Day At The Track
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STICKNEY, IL - The first three day harness racing week of the Hawthorne meet saw the addition of Friday racing as horses continue to get fit and race-ready. While the opening three weeks of the Hawthorne meeting saw different drivers and trainers making their mark, everyone seemed to get into the mix in week four. The Friday evening eight race card found eight different trainers in the winner's circle with driver Juan Franco being the only driver to post a double on the card. Friday's card saw Fancy Creek Jolene (1:55.2) return to the form see showed a couple of years ago in winning the opener for trainer Kim Hamilton. 16-1 shot Undrafted (1:55.2) gave Franco his driving double in winning race three. The fastest mile on the night came in the finale as Youmakemyheartsing (1:53.2) won for driver Kyle Wilfong and trainer Brett Wilfong. Saturday opened with Fox Valley Lincoln (1:56.3) getting his second consecutive win for Mike Oosting and trainer Dee Cozzi. Louscaramon (1:57.2) became a three-time winner this meet as Casey Leonard guided him home in the second for trainer Steve Searle. Leonard got his second driving victory on the card in the fourth as Lindy's Big Bang (1:56.2) took the Open trot in the evening's feature. A driving double on the card also came from Mike Oosting, winning race three with Spunky Bottom Girl (1:57.1). Kyle and Brett Wilfong closed out the night taking the late double as Boogie on Down (1:55.4) won the eighth race followed by Be Magical (1:59.0) winning the finale. Trainer Steve Searle got his second Saturday win as Coming Up (1:57.1) was handled nicely by driver James Molitor in race five. Sunday's action found us with a three-time winner to start the night as My Uptowne Girl (1:56.0) took the opener for Juan Franco and trainer Gerald Hansen. Back to back Open paces followed with Dee Rocks (1:54.2) holding off favored Rollin Coal for driver Ridge Warren in the second race while Castle Flight (1:52.1) was impressive once again in winning race three for Kyle Wilfong. The Sunday card closed with three consecutive driving doubles. First it was Mike Oosting winning races four and five with Valar Morghulis (1:56.0) and Dirt E Rock (1:56.0). Next up was Brandon Bates as he took the sixth with Bluebird Luigi (2:00.2) followed by Slow Your Roll (1:59.2) in the seventh. Todd Warren drove home the final double on the night, winning the eighth behind Cookies Empire (1:56.2) and Crystal Hotspur (1:58.4) in the evening's final race. Overall on the weekend, 20 different trainers and 11 different drivers won races from the 26 conducted in the three day period. Through four weeks, Mike Oosting has taken over the lead in the driving standings with 14 victories. He is followed by Kyle Wilfong (13), Casey Leonard and Todd Warren (12), and Brandon Bates with 11 victories. Trainer Steve Searle remains atop the training standings, sending out eight winners from 33 starters. Derek Burklund follows in second with seven wins and there is a three-way tie for third between Brett Wilfong, Mike Brink, and Ronnie Roberts, each with six victories. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

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 www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

As the second full weekend of harness racing wrapped up at Hawthorne Race Course, the temperatures warmed and a couple of drivers heated up. Leading driver Casey Leonard had a big weekend in the bike as he guided home 13 winners over the four day racing week. Leonard opened the racing week with a three bagger on Thursday. On Friday evening, Leonard guided home five winners, some at big prices. Leonard won the fourth race with Little Miss Torie ($57.20), followed by favored Financial Effort two races later. In the ninth race Leonard was back in the winner's circle with the longest shot on the board as Dali Treasure ($51.00) rallied late. The following race Leonard drove home Sure You Are ($33.20) and closed out the evening with favorite Jiggles the Clown in the finale. Leonard won three more times on Saturday, including another impressive score by Ontario Success (1:51) in the Saturday feature. He closed the 13 win weekend with a pair of victories on Sunday evening. Driver Todd Warren also had a fine weekend, winning seven races over the four day span. Warren opened the week winning a pair on Thursday night. After going winless Friday, he came back with a trio of scores Saturday, driving home both Old Man River and KC Rambunctious Boy to their second wins each on the meet. On Sunday, Warren won twice more as John Jay and It'saswan both continued their fine Hawthorne form. Capping the Sunday card was a first for driver Juan Franco as he recorded the first pari-mutuel victory of his career in the Sunday finale. Franco drove 25-1 shot Parklane Dragon to a 2¼ length score for trainer Nelson Willis in Sunday's tenth race. Stakes Nominations for Two-Year-Old Races Posted The nominees for the four two-year-old stakes races have been posted on the Hawthorne website. Two-year-old filly trotters will compete in the Fox Valley Flan stakes as 31 fillies were nominated. The Kadabra Stakes for two-year-old colt trotters closed with 30 nominations. In the Incredible Tillie Stakes for two-year-old filly pacers, 72 were nominated. The Incredible Finale Stakes for two-year-old colt pacers ended up with 61 nominees. To view the full list of all stakes nominations, visit the Hawthorne website at www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com and click on the "Horsemen" tab. ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the 4th oldest racetrack in the nation and the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. Located in Stickney, Illinois on the edge of Chicago's city limits, the 125 year old facility hosts thoroughbred racing in the Spring and Fall/Winter, and standardbred harness racing in January and the Summer. The family-owned and operated business has been an innovator in horseracing for more than 100 years and features the nation's most rewarding players program. For additional information: www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com | Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne | @ClubHawthorne. Jim Miller

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