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STICKNEY, IL - As summer finally came to the Chicagoland area, the harness racing action was heating up on the racetrack as leg two action for the Night of Champions races took place this past weekend at Hawthorne. Three-year-old pacers were the focus on Saturday night while three-year-old trotters took center stage on Sunday night. A pair of divisions took place on Saturday as Illinois-bred fillies were the focus in the Plum Peachy while the boys battled in a pair of divisions of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial. Race two was the first division of the Plum Peachy as a field of seven was led by Fox Valley Lolo. Getting away quickly was Valar Morghulis as she made the lead while chased by Fox Valley Torrid through the opening quarter in :28.4. Things remained the same through a half in :58.4 as Valar Morghulis led the field into the turn. First to move was Fox Valley Halsey as she ranged up to contend while Valar Morghulis passed three quarters in 1:27.0. Into the lane, Fox Valley Torrid and Casey Leonard tipped out to challenge, taking over mid-stretch and opening up for the victory in 1:53.1. Valar Morghulis held second while Fox Valley Lolo rallied late to finish third. Fox Valley Torrid is owned by Fox Valley Standardbreds and trained by Rodney Freese. Race three Saturday was the first division of leg two of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial as Meyer on Fire was sent away as the favorite. Leaving from the outside for the lead was Casey Leonard and Fox Valley Triton as he cleared The Bucket to pass the quarter in :28.3. Slowing things down on the backside, Fox Valley Triton led the field through the half in :59.1 as Meyer on Fire started to move from the back of the field. On the turn, Meyer on Fire moved alongside Fox Valley Triton as the duo covered three quarters in 1:26.3. In the lane, Fox Valley Triton repelled Meyer on Fire's bid, winning in 1:53.3. Meyer on Fire held second while The Bucket finished third. Fox Valley Triton is owned by Dandy Farms Racing, FT Racing Stable, and Peter Kouchis. The fifth on Saturday was the second division of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial as Maximus was favored with Kyle Wilfong driving. Making the lead was Maximus as he cruised through the quarter in :28.4 and the half in :58.4 as Coming Up chased. After three quarters in 1:28.1, Maximus maintained his lead, holding on to win in 1:55.0. Coming Up chased the entire way around to hold second while Smash N Sagebrush was third. Maximus is owned and trained by Ken Rucker. Race seven on Saturday was the second division of leg two of the Plum Peachy as Perch as favored with Kyle Wilfong in the bike. Making the lead was Lilly Von Shtupp as Perch stalked through the quarter in :28.2. Unchanged were the positions after the half in :58.0. On the turn, Wilfong tipped Perch out as she rolled to the front through three quarters in 1:26.4. Roused in the lane, Perch opened up, winning while clear in 1:53.3. Lilly Von Shtupp held second while Brienne the beauty finished third. Perch is owned by Del Insko Training Stable, Jay and Susan Garrels and trained by Jay Garrels. While Saturday was a nice evening for racing, things turned for the worse on Sunday as the three-year-old trotters faced a sloppy racetrack. Two divisions of leg two of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot were contested for the boys while a field of nine lined up in the second leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial for the females. Race two on Sunday was the first division of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial as the field of seven was led by Louscardamon with Kyle Husted driving. Leaving for the lead was Swaneelou as he cruised through a quarter in :30.3. Moving to take over on the backside was the favorite as Louscardamon passed the half in :59.3. Maintaining his lead in the turn, Louscardamon covered three quarters in 1:29.4 and was asked by Husted to go in the lane. He responded well, opening up his lead to win clearly in 1:58.1. Swaneelou held second while longshot Super Betcha rallied to finish third. Louscardamon is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and Dr. Patrick Graham and trained by Steve Searle. Race five was the second division of leg two of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial with a competitive field of seven. Lourhianon went favored with Luke Plano in the bike. Breaking stride at the start was Trixie's Turbo which allowed Frontier Manard to set an easy pace through a quarter in :31.2 and half in 1:01.1 as Lourhianon chased. Into the turn, Lourhianon took over while Lousraptor followed closely behind through three quarters in 1:30.2. In the lane, Casey Leonard guided Lousraptor out as he rolled by the favorite and opened up, winning in 1:57.3. Lourhianon finished second while For Trots Sakes closed for third. Lousraptor is owned by Flacco Family Farms and trained by Roshun Trigg. Race eight was the second leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial with a field of nine led by Louzotic with Kyle Husted driving. Leaving for the lead was Heidi High from the inside as Louzotic moved early to challenge. Heidi High passed the quarter in :28.4 with the lead as the favorite chased. After a half in :59.2, Heidi High maintained her lead into the turn. Lou's Paramour started to move on the outside but Heidi High still held her lead through 1:29 for three quarters. In the lane, Heidi High was roused by Juan Franco as Louzotic tried hard but she couldn't go by. Heidi High held on to win in 1:56.1 over Louzotic. Skippymalou finished third. Heidi High is owned and trained by Charles Arthur. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - The babies made their way to the racetrack this past weekend at Hawthorne as the harness racing 'Night of Champions' leg one action continued. The boys were center stage on Friday evening while the ladies took their place on the track on Saturday night. All of the leg one events went for $17,500. Race two Friday was the first of two divisions of the Incredible Finale for Illinois-bred two-year-old colt and gelding pacers. A field of eight was led by RJ Wulfy, a Party At Atsplace colt,  winner already on the meet with Casey Leonard driving. Leaving for the lead was LL Gram from the inside, followed by Chick Magnet as the favorite was hung three wide early. Leonard guided RJ Wulfy to the top, passing the opening quarter in :30.3 and the half in 1:00.0. Chased by Chick Magnet into the turn, RJ Wulfy confidently opened up a three length margin through three quarters in 1:28.1. Turning into the stiff headwind in the lane, RJ Wulfy had extended his advantage to six lengths into the stretch. Unchallenged to the wire, RJ Wulfy was an easy 11½ length winner, stopping the clock in 1:57. Chick Magnet held second while Hello Rooster closed to finish third. RJ Wulfy is owned by partnership by B. Wulf, R. Wulf, R. Alderks, and J. Fraher and is trained by Ronnie Roberts. Race four was the second division of the Incredible Finale as a field of seven lined up behind the starter. Favored was Canadian Mountie from the barn of trainer Terry Leonard. Leaving quickly was Ryans Ambassador as he was joined by Illini Force, with the later of the duo leading the field through the quarter in :32.0. On the backside, Bagman moved to take over, passing the half in 1:01.1. On the turn, Kyle Wilfong led Bagman along the pylons as Ridge Warren guiding Illini Force to the outside to challenge though three quarters in 1:31.1. In the lane, Illini Force took over, facing a fresh challenge from Canadian Mountie. Game to the wire, Illini Force a Sagebrush colt, was able to hold on by a half length over Canadian Mountie in 1:59.1. Bagman finished third. Illini Force is owned by Allan, Kevin, and Keith Miller along with Glenn Otto and is trained by Kevin Miller. On Saturday evening, two-year-old female pacers where featured in two divisions of the Incredible Tillie. Race three saw the first division with a field of five lining up as Fox Valley Vixen was favored from the rail. Leaving for the lead was A Girl Named Jim as Jamaica Patton guided her through the opening quarter in :30.1. Chased through a half in :59.4 by Fox Valley Vixen, A Girl Named Jim was two lengths clear into the turn. After three quarters in 1:29.3, A Girl Named Jim, a Sportsmaster filly,  maintained her clear lead into the lane. At the wire, she had more than enough left, winning in 1:57.3. Fox Valley Vixen held second while Fox Valley Exploit was third. A Girl Named Jim is owned by Ronald Phillips and Louis Leinberger and trained by Jamaica Patton. In the following event, the second division of the Incredible Tillie, was led by Double Parked, a Sagebrush filly, with Travis Seekman driving. Leaving from the outside for the lead was Double Parked as she had to work a bit to clear off of Jimmy's Girl, passing the quarter in :30.3. Settling into stride on the backside, Double Parked cruised through a half in 1:00.1 and three quarters in 1:29.2. Roused by Seekman into the lane, Double Parked opened up a seven-length advantage into the lane as she never looked back, stopping the clock in 1:57.2. Ashlees Fine Girl closed to finish second while Jimmy's Girl was third. Double Parked is owned and trained by Leroy Hunt. Sunday night brought out the juvenile trotters with two divisions of the Fox Valley Flan for the fillies and a pair of divisions of the Kadabra for the boys. A field of five started things off in race two in the first division of the Fox Valley Flan as Lous Abigail, a Lou's Legacy filly,  was the favorite with Casey Leonard driving. Making the lead was Lauren Hall as she strolled through the opening quarter in :33.2. Chased through the backside by Olympic Hopeful in a half in 1:05.1, Lauren Hall held her lead into the turn. On the turn, Fox Valley Lush and Lous Abigail both pulled to go after the leader through three quarters in 1:36.3. In the lane, Fox Valley Lush grabbed a brief lead between horses but Lous Abigail was moving best of all, winning in 2:05.0. The stewards posted the inquiry sign, taking a look at Lauren Hall in the stretch and it was determined that she was disqualified from third. Officially, Lous Abigail was the winner, Fox Valley Lush finished second, and EL Oh Govner was third. Lous Abigail is owned by Flacco Family Farms and trained by Steve Searle. Race three was the first division of leg one of the Kadabra with a field of six taking to the track. Fox Valley Quest, a Pizzazzed colt, was the heavy favorite with Casey Leonard driving. Clearing the early lead was the favorite as he cruised through the opening quarter in :31.3 and a half in 1:03.4. Chased by On Higher Ground into the turn, Fox Valley Quest opened up a two-length lead through three-quarters in 1:34.4. In the lane, the favorite extended his margin, winning clearly in 2:03.1. On Higher Ground held second while Fox Valley Kobe closed to finish third. Fox Valley Quest is owned by Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons and trained by Tom Simmons. The fourth race was the second division of leg one of the Fox Valley Flan as a field of six was led by Bee See as Kyle Husted drove and trainer Steve Searle looked for his second win on the card. At the start, Bee See broke stride and dropped back as well as second choice Celone Hall. Taking advantage was Lous Flashy Dancer as she covered the quarter in :32.3. Onto the backside, the top two choices were back onstride and looked to get back into contact with the field as Lous Flashy Dancer passed the half in 1:04.3. On the turn, Lous Flashy Dancer held her lead as Bee See continued to recover from her break and tipped wide, followed by Celone Hall through three quarters in 1:36.1. Into the lane, Bee See couldn't go on, but Celone Hall, a Cassis filly,  was able to sustain her bid, winning in 2:05.4. Lous Flashy Dancer held second while Really Railee closed to finish third. Race five was the second division of the Kadabra as Mr Red Thunder was scratched, leaving a field of six. Lous Paisano went favored for Casey Leonard and Steve Searle. Prior to the start there was a recall due to broken equipment with the favorite. After getting lined up again, Lous Paisano broke prior to the start once again and trailed the field. Making the lead was Twin Cedars Rocket as he opened up through the quarter in :32.4. Chased by Fox Valley Briton through a half in 1:06.3, Twin Cedars Rocket led the field into the turn. Making a move was Desert Sheik with Mike Brink driving as the field passed three quarters in 1:38.1. At the wire it was Desert Sheik, a Pizzazzed colt, holding on in 2:06.2. U S Patriot finished second while Twin Cedars Rocket was third. Desert Sheik is owned by Charles Biggs and trained by Mike Brink. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller  

STICKNEY, IL - A fixture on the Illinois circuit for many years, harness racing driver Tim Curtin passed away last night at the age of 61. Currently tied for second in the driver standings at Hawthorne with 23 wins on the meet, Curtin had an illustrious career that spanned back into the late 1970's. Curtin drove home 3,245 horses to victory during his driving career of over 40 years for $22,749,563 in career earnings. Curtin also trained another 30 winners in that timespan as well. His best season for victories came in 1997 when he drove 219 winners on the year while in 2008 he had a career year for earnings with $1,900,785. In 2019, Tim had been the regular driver for top Illinois-bred Meyer on Fire, along with Jazzie Babe, a winner of four of her first five starts to open her career. Tim's son Pat had driven and trained in Illinois for many years as well. A moment of silence will be held in Tim's memory prior to the start of races on Friday evening at Hawthorne. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller  

STICKNEY, IL - Night of Champions at Hawthorne doesn't culminate until the final week of September, but the harness racing action kicks off early as this past weekend saw the first legs in numerous categories for the top Illinois-bred horses. Friday evening had the first Night of Champions event as Leg one of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for three-year-old male pacers highlighted the evening. A field of 11 lined up, led by 2018 champ Meyer on Fire for owner Engel Stable of IL, LLC and trainer Erv Miller. Sent away as the favorite was Maximus, with Kyle Wilfong in the bike. Leaving for the lead was Coming Up along the inside as he was challenged early by Maximus through a quarter in :29.2. On the backside, Maximus assumed command before facing a fresh challenge by Meyer on Fire and Tim Curtin. After a half in :58, Meyer on Fire took over in the turn, pushed now by The Bucket. Meyer on Fire passed three quarters in 1:25.4 and led the field into the lane. Opening up, Meyer on Fire drew clear under the wire, winning in 1:53.1. Maximus came back for second while Coming Up held third. Saturday night saw a field of 11 Illinois-bred three-year-old filly pacers in the first leg of the Plum Peachy. Sent away as the favorite was Fox Valley Torrid with Casey Leonard driving. At the start, third choice Valar Morghulis was fastest to the front, clearing the lead while passing the quarter in :28.3. Making a quick move on the backstretch was the favorite as Fox Valley Torrid moved to the lead, followed by second-choice Perch. Through the half in :57.1, Fox Valley Torrid led the field into the turn as Perch ranged up to her outside. Hitting three-quarters together in 1:25.1, the duo turned into the lane. In the stretch, Kyle Wilfong urged Perch to the front as she opened a brief gap on Fox Valley Torrid. Nearing the wire, Fox Valley Torrid fought back, coming up just a head short behind Perch in 1:53.3. Valar Morghulis was moved to third after a disqualification of Fox Valley Lolo. Perch is owned by Del Insko Training Stable, Inc., Jay and Susan Garrels and trained by Jay Garrels. On Sunday evening trotters were in the spotlight with two divisions of leg one of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot to go along with the first leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial trot. The Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot is for Illinois-bred, three-year-old colts and geldings. Race three on Sunday was the first division as Lousraptor was sent away favored with Casey Leonard driving. After a recall, Trixie's Turbo was sent to the front, covering the opening quarter in :29.3 and backing down the half in 1:00.1. Moving into the turn, Trixie's Turbo maintained his lead as Lousraptor closed the margin to a length through three quarters in 1:31.0. In the stretch, Lousraptor took over, opening up quickly to win by three-lengths in 1:58.1. Frontier Manard rallied to get up for second while Trixie's Turbo held third. Lousraptor is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and trained by Roshun Trigg. In the second division of the Erwin F. Dygert, another trotter owned in partnership by Flacco Family Farms LLC, along with Dr. Patrick Graham, was sent away favored as Louscardamon led the field of six. In a race that had a lot of movement, longshot Super Betcha led through the opening quarter in :30.1. On the backstretch, second choice For Trots Sakes assumed command, passing the half in 1:00.2 and three quarters in 1:30.1. Into the lane, Louscardamon was on the move, quickly going from last to first and grabbing an open length lead by mid-stretch. At the wire, Kyle Husted guided Louscardamon well clear, winning by two-lengths in 1:58.4. Longshots finished second and third as Big Garcia Vega got up for second while Super Betcha held third. Louscardamon is trained by Steve Searle. The ladies were featured in race six Sunday as the Beulah Dygert Memorial for Illinois-bred three-year-old filly trotters has a field of nine. Favored was another from the Steve Searle stable for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC as Louzotic was sent away as the 3-5 choice with Kyle Husted driving. At the start, Puddin Cheeks got away quickly, covering the opening quarter in :29.2. On the backstretch, Husted wasted no time getting Louzotic to the front as she took over through the half in :57.4. Opening up the lead on the turn, Louzotic led the field through three quarters in 1:26.3 as Heidi High chased her into the lane. Kept to task, Louzotic drew clear, winning by five lengths in 1:55.2. Heidi High held second while Fox Valley Elicit was third. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.   Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - As the only track in the United States left doing a complete track surface conversion, live harness racing action kicks off at Hawthorne Race Course on Friday, May 3. The spring thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne concluded under the wrath of Mother Nature on Saturday, April 27 as snow covered the grounds to close out the season. Despite the weather, the track crew at Hawthorne was hard at work first thing on Sunday, stripping the sloppy dirt, pulling the rail, and prepping the paddock to open the harness season. Despite three days of non-stop rain, the crew completed their work late Wednesday evening, with the track opening for training on Thursday, May 2. Introduced during the spring thoroughbred meet, but new to the harness industry in Illinois, Hawthorne's races will be broadcast in HD in 2019. This means a crisp, clear picture, new graphics, and additional cameras in Hawthorne's backside paddock to catch all of the racing action. Many familiar faces return to Hawthorne this summer as leading driver Casey Leonard leads a strong driving colony. Kyle Wilfong and Kyle Husted are back, along with Tim Curtin, Ridge Warren, and Travis Seekman, just to name a few. Top Illinois trainers Terry Leonard and Nelson Willis return, as Roshun Trigg, Brett Wilfong, Mike Brink, and Angela Coleman lead a group of trainers looking to make their mark this summer. The opening night card is highlighted by the return of 2018 Illinois Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini as he leads a field of open pacers. A 10-time winner of nearly $140,000 in 2018, Fox Valley Gemini faces a tough field that includes two others who won 10 times last summer as Terror of the Nite and Trashytonguetalker look to pull off the upset in the opening night feature. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returns for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opens on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Post time nightly is 7:20 PM. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - Last Friday, Hawthorne Race Course, along with the Chicago Blackhawks and hockey legend Eddie Olczyk, hosted a VIP party at Hawthorne. A United States Hockey Hall of Famer, Olczyk is known worldwide for his years on the ice, and currently as the color analyst for NBC for the NHL. While hockey is Olczyk's first passion, horse racing isn't too far behind. A winner of multiple handicapping contests, Olczyk has owned numerous thoroughbreds but is now trying his hand in Standardbred ownership as well. The Friday event at Hawthorne hosted 150 VIP winners through the Chicago Blackhawks who were on site for a day of wagering, along with a chance to win their share of a Standardbred horse. The horse, two-year-old Illinois-bred filly Olympic Hopeful, will be racing at Hawthorne this summer for trainer Angie Coleman. Olympic Hopeful is offered through TheStable.ca, a fractional ownership group based in Canada and run by Anthony MacDonald. At the Friday event, five winners each won a 4% share of Olympic Hopeful for the racing season. They are Natalie Cozzi, Christine Koeller, Eddie Rivera, Chris Sroka, and Brian Vlaisavich. They will join Olczyk as he has ownership of the filly as well. "Fractional ownership is one of racing's fastest ways to introduce new owners to racing at a minimal cost," stated Hawthorne Assistant General Manager John Walsh. "What Anthony MacDonald has done through TheStable.ca is grow interest exponentially in harness racing, with numerous stakes-caliber horses racing across North America. To team up with TheStable.ca, Eddie Olczyk, and Hawthorne Race Course in our Own a Horse promotion is just a perfect fit for all involved." Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for spring thoroughbred racing on Friday, March 15. The summer harness meet opens on Friday, May 5 and races through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.   Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - Nominations for the three-year-old harness racing stakes events for Hawthorne's Night of Champions are due in one week, on Friday, February 15. The races are the Plum Peachy for filly pacers, the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for colt and gelding pacers, the Beulah Dygert Memorial for filly trotters, and the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial for colt and gelding trotters. The nomination fee of $1,750 must be postmarked no later than February 15. Checks should be made payable to Suburban Downs, Inc. Nominations should be sent to the attention of the Horseman's Bookkeeper at Hawthorne, 3501 S. Laramie Ave., Cicero, IL, 60804. Nomination forms are available on the Hawthorne website at www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com/horsemen/ Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returns for spring thoroughbred racing on Friday, March 15. The summer harness meet opens on Friday, May 5 and races through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Racecourse  

STICKNEY, IL - Eleven Championship races and two invitational events comprised a big Saturday evening at Hawthorne as the Night of Champions event paid out over $1.1 million in purses. While some of the favorites didn't disappoint, there were some upsets the surprised everyone. A recap of the night's racing action: THE INCREDIBLE FINALE CHAMPIONSHIP The Incredible Finale Championship, for Illinois Conceived and Foaled three-year-old Colt and Gelding Pacers carried a purse of $136,142. A field of nine lined up to meet the starter after a single scratch of Fox Valley Julius. The Bucket took the lead soon after the start but Maximus took over early on the backstretch and led almost all the way. Favored Engel Stable of IL LLC's Meyer On Fire, driven masterfully by Michael Oosting, just got up, winning by a nose. Meyer On Fire is trained by Erv Miller. Maximus held on for second while The Bucket got up for third. Owner Marty Engel, "Beautiful weather. I don't know how you guys did this but the weather is perfect. Nice crowd. I couldn't be happier. Meyer on Fire was a little green to start his career and it took a number of races to get straightened out but Erv Miller did a super job with him. He's named after my grandson Meyer. When you win with a homebred, it's especially exciting. I didn't think he got up in time. Mike (Oosting) did a great job. He's not an easy horse to drive. He's on the lazy side. But, Mike gets along super with this horse. I wouldn't be here without him." Meyer On Fire traveled the mile in 1:55.2 after fractions of :29.0, :58.2, and 1:27. THE PLESAC CHAMPIONSHIP The Plesac Championship, for Trotters, three-years-old and up, Illinois Conceived and Foaled, offered a purse of $45,000. Favored Picky Picky Valor appeared to be home free late in the stretch but longshot 53-1 Spirit O'Mar had other ideas. He continued to grind and wound up getting the victory. Owned by Jeanne Marquis, while trained and driven by Steven Searle, Spirit O'Mar finished a length and a quarter ahead of Annas Lucky Star. Picky Picky Valor held on for third. Spirit O'Mar paid $108.80 to win. Steven Searle, "He is what he is. We put him in there because we knew we would get our money back and maybe a little more. Plus, he's fun to race. He got good at the right time and everything worked out. We were actually shooting for fifth and anything above that was a bonus. Around the half, I was thinking, 'Maybe we're going to get our fifth'. Then, halfway around the turn, I was thinking, 'Ya know, fourth is looking better'. Then at the top of the stretch, I was thinking that this couldn't be real. But, he kept trotting. That one thing he does, he does trot." They got the mile in 1:56.2 after fractions of :28.0, :57.2 and 1:27.1. THE INCREDIBLE TILLIE CHAMPIONSHIP 10 Trotters lined up to contest The Incredible Tillie Championship. The race, for two-year-old Illinois Conceived and Foaled Filly Pacers offered a purse of $122,504. Fox Valley Torrid, the 6-5 favorite, had a great trip and got up late for the score. Owned by Fox Valley Standardbreds, trained by Rodney Freese and driven by Casey Leonard, Fox Valley Torrid set a new lifetime mark of 1:54.3, winning by a length and a quarter, after fractions of :29, :56.4 and 1:26.1. Fox Valley Halsey took the lead quickly but Valar Morghulis soon took over and led until about the eighth pole when Fox Valley Torrid took over. Valar Morghulis held second while Perch finished third. Casey Leonard, "The track is a little tiring, a little loose. I knew Kyle had to get Perch out of there and then when the horse broke there was a little confusion. But there was enough early speed to set up for "Torrid". When Kyle got in front of me I knew he had to come with me so it worked out the way I hoped it would. We had to steady a bit on the turn but she gave her all in the lane like she always does." THE KADABRA CHAMPIONSHIP The $132,874 Kadabra Championship, for Illinois Conceived and Foaled two-year-old Colt and Gelding Trotters, featured a well-matched field of eight. Driver J D Finn took advantage when a couple of rivals broke early and he was able to guide eventual winner Trixie's Turbo right to the front end. They were able to stay there throughout; winning for the seventh time in 10 races. Fox Valley Cruise tracked Trixie's Turbo pretty much the entire way and held on to finish second, a length and three-quarters back. One of the more impressive trips of the night, however, was that of third-place finisher, Louscardamon. He broke on the backstretch and was nearly last when they turned for home but he simply flew late to get up for third and he finished only a couple lengths back. Trixie's Turbo is owned by Charles Doehring and trained by Jared Finn "I raised him and his brothers out of a really good mare that really produces good colts. I've been blessed." He generated fractions of :29.2, :59.3, and 1:29.3 on his way to a mile in 2:00.1 THE TONY MAURELLO CHAMPIONSHIP The $45,000 Tony Maurello Championship, for Illinois Conceived and Foaled Filly and Mares Pacers was won by favored Fox Valley Charm. Driver Mike Oosting had this mare tracking the pace set by Bucklegirl Bobette, but moved about a sixteenth out and got up to win a popular victory, winning by two and three-quarter lengths. Trained by Dirk Simpson and owned by Peter J. Karras, Fox Valley Charm covered the mile in 1:52.0 following fractions of :28.3, :56.3 and 1:24.2 Dirk Simpson, "I left her here at the farm so she didn't have to ship. She does really well off the farm. That was what made the difference over last week. Plus, she had a trip over the track. We shipped from a smaller track and the long stretch takes some getting used to." THE FOX VALLEY FLAN CHAMPIONSHIP The $122,504 Fox Valley Flan Championship featured a romp by favored Louzotic. Winning for the seventh time in 11 starts, Louzotic, driven by Kyle Husted, drew off to a five and a half-length victory. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLc and trained by Steven Searle. Those are also the connections of third-place finisher Lou's Paramour (Searle drove). Doc Flacco, "We have a wonderful team and God was very kind by sending us Lou's Legacy. We bred this horse, raised it, broke it. It gives you a special feeling. We own the mare and the sire. Steve also finished third with our other little girl. He had better go to church tomorrow. Rick (farm manager), "We broke her at the farm. She was kind of small. She had a nice way of going but, just like Steve said, she was a small baby with a big heart." Steve Searle earlier, "Louzotic is probably the barn favorite. She's the little horse that nobody wanted. She was a June foal. But, she has the heart of a champion." Fractions for the mile were :29.2, :58.3. 1:29.2 with a final time of 1:59.0 THE ROBERT S. MOLARO CHAMPIONSHIP Favored Stonedust made a valiant effort to get past Unlocked in the waning yards of the $45,000 Robert S. Molaro Championship for Illinois Conceived and Foaled Pacers. Unlocked had taken the lead midway through the backstretch and was able to repel the belated challenge of Stonedust, holding on for a neck victory. Unlocked, owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables and trained by Norm Parker, was driven by regular pilot Jim Pantaleano. Fractions of :27.3, :55.3, 1:24.0 were set prior to the final time of 1:51.1 THE BEULAH DYGERT MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP The $99,032 Beulah Dygert Memorial Championship for three-year-old Illinois Conceived and Foaled Filly Trotters was won by favored Trotting Grace. Trotting Grace was piloted by Kyle Husted and trained by Steven Searle. Owned by H W Wright, Mystical Marker Farms LLC, and Steven Searle, Trotting Grace won for the fifth straight time. Kyle Husted, "I wanted to follow Juan (New Queen) as long as I could late. Juan's horse looked like she was drifting out so I made the decision to go inside and she exploded. She's especially good on clay tracks and she went downstate and got her confidence down there. Steve Searle can do it all. He's a very sharp horseman and it shows." New Queen held for second, a length and a half back, while Maui Mama came along late to finish third. They covered the mile in 1:57.0 following fractions of :28.4, :58.0, and 1:27.1 THE ROBERT F. CAREY JR. MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP As expected, Jim Ballinger's Fox Valley Gemini, trained by Terry Leonard and driven by Casey Leonard, won the $160,080 Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial Championship. It might not have been expected, however, that he had to work as hard as he did to get the victory. But, in the end he got the win and that's what counts. The Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial Championship was for three-year-old, Colt and Gelding Pacers, Illinois Conceived and Foaled. You'remyhearthrob wrestled the lead on the backstretch, after the first quarter in :27.2, and proceeded to lead most of the way, tripping the timer in subsequent quarters at :55.3 and 1:24.3. He begrudgingly ceded the lead to Fox Valley Gemini late in the stretch. He never gave up but neither did Fox Valley Gemini.   Fox Valley Gemini did have the perfect trip. He raced with cover throughout and had plenty of pace when he finally tipped out. He did get the victory, winning by a length. In 1:53.0. You'remyhearthrob held on to finish second while Backstreet Lawyer finished third. Jim Ballinger. "It's very special having a horse like Fox Valley Gemini, especially tonight. He's as game as they come. If it hadn't been for the sickness, I don't think he would have gotten beaten in Springfield. But that's part of racing. I'm sure glad that he raced good tonight. The Leonards (Terry and Casey) are great people. They did a terrific job with the horse and Casey did a great job driving tonight." THE PLUM PEACHY CHAMPIONSHIP The New Americana emerged victorious in Saturday's Plum Peachy Championship. The Plum Peachy Championship was for three-year-old Filly Pacers, Illinois Conceived and Foaled. The New Americana, owned by David F Falzone, James J Molitor, and Steven J Leita, trained by Harold Herrera and driven by Kyle Husted, hadn't been in great form for much of the summer but woke up in a big way last week, when she wired the field in the final leg of the Plum Peachy. Kyle Husted, "I tried to race her on the front in Du Quoin and she got kind of trapped but I've been racing her from off the pace ever since. Last year, she was a little bit of a front end horse, so the last two weeks we had to try something different so we gave it a shot that way. I got a little worried late since we had pressure early and I hoped we didn't run out of gas but I didn't want to go slow enough to let Mike (Allbeastnobeauty) and Ridge (Fox Valley Jazzy) into the race. I wanted their horses to go a big mile to catch me." They paced the mile in 1:54 after fractions of :27.2, :55.2 and 1:24.1 THE ERWIN F. DYGERT CHAMPIONSHIP Saturday's nitecap, The Erwin F. Dygert, for Illinois Conceived and Foaled three-year-old Colts and Geldings, was won by Dr. Patrick Graham's Big Lou. Trained by Curt Grummel and driven by Kyle Wilfong, Big Lou covered the mile in 1:59.1 after fractions of :30.4, :59.2 and 1:29.4. There was considerable traffic trouble in the race but Wilfong managed to keep Big Lou clear of it all. Big Lou was two and a quarter lengths clear at the wire. Longshot Cruzen Cassi got up for second while Illinimight overcame considerable early trouble to finish third. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hathworne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - Over $1.1 million in purse money will be on the line Saturday night at Hawthorne as Night of Champions will take place. Eleven stakes finals for Illinois-breds will highlight the card and will be joined by a pair of tough invite races to compile the 13 race program. In addition to the races, top drivers in Illinois racing history will be on hand for an autograph session from 7:30 - 8:30 PM on the first floor of the grandstand. Food trucks and the outdoor barbeque will serve food as fans can get up close and personal with all of the racing action. Here is a preview of the 13 race card: Race 1 - $136,142 Incredible Finale Championship - 2yo Colt & Gelding Pacers Illinois-bred juvenile pacers kick off the action as a full field lines up. Two horses have been standouts at this level throughout the summer as Meyer on Fire and The Bucket look to battle to the finish. Meyer on Fire comes from the barn of trainer Erv Miller for owner Engel Stable of Illinois LLC as he rides a four race win streak into this final. He got the best of The Bucket last week, winning leg four of this event by three lengths and will look to get the jump again tonight. Mike Oosting drives Meyer on Fire on Saturday. The Bucket races for owners Ken Rucker and George Dremonas as he has won seven times on the year and finished in the money in all ten starts. He was parked without cover in last week's final leg but may look to take the race to Meyer on Fire earlier on Saturday night. Casey Leonard will be in the bike once again for trainer Terry Leonard. Race 2 - $45,000 Plesac Championship - 3yo & up Trotters Illinois-bred aged trotters take to the track as the top female trotter in the state looks to beat the boys. Annas Lucky Star will start from the outside for owner Danny Graham and trainer Nelson Willis. A winner of half of her 16 starts on the year, Annas Lucky Star controlled the pace for driver Kyle Wilfong from the rail in last week's prep but may have to work out a trip from the eight-hole on Saturday. Picky Picky Valor has been equally impressive this year for owner Shelley Steele and trainer Gerald Hansen. With eight victories and 20 top three finishes from 22 starts, Picky Picky Valor and driver Casey Leonard will look to turn the tables on Annas Lucky Star from his second-place finish to her last week. Race 3 - $132,874 Incredible Tillie Championship - 2yo Filly Pacers Juvenile Pacers match up in one of the more wide open divisions of the Night of Champions card. Fox Valley Torrid looks to benefit from the inside draw as she was narrowly defeated last week after winning four consecutive races prior to that start. Owned by Fox Valley Standardbreds and trained by Rodney Freese, Fox Valley Torrid has shown versatility as she may look to rate close from the inside post on Saturday. Casey Leonard drives. Perch got off to a bit of a later start this summer but has been sharp, winning half of her eight starts and finishing in the top three in all of her races. She is familiar with outside draws, closing strongly from the back in championship races from the outside in both Springfield and DuQuoin. Jay Garrels trains Perch. Race 4 - $119,470 Kadabra Championship - 2yo Colt & Gelding Trotters The Kadabra became a very interesting race after the Monday draw as the top two contenders both drew in the outer half of the field. A winner of the last two legs of this race, Trixie's Turbo drew the ten-hole Saturday for owner Charles Doehring, trainer Jared Finn and driver J D Finn. A winner of six of nine on the year, Trixie's Turbo is normally committed to the front end early but showed some versatility in an elimination victory from off the pace in Springfield. Louscardamon starts in post seven as he has speed but has battled staying on stride throughout the summer. Racing for the partnership of Flacco Family Farms LLC and Dr. Patrick Graham for trainer Steve Searle, Louscardamon has shown flashes of brilliance, winning five of his eight starts. He broke stride just after the start last week though, leaving some questions going into the Saturday final. Mike Oosting will be in the bike behind Louscardamon. Race 5 - $45,000 Tony Maurello Championship - 3yo & up Filly & Mare Pacers The Maurello final brings forth one of the most consistent older pacers of the summer to face off against another that may be peaking at the right time. Bucklegirl Bobette has been very good throughout the summer, winning nine of 21 races and taking on tough open company pacers at Hawthorne throughout the summer. Coming from the barn of trainer Rob Rittof, Travis Seekman will likely have her in her familiar front-end position early. A pacer with the opposite racing style, Fancy Creek Jolene will be hoping for a quick and contested pace upfront early for her to close into late. Trained by Kim Hamilton, Fancy Creek Jolene and driver Bobby Smolin teamed up mid-August, winning three races in just over a month, including a score in last week's elimination. Normally one to come from off the pace, she could be the horse that is hitting her stride at the right time. Race 6 - $122,504 Fox Valley Flan Championship - 2yo Filly Trotters Multiple horses vie for the title of top female juvenile trotter in the state as half of this field can make a strong case that they are best. Louzotic looks to benefit from the inside draw for owner Flacco Family Farms and trainer Steve Searle as she has won six of ten starts on the year, along with winning her division of the last two legs of this race. E L Game On has finished in the top three in 10 of 11 races this summer, closing as the runner-up to Louzotic in her last two starts. Donald and Sharri Huddleston own for trainer Mike Rogers. The winningest juvenile trotter in North America starts right next to E L Game On as Loussolataire looks for her 17th victory of the year for owner Steven Renard. Also trained by Steve Searle, Loussolataire snuck through along the inside late to score in the final leg of this race last week. Puddin Cheeks has early speed and has been a bit of a later bloomer this summer. Racing for trainer Jared Finn, Puddin Cheeks was a strong winner in leg three of this series and just missed to Loussolataire here last week. Encantado will have to work out a trip from her outside draw as she races for trainer Jim Eaton. A winner of four of seven on the year, she has shown she can close late and looks to get a heated pace ahead of her early on Saturday. Race 7 - $45,000 Robert S. Molaro Championship - 3yo & up Pacers Aged pacers line up Saturday as Unlocked leads this field off a game victory in last week's elimination. Owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc. and trained by Norm Parker, Unlocked has made only five starts in 2018. After a bit of a slow start to the year, the seven-year-old gelding put together a good pair of qualifiers at the Meadows before shipping into Hawthorne last week. Driven by Jim Pantaleano, Unlocked got a perfect tracking trip and was able to draw clear at the wire. With 32 victories from 100 career starts for over half a million in earnings, Unlocked will be the likely favorite again on Saturday. Race 8 - $99,032 Beulah Dygert Memorial Championship - 3yo Filly Trotters Trainer Steve Searle has a bunch of live trotters on the Night of Champions card as he sends out Trotting Grace in this final. After a good two-year-old campaign in 2017, she got off to a bit of a slow start in 2018. Things have turned around at the right time for her for owners Mystical Marker Farms LLC, Bill Wright and Steve Searle as she has won five of her last six races coming into this final. Regular driver Kyle Husted will be back in the bike once again. Just to Trotting Grace's inside may be her toughest competition, coming from Maui Mama. Also owned by Bill Wright, Maui Mama is trained by Mike Brink and gets Casey Leonard in the bike. She has found the board in all nine of her races in 2018, but has finished behind Trotting Grace in each of her last four races. Race 9 - $25,000 Invitational Trot The first of two full field invitational races on the Night of Champions card pits a strong field of trotters, coming together from five different locations. With nearly $700,000 in career earnings, Satin Dancer draws well in the middle of this field for owner Summit Pacing Acres LLC and trainer Byron Hooley. A winner three times on the year, Satin Dancer has been competitive in open races at Pocono, The Meadowlands, and Yonkers. Swan Chase draws the far outside, but comes into the invite hitting the board 12 times from 14 starts on the year. He comes in off a strong string of races at Hoosier Park into this spot and has shown an ability to close with a rush late. Swan Chase is owned by John Barnard for trainer Bill Crone. Race 10 - $25,000 Invitational Pace A very fast field of pacers will look to go sub-1:50 as trainer Ron Burke sends out Dancin Yankee on Saturday. With over $1.8 million in career earnings, Dancin Yankee has won nine times on the year for over $160,000 in earnings. A versatile pacer in style, Dancin Yankee looks to go favored in this tough field. New Talent comes in off back to back sub 1:49 miles at Hoosier as he will look to overcome the far outside draw. Owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher and trained by Tim Clevenger, New Talent returned off a tough trip in the Dan Patch at Hoosier to come back with a seven-length triumph in 1:48.3 in his next start. Race 11 - $160,080 Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial Championship - 3yo Colt & Gelding Pacers Reigning 2017 Illinois-bred Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini looks to continue his string of undefeated races over the Hawthorne track as he leads this talented field. With 17 victories at Hawthorne, Fox Valley Gemini made amends after facing his first two career defeats in Springfield at the Illinois State Fair this summer. He returned to Hawthorne and qualified with the addition of Lasix and then proceeded to destroy a field by over seven lengths in the final leg of this series. Casey Leonard drives for trainer Terry Leonard and owner Jim Ballinger. You'remyhearthrob is the one that snapped Fox Valley Gemini's streak in Springfield, when he scored in driver Kyle Wilfong's 1,000 career driving victory. Trained by Brett Wilfong, You'remyhearthrob has finished in the top three in all 14 starts this season, including a strong victory in his division of the final leg of this race last week. Race 12 - $125,140 Plum Peachy Championship - 3yo Filly Pacers Allbeastnobeauty headlines the field in the Plum Peachy final as she enters this race with eight victories from 14 starts on the year. Owned in partnership by trainer Mike Brink, Josh Carter, Mark Brown, and Lawrence Crawford, Allbeastnobeauty was game in victory in four straight races before finishing third in the final leg of this series. Her versatility should put her close to the pace as she will look to take over late for driver Mike Oosting. A champion in 2017, Fox Valley Jazzy will be looking to get the jump on Allbeastnobeauty as she draws inside of her on Saturday night. After winning eight of 13 races in 2017, she has scored just twice from eleven 2018 starts, but has finished in the top three nine times. She races on Saturday for owner Cathy Finn-Kanitz and trainer Dale Kanitz as Ridge Warren drives. Race 13 - $83,696 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Championship - 3yo Colt & Gelding Trotters The final race on the Night of Champions card looks to be very competitive as Majistic Caprice and Illinimight lead this field of ten. Illinimight races for owners Keith and Kevin Miller and trainer Mike Brink as he looks to follow the same pattern that was successful for him in 2017. After a slow start last year, he peaked late, racing well in the final month of the meet. He has had a similar season this year, posting wins in three of his last four races, including a strong score in the final leg of this series last week. Casey Leonard drives. Majistic Caprice has won half of his 18 starts on the year as he draws in the middle of this field. A horse with versatility, he finished fourth behind Illinimight last week, but also had to overcome an outside draw. Majistic Caprice races on Saturday for trainer Roshun Trigg. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - After an action packed harness racing Friday card that saw eight races with implications for next week's Night of Champions at Hawthorne, eight more races on Saturday were contested to help shape next week's big card. The evening began with leg four action in the Beulah Dygert Memorial trot for Illinois-bred, three-year-old fillies as a field of nine lined up to contest the action. Trotting Grace was sent away as the heavy favorite with Kyle Husted driving. Leaving for the lead was White Pants Fever as Trotting Grace tucked in just behind through the quarter in :29.2. On the backstretch, Trotting Grace took over from White Pants Fever as the Searle trained duo passed the half one-two in :59.2. On the turn, Trotting Grace remained in command, passing three quarters in 1:28.3. In the lane, White Pants Fever tired as Trotting Grace faced a fresh challenge from New Queen. On the wire, Trotting Grace held on by a half-length over New Queen. Maui Mama got up for third. The final time for the mile was 1:57.0. Trotting Grace in owned in partnership by Bill Wright, Mystical Marker Farms LLC, and trainer Steve Searle. Race three was the first of two divisions of leg four of the Plum Peachy for Illinois-bred, three-year-old filly pacers. A field of eight contested the race as Allbeastnobeauty was sent away favored. Leaving for the lead was The New Americana as Kyle Husted guided her through the opening quarter in :28.2. Chased by JB's Shooting Star, The New Americana passed the half in :57.0. Cruising along through three quarters in 1:24.3, The New Americana went unchallenged through the wire, winning in 1:52.4. JB's Shooting Star finished second while Allbeastnobeauty was third. The New Americana is owned by Dave Falzone, James Molitor and Steven Leita and trained by Harold Herrera. Race four was the first of two divisions of leg four of the Kadabra Stakes for Illinois-bred, two-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The field of six saw Foxvalleysrushhour go favored with Juan Franco driving. Making the lead was Fox Valley Cruise with Kyle Husted driving as they passed the quarter in :30.0. On the backside, For Trots Sakes ranged up to challenge, through a half in :59.1. The challenge did not last for long though as Fox Valley Cruise regained the lead on the turn, covering three quarters in 1:29.4. In the stretch, Foxvalleysrushhour tipped out to challenge but the move was too late as Fox Valley Cruise held on. For Trots Sakes finished third. The final time for the mile was 1:59.4. Fox Valley Cruise is owned by Phil Langley, John Schwarz, Jr., and trainer Jim Eaton. Race five was the first of two divisions of leg four of the Incredible Finale with a field of six, led by Maximus and driver Kyle Wilfong. Getting away quickly was Cooter Luke, but Maximus moved up from the outside to challenge through the quarter in :28.4. After a half in :59.3, Maximus was pushed into the turn by Fox Valley Julius. The duo passed three quarters in 1:28.3 as Fox Valley Julius put his head in front turning into the lane. After a long stretch drive, Maximus dug in and battled back, winning over Fox Valley Julius in 1:56.0. Riley the Mooss finished third. Maximus is owned by The Panhellenic Stable Corporation and Ken Rucker and trained by Kim Roth. Race six on Saturday was the second division of the Kadabra with Louscardamon favored for driver Mike Oosting. Shortly after the start Louscardamon broke stride and dropped to the back of the pack as Trixie's Turbo inherited the lead in :30.1. On the backstretch, Trixie's Turbo cruised along as second-choice Fox Valley Picaso also broke stride. Passing the half in 1:00.3 and three quarters in 1:30.2, Trixie's Turbo led the field into the lane through the easy fractions. A clear winner at the wire, Trixie's Turbo rolled home in 1:59.3. 85-1 shot Frontier Manard got up for second while Big Garcia Vega finished third. Trixie's Turbo is owned by Charles Doehring and is trained by Jared Finn. Race eight was the second division of leg four of the Incredible Finale with seven horses led by the duo of The Bucket, with Casey Leonard driving and Meyer On Fire, driven by Mike Oosting. At the start, it was longshot Coming Up who was able to grab the lead, backing the pace down through an opening quarter in :30.3. Chased by Meyer on Fire through a slow half in 1:00.2, Coming Up maintained his advantage into the turn. After three quarters in 1:29.1, Coming Up and Ridge Warren led the field into the lane as Meyer on Fire tipped out and The Bucket began to move from the back of the back. Late in the lane Meyer on Fire took over, winning in 1:56.3. Coming Up was game, holding on for second while The Bucket finished third. Meyer on Fire is owned by Engel Stable of Illinois LLC and is trained by Erv Miller. Race nine was the second division of the Plum Peachy as the field of eight was led by favored Fox Valley Jazzy, driven by Ridge Warren. Leaving for the lead was Rollin Coal, as she passed the quarter in :28.0 and half in :58.0. Chased by Fox Valley Jazzy into the turn, Rollin Coal kept her advantage, covering three quarters in 1:26.2. Into the lane, Rollin Coal was challenged by Party Belle and Travis Seekman, while Fox Valley Jazzy altered course to the outside. At the wire, Party Belle got up in time, winning in 1:54.2. Fox Valley Jazzy finished second while Skeeter Machine was third. Party Belle is owned by Ladavie Spann, along with trainer Tyler George. Race ten was the elimination for the Tony Maurello for Illinois-bred aged filly and mare pacers. The top eight qualify for the final as Fox Valley Charm was the favorite with Mike Oosting in the bike. Getting away quickly was the favorite as she carved out the early fractions of :28.2 and :58.0 for the half. After three quarters in 1:25.4, Fox Valley Charm turned into the lane with a brief lead as a wall of challengers lined up behind her. Rallying late in the stretch to take over was Fancy Creek Jolene and Robert Smolin as she got up in the shadow of the wire for the victory. Char N Marg closed to finish second while Fox Valley Charm held on for third. The final time for the mile was 1:52.4. Fancy Creek Jolene is owned by Michael Wolf and Set The Pace Racing LLC and trained by Kim Hamilton. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - With just over one week to Night of Champions at Hawthorne, the final legs of each series were taking place this weekend. On Friday night, eight of the 13 races on the card had Night of Champions implications. The card kicked off with a field of eight pacers in the first of two divisions of the Robert S. Molaro. With the top five to qualify for next week's final, the race for Illinois-bred aged pacers was evenly matched as Stonedust was sent away favored with Casey Leonard in the bike. Leaving quickly were Dakota Jack and He Gone Jack, as they were joined by Sporty Redhot through the quarter in :28.1. On the backside, Sporty Redhot held his lead, passing the half in :57.4. In the turn, the field bunched up, with Uptown Sleaze up to challenge Sporty Redhot through three quarters in 1:25.4. In the Lane, He Gone Jack found room between horses while Stonedust rallied down the center of the track. At the wire, the favorite drew clear, winning in 1:52.1. He Gone Jack finished second while Dakota Jack was third. Stonedust is owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher and trained by Tim Clevenger. Race three on the Friday card was the first of two divisions of leg four of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for Illinois-bred three-year-old pacers. Last year's Illinois-bred Champion, Fox Valley Gemini was the heavy favorite with Casey Leonard driving. Leaving for the lead and opening up was Frontier Frank as he passed the quarter in :27.0 and the half in :55.3. In the turn, Fox Valley Gemini tipped out as he ranged up to challenge through three quarters in 1:24.2. In the blink of an eye, Fox Valley Gemini's lead expanded to five lengths in the stretch as he won going away in 1:51.1. Fox Valley Jalan got up for second while Song Cycle Senese was third. Fox Valley Gemini is owned by Jim Ballinger and trained by Terry Leonard. Race four was the first of two divisions of leg four of the Incredible Tillie for Illinois-bred two-year-old filly pacers as a field of seven headed to the gate. Getting away quickly was Valar Morghulis with Jim Pantaleano driving as he opened a three length lead through the quarter in :28.0. Stalked through a half in :57.3 by Fox Valley Halsey, Valar Morghulis held his lead into the turn. With Fox Valley Halsey tipping out to challenge in the turn, the pair passed three quarters in 1:26.1. In the lane, Valar Morghulis was roused, and responded, as Fox Valley Halsey dropped back but Fox Valley Torrid picked up the chase. All out at the wire, Valar Morghulis held on to win by a head over Fox Valley Torrid. Fox Valley Lil Kim closed to finish third. The final time for the mile was 1:53.4. Valar Morghulis is owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc. and trained by Nelson Willis. Race five was the first of two divisions of the Fox Valley Flan for Illinois-bred two-year-old filly trotters. Puddin Cheeks was favored for driver J D Finn. The favorite made the early lead while pushed by Loussolataire through the quarter in :29.0. Puddin Cheeks held the lead down the backstretch as Loussolataire dropped in, passing the half in :59.2. On the turn, Lou's Paramour moved from the back to push the pacesetter, as Puddin Cheeks passed three quarters in 1:29.0. In the lane, Lou's Paramour came up empty and backed out as Loussolataire came through a wide open rail to get up at the wire. Puddin Cheeks held second while Notnangel finished third. The final time was 1:59.4 for the winner as Loussolataire won for the sixteenth time this year, making her the winningest juvenile in North America. Loussolataire is owned by Steven Renard and trained by Steve Searle. She was driven tonight by Casey Leonard. Race six was the second division of the Incredible Tillie with a field of seven. Perch was favored with Kyle Wilfong driving. At the start, there was shuffling for position before Perch moved to grab the lead through the quarter in :29.3. On the backside, Fox Valley Lolo moved to take over, passing the half in :58.1. With Perch on her heels through the turn, Fox Valley Lolo held the lead into the lane through three quarter in 1:27.2. At the top of the stretch, Perch moved to take over as both Foolishlittlegirl and Lilly Von Shtupp ranged up to challenge. At the wire it was Perch prevailing by a half-length in 1:55.0. Foolishlittlegirl finished second while Lilly Von Shtupp was third. Perch is trained by Jay Garrels. Race seven was the second division of the Fox Valley Flan with a field of seven as Louzotic and Encantado took the wagering action. Getting away for the lead was Heidi High as she was sent through the quarter in :29.2. Prior to the half, Louzotic moved to assume command, passing the half in :59.1. Rolling through three quarters in 1:30.2, Louzotic led the field into the stretch. In command late under the handling of Kyle Husted, Louzotic was clear at the wire, winning in 1:58.3. E L Game On closed to finish second while Encantado was third. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and trained by Steve Searle. Race eight was the second elimination of the Robert S. Molaro with a competitive group of seven heading to the gate. Clearing the lead was Fox Valley Rebel as he was chased through the opening quarter by favored Unlocked in :28.0. After a half in :56.4 and three quarters in 1:25.0, the top pair stayed in order turning into the stretch. At the top of the lane, Unlocked tipped out and moved alongside Fox Valley Rebel as the duo battled through the stretch drive. Nearing the wire, Unlocked emerged clear, winning for driver Jim Pantaleano in 1:51.4. Fox Valley Rebel was second while Slzburgerslzburger finished third. Unlcoked in owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc and trained by Norm Parker. Race ten was the second division of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial as the nine horse field was led by You'remyhearthrob with Kyle Wilfong driving. At the start, the favorite left quickly, clearing the lead easily through the quarter in :28.0. Cruising along on the backside, You'remyhearthrob passed the half in :56.4 as Mykonos chased. After three quarters in 1:25.2, You'remyhearthrob took the field into the stretch with a two length lead. Kept to task, You'remyhearthrob held sway, winning by nearly two lengths in 1:52.3. Backstreet Lawyer rallied to finish second while Mykonos was third. You'remyhearthrob is trained by Brett Wilfong. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - On Friday night at Hawthorne the females were the focus as the boys took their turn to shine Saturday at Hawthorne. Leg three action was featured for juvenile pacers and trotters. Two divisions of the Incredible Finale took place for two-year-old pacers along with a pair of divisions for the trotters in the Kadabra. Race three was the first division of the Incredible Finale as a field of eight was led by heavily favored The Bucket with Casey Leonard driving. Leaving for the lead were multiple horses as Ryan Racketeer was able to hold his inside position through the quarter in :29.1. On the backside, Mike Oosting guided Sporty McGrew to a brief lead but The Bucket was quick to move behind him, passing the half with the lead in :58.1. On the turn, The Bucket opened up a three length advantage as he cruised through three quarters in 1:28.1. In the lane, Sporty McGrew tipped out and tried hard as Leonard kept The Bucket to task. Nearing the wire, longshot Fox Valley Julius found late life, but The Bucket was able to hold on to win by a length. Fox Valley Julius was second while Sporty McGrew finished third. The final time for the mile was 1:57.0. The Bucket is owned by Ken Rucker and George Dremonas and trained by Terry Leonard. Race four was the first division of the Kadabra as a field of eight lined up. For Trots Sakes was favored with Mike Oosting driving. Making the early lead was Trixie's Turbo as he opened up a lead through the quarter in :30.1. Guided by J D Finn through the half in 1:02.1, Trixie's Turbo faced a challenge by Foxvalleysrushhour. After three quarters in 1:32.4, Trixie's Turbo and Foxvalleysrushhour battled through the stretch drive as Trixie's Turbo prevailed. Foxvalleysrushhour was second while Lous Endeavor closed to finish third. The final time for the mile was 2:01.3. Trixie's Turbo is owned by Charles Doehring and trained by Jared Finn. Race five was the second division of the Incredible Finale as Meyer on Fire was the heavy favorite with Mike Oosting in the bike. Hustled away was longshot Cooter Luke as he was pressed by Coming Up through the quarter in :29.1. On the backside, the favorite was on the move as Meyer on Fire passed the half in 1:00.1. On the turn, Maximus ranged up to challenge Meyer on Fire as the duo hit three quarters in 1:29.4. In the lane, the battle ensued as Maximus tried hard but Meyer on Fire was too much for him. Meyer on Fire won by a length in 1:57.2. Maximus finished second, followed by Cooter Luke. Meyer on Fire is owned by Engel Stable of IL, LLC and trained by Erv Miller. The second division of the Kadabra went as race six on Saturday evening with Loscardamon sent away favored for Mike Oosting. Louscardamon was able to clear the lead, passing the quarter in :31.2. On the backside, Crackerjack Bill ranged up to challenge, clearing the lead but only briefly as Louscardamon regained the lead through a half in 1:03.1. On the turn, Fox Valley Cruise ranged up to challenge Louscardamon as they passed three quarters in 1:33.3. Roused in the lane by Oosting, Louscardamon opened up to win by six lengths in 2:01.4. Big Garcia Vega closed to finish second while Frontier Manard got up for third. Louscardamon is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and Dr. Patrick Graham and trained by Steve Searle. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - With Night of Champions just three weeks away, the final harness racing legs to determine who makes the finals will be conducted over the next two weeks. Friday night at Hawthorne focused on the juvenile fillies as trotters competed in two divisions of the Fox Valley Flan and pacers contested two divisions in the Incredible Tillie. The evening's opener was the first division in the Fox Valley Flan as a field of eight lined up. Getting away quickly was Puddin Cheeks and J D Finn, passing the quarter in :30.1. The favorite maintained his advantage through a half in 1:01.0 as he cruised into the final turn. After three quarters in 1:31.4, Puddin Cheeks faced a challenge from Lou's Paramour to her outside. Mid-stretch, Puddin Cheeks dug in, and drew clear at the wire, winning in 2:00.2. Loussolataire came up along the inside to finish second while Lou's Paramour was third. Puddin Cheeks is owned by Dennis Gardner and Finn Racing LLC and trained by Jared Finn. Race two on the card was the first division of the Incredible Tillie as Fox Valley Lolo was a late scratch. Fox Valley Halsey was sent away as the choice with Casey Leonard driving. Sent hard from the outside was Valar Morghulis as she passed the quarter in :27.4. On the backside, the leader drifted out, allowing Fox Valley Halsey to slide through along the inside, taking the lead at the half in :58.0. In the turn, Fox Valley Halsey remained in control, passing three quarters in 1:27.1. Opening up a lead in the lane, the favorite crossed the line unchallenged, winning in 1:57.0. Longshot Grace Ann closed to finish second while Valar Morghulis held third. Fox Valley Halsey is owned by Cynthia Kay Willis, Ronnie and Jerry Graham and trained by Nelson Willis. Race seven was the second division of leg three of the Incredible Tillie with a field of seven. Perch was sent away as the favorite for driver Kyle Wilfong. At the start, Lilly Von Shtupp made the lead, passing the quarter in :28.4. On the backside, Perch looked to move to contend but Lilly Von Shtupp fought back, leading the field past the half in :58.0. After three quarters in 1:28.1, the field bunched up turning into the stretch. Mid-stretch, Lilly Von Shtupp began to tire, while Perch was locked in behind her as Fox Valley Lil Kim and Fox Valley Torrid both had clear sailing. Perch was able to slide through along the inside, but it was too late as Fox Valley Torrid and Casey Leonard had gotten the jump and won in 1:55.4. Perch was able to get up for second while Fox Valley Lil Kim finished third. Fox Valley Torrid is owned by Fox Valley Standardbreds and trained by Rodney Freese. Race nine was the second division of the Fox Valley Flan with eight trotters led by Encantado. Getting away for the lead was Heidi High but Encantado used the inside post to her advantage and led the field past the quarter in :30.1 for Casey Leonard. In control on the backstretch, Encantado passed the half in 1:02.3. On the turn, Louzotic was on the move to challenge but Encantado had something left. After three quarters in 1:32.1, Encantado was roused as Louzotic was trying hard. Mid-stretch, Encantado was in full control but broke stride and dropped back along the inside. Louzotic inherited the lead and cruised home in 2:00.3. E L Game On finished second while Skippymalou closed to finish third. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC and trained by Steve Searle. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - Saturday, September 22nd is already going to be a huge night of racing at Hawthorne Race Course as 11 finals will be taking place for the Night of Champions card. These finals will crown the top Illinois-bred trotters and pacers in all age categories as part of a 13-race card that evening. In addition to the 11 Championship finals, racing secretary Robin Schadt has added a pair of $25,000 invitational races to round out the card. One invitational will be offered for trotters and another for pacers. For details on these $25,000 events, please contact the racing office at Hawthorne at 708-780-3690 or 800-850-4188. Joining the live action on the race track will be the return of some of Chicagoland's greatest drivers of the past for an autograph session and meet and greet. Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee will be at Hawthorne along with: Nelson Willis, Connel Willis, Lavern Hostetler, Jerry Graham, Wayne Temple, Doug Hamilton, Joe Anderson, Carl Porcelli, Dwight Banks, Delvin "Ole" Insko, Dan Shetler, Ron Marsh, and Randy Jacobs. These greats will be available on the first floor of the Hawthorne grandstand and will also be presenting in the winner's circle throughout the night. Reservations are filling up quickly for the Night of Champions at Hawthorne. For details on the event, or to purchase tickets, visit www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com or contact Guest Services at 708-780-3733. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - In a meet that he has dominated since the start of the summer, leading driver Casey Leonard had a big night on Sunday night. Entering the evening with a lead in the driver standings of nearly 100 victories, Leonard opened the night winning with Shooting Cool (1:54.4) for trainer William Crone in race one. He capped off the double as he guided home Girls Girls Girls (1:54.) in the second for Rick Schulze. Race three saw Leonard right back in the winner's circle as The Bucket (1:56.2) held on for trainer Terry Leonard. In race four, Leonard would finish third with the late closing Triple Lane Melody. After missing the board in race five with Fox Valley B Gump, Leonard was right back on top as he guided Big Garcia Vega (2:00.0) to the score for Roshun Trigg in race six. Race seven saw Leonard control the pace with Finleys Filly (1:55.3) for trainer Terry Leonard. After missing the board in race eight with Wishin Iwas Rich, Leonard was right back into the winner's circle, driving Fox Valley Torrid to the victory in the ninth. After a costly break from Fox Valley Mojito in race ten, Ideal's Nicole finished fifth in the finale. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim MIller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

SPRINGFIELD, IL - After the cancellation of day one of racing at the Illinois State Fair on Friday, 20 races were conducted Saturday as eliminations took place for next Wednesday's Championship day. With the numerous eliminations being contested, there was no bigger one than the Illinois-bred, three-year-old colt and gelding pacers elimination. The first elimination was led by Fox Valley Gemini as he was in search of his 17th consecutive victory to open his racing career. It wasn't to be though as You'remyhearthrob pulled off the upset, getting the early jump on Fox Valley Gemini and never looking back, winning in 1:50.3. The victory by You'remyhearthrob marked the 1,000th career win for driver Kyle Wilfong. The homebred was trained by Brett Wilfong. The winners Saturday at the Illinois State Fair: 2-year-old filly trot - 1st division: Encantado (Leonard) - 1:59.0 2-year-old filly trot - 2nd division: Louzotic (S. Searle) - 1:58.0 2-year-old filly pace - 1st division: Fox Valley Lil Kim (T. Curtin) - 1:54.2 2-year-old filly pace - 2nd division: Perch (K. Wilfong) - 1:55.2 2-year-old colt and gelding pace - 1st division: Mr P M (C. Bell) - 1:55.4 2-year-old colt and gelding pace - 2nd division: The Bucket (C. Leonard) - 1:56.0 2-year-old colt and gelding trot - 1st division: Trixie's Turbo (J.D. Finn) - 1:59.3 2-year-old colt and gelding trot - 2nd division: Lousraptor (T. Curtin) - 1:59.0 3-year-old filly trot: Trotting Grace (K. Husted) - 1:54.4 3-year-old colt and gelding trot: Majistic Caprice (M. Oosting) - 1:56.2 3-year-old filly pace: Allbeastnobeauty (M. Oosting) - 1:52.0 3-year-old colt and gelding pace - 1st division: You'remyhearthrob (K. Wilfong) - 1:50.3 3-year-old colt and gelding pace - 2nd division: Dandy Dude (R. Warren) - 1:52.2 Aged colt and gelding trot: Primed N Powerful (J. Patton) - 1:53.3 Aged colt and gelding pace: Fox Valley Reggie (J. Patton) - 1:51.2 Aged mare trot: Annas Lucky Star (K. Wilfong) - 1:53.1 Aged mare pace: Fox Valley Charm (C. Leonard) - 1:51.0 by Jim Miller, for the Illinois State Fair   

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