Today is the last stakes day of the fall Hawthorne meet, and a host of Illinois-bred juveniles will test their mettle going two turns on the dirt today. However, there is a full nine-race card. Fully four of the races feature juveniles; in addition to the stakes races, there are two maiden races for the younger set as well. Fans of the older horses are not left out, though. There is a nice allowance featuring a few runners dropping down from stakes company, and the final race of the day looks like one of the best betting races Hawthorne has had in a long time.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the races!
Race 1: $17,500 maiden claiming, two-year-olds, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: Stop Tripping (3), Bold Ransom (7), Bahnke (6)
Stop Tripping is a second-time sire by Three Hour Nap, whose babies tend to be precocious and often win first or second time out. He finished a fairly distant fourth at this level last out, but there’s a chance he will understand racing better today. His dam side suggests that well; out of eight winners Crusading Native (by Crusading Sword) has produced, seven have won either second, third, or fourth time out. In addition to precocity, his breeding also suits this sprint distance well. Trainer Doug Matthews wins at 18% with second-time runners, and he gets top rider Florent Geroux aboard. Bold Ransom, a third-time starter, races for the first time since May. Still, trainer Vernon Obermeier is 17% (with a +$2.93 ROI) with runners coming in off lays of longer than three months. Bold Ransom was well-beaten over the Arlington poly in special weight company in his debut, but was fifth beaten just three and a half lengths against $20,000 over the Churchill slop, and finding better stride late. This race is a furlong and a half longer. He drops a whisker in class here, and tries fast dirt for the first time. Finally, His dam has produced two other runners — both of whom won second out, though neither raced quite as early as Bold Ransom had tried. There is some precocity there. Finally, Bahnke merits a look. He woke up three starts back on the ship to Hawthorne, drop to claiming, and addition of first-time Lasix, finishing second at odds of 39/1. However, in two starts hence, he has finished second. Two starts back there was a clear excuse; he lost by just a nose after the rider lost his whip. He keeps running well, and rider Juan Molina has hit the board with eight of ten mounts he has had for Chris Dorris in the last two months. His recent speeds are strong for the field, and he should contend.
Race 2: $12,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N3L OR three years old, six and a half furlongs on the dirt
Selections: W W Concerto (6), Nobiz Like Sue Biz (4), Summer in Montana (4)
W W Concerto comes in here second off the layoff, and second off the claim into the Tammy Domenosky barn. He figures to be the speed of the speed, and ran well enough first off the lay that if he improves at all, he will be a formidable foe despite having run against weaker ($5,000 N3L) last out. He has a 4-2-1-0 record at Hawthorne, and has won his only attempt at this distance. Nobiz Like Sue Biz had been running against tougher, but woke up in a big way when being dropped to state-bred $10,000 N2L last out. He stalked just off the pace early, ran off, and won by almost ten lengths. That was his second career win — and his second over this Hawthorne track. Pacewise he has never been one to set the early fractions, but can either stalk a bit off them or close with significant interest. Expect a stalking trip here. He gets rider Emmanuel Cosme back, who has been 21% (with a slightly positive ROI) with trainer Terrel Gore over these last two months. These two are quite clearly the most attractive in the field, but among the rest Summer In Montana has an outside shot. He is clearly better on the polytrack than on the dirt, but was competitive against tougher company a bit earlier in the meet. What may well kick him into gear is the jockey change back to Tim Thornton, who has been riding lights-out and rode this horse to some success earlier in the year.
Race 3: Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante, two-year-old fillies, Illinois-bred, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt
Selections: Rock My Dreams (2), Tizgorgeous (4), Flight Pattern (5)
For my detailed analysis of the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante, read this weekend’s edition of Chicago Railbird.
Race 4: Maiden special weight ($22,000 purse), two-year-olds, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: The Predictor (4), Riley Rocks (6), It Just Takes Time (5)
There figures to be a lot of early pace in this race: Riley Rocks, It Just Takes Time, Money Trip, Red Redemption, and The Predictor have all shown speed. Still, The Predictor did show in his debut at Indiana Grand that he can run just off the pace, and stay in the mix. He has been second in both of his starts, and showed improvement between those two starts. Trainer Genaro Garcia is a respectable enough 14% in maiden special weight races, and an improvement on his last effort should be enough to contend at a square price. The price will be square because a lot of money is likely to go on Riley Rocks. Riley Rocks starts for the fifth time, and he has hit the board in three of his previous four races. He has posted two workouts since his last race about a month ago, both of which have been quite sharp. He races for the Ingrid Mason barn, 18% in maiden special weights, and gets Florent Geroux aboard. Geroux and Mason have been excellent: they have won five of their last thirteen starts together, and hit the board in an amazing twelve of those thirteen. The one on which they missed was an ambitious stakes slotting, in contrast to this completely expected maiden special weight placing. He should contend, though his best outing to date was over polytrack, not dirt. The biggest reason he is not on top is pace — he has done his best work so far from the front end, and the front end will be extremely contentious here. Still, he seems the class of the field. It Just Takes Time starts for the second time, and was a respectable second in a maiden special at Thistledown last out. He has worked back twice since then, including a sharp four-furlong move at Mahoning Valley last week. The trainer is a bit of an unknown quanitity, but his rider is not: he gets Emmanuel Esquivel aboard, who is 22% on the meet. He does have two half-siblings who won first out, suggesting some level of precocity is possible. He will have to improve on his last out, but the works suggest he may.
Race 5: Starter optional claiming, three-year-olds and up, starters for a claiming price of $8,000 or less in 2014 OR claiming price $18,000, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt
Selections: Flathead River (6), To the Stars (5), Costilla Range (7)
Flathead River gets a drop in class from the company he has been facing all year, and should have a plum pace setup — he is the only horse in the field who likes to be right on the front end. His 15-5-1-2 record over the Hawthorne oval suggests he likes it, and he has a 9-3-1-1 record at this distance. His last couple of races are still not bad compared to this field. He runs for the 26% dirt barn of Justin Johns, and should be a more than good price with money so likely to go on To the Stars and Dynamical. To the Stars gets a bit of a class break from last out, where he beat open N1X allowance company. There is hardly anything suspicious about the move, though, as To the Stars is still in protected company here. He gets rider Julio Felix back from his last three starts, which include a first and a second, as well as a fifth behind Urban Cool — a horse who turned around and finished third behind Atreides in a stakes race at Gulfstream last weekend. Pacewise, he should be able to stalk not too far from Flathead River, and get a good shot at him if the likes of Dynamical or Costilla Range press him too hard up front. Trainer Clay Brinson has been firing on all cylinders as of late, and prevails again with 27% of his last-out winners. To the Stars should be well fit for this race, with two sharp works since that last out. Finally, he has liked the track (3-1-1-0) and the distance (7-3-1-0). He will likely go off favoured, but is rather formidable. Costilla Range, Flathead River’s uncoupled stablemate in the Johns barn, steps up to here from a win in open $12,500 company last out. Johns claimed him out of that race, and has three wins and seven in-the-money finishes from his last 14 running first off the claim. His stalking style should leave him in touch, and he is fast enough to run with this field. He has six wins over the Hawthorne track and six wins at six furlongs, suggesting these are his favourite sorts of races. He also gets rider Tim Thornton back, who has gotten Costilla Range home first in two of his last four starts.
Race 6: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N3L, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: La Enfermera Roja (3), Supersambdancing (5), Stephen’s Truth (1)
This race has a bumper crop of one-way speed, making Lotta Distinction (on a class drop, but first off a six-month lay) a very vulnerable morning line favourite and La Enfermera Roja a quite enthusiastic top pick. She runs a stalking to midpack style, and should be able to stay out of that speed duel and get rolling late. She ran in this company last out, finishing a good second behind Fast Alice in her first attempt at the N3L condition. She is 7-2-2-0 over the Hawthorne track, and one of her two wins did come at this distance. There are so many runners in front of her who shown no ability to rate that she should have plenty to close into. She does get a rider change back to Timothy Thornton from Carlos Montalvo; she was better in her last two starts with Carlos Montalvo than she had been with Thornton, but that could also be a question of a light coming on. The way Thornton has been riding this week, it is worth giving him the benefit of the doubt. Supersambdancing drops to the lowest level of her career, and comes in here third off the lay. She did win her first two starts earlier this year, both over the Hawthorne track, including a maiden win at this distance. She came from off the pace in both of her starts, once stalking only a length or so early, and once coming from further back. With all the speed in front of her, she should improve with the pace setup. She also has the trainer/jockey combination of Terrel Gore and Emanuel Cosme behind her, a pairing with a 7-2-2-1 record over the last two weeks. With those the only strong-looking off-place types, we will look to a speed with some upside: Stephen’s Truth. She drew the rail, a position from which she won the only other time she drew it. Also, both of her wins have come on contested leads, something she is certain to get today. This is her third race off a layoff, and trainer Roger Brueggemann wins at a gaudy 27% third off the lay. Brueggemann has also been 14-6-2-1 in the last two weeks. Finally, she gets a rider change to Santo Sanjur, who rides speedy types particularly well.
Race 7: Allowance ($23,100 purse), three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $8,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: Beach Master (7), Creative Art (6), Pick Three Punchie (3)
Beach Master just showed up at Hawthorne this meet, but he has shown he loves this track. He beat open $8,000 and open $12,500 company, and then was second behind lone speed Georgie My Boy in $18,000 company last out. He was claimed into the Anthony Granitz barn, and steps up to an allowance here. His speeds are very strong for this field, and he should have enough speed between Marty Who, Bumpy Cat, Pick Three Punchie, and possibly Vbreeze to have something to attack late. Despite the barn change, he does keep rider Emmanuel Esquivel, who rode him in all three of those sharp efforts earlier this meet. He also likes this distance a lot, with an 11-4-2-2 career record over it. Creative Art wheels back after just a week after hardly running a step in the Lightning Jet Handicap last week. He broke poorly there, and never had a chance; though he is not a pacesetting type, he does his best work by far if he is stalking fairly close to the pace. He gets a rider change to Santo Sanjur, who has been absolutely money recently with trainer Scott Becker. This pair has won five of their last eight for a +$7.93 ROI over the last two months. Creative Art has also shown an ability to run well over this track and distance. Though he only has one win in seven starts at Hawthorne, he has four more seconds over the course, and that win did come two starts back. Finally, Pick Three Punchie deserves a look. He drops back to an allowance level after an ambitious attempt against Cool Cowboy in the Sophomore Sprint at Mountaineer last out. He has worked back twice since that race, and both have been very sharp. His speeds are strong for this field, and he has a good change to end up the speed of the speed. His humans are strong: trainer Ingrid Mason wins allowances at a sharp 18% rate, and rider Florent Geroux got Pick Three Punchie to a win in open $40,000 claiming company at Keeneland two starts back, in his only ride on this horse so far.
Race 8: Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, two-year-old colts and geldings, Illinois-bred, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt
Selections: Oak Brook (4), Chadwick (9), Market Rad (7)
For my detailed analysis of the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, read this weekend’s edition of Chicago Railbird.
Race 9: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of two race in 2014 OR non-winners of three races in 2013-2014, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: I Want Out (8), Prissy Ruler (10), Shesmorethanatiger (1)
Royal Seven is the lukewarm morning line favourite here, but his 18-0-0-3 record over the Hawthorne track makes him look unattractive on top at any price, much less a short one. This race, instead, looks like a long shot’s paradise. There is a lot of early speed in this race, so it looks to set up well for runners who can stay out of a fight on the front end and get a run in. I Want Out can rate a bit off of the pace early, and has a sharp record both at Hawthorne (17-5-6-4) and at six furlongs (19-6-4-4). She also comes in second off the lay, so should be able to improve on her third-place effort in $5,000 N1Y company last out. An improvement from that last effort should put her at par with this field, even though it is slightly tougher than the bunch she faced last out. Prissy Ruler is another one who should have a stalking type place, and be able to wait as the one-way speeds burn each other out in the first few furlongs. It has been a while since her last win, but she broke through last out in $4,000 beaten company. She steps up a bit here, but her recent form is consistently good enough to contend in this field. Two starts back, she was second behind the streaking Maryjean at this level; she has been competitive here before. She also has a win at the distance. Finally, rail-drawn Shesmorethanatiger warrants a look. She was sixth last out in $5,000 N1Y company, but that was her first race since April, and she had a bad start there. She typically takes a step forward second off the lay, and should go off at a good price: at least her 15/1 morning line. Pacewise, she has a lot of versatility; she can take the speed if she needs, but but can also run very well from stalking or midpack positions. She also tends to run well from the rail. Finally, she gets a rider change to Emmanuel Esquivel, leading rider on the meet and 18% sprint rider.