Hawthorne: full-card picks and analysis, 2.28.15

There’s rain at Gulfstream and Tampa.  Oaklawn is cancelled again.  However…the sun is out at Hawthorne, the track crew has put their skills honed by many Chicago winters to great use, and racing goes on as planned down at 35th and Cicero.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at today’s card!

Race 1: $7,500 maiden claiming, three-year olds and up, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt

Selections:  Titius (1), Council Thrill (6), Griffin the Great (4)

Titus drops to the lowest level of his career, and has hit the board in three of four tries at similar distances against stronger company.  Trainer Michael Reavis and rider Samantha Colvin have been firing on all cylinders so far this meet, and she should be able to give Titius a sharp rail ride.  Council Thrill drops in class from his last start out, and gets a seven-pound weight break with apprentice Vicente Guidel aboard.  His better races to date have been in dirt routes, and he stretches back out to two turns here.  Griffin the Great keeps Edgar Perez aboard, who rode him to a second-place finish at this level and distance last out.  He also finished second beaten just a head by tougher three starts back, in another two-turn dirt race.  If he is going to break his maiden, it will be in a race like this, and the better speeds he has put up are strong for this group.

Race 2: $12,500 claiming, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, three years old OR N3L, six furlongs on the dirt

Selections:  Mabee Able (4), Dreamofjean E. (2), Betty Grables Legs (3)

Mabee Able is a horse for this course, having hit the board in five of six tries over the Hawthorne dirt.  Though she has not won yet at six furlongs, she has two seconds and a third in four starts, suggesting aptitude at the distance.  She takes a step up in class here, but her best race is still good enough to give this crowd a run for its money at a price.  Dreamofjean E. races for the first time since July, and drops to the lowest class level of her career here.  She gets strong Hawthorne rider Tim Thornton, and rides for strong lay trainer Larry Rivelli.  The only question is the pace, with Lewis Meadow likely to send inside her and try to burn her out on the front.  Betty Grables Legs finally figured it out last meet in her fourteenth start, but only took two more starts to clear N2L last meet.  She has shown improved speed recently, and has a 5-2-1-1 record over the Hawthorne dirt.  Though six and a half furlongs looks to be her preferred distance, she has still hit the board in both attempts going six panels on the main.

Race 3: Allowance ($23,100 purse), fillies and mares, 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:  Foxie’s Beauty (1), Karla With a K (2), Skylarbdancing (6)

For a detailed discussion of this race, read this weekend’s Chicago Railbird.

Race 4: $5,000 claiming, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, N2L, five and a half furlongs on the dirt.

Selections:  Silent Rap (3), Im a Southern Diva (7), Chanceymeetinuhere (6)

For a detailed discussion of this race, read this weekend’s Chicago Railbird.

Race 5: $8,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, six furlongs on the dirt

Selections:  Champagne Tony (1), Commando Kat (2), Calmer Than You (7)

This race is wide open, so if you can afford the ALL button, consider it.  Failing that, let’s look for a price.  Champagne Tony has the rail, and should be able to stalk within range of the lead.  He can run fast enough to contend with this crowd, despite the fact that he is taking a class rise.  Still, this is easier company than most of what he faced last fall, and came up relatively weak for the class level anyway.  He is working well leading into the race, and does his best work over the Hawthorne dirt.  Commando Kat is likely to be the longest shot on the board, but is also the only real speed horse in the field.  He gets a seven-pound break with Maria Thornton aboard, and should be the one setting the fractions in this race.  Lone speed for a long price is always attractive this time of year.  Calmer Than You drops to the lowest class level of his career, and cannot be entirely trusted given his recent tumble down the class ladder.  Still, he is the fastest and classiest horse in the field, and trainer Jim DiVito generally has his horses firing well after a layoff.  Use him defensively.  For undersides of intra-race exotics, consider One For Biscuit (6).  He has not won in 14 starts at the distance, but has hit the board a few times.  The fact that he finished second going 6 1/2 furlongs at this same class level suggests he has a shot to hit the board here, especially since this drew relatively weak for an open $8,000 claimer.

Race 6: $17,500 maiden claiming, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, five and a half furlongs on the dirt

Selections:  Crazy Lu (7), War News (1), Amabile (3)

Crazy Lu improved markedly last out with first-time blinkers, and the blinkers stay on today.  She also gets seven-pound bug Vicente Gudiel back aboard; he rider her last out, as well.  Though she steps up from state-bred company last out to open this time, a repeat of her last race should make her competitive against this group.  War News should be the speed along the rail, having shown early speed in both of his previous starts at Hawthorne.  Tim Thornton, who fires at 20% with speedy types, has the call.  He comes in off a four-month lay, which makes him a bit of a question, but trainer Frank Kirby is not terrible in that circumstance (11% wins, 39% money finishes).  Amabile rides for the red-hot combination of trainer Michael Reavis and rider Samantha Colvin.  She has a series of long workouts over the winter, and should be fit to race today.  The cutback in distance should help, too; the only time she has hit the board was in her other try at five and a half furlongs on dirt.

Race 7: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, five and a half furlongs on the dirt

Selections:  What Do You Mean (5), I’m Old School (6), Sweet Elation (9)

What Do You Mean is fantastic at five and a half furlongs — in nine starts, he is 3-2-3.  He gets rider Tim Thornton back, who has ridden him well in the past.  Though there is a bumper crop of speed in this race, What Do You Mean has also shown the ability to to get the job done from off the early pace, as he showed in his last race.  I’m Old School should be forwardly placed,  but has shown the ability to run well with a contentious pace early.  He gets apprentice Vicente Gudiel back from his last out — giving him a seven-pound weight break, which may help him carry his speed a bit better.  he has hit the board in five of seven starts at this distance, and all four of his career wins have come at Hawthorne.  Sweet Elation races for the first time in about two months for trainer Clay Brinson, who hits at an unreal 37% off similar layoffs.  He often musters good speed for the field, and has won two of four starts at Hawthorne.  Though he has shown some early speed, he has also been able to win from a stalking place early, something that will help with all the other speed here.  Brinson has another entry in the race, Bosque Angel (4), but he will be an underlay and seems less than likely to win.  He needs to be right on the lead to prevail, something he will not get easily here.  He might clunk up for a share if he comes from off the pace, but that is as far as he will likely go.

Race 8: Allowance ($23,100 purse), Illinois-bred, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $8,800 once OR non-winners of a state-bred race other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L, six furlongs on the dirt

Selections:  Win D Prado (8), Even Fever (4), Costly King (3)

For a detailed discussion of this race, read this weekend’s Chicago Railbird.

Race 9: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L

Selections:  Rampent Rumour (3), Show’em Pop (9), Affirmed Once More (2)

For as big a field as this race drew, it only attracted one dyed-in-the-wool speed horse: Rampent Rumour.  He will be a long price, but if he gets clear of Affirmed Once More early, he could take the field all the way.  His one career win did come at this distance over the Hawthorne main, off an inside draw, and he has hit the board in four of twelve starts at similar distances.  Show’em Pop has finished second at this level in two straight outings, and shown a bit of pace versatility as well.  He has done most of his better work from a midpack or closing spot, but showed last out that he could stalk the pace.  Last out he finished second beaten a neck by Native Hatchet — a horse who turned around and cleared N3L in his very next start.  Affirmed Once More has enough early speed to stay close to Rampent Rumour early.  He should be able to save ground along the rail as well, since the only horse inside of him, Buzzy, is a confirmed closer.

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