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SPRINGFIELD, IL - Beautiful weather, big crowds, and great harness racing led to record handle figures at the recently completed state fair in Springfield. The four day Springfield fair saw handle numbers easily surpass prior years to the tune of a nearly $200,000 increase in handle off last year's races. DuQuoin unfortunately was a washout, but all 25 DuQuoin events are being brought to Hawthorne on August 30. The Illinois State Fair at Springfield saw the first two days of eliminations as Illinois-bred two-year-old and three-year-old trotters and pacers positioned themselves for the week two finals. While the youngsters raced through eliminations, it was an older state-bred pacer who stole the show on day two. The Brett Wilfong trained You'remyhearthrob paced a huge mile to a career best mark of 1:49/4 for driver Kyle Wilfong, posting the only sub-1:50 of the racing week. While You'remyhearthrob's time was fast, career marks were set for the winner of each of the 12 races on Championship day. The first of the eight finals was for two-year-old trotting fillies as a pair of Steve Searle trainees would finish 1-2 in the $32,500 event. Leading the way was Bee See for driver Kyle Husted, winning in 1:56.2 over Lous Abigail. Lauren Hall went on to finish third. Bee See is owned by Molly Baldes, Michael Paloma, Chris Paloma, and trainer Steve Searle. Two-year-old filly pacers followed next for $32,500 as another upset took place. This time it was Kyle Wilfong guiding home the Erv Miller trained Sleazy Gal in 1:54.1. She was a length ahead of Ashlees Fine Girl while Amazon Princess finished third. Sleazy Gal was the first of two winners on the day for Engel Stable of IL, LLC. Next up were two-year-old colt and gelding trotters in the $32,500 final. Another upset was in store as Ridge Warren drove On Higher Ground to a length and a quarter score over favored Fox Valley Quest. Desert Sheik would finish third as Mike Brink trained the winner and third-place finisher. On Higher Ground won in 1:55.1 for owner Bill Wright and trainer Mike Brink. Juvenile colt and gelding pacers faced off in the next $32,500 final as a favorite was able to get the job done. The win came for Fox Valley Ren as Kyle Wilfong grabbed his second finals win, this time for trainer Nelson Willis. Fox Valley Ren won in 1:52.3, a neck ahead of Rg's Tracer as Western Perch was third. Fox Valley Ren is owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc. Three-year-old filly trotters followed as trainer Steve Searle and driver Kyle Husted grabbed their second finals win. The win came with another favorite as 1-5 shot Louzotic didn't disappoint. A two-length winner, Louzotic was followed by Heidi High and Joe Joes Violet, winning in 1:54.3. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC. Favorites strung together three wins in a row in the $31,500 final for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win came from Lousraptor as he won impressively by four-lengths for driver Casey Leonard and trainer Roshun Trigg. The win in 1:54.4 came over Lourhianon, who was followed by Prince Cassis. Lousraptor was the second finals score for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC. Three-year-old filly pacers competed for $31,500 and led back to an upset and also the third finals win on the day for the fair's leading driver Kyle Wilfong. Wilfong was able to work out a trip from the outside with Jay Garrels trained Perch, rallying to win by a length and a quarter. The speedy 1:51.1 time was good enough to best Fox Valley Torrid and Fox Valley Halsey. Perch is owned by Jay Garrels, Susan Garrels, and Del Insko Training Stable, Inc. The championship card concluded with three-year-old colt and gelding pacers in the $31,500 final as Kyle Husted grabbed his third finals win on the card. This win came impressively as Husted drove home Meyer on Fire to a two and a half-length score over Fox Valley Triton and Maximus. The win was in 1:51.2 and was the second finals win on the card for owner Engel Stable of IL LLC. With less than a month before Night of Champions at Hawthorne Race Course, many of these winners will be looking to position themselves for their best effort of the year in the state's biggest night of harness racing 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. 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 - The opener at Hawthorne on Thursday night saw a first as trainer Nicole Agosti recorded her first career victory. The 26-year-old Agosti sent out Red Red Redneck for owners David and Adam Brooks to an upset victory in race one as driver Kyle Wilfong was able to squeeze through along the inside late for the score. The win came in career start number six for Agosti as she had previously sent out starters at Hoosier Park, along with Red Red Redneck debuting for her last week at Hawthorne. Coming from a racing background, Agosti's parents worked with Standardbred horses from the time Nicole was very young. The family transitioned to thoroughbreds for a ten year stretch when Nicole was five-years-old before moving back to the Standardbred industry. The Buffalo, New York native is known for her hard working nature as she has worked tirelessly for the Brett Wilfong stable since 2012. At that time she met driver Kyle Wilfong and the two have been together since. Red Red Redneck came to Agosti from trainer David Brooks as she stated, "I've been fortunate to help David on and off over the course of the last year. David wanted to try something different with Red Red Redneck and sent him to me with the hopes that a change of scenery would turn things around for him. Sometimes horses get complacent when they've been in the same spot and routine for a while. Red Red Redneck responded really well tonight and showed a lot of heart." 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 - The rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the fans at Hawthorne on Friday night as a combination of stakes action and exotic animal races filled the evening. The stakes focus of the evening was a pair of divisions for leg two of the Incredible Tillie Stakes. The Incredible Tillie is for Illinois-bred, two-year-old pacing fillies as each division had a field of seven. Race one was the first division as Fox Valley Halsey was the favorite with leading driver Casey Leonard in the bike. Getting away for the lead was Yankee Joanie and Ryan Anderson as they were just in front of the favorite through the quarter in :29.3 over a good track. After passing the half in :59.0 and three quarters in 1:28.2, Yankee Joanie led the field into the stretch. Asked to go after the leader was Fox Valley Halsey but she made a break into the lane, leaving Perch and Kyle Wilfong to take up the chase. Mid-stretch, Perch tipped out and was able to catch Yankee Joanie in the shadow of the wire, winning in 1:58.2. Fox Valley Halsey recovered from the break to finish third. Perch is trained by Jay Garrels. After race one was the camel race as drivers Casey Leonard, Juan Franco, and Richard S. Finn were joined by Olivia Goethals of Agency 360. A quick start for Leonard was good enough as he guided his steed to victory. Juan Franco was a close second followed by Goethals and Finn. The juvenile pacers were back at it in race three as Brienne The Beauty was the 3-5 favorite with Travis Seekman driving. Making the early lead was Fox Valley Lil Kim as she passed the opening quarter in :29.3 as Brienne The Beauty quickly joined her. Taking over through a half in :59.1 was the favorite as Fox Valley Lil Kim chased her into the turn. After three quarters in 1:28.1, Brienne the Beauty remained in command and drew clear at the wire, winning in 1:56.2. Fox Valley Lil Kim came back for second while Foolishlittlegirl was third. Brienne the Beauty is owned in partnership by Somone, McCaffrey, McCaffrey, and trainer Clark Fairley. 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 - A big twelve race Saturday card at Hawthorne kicked off the start of leg two action for Night of Champions races as two divisions of the Beulah Dygert and Plum Peachy took place. The Beulah Dygert is for Illinois-bred, three-year-old filly trotters and the Plum Peachy is for the state-bred, three-year-old filly pacers. Race two on Saturday was the first division of the Beulah Dygert as a field of six trotters faced the starter. Good Design was the favorite off her leg on win with Kyle Wilfong in the bike. A break prior to the start left Shadow Copy well back early as Good Design backed down the pace through three opening quarter in :30.0. After cruising through the half in :58.3, Good Design lead Trotting Grace and New Queen into the far turn. Through three quarters in 1:27.2, Good Design remained in control and opened up into the lane. Geared down late, Good Design was an easy winner in 1:55.4. Trotting Grace held second while New Queen finished third. Good Design is owned by Mr. Lynn Wilfong and trained by Brett Wilfong. Race four was the second division of the Dygert with Maui Mama and Casey Leonard the favorite in the field of six. Getting away for the lead was the favorite as she passed to opening quarter in :29.3. On the backside, White Pants Fever moved to take over through a half in :58.3. After three quarters in 1:27.3, White Pants Fever opened up two lengths into the stretch. Mid-stretch, Maui Mama tipped out and rolled on by, winning in 1:57.3. Sunny Sasha rallied for second while White Pants Fever was third. Maui Mama is owned by Bill Wright and trained by Mike Brink. Race eight was the first of two divisions of the Plum Peachy with a field of nine. Fox Valley Jazzy was the favorite in the race with Ridge Warren driving. Making the lead was The New Americana as she was joined by Fox Valley Jazzy through the quarter in :29.1. On the backside, The Sis Master was hustled to the front, covering the half in :57.1. On the turn, The Sis Master held her lead as Fox Valley Jazzy pressured through three quarters in 1:26.0. In the lane The Sis Master was all out, looking to hold off Fox Valley Jazzy as she was able to do so in 1:53.4. Fox Valley Jazzy was second while The New Americana was third. The Sis Master is owned by Bet-Mor Stable and trained and driven by Michele Morgan. Race ten was the second division of the Plum Peachy with Rollin Coal and Allbeastnobeauty battling for favoritism at post time. Getting away quickly was Rollin Coal and Casey Leonard as they were pressured through a quarter in :28.2. After a half in :57.1, Rollin Coal led Frontier Cuzin into the turn. Passing three quarters in 1:25.3, Rollin Coal was up by two lengths into the lane. Mid-stretch, Skeeter Machine and Kyle Wilfong tipped out and challenged the leader, closing alongside her late in the stretch. At the wire Skeeter Machine emerged on top by a head over Rollin Coal. Frontier Cuzin held third. The final time for the mile was 1:54.1. Skeeter Machine is owned by Francis and James Greer and trained by Alan Bowen. 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 - Juvenile pacers were the focus on Friday evening at Hawthorne as two divisions of the Cardinal took place. The $30,350 events are for Illinois Conceived and Foaled, two-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The night's opener was the first of the two divisions as Holden Steady was sent off as the choice with Kyle Wilfong in the bike. Getting away quickly was the favorite as he was able to back down the opening quarter in :30. After a half in 1:00.4, Holden Steady held the lead over longshot Sonny Sage and Fox Valley Minime. After three quarters in 1:31.2, Holden Steady was still pushed along but maintained his advantage. Roused in the lane, Holden Steady responded well, drawing clear in 1:59.4. Sonny Sage held second while Riley The Mooss closed to finish third. Holden Steady is owned by Thestable Holden Steady and trained by Angela Coleman. Race seven was the second division of the Cardinal as a field of nine lined up behind the starting car. Favored in the second division was The Bucket with Casey Leonard driving. Making the lead was 15-1 shot Frontier Muffler through the quarter in :30.3. After a half in 1:00.0, Frontier Muffler still held a two-length advantage over The Bucket. In the turn, The Bucket was asked but Frontier Muffler still led through three quarters in 1:29.1. In the lane, The Bucket tipped out and was able to wear down Frontier Muffler, winning going away in 1:57.1. Frontier Muffler held second while Meyer on Fire closed to finish third. The stewards conducted an inquiry looking into the actions of Meyer on Fire but no change was made. The Bucket is owned by George Dremonas and Ken Rucker and trained by Ken Rucker. 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 - Sunday night at Hawthorne featured trotters as Illinois conceived or foaled three-year-olds were showcased. Two legs of the Beulah Dygert Memorial for fillies were conducted along with leg one action for the boys in the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial. Race two Sunday was the first leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial as a field of six lined up. Trotting Grace was the even money choice but it was Good Design who dictated the pace. Covering slow early fractions of :29.2 and 1:00.3, Good Design led the field into the far turn. Kyle Wilfong kept her to task through three quarters in 1:30.1 as she led the field into the lane. Good Design was able to fend off late challenges by Trotting Grace and Lous Silver Star, crossing the line a half-length on top in 1:58.2. Good Design is owned by Mr. Lynn Wilfong and trained by Brett Wilfong. Race four was the second division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial as White Pants Fever and Maui Mama battled for favoritism. Breaking before the start was White Pants Fever but she got back onto stride, lagging the gate by five lengths early. At the start, Powerful Temtrist was sent away for the lead and joined early by Fox Valley Unleash through the quarter in :29.4. On the backside, Maui Mama moved first, but White Pants Fever followed on her heels, passing the half a length in front in :58.3. Leading the field through three quarters in 1:28.1, White Pants Fever held the lead into the lane. After a long drive, Maui Mama tipped out late and wore down her rival, winning by a neck in 1:57.0. White Pants Fever finished second while Powerful Temtrist held third. Maui Mama is owned by Bill Wright and trained by Mike Brink. Race seven was the first leg of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial for three-year-old colts and geldings as a field of nine lined up. Illinimight was sent off as the favorite but it was True Detective and Curt Grummel that carved out the fractions of :30.3, 1:00.3, and 1:29.3. for three quarters. Opening up a four length lead into the stretch, True Detective looked to be home free, but the second Grummel trained entrant in the race, Big Lou, was closing strongly with Tim Curtin in the bike. At the line it was a Grummel trained exacta as Big Lou caught True Detective while Majistic Caprice finished third. The final time for the mile was 1:57.3. The one-two finishers were both owned by Dr. Patrick Graham. 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 another cold and snowy evening at Hawthorne Race Course, the second week of the winter meet concluded with a fine performance on the track from driver Kyle Wilfong. The 26-year-old guided home five winners from his eight drives on the Sunday harness racing card. After a fourth-place finish in the night's opener with Lilac Laurey, Wilfong won the second race on the card with Skyway Fireball ($11.40). He came right back in the third, driving Her Royal Hottness ($15.00) to the win, getting up in the shadow of the wire. After finishing second with Fox Valley Hoss in race four and third behind Lotta Richess in race five, Wilfong was back in the winner's circle in the sixth with Cuinthepurplerain ($3.80). In race seven, Wilfong guided Banker Volo ($9.80) from the back of the pack to win the open trot from the outside. He closed his driving night with a win in race eight from Maserati Seelster ($3.60). The night capped a seven-win week for Wilfong as he has gotten off to a hot start on the winter meet. The winter harness meet at Hawthorne continues through February 19. Thoroughbred racing resumes at the end of March and continues through April. Summer harness action takes place May through September. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year October through December. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com. Jim MIller

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 - 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  

STICKNEY, IL - Leg two action for the fillies and boys took place with a pair of divisions in the Beulah Dygert Trot for Illinois-bred three-year-old fillies and Erwin F. Dygert Trot for Illinois-bred three-year-old colts and geldings. Over a fast track for the Thursday opener, a field of six fillies lined up in the first division of the Beulah Dygert as Rocknprincessabbie was the off time favorite. Leaving quickly was Roma Falls as she carved out the opening fractions of :29.1, :59, and 1:29.0 to led the field into the stretch. As the field bunched up mid-stretch, Rocknprincessabbie took over, but late in the lane, driver Kyle Wilfong and More Than Likely split horses to get up late for the victory. The final time for the mile was 1:59.2. Owned by Mr. Lynn Wilfong and trained by Brett Wilfong, More Than Likely paid $6.40, $3.60, and $3.60. Rocknprincessabbie returned $3.00 and $2.40 while Ryleigh Marie got up for third, paying $3.60 to show. Race 3 Thursday was the second division of the Beulah Dygert as six filly trotters matched up. Favored was Vengeful off a second-place effort in leg one. Moving to the lead in the opening quarter was Vengeful in :29.1 for driver Todd Warren. She led the field through a half in :58.4 and three quarters in 1:28.2. Opening up a four length lead in the lane, Vengeful was all out late, but shortened late and was caught by Survivor Di for driver Kyle Husted. Vengeful held second while Powerful Princess finished third. Final time for the mile was 1:57.4 Owned by Steven Renard and trained by Steven Searle, Survivor Di paid $10.60, $3.60, and $2.40. Vengeful returned $2.40 and $2.10 while Powerful Princess paid $2.20 to show. Race four on the Thursday card was the first division of leg two of the Erwin F. Dygert Trot for three-year-old Illinois-bred colts and geldings. Fear was the heavy favorite at post time. Making the lead early was Mr Strata but he was quickly headed by Fear through the quarter in :29.2. On the backstretch Fear opened a five length lead through the half in :58.2 On the turn, Mr Strata started to close the gap as Fear covered three quarters in 1:28.2. In the lane, Fear was kept to task and drew clear, winning for driver Todd Warren in 1:58. Powerful Father was second at 46-1 while Bands Ariston finished third. Owned by Providence West Inc. and trained by Kenny Collier, Fear returned $2.40, $2.40, and $2.40. Powerful Father paid $12.60 and $8.00 while Bands Ariston paid $9.20 to show. The second division in the Erwin F. Dygert had a field of eight with Hail Caesar the post time favorite. Leading through the quarter was favored Hail Caesar in :30.3. Cruising through the half in 1:01.1, Hail Caesar was challenged by Prime N Powerful into the turn. Turning that bid away through three quarters in 1:30.0, Hail Caesar was strong through the wire for Casey Leonard in 1:59. Primed N Powerful held second while Wrightwood finished third. Owned by H W Wright and trained by Mike Brink, Hail Caesar returned $4.40, $2.60, and $2.10. Primed N Powerful came back $2.40 and $2.20 while Wrightwood paid $2.60 to show. Special Post, Sunday, July 3 On Sunday, July 3, Hawthorne will have a special 14 race card with a first post of 7:00 PM. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Raceway    

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

Freshman trotting fillies grabbed the main stage on Friday's Balmoral Park harness racing card as a full field of 10 diagonally gaited youngsters squared off in the $19,700 Violet Stake.   Fresh off wins in the Lady Lincoln Land and a Violet elimination Lynn Wilfong's More Than Likely overcame the dreaded outside starting spot to record a neck decision in 1:59.0 for driver Kyle Wilfong.   Reserved through the early going as Surviver Di (Kyle Husted) carved out splits of 29.3, 1:00.3 & 1:29.4 Wilfong calmly maneuvered his way through the outer flow as he made his way to the top of the stretch.   With even-money favorite Vengeful making a nasty break just as she moved into the lead at the top of the lane the outcome remained wide open as a fresh More Than Likely began to chew up ground on the far outside of horses. Charging down the center of the track, the Roger Welch trained daughter of Designer Lindy--Midori Hanover trotted into the lead with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go then held firm as a fast closing Praise Singer (Robert Smolin) took one final run at the winner only to come up a few steps short. Surviver Di held on for the show dough.   Sent off as the second choice in the wagering More Than Likely returned $7.20, $4.80 & $3.40 while running her record to 4-1-1in 11 starts with career earnings of $55,491.   A total of 15 two-year-old trotting colts were dropped in the box for next week's $21,300 Cardinal Stake Final necessitating a pair of $8,000 elimination tussles on Friday night. The top five finishers in each division will be back for next week's finale.   In the first division Thomas Pollard and Dirk Simpson Stables Pastor Clint held off a furious late rally from 50-1 outsider Fox Valley Diamo, prevailing by a hard fought neck in 1:59.3 for driver Casey Leonard.   The Mike Brink trained son of Powerful Emotion--SS Stardust shook off a tough first over trip in route to his fourth win in 14 career starts. The bay gelding also has a second and four thirds to his credit with career earnings of $20,801 after Friday's victory. Fox Valley Diamo (Pat Curtin) was a game second while pace setter Fear (Robert Smolin) held on for third. Also gaining spots in the final were Mr Strata and Fox Valley Sir.   In the second division another Brink trainee toted home top honors with Casey Leonard at the controls as Powerful Father pulled off the 8-1 upset winning by a neck in 2:00.1 after a thrilling stretch battle.   The bay son of Powerful Emotion--Fox Valley Poetry ranged up second over as the field hit the top of the stretch then gradually wore down the pace setting JD Cheese (Todd Warren) to post his first career victory for the partnership of Patricia McCaughey, Loren Tournear and Mystical Marker Farms LLC. Favored Speedy Rendezvous (Ridge Warren) was a hard fought second while PJ Boy (Mike Rogers), who lacked racing room throughout the stretch drive was forced to settle for a third place check. JD Cheese and Homershobbyhorse grabbed the last two spots in the final.   Driver Mike Oosting was honored on Friday night as well as the veteran reinsman joined an elite group with his 6,000th driving victory. The milestone win came on Saturday, Oct. 10th as the Beecher, IL resident guided Gibbs to a 1¾ length victory in the 10th race of the night. The 53-year-old Oosting, who captured the 2015 driving title at Maywood Park and also boasts an unprecedented six straight driving titles here at Balmoral Park, has driven the winners of more than $37.1 million during his career and has also sent out 539 winners during his days of training standardbreds. He has notched more than 250 driving victories in 13 of the past 14 seasons. Live racing continues on Saturday, Oct. 17th at Balmoral Park. Once again all the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Saturday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races 9-12) features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) also features a guaranteed pool of $25,000. The live racing action will be headlined by ICF two-year-old pacing fillies as a field of eight are scheduled to go postward in the $8,140 Beecher Stake. Tom Kelley

The richest event of the season for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies put a familiar face back in the winner's circle as veteran harness racing conditioner Roger Welch sent out his sixth career winner of the $80,400 Lady Lincoln Land Stake when the Lynn Wilfong owned More Than Likely rallied in the final strides to win by a half-length in a career best of 1:58.1. Given a perfect steer by driver Kyle Wilfong the home-bred daughter of Designer Lindy--Midori Hanover left alertly from post four as the even-money favorite Vengeful (Casey Leonard) made a costly miscue behind the gate.   Landing in the garden spot as a head strong Powerful Princess (John De Long) led the field through splits of 29.3, 59.3 & 1:28.4 More Than Likely was still fit and fresh as the fillies straightened for their journey home.   Continuing to grind away at the pace setter while Vengeful, who had spotted the field some 13-lengths with the early miscue, circled the field on the outside of horses More Than Likely found clear sailing as Powerful Princess went off stride. Just when it looked as though the "chalk players" were going to be able to breathe a sigh of relief as Vengeful struck the front a game More Than Likely seemed to find a little something more overtaking the heavy favorite in the shadow of the wire for her second win in nine career starts. Vengeful was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Praise Singer (Pat Curtin) took home the show dough.   In the winner's circle a very happy Welch was beaming with pride over his charges winning effort and his record setting sixth triumph in this event.   "Mr. Wilfong sent me this horse a few months back when they were starting to lose a little patience with her," explained Welch. "I told them at that time my goal was to have her at her best for one race that she had on her card and that was this one. We took our time with her and the patience paid off tonight. I love it when a game plan comes together like this one did."   With the victory More Than Likely, who was dispatched at odds of 7-1 now boasts a record of 2-1-1 in nine lifetime starts with earnings of $47,063. Tom Kelley

Illinois' top sophomore pacing fillies renewed acquaintances again on Friday night at Maywood Park as a field of eight second year distaffers went postward in one of the season's biggest harness racing events on the half-mile oval the $35,600 Filly Maywood Pace.   Taking advantage of a bye into the final of this event a fit and fresh Lex stormed right to the front and made it look easy as she cruised home with an effortless three-length victory in 1:54.2 for driver Kyle Wilfong over a track listed as fast despite day long rains and temperatures in low 50's.   Sent right to the front from post position four by Wilfong the daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U had things her own way as she strolled through opening splits of 28.0 & 56.4.   A first over bid came from Sportsmuffler (Casey Leonard) as the field moved onto the backstretch for the final time but Lex dug in gamely as she continued to lead the field by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.0.   After turning aside the challenge of Sportsmuffler the Nelson Willis trained miss seemed to find another gear, quickly drawing away from the pocket sitting Fox Valley Kit (Pat Curtin) and a tired Sportsmuffler to secure her fourth win in seven starts this year. Fox Valley Kit, a 17-1 outsider turned that perfect two-hole trip into a nice second place check while another longshot Duneside Perttie (Brian Carpenter) shook loose late to finish third at odds of 32-1.   Lex, who also captured this season's Violet Stake at Balmoral Park is enjoying a very nice start to her second season boasting a record of 4-2-1 in 7 starts while adding another $37,363 to her bankroll. For her career the ultra-consistent homebred sports a record of 8-4-3 in 16 tries with earnings of $102,163 for proud owner Kay Willis.   Bet as though defeat was out of the question Lex returned $2.60, $2.40 & $2.10 to her legion of backers. The "boys" were also in action on Friday night as a field of eight sophomore pacing colts squared off in their Maywood Pace Stake elimination. The top six finishers will return next week where they will be joined by Earndawg and Dixie's Boy in the $36,000 final. Using the inside starting spot to perfection driver Mike Oosting put heavily favored Lucpark right on the "engine" and the gelded son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best was never seriously threatened as he strolled home with a 2½ length verdict in 1:55.1.   With the exception of a mild first over bid from Gifted By Nature (Todd Warren) as the field neared the three-quarter pole the Erv Miller trained Lucpark was relatively unchallenged while putting up splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:26.1.   Off the mild fractions Lucpark had plenty in reserve, sprinting away from his rivals in the lane for his second win in six starts this season. Rockin Cassanova (Ridge Warren) sat on the winner's back every step of the way to grab the second place check while Frosty Dune (Kyle Wilfong) shook loose late to finish third after a ground saving trip. Also gaining spots in the final were Gifted By Nature, Dupage's Z Tam and Gett'er Done Dune.   With the win Lucpark now boasts career numbers of 6-3-3 in 18 starts with earnings just shy of $90,000 for owner Rocco Ruffolo. The 3-5 favorite in the wagering returned $3.40, $2.20 & $2.10. Tom Kelley    

Illinois conceived and foaled stakes action was in full swing on Sunday, May 17th, at Balmoral Park as a pair of state-bred events for harness racing three-year-old trotters and pacers shared top billing on the 10-race program.   Leading the way were ICF pacing fillies as a full field of 10 second season ladies met in the $17,800 Violet Stake. As she did in last week's prep for this tussle, Kay Willis's Lex overpowered her rivals in this event, storming up first over to grab command on the far turn and then drawing clear late to win by 2¾ -lengths in a career best of 1:52.3.   Confidently handled by driver Kyle Wilfong, the daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U left alertly from post five tucking in third as a hard charging Fox Valley Aubrey (Robert Smolin) sped to the top from post 10, leading the field through splits of 27.2 & 56.4.   After cruising along relatively unchallenged through the opening half, things heated up on the last bend as Lex came rolling up first over to challenge while the field charged by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.0.   Quickly overtaking the pace-setter, the Nelson Willis trainee zipped away to a two-length length advantage. The issue was still in doubt though through the final sixteenth of a mile before last season's Filly Orange & Blue runner-up imposed her will on her challengers, drawing clear late to win for the third time in five starts this season. Sportsmuffler (John De Long), who was used hard in the early going from post seven turned in a big effort to finish as the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Aubrey held on for third. A multiple stakes winner during her freshman campaign the homebred bay returned $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while upping her record to 7-4-2 in 14 starts with earnings of $83,100. Sophomore trotting colts were also on the docket Sunday night as a field of nine lined up behind the gate for an $8,000 Betzotic Stake.   Once again the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar showed that he's the one to beat among his peers, rolling to a deceptively easy "neck" decision in a career best of 1:56.0 with Todd Warren at the controls.   Using the inside starting spot to his advantage the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain grabbed control of the proceedings after eyeballing RT Habenero (Kyle Wilfong) and Tricky Nick (Mike Oosting) battle through an opening panel in 28.4.   After allowing a hard charging Captain Greedy (J.D Finn) to grab a short lived lead, Warren had Fox Valley Qatar back out and rolling to the top as the field moved through middle splits of 57.0 & 1:26.4.   Through the stretch, last year's divisional champion appeared to be well in hand despite a shortening margin, casually shrugging off a late challenge from the pocket sitting Captain Greedy to record his 10th win in 12 career starts. Captain Greedy was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) turned in a nice effort to rally for the show dough.   With the win Fox Valley Qatar boasts a record of 10-1-0 in 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $92,215. Bet as though defeat was out of the question, the bargain priced $7,000 yearling returned $2.60, $2.10 & $2.10 to his legion of backers.   Tom Kelley

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