Day At The Track

Hawthorne has weekend of upsets

12:23 PM 03 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Rollin Coal, harness racing
Rollin Coal and driver Juan Franco
Four Footed Fotos

STICKNEY, IL - For the horseplayer, handicapping races is a very tough science. Finding the winner and then wagering on the race to turn a profit adds to the process. When the favorites aren't striking at a high rate, it makes the process that much more puzzling. What it can also mean is that it takes just one well-played ticket to make for a profitable experience. This past weekend at Hawthorne Race Course, harness racing fans saw just about everything, from huge prices, to even bigger gimmick payouts, to large carryovers across the board.

With 21 races conducted between last Saturday and Sunday at Hawthorne, only four favorites were victorious. Through six nights of racing for the Hawthorne meet, favorites are winning at a low 30% clip.

The Saturday card opened with a slight upset at Muscular Babe (1:56.3) trotted to a victory for driver Kyle Wilfong to kick of the Pick 5 that had a carryover of $10,895. After a Wilfong driving triple with favorite Luke's Rocketman (1:55.0) in the second, followed by favored Bright Future (1:54.0) winning the third, things got interesting the rest of the way.

In race four Saturday, Juan Franco guided 44-1 longshot Ok Galahad (1:54.3) to the upset score for trainer Rodney Freese. With 103-1 bomber Get Rockin finishing third in that race, nobody had the superfecta, causing a carryover into race five. Franco was right back in the winner's circle in the fifth, this time closing late with 17-1 priced Parklane Eagle (1:54.2) to catch 1-5 favored A Bettors Risk on the wire. The back-to-back longshots led to a nearly $30,000 Pick 5 carryover into the Sunday card.

Wilfong followed with his fourth driving win on the card as he guided home Allstar-Josh (1:57.2) to a win in the sixth. Race seven was won by Downwyn Shark (1:54.3) for Tyler Shehan at 5-1. Race eight saw the second superfecta carryover of the night as 46-1 longshot Shabazz (1:59.4) got up for driver Cordarius Stewart, catching 26-1 priced Missfinancialsport on the wire.

Another 5-1 winner in the ninth as This Man Raps (1:59.1) scored for Todd Warren. Race ten was the second training win on the card for Rodney Freese as Casey Leonard drove home Massive Attack (1:54.3) to a clear victory at 7-1. The card concluded with a Pick 4 carryover on the line as Lucky Crusader (1:55.1) made it happen for driver Brandon Bates in the finale.

With five carryovers into the Sunday card, the story became how much would be bet into the pools. The two-day Pick 5 carryover of nearly $30,000 saw and additional $126,089 wagered into the gimmick on Sunday.

Only one favorite won in the Sunday sequence as 7-1 shot Fire Dance (1:57.0) won the opener, followed by 8-1 winner Roberts New Life (1:56.3) in race two. Favorite Mamaneedsmorewine (2:02.2) got the job done in the third before Rushing Reba (1:55.0) won at 9-1 in the fourth and Rollin Coal (1:54.2) closed out the sequence at 12-1. The return for the $.50 Pick 5 wager paid $16,468.

After Castielle (1:58.1) gave driver Mike Oosting his second win on the Sunday card in race six, race seven began with a late Pick 4 carryover over $10,000 and a $40,000 guaranteed pool. $75,271 was bet into the Late Pick 4, which kicked off with Toxic Rock (1:55.1) winning the seventh for Ridge Warren. Todd Warren got his second Sunday victory as he guided home favorite Keene William (1:57.0) in the eighth.

Oosting made it three Sunday scores as Unbroken Circle (1:55.2) was able to hold on gamely in the ninth. Todd Warren got his third Sunday win as 9-1 shot Fox Valley Lincoln (1:58.0) fought back to win the finale. The late Pick 4 returned $595.80. Overall, the carryovers and competitive racing led to a strong Sunday handle of $1,086,169.

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Beginning in March, live racing takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening for the remainder of the meet. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.

by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

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