I covered today’s Hawthorne 5th in the weekday edition of Chicago Railbird, but my analysis assumed that the race would stay on the turf. Hawthorne has announced that the 2nd and 5th races are off the grass today, which changes my analysis significantly.
I cannot endorse my original top selection, Away Westward, any longer. Away Westward has shown no form on the dirt; the most significant reason I selected him was because he was moving back to the grass. With the race moved to dirt, he loses that appeal. Stand Up Guy, my original second selection, has finished far up the track in both of his dirt starts. He has a bit better chance than Away Westward only because both of those starts have come over good (not fast) dirt, but one cannot trust that he will be comfortable even on fast dirt after how bad those two dirt starts have been.
Instead, Awesome Venture (1) becomes the top selection. Three of his four starts have been on dirt, and though he has never done better than third, all three of those starts happened against a bit tougher company than this. He ships here from Fair Grounds for trainer Louie Roussel, who hits at 19% on ships. Awesome Venture turned in a decent work over the dirt, and should handle it better than some of the turf-only types in this field.
Iloveadixiechick (2), who I also discussed in Chicago Railbird, remains intriguing and could be a good price for exotics. Though he does not the the surface change to first-time turf, he still goes first-time route, and does have a half-sibling who won a stakes at two turns. The distance could help him along. Trainer Terrel Gore tends to do better on the dirt than he does on the turf, and though he races for the highest claiming tag of his career, this turned up a fairly weak $25,000 field and contains enough turf-oriented horses to merit giving him one more shot on dirt.
My analysis of the 6th, originally carded for dirt, remains the same.