty Image (1:54.4) Race 10 - PJ Boy (1:59.2) Race 11 - Bucklegirl Bobette (1:55.0) Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - Dandy Farms Inc & Mark Winship's OK Heavenly set the new track record for a harness racing four-year-old pacing mare on Friday evening at Hawthorne. Trained by Angie Coleman and driven by the meet's leading driver Casey Leonard, OK Heavenly assumed command early and never looked back in Friday's seventh race. She covered the opening quarter in :28 and the half in :55.2. She extended her lead into the lane through three quarters in 1:23.1 and crossed the wire a 6¾ length victor in 1:50.4. OK Heavenly eclipsed the previous track record of 1:51.1, set by Ready to Rumba on July 6, 2008. The win was the seventh on the year for OK Heavenly. Early Pick 5 Carryover and Late Pick 4 Guarantee for Night of Champions On Friday evening at Hawthorne, there were no winners in the Early Pick 5, leading to a carryover pool of $2,259 to start the Night of Champions card with the 7:00 PM first post. Later in the evening, races 9-12 will compile the late pick 4 as Hawthorne and the USTA Strategic Wagering Program will team up for a $25,000 guaranteed pool on the wager. The guaranteed pool will be comprised of four stakes races as free past performances can be found on the USTA website. Jim Miller    

STICKNEY, IL - A little bit of pre-race rain didn't dampen the evening at Hawthorne as six races of stakes action took place on Thursday evening. Two divisions of leg two of the Fox Valley Flan Stakes and Kadabra Stakes for Illinois-bred two-year-old trotting females and males respectively took place early in the evening. Later in the card were the three-year-old female and male trot eliminations for the Violet and Cardinal Stakes. First up on the evening was the first division of leg two of the Fox Valley Flan Stakes with a field of nine Illinois-bred two-year-old filly trotters lined up. Favored was Beatrice for trainer James Eaton and driver Casey Leonard. Getting away quickly was She's Savvy and driver Matt Krueger as she covered the opening quarter in :30.4 while favored Beatrice broke stride. On the backside, She's Savvy continued the lead while Fox Valley Elana tracked the pace. After a half in 1:02, Lucy Quaider moved to challenge She's Savvy on the turn. At the top of the stretch in three quarters in 1:32.1, She's Savvy continued to lead. She's Savvy held firm in the lane, holding off Lucy Quaider. Fox Valley Elana was a tough luck third. Final time for the mile was 2:01.4. Owned by Lyle Scurlock and Nicole Potts and trained by Lyle Scurlock, She's Savvy returned $5.40, $3.80, and $3.00. Lucy Quaider came back $9.20 and $4.60 while Fox Valley Elana returned $4.80 to show. Race three on Thursday brought out the Illinois-bred boys in the first division of leg two of the Kadabra Stakes. A full field of ten faced off with Trixie's Jethro as the heavy favorite. Making the early lead was the favorite as he set the opening quarter in :30.2. On the backstretch, Louscipher moved to challenge the favorite but was unable to make the top after a half in 1:00.3. On the turn, the 1-9 favorite Trixie's Jethro and Jared Finn continued to lead. After three quarters in 1:31.4, Trixie's Jethro was challenged and passed by Totally Pazzazzed and Casey Leonard as that one flew by late. Totally Pazzazzed stopped the clock in 2:01.1, Trixie's Jethro was second, Marching to Zion finished third. Owned by James and Tracey Walker and trained by Nick Giberson, Totally Pazzazzed paid $54.60, $7.00, and $5.00. Trixie's Jethro returned $2.10 and $2.10 while Marching to Zion paid $6.00 to show. Race four Thursday was the second division of leg two of the Fox Valley Flan Stakes as Lous Game N Match was a late scratch. Favored was Scarlet Ribbons and driver Casey Leonard. Leaving quickly from the outside was Hannah's Lil Prayer and Betsy B Breeze but Sis's Ellie Mae held the lead through the quarter in :30.4. At the half, Betsy B Breeze moved to take over in 1:01.2 as she was followed by Lous Credit Report. After three quarters in 1:30.3, Betsy B Breeze held the lead but Dandy's ESP and Todd Warren rallied to win by six lengths in 2:00.4. Sent off at 26-1, Dandy's ESP is owned by Dandy Farms Inc., Linda and Robert Grider and trained by Rob Rittof. She returned $55.00, $21.60, and $7.40. Betsy B Breeze paid $10.20 and $5.20. Sis's Ellie Mae returned $4.40 to show. Race six was the second division of the Kadabra Stakes as Matt Q was looking to repeat his victory in leg one of the stakes. Looking for the lead early was longshot Jungleland through a quarter in :31.1. With little movement on the backstretch through the half in 1:03.2, Jungleland led but Matt Q moved on the turn and took over through three quarters in 1:33.3. In the stretch, Matt Q led as Cassisandfifth moved into second but Matt Q was well clear, winning in 2:02.3. Cassisandfifth held second while Photo Phred was third. Photo Phred was disqualified for violating the breaking rule and placed fifth, moving New Pay up to third. Owned by Quaid Racing LLC and trained by Nelson Willis, Matt Q was driven by Casey Leonard and returned $2.80, $2.60, $2.60. Cassisandfifth came back $9.40 and $8.00. New Pay paid $8.40 to show. Race eight was the Violet Stakes elimination for three-year-old filly trotters as the top eight finishers were set to join Powerful Princess and Surviver Di in next week's final. Favored was Vengeful as post time as that one got away well through the quarter in :29.0. After a half in :58.2, Vengeful held the lead while longshot Fox Valley Mirage tracked. Covering three quarters in 1:28.1 for Todd Warren, Vengeful opened the lead and drew clear. Vengeful won by three lengths over More Than Likely, Fox Valley Bugatti finished third. Final time was 1:58.2. Owned by Providence West Inc. and trained by Kenny Collier, Vengeful returned $3.40, $2.40, and $2.40. More Than Likely paid $4.20 and $4.40 while Fox Valley Bugatti returned $11.60 to show. Three-year-old Colt and Gelding trotters were on hand for the Cardinal Stakes elimination as the top seven finishers were set to join Mr Strata, Primed N Powerful and Hail Caesar in next week's final. Sent away as the favorite was Fear for Todd Warren. Fear headed straight for the lead through the opening quarter in :28.4 and opened up a four length lead. After a half in :57.2, Fear maintained the large lead into the turn. Once around the turn, Wrightwood began to move but Fear was still up through three quarters in 1:26.4. In the lane, Fear maintained his lead and won by eight lengths. Wrightwood finished second while Powerful Father was third. Fear won in a career best time of 1:57. Owned by Providence West Inc and trained by Kenny Collier, Fear paid $2.40, $2.10, and $2.20. Wrightwood returned $2.20 and $2.40 while Powerful Father paid $6.20 to show. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Raceway

STICKNEY, IL - On Friday evening at Hawthorne Racetrack over a fast harness racing track, Illinois-bred three-year-old pacing fillies were on display in leg two of the Plum Peachy stakes. Two divisions were set to compete. In the first division, Ashlee's Fine Lady was sent off as the favorite. Leaving quickly was Bucklegirl Bobetter as she cleared the lead through a quarter in :28.4 and half in :59.1. Favored Ashlee's Fine Lady moved to challenge on the turn as Bucklegirl Bobette battled through three quarters in 1:27.2. All out late, Bucklegirl Bobette dug in gamely for Kyle Wilfong to hold on for the victory in 1:54.4. Dandy's Diva finished second while LK's Nancy Lee was third. Trained by Robert Walker, Bucklegirl Bobette returned $8.60, $8.80 and $5.40. Dandy's Diva paid $9.80 and $7.40 while LK's Nancy Lee returned $3.40 to show. In the second division, Dakota Sleek was scratched leaving a field of seven as Char N Marg was the favorite. Art Angel Baby made the lead through the quarter in :28.1. At the half, favorite Char N Marg took over for Casey Leonard in :57. After three quarters in 1:25.3, Char N Marg led the field into the lane and opened up. Drawing clear late, Char N Marg won easily in 1:53.1. Likeafireballshot rallied for second while Whiskersonkittens finished third. Owned by Quaid Racing LLC and trained by Nelson Willis, Char N Marg returned $3.60, $2.80, and $2.20. Likeafireballshot came back $5.80 and $3.80 while Whiskersonkittens paid $3.40 to show. Jim Miller  

Almost three-years to the day after notching his 1,000th career driving victory, Hawthorne's defending winter-meet harness racing driving champion and current summer-meet leading reinsman Casey Leonard had cause to celebrate another milestone as he posted his 2,000th career victory with the Nelson Willis trained Uncle Bud in Saturday's fourth race. A third generation horseman, who sports a business management degree from Western Illinois University, Leonard has been dominating the driving ranks in the Chicagoland area over the past few seasons winning titles at Hawthorne and the now shuttered Balmoral & Maywood Park racetracks. Despite growing up in and around the sport becoming a driver or trainer in the game was never number one at the top of the charts for the 38-year-old Leonard. "I worked in warehouse and supply chain management before my uncle (Gary) passed away in 2000," said Leonard. "That's when dad (Terry) asked me if I would come back home and help with the farm so I did. Initially I had just planned on training some horses to help out but then I received the opportunity to drive some very nice horses and wound up making some good money with them. That's when the driving end of the business really started to get into my blood." Having come a long way from his first career victory at the Woodstock County Fair back in 1996, the quiet but confident Leonard has been like a fine wine, continuing to get better and better with age. Casey has posted more than 1,600 of his 2,000 career wins since 2010 while more than $8.2 million of his $11.8 million in career driving earnings have come in the past 7 seasons. "I don't regret for one minute starting my career a little later than most guys do," said a joyful Leonard in the winner's circle. "Things have really taken off for me over the past few years so maybe it was some master plan that it's all worked out the way it has." When asked if the grind of commuting nearly 80 miles each way from his home ever seemed like it was just a little too much Leonard answered with a resounding no. "It does make for some long days and nights training horses in the mornings and then coming into drive at night but this is my job and how many people get the chance to say they can have this kind of fun at their job," said Leonard. "I also get the honor to drive for most of the top trainers here on the Chicago circuit so I darn well better get them some winners." Leonard also wasted no time starting on the path to 3,000 career victories by guiding Summer Shandy, who is trained by his dad Terry, in the next race of the night. Tom Kelley  

While harness racing fans received a bit of a respite from the near 100 degree temperatures that gripped the Chicagoland area over the weekend, leading driver Casey Leonard remained red-hot on Sunday night at Hawthorne as the 38-year-old reinsman posted a six-pack of winners on the 11-race program. The big night on Sunday left the third generation horseman, who started his career with a victory at the Woodstock County Fair back in 1996, just four victories shy of the coveted 2,000 win mark for his career. Sunday's sizzling performance started with a 17-1 upset behind the Curt Grummel trained trotter Rose Guida and concluded with an easy four-length triumph with Ken Rucker's 8-5 favorite Capelo in the nightcap. In between the bookend victories Leonard managed to sweep races three through six with a variety of mid-level betting choices and one favorite for his many followers. Sporting a gaudy .383 UDRS going into Sunday's action the Harvard, Illinois native has a double-digit lead over Todd Warren in the driver standings for the summer meet after easily taking home leading driver honors for the five-week winter meet that concluded in early Feb. Live racing at Hawthorne resumes on Thursday, June 16th with a 10-race card on tap. First post is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. (central). Tom Kelley  

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. ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE 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

After a seven-year absence from the harness racing scene at Hawthorne Race Course the trotters and pacers returned to the Stickney spa for a short four-week meet which kicked off on Jan. 8th. If the numbers that were put up are a sign of things to come racing fans will be in for a treat when the standardbreds return to Hawthorne in May for an extended five-month meet.    With “mother-nature” cooperating and fans throughout the country embracing the very competitive racing the 22-card meet averaged more than $916,000 on the mainly 10 race programs with $50,000 of that total coming on track.  Those numbers far exceeded management’s expectations lending further hope for a very successful summer meeting.    “The support we received from everywhere around the country was just tremendous,” said Publicity Director and Racing Analyst Jim Miller. “I would also like to thank TVG Network for all the support they gave us showing every card from start to finish. That is something we haven’t had for harness racing here in Illinois and that had a great impact on the handle.”    Longshot players enjoyed the non-stop action at Hawthorne as favorites clicked at less than a 36% clip. There were several $100 + win mutuels throughout the meet with the highlight being the $110,906 payout in the 20 cent Jackpot High Five on Friday, Jan. 29th.    The horsemen certainly did their part to support the product as well filling the entry box night after night for Racing Secretary Peter Hanley.  The meet featured three 11-horse fields, 174 10-horse fields, 36 nine-horse fields, 12 8-horse fields, and just one 7-horse field and one 6-horse field.    “Considering the fact this was my first time working in the Chicago market the horsemen were just super to work with,” said Hanley. “I really think we developed a great relationship with them and we did our best to get everyone raced as much as possible. It’s pretty amazing when you can say that 97% of your races featured full fields.”    Casey Leonard continued to dominate the local driving ranks taking home his first Hawthorne title over Simon Allard and Todd Warren. The training title came down to the final races of the Saturday card with veteran Jim Ellison edging out Ronnie Roberts, Terry Leonard and Alex Adam by a single win. The fastest mile of the meet was recorded by Burke Racing & Weaver Bruscemi’s Ontario Success who stopped the clock in 1:51.1 for trainer Roger Welch.    ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE   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: | |     

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike would like to remind everyone that for the next few weeks, the show will take place at 1:00 PM on Thursday afternoons. Coming up this week, leading Chicago area Driver Casey Leonard will be joining us to talk about his career, as well as the current racing season at  Hawthorne Race Course Also joining us on the show is Rob Key. Rob is the CEO and founder of Converseon, an award-winning social media consultancy. Also a harness horse owner, his company is partnered with the USTA's social media initiative. We will also sit down with longtime Hawthorne Track Announcer Peter Galassi, as he talks about his career and his recovery from stem cell replacement. Winnie Morgan Nemeth will also be joining us in the first of a four-part series to talk about New Vocations, and how it works. Make sure to join Post Time with Mike and Mike on Thursday with a first post of 1:00 PM, for more information visit our website at or follow us on Social Media.   Michael Carter

STICKNEY, IL - The harness racing ladies were the focus on Friday evening at Hawthorne as divisions of the Ohyouprettything and Pretty Direct Pacing Series took place. The Ohyouprettything went in four divisions and was for fillies and mares that had not won two pari-mutuel races or $10,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. The Pretty Direct was also for the females, non-winners of five pari-mutuel races or $25,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. The opener on Friday was the first division of the Ohyouprettything series as Flight on Time was sent off as the choice. Much like Thursday's card, speed did not hold though as Tamarac Smoochie settled behind the early pace and found room in the stretch to win going away. Driven by Casey Leonard, The Ft Apache Hanover mare was 5-1 and covered the mile in 1:58.3. A Very Nice Dragon was second and Going Shooten finished third. The second division of the Ohyouprettything was a very tight finish and proved to be some tense moments for those playing the favorite. A big late wager pushed Mystical Nectar down to 1-5 favoritism. She tipped out late in the lane and moved late, but just held on to win by a head over Backwoods Barbie. Simon Allard drove the Charley Barley mare for trainer Tyler Nostadt as they covered the mile in 1:56.4. Nashville Nasty rallied late to finish third. The Pretty Direct Pacing Series kicked off in race 3 on the Friday Hawthorne card as a field of seven lined up. Colorful Sky left and set the early fractions as she tried to back down the pace. The field bunched at the top of the stretch as Casey Leonard and favorite Fox Valley Gypsy angled out from sixth and began to rally. The Yankee Skyscraper filly got up in time to win in 1:55.3. Fox Valley Brooke was second while Addie Rose finished third. The third division of the Ohyouprettything Pacing Series proved to be another race where the winner closed from well back. Savoya Cruiser carved out the early fractions but in the lane LK's Nancy Lee angled out and closed strongly to win with Dale Hiteman in the sulky. Burry Me Inthesand rallied late for place as Our Miss Leah finished third. Final time for the mile was 1:58.1 as the Yankee Skyscraper filly was bet down to 2-1 favoritism. The second division of the Pretty Direct followed on the Friday card and featured a heavy favorite in Lovethewayoulook. She was in a tough spot early as she settled at the back of the pack from the start. She was first to move and swept up to the lead into the far turn. She wasn't able to sustain her rally though as Whiskersonkittens and driver Robert Smolin closed for the victory. Pacifire gained late for place while Lovethewayoulook was outfinished for third. The Party At Artsplace filly paced the mile in 1:55.4. The final division of the Ohyouprettything looked to be a wide open race going in and ended up being more than that way in the end. While favorites Gossip Model and Lollipop were contesting things into the lane, 99-1 Luvly Lil Terror found room late and squeezed through for the victory. Driver Pat Curtin won for trainer Loralee Johnson as the Western Terror filly paid $266 for the victory. The final time for the race was 1:55.2. Jim Miller    

STICKNEY, IL - Wednesday night kicked off the first legs of the Whizzer R. White and Suburban Downs Pacing Series at Hawthorne. The Whizzer R. White had an overflow amount of harness racing entries and was split into five divisions while the Suburban Downs went with two divisions. Conditions for the Whizzer R. White were for colts, horses, and geldings that had not won two pari-mutuel races or $10,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. The Suburban Downs series was for colts, horses, and geldings that had not won five pari-mutuel races for $25,000 lifetime as of December 1, 2015. In leg one of the Whizzer R. White pacing series, the first division kicked off the evening as a three way battle ensued in the stretch. In the end it was the first over move by Pillage and Burn with Casey Leonard driving to defeat Party Falls. Trixsen Gram finished third in 1:57 for the mile over the fast track. Pillage and Burn won as the even money choice. The second division came down to a photo finish as Todd Warren and Always Kenzer just got up in time to best Ridge Warren and One to Draw To, who had set the early fractions throughout. The pacers closed quickly once again as the final time in the father/son battle was 1:56.1. Duneside Sport finished third in the second division. Always Kenzer won at 9-2. Division three became a one horse affair as Trace Tetrick was in to drive for brother, Tom. Settling early, Tetrick and Over Friskie moved early to the lead and opened up their advantage into the far turn. The margin only widened into the stretch as Over Friskie was well clear, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. Lyons Jimmydean came back for second after breaking stride prior to the start and Mr Mark Patrick was third. Over Friskie was the 4-5 favorite. The fourth division was another quick move on the turn by driver Trace Tetrick with Ocaptain Mycaptain as he tried to steal the race but it wasn't to be this time as Travis Seekman confidently handled Prince Bayard to the victory at 7-2. Mr Pickpocket rallied late for place while Ocaptain Mycaptain was third. The final time was 1:56.0. The fifth and final division of the Whizzer R. White series had a pace battle early as three contended for the early lead. In the end it was the closers once again as 8-1 shot Lil Orphan Elmer rallied for the score with Kyle Wilfong in the sulky. 43-1 longshot Gunny Wilson closed late for place over favorite Red Red Redneck. Final time was 2:00.1 The Suburban Downs pacing series went later in the evening with two divisions facing off. In the first division Why Ask Why continued his winning ways as he way able to overcome the outside post and rally for the victory with Ridge Warren driving. Sir Mammo battled on to finish second while Kolt Power rallied late for third. Why Ask Why was sent off at 5-1 and stopped the clock in 1:54.3. The second division of the Suburban Downs pacing series was a battle to the wire as Freedomformysoul just held off The Optimist. Freedomformysoul was driven by Simon Allard and moved to the lead early. After being headed in the lane he fought back gamely for the victory in 1:56.3. The Optimist finished second, Officially Yours was third. Jim Miller

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sub-zero wind chills could stop the return of live harness racing to Hawthorne Race Course as the "Stickney Spa" enjoyed a very successful opening weekend for its first Standardbred meet in nearly 10 years. With a nice crowd on hand braving day long rain and sleet to witness the live racing card and all the on track festivities on Friday, Jan 8th, Casey Leonard, last season's driving kingpin on the Chicago circuit put on quite a show as he bagged four straight wins to open the 2016 season. Leonard would pick up another victory behind Hudson Jesse in the featured seventh race to wind up with a five-bagger on the night. On Saturday night (Jan 9) local fans had a good look at some of the top stables that have decided to call Hawthorne home for this winter-meet as such national power houses like Rene Allard, Ron Burke and Ken Rucker all sent out winners on the 10-race card. The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi's Ontario Success turned in the most impressive score of the night as he scooted to a front stepping victory in the featured Open pace, tripping the timer in 1:53.4 for driver Sam Widger on a sloppy track after heavy snow fell throughout the late afternoon and evening hours. Casey Leonard continued to weave his magic as well, piloting three more winners on the Saturday program. The up and coming Travis Seekman also had a driving double on Saturday which included the longest price of the weekend as he lit up the board at $75.40 with the Rucker trained Winning Dream in race four. As if Mother Nature had not played enough tricks on the Chicago area, an arctic blast rolled through on Sunday, Jan. 10th plunging temperatures into the single digits. Once again the fabulous work of the track crew had the surface in tip top shape though and driver Robert Smolin started out red-hot as he notched both ends of the early daily double and wound up with a driving triple for the night. Simon Allard began to familiarize himself to the Hawthorne winner's circle with a driving double as did Kyle Wilfong. Leonard posted another victory as well giving him a total of nine wins on opening weekend. The support shown by the horsemen who dropped nearly 500 entries in the box for the opening weekend helped contribute to a 20% increase in the anticipated handle at Hawthorne despite the rough weather conditions. For those "carry-over" seekers, the Jackpot High 5, which is a 20 cent wager, will have a carryover of more than $14,000 as week two of the meet gets started. Live racing resumes on Wednesday, Jan. 13th with first post for the 10-race card at 7:20 p.m. (central) Qualifiers will be held prior to the live card on Wednesday night with that action getting started at 6:00 p.m. (central). Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday thru Sunday schedule until Saturday, Feb 6th. Post time is 7:20 p.m. (central). ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE 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. Ontario Success came splashing home a winner for Sam Widger in Saturday's featured Open Pace at Hawthorne Race Course.   Tom Kelley

Looking to bring his sophomore season to a close the same way that he started his second season James & Teri Blackman's Dixie's Boy came flying through the open stretch to post an impressive neck decision over six other ICF harness racing sophomore's in Saturday's $8,060 Xpressbet Stake at Balmoral Park. The final time was 1:54.2 over the sloppy going.   Reserved through the early stages of the race by driver Casey Leonard as Earndawg (Ridge Warren) zipped through splits of 28.4, 57.3 & 1:25.3 Leonard moved the gelded son of Duneside Perch--Dingy's Model into the outer flow as the field neared the top of the stretch.   Fit, fresh and loaded with pace, Leonard then maneuvered the Joel Smith trainee towards the inside where he spotted a seam along the pylons as the field hit the open stretch. With clear sailing in front of them Dixie's Boy quickly swallowed up the pace-setter with 100 yards to go and began to draw clear in the shadow of the wire to notch his second straight win here and his seventh win in 29 starts this year. Earndawg was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Lucpark (Mike Oosting) rallied late to get the show dough.   After a quick start to his sophomore season then a bit of a "summer lull" Dixie's Boy now boasts career numbers of eight wins, five seconds and eight thirds in 36 starts with earnings of more than $55,000.   Sent off as a close second choice in the wagering Dixie's Boy returned $6.80, $4.00 & $3.20.   Tom Kelley

Harness racing freshman trotting colts stepped into the spotlight on Friday night as a full field of 10 diagonally gaited youngsters squared off in the $21,300 Cardinal Stake for state-breds. When the smoke cleared from this heated battle it was Thomas Pollard and Dirk Simpson Stable's Pastor Clint who emerged victorious as he came flying down the center of the track to record a 2¼ length victory in 2:0.1 over a track rated as "good" after being dulled by rain earlier in the night.   Given a patient steer by leading driver Casey Leonard the gelded son of Powerful Emotion--SS Stardust was kept well off the early pace of 29.3, 59.4 & 1:29.1 which was being set by a headstrong Speedy Rendezvous (Ridge Warren).   Tipping five and six wide from the center of the pack as the field straightened into a brisk headwind the Dirk Simpson trainee began gobbling up one rival after another as he charged home with his fifth win in 15 lifetime starts. Longshot PJ Boy (Mike Rogers), who found a good early spot despite leaving from post 10, turned a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while JD Cheese (Todd Warren) staged a nice rally to get the show dough.   Dispatched as the third choice in the wagering despite a similar come from behind win in his elimination the previous week Pastor Clint returned $9.00, $5.60, $3.60 while upping his record to 5-1-4 in 15 starts with earnings of $31,451.   Tom Kelley  

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