This weekend marks the final one of the fall Hawthorne meet. Saturday’s card is the single night-time card of the meet, with a special post time of 5:00pm. The card also features the final two stakes races of the meet, a pair of added-money races for older Illinois-breds going two turns on the dirt.
It rained through the night, and the forecast calls for rain throughout the afternoon. It should not be torrential, but enough to keep moisture in the track. Selections and analysis are slanted toward an off-track, and reflect that the two races originally carded for turf are being run on the dirt. Two sets of selections for the pair of stakes races are provided, one for muddier going and another for if the track is “good” or better.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the night racing!
Race 1: $5,000 claiming, fillies and mares, four-year-olds and up, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt
Selections: Mysisterjosephine (4), Mya Faccia Bella (3), Scorpiobdancing (5)
Meghan’s Faith and Eileen Evelyn look likely to send, making a setup for an off-pace type likely. Enter Mysisterjosephine. She has hit the board thirteen times at the distance, including five wins, and has four wins over the Hawthorne dirt as well. Her speeds are consistently in range, and she comes third off the lay. Finally, with the rain, she has not been anomalously bad in wet going. Mya Faccia Bella also comes third off the lay, with speeds consistently in range. She should be able to stalk off the speedy types. Mysisterjosephine gets the nod over her just because her off-track form is a touch better. Scorpiobdancing is an off-pace type with some versatility; she can stalk fairly close to the pace and run well, or come hauling in from the clouds. She has done her best work at Hawthorne, and has hit the board against similar twice already this meet.
Race 2: $12,500 claiming, fillies and mares, four-year-olds and up, five furlongs on the dirt (originally carded for five furlongs on the turf)
Selections: Ganesha (6), Look Who’s Here (4), My Place or Yours (3)
This race, originally a group of nine on the grass, has scratched down to four given the rain. Single Ganesha, or hit the ALL button. Ganesha has started on off tracks twice and won both times. None of the rest of the field has suggested real off-track form, so that speaks well. She gets a switch to Vicente Gudiel in the irons, and has some back speeds that fit the field. Look Who’s Here and My Place or Yours should be forwardly placed; whichever one of them gets to the front best will have a better shot. Odds are that will be Look Who’s Here, since her early pace tends better. She has also started on off going once — as opposed to My Place or Yours, who has only hit the board in one of five starts on off tracks. Courser is probably the classiest horse in the field, but she comes in here for her first start since August on a precipitous class drop. I do not trust her here.
Race 3: $5,000 claiming, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, N2L, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt
Selections: Subtle Splendor (2), Kisses from Ocala (6), Kodiak’s Pride (3)
In this race, go two deep or hit the ALL button. Subtle Splendor adds Lasix for the first time, and drops to her lowest class to date. This race does not have a lot of early speed — she could set the margins if Kisses from Ocala does not send, or be able to stalk off if she does. Her one career win came with Tim Thornton aboard, as well; he returns today. If it rains, giving her another chance on the slop makes sense — her breeding isn’t bad for it, and her only previous start on slop was against $25,000 N2L males. This group is easier. Kisses from Ocala drew the outside, but could strike the front if Subtle Splendor does not send. Her speeds are strong for the field, and she ran a good second at two turns at this level last out. Her one start over the slop was over the Mountaineer course on debut, making that worth another chance given her good recent form. Among the rest, picking one almost feels like throwing a dart, but Kodiak’s Pride has the most gossamer threads. The midpack-to-closing style does not suit the race great, but she has some back speeds that are strong for this field, and gets a switch to leading rider Vicente Gudiel. Trainer Percy Scherbenske also wins at a hefty 23% with last-out beaten favourites.
Race 4: $25,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, six and a half furlongs on the dirt
Selections: Van Lier (2), Shadrach Bond (1), Too Tall (5)
Van Lier stands to go off at a price, and may get to dictate terms on the front end. Too Tall is the only real threat to send against him, but Too Tall has done better work a few lengths back. Between the pair, Van Lier also tends to show better early pace, anyway. He has also had trouble related to the break both times out since breaking his maiden. If he gets out of the gate well and out near the lead, he could win this at a big price. Shadrach Bond has disappointed in two starts in allowance company this meet, and drops back for a tag. Three starts back he finished second at this level — and did so in the slop. The rain in the forecast today helps his case. Pacewise, he tends to go from off-pace, but should be fine from a few lengths off the pace should the pacesetter falter. Too Tall drops into thi level from an Arkansas-bred stakes last out. He sent then, but faded to a well-beaten last. He broke his maiden three back against state-breds, and did so from a stalking place. That also came in a sprint; this will be Too Tall’s first sprint start since that maiden win, and trainer Ingrid Mason wins at 21% with cutback types like this. If he finds that form again on the cutback, he should have a good shot against this group.
Race 5: Allowance ($23,100 purse), fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt (originally carded for one mile on the turf)
Selections: Arden Natalie (10), Elaine Kowaleski (6), T C B Kiwi’s (7)
This race originally had a field of twelve on the grass, but dials back to a field of just seven given the move to the sloppy dirt. The race does not have a lot of speed, and it will likely be Arden Natalie and Elaine Kowaleski along the front early. The nod goes to Arden Natalie second off the lay. She was a well-beaten fifth last out, but showed good dirt form at Hawthorne last meet. She also gets a switch back to Julio Felix, who rode in her last two starts last meet. Henny Hughes babies can show some slop form, so she should be able to handle today’s course. Elaine Kowaleski comes in first off the claim by Steve Manley, and held her own last out against $25,000 N2Ls at Oaklawn last out. Her back speeds compare well with this field, and she has shown the ability to handle a contested pace. T C B Kiwi’s is three facing older, but ran a solid second against a similar group last out. If Arden Natalie and Elaine Kowaleski get locked in against each other on the front end, she should be able to pick it up late.
Race 6: Milwaukee Avenue Handicap, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt
Selections for sealed or muddy track: My Borsalino (3), Luv Bandit (2), Valiant City (4)
Selections for good or fast track: Luv Bandit (2), I Got It All (6), Valiant City (4)
For my detailed analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 7: Allowance optional claiming ($24,200 purse), three-year-old fillies, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L OR claiming price $75,000, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: Back In Dixie (8), Gucci Brown (3), Media Star (2)
Before the scratches, Back In Dixie looked like one of the most live long shots ever to see a starter. The scratches of Totaled and Hollarforadollar mean far less speed for that off-pace type to run. However, she still has enough going for her to make her very usable. She broke her maiden in a romp through the Oaklawn mud two starts back, facing older, and was a creditable third against older last out in dry conditions. That last start was at a mile; she cuts back to the six panels of her maiden win here. She also gets rider Chris Emigh aboard, which speaks volumes. Emigh is trainer Scott Becker’s “A” rider, and he gets off A Gala Day to ride Back In Dixie instead. Gucci Brown benefits immensely by the scratches, and stands to take the front end. She showed last out that she did not run badly in the mud, and may have done better had her rider not lost the whip at the 3/16 pole. Here, she should be able to take the lead as she did in her maiden win, and it could become a game of catch-me-if-you-can. Media Star won at this level last out, and remains eligible to return under the allowance condition since she ran for the $75,000 tag last out. She stalked off the pace and took command down the stretch with Dick Cardenas aboard. Cardenas returns here, and has won three of six (with all six on the board) for trainer Jim DiVito over the last two months. She should be able to stay off the early pace battle, and have plenty left for the stretch drive.
Race 8: Peach of It Handicap, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt
Selections for sealed or muddy track: Rosie My Rosie (4), Sydneyrella (5), Julmae (1)
Selections for good or fast track: Rosie My Rosie (4), Sydneyrella (5), Brazyn Appeal (7)
For my detailed analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Compelling Case was scratched on race day; she was originally the second choice no matter the track condition. In light of that, put a bit of extra consideration with Brazyn Appeal. She comes into this race third off the lay, and though she has never raced on an off surface before, her breeding (by Closing Argument out of a Runaway Groom mare) suggests she can show some off-track form. There should be plenty of speed for her to sit off of, and she will be rolling late.
Race 9: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races since June 25 OR N4L, six furlongs on the dirt
Selections: Angel Talk (5), Papa Smitty (4), No Bull Jess (9)
The race hinges on how much pressure the likes of Ucanchangethename, Battle Facts, and No Bull Jess give Papa Smitty early. With some early pressure, it should set up well for Angel Talk. Angel Talk should not be far from the pace, but should be able to stay out of a fight on the front. His speeds are right on target, and his love for the distance (40-10-7-6) and the track (37-9-5-5) stand out. He also has a win over an off track. If all the types who may or may not rate hold off, Papa Smitty should be well set; even if there is some other early pace, Papa Smitty has shown some ability to deal with a contentious early pace as well. He comes in third off the lay for trainer Clay Brinson, and has won three of six over the Hawthorne main. No Bull Jess steps up from easier stuff at Fairmount last out, but has shown form here and comes in second off the lay here. Trainer Steve Manley is a solid 16% second off the lay, and he has put up a good work since that last race. He has also hit the board five times on off tracks, helpful given the sloppy situation at Hawthorne today.