The long holiday weekend begins today, and there is a full card of eight races. For lovers of maiden races, there are three of them on the card today. There is also a pair of state-bred allowance races for fillies and mares.
All eight races are on the dirt, but they were all originally carded for dirt. There is some moisture in the track, though it has dried out significantly compared to yesterday’s acute thaw.
Without further ado, let’s look at the races!
Race 1: $25,000 maiden claiming, two-year-olds, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 2:10pm CST
Selections: Moonshiner (7), Theghostbdancing (2), Sircorri (4)
For my detailed analysis, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 2: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 2:40pm CST
Selections: Nikaluk (6), Dani Nikki (1), Coyote Breeze (4)
The sun rises in the east, it sets in the west, and Dani Nikki and Nikaluk have drawn into the same race. They have been clashing frequently this year, and have gone 1-2 (in some order) in their last two starts. Here they tower over this field, but Nikaluk has the slight edge. The track remains wet and sloppy due to the melt, and Nikaluk has been second twice in three tries over off dirt. Dani Nikki has been off the board in both her slop starts. Both can either send or sit just off; expect Dani Nikki to go to the front early due to the rail draw. Dani Nikki’s trainer, Dee Poulos, could not be hotter. Nikaluk has the slight edge due to slop form, but cover both in multi-race wagers. Coyote Breeze has three wins in six starts over off tracks, and has solid form both at Hawthorne and at the distance. She fared well against better (open $10,000) company at Indiana Grand this summer, and comes into this start third off the lay. She get Killian Hennessy aboard, good for a seven-pound weight break.
Race 3: $15,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:10pm CST
Selections: Handsome Sean (1), All American Man (7), Outlawjoe (6)
This is a low-level maiden claimer with a short field, and seems a bit of an all-button race. Rail-drawn Handsome Sean should be one of the longest shots in the group, and there’s enough there to make him interesting. He comes in third off the lay, and has been a significantly improved horse since that layoff. He also took a reasonable step up from start one to start two, and drops in among state-breds for the first time. All American Man ran a solid third against open $7,500 maiden claiming company last out, and has hit the board twice over the Hawthorne main. Slop is a question, but a return to his last-out effort would beat anything this group has had to offer so far. Outlawjoe has finished second in both of his starts against state-bred maiden claimers, and drops in among those again today. Progeny of sire Sir Loren have shown some slop form (3 wins in 14 starts), making him a bit more attractive given how wet the track still is.
Race 4: Allowance ($22,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, Illinois-bred, non-winners of $9,800 once OR non-winners of two state-bred races other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N4L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:40pm CST
Selections: Looking for Bits (1), Karla With a K (3), Fleet Encounter (6)
This race goes through trainer Chris Dorris, who has two in here. Looking for Bits is the “A” entry, but between the sloppy track and her early speed, she looks tough to beat. In two starts over off dirt, she has two wins and a third. Dorris’s “A” jockey Victor Santiago has the call, and is 21% with those frontrunning types. Last out she ran into a buzzsaw (Puntsville), but here there is no such horse. As long as she can outslug One Liz on the front end — or One Liz sets back a bit, also a likely occurrence, Looking for Bits stands to wire. Karla With a K will be the longer priced of the pair. She suffers a bit from the scratch of the speedy Keeker, but does not have to rally from that far off the pace. She comes into this race second off the lay. All three of her career wins have come at this distance, and she has a 9-2-1-2 line at Hawthorne. In her only start over off dirt, she ran third. She finished a solid third against harder last out (that same Puntsville race that her stablemate comes in from), and a step forward from that makes her tough. Fleet Encounter steps down to the easiest company she has faced since August, when she won against state-bred allowance fillies and mares by daylight at Arlington. Though she has done most of her work on turf and poly, she also has a respectable 9-3-2-1 line over the Hawthorne main, and has hit the board in her only start over off dirt. Top rider Chris Emigh gets the call, and she should be coming like a freight train late.
Race 5: Allowance ($21,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of $9,800 once OR non-winners of on a state-bred race other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:10pm CST
Selections: Swanky Princess (11), Three Tootsies (8), Devil Alert (7)
This race goes through the barn of Hugh Robertson, who is 21% on the meet. Three Tootsies is the morning line favourite, and the one to beat. She is the model of consistency — in the money in nine of her ten starts, with her only out-of-the-money finish being her career debut. She is also 4-2-2-0 at Hawthorne. Her pace versatility is also a point in her favour, as she can rally from just off the pace, far off, or anywhere in between. However, Three Tootsies should be quite a short price — and, at anywhere near the 12/1 morning line, her stablemate Swanky Princess merits a long look. Swanky Princess returns for her second start after a short break. She has hit the board in two of her three starts over the Hawthorne main, and her one career win did come going this six-furlong distance. She gets a swap to Eduardo E. Perez, who is firing at a solid 16% on the meet. With some speeds in range of what she needs here, and a style that gives her first run on what looks like a decent amount of speed in this bunch, Swanky Princess has a shot at a price. Devil Alert should like the water in the track, and has hit the board in all four of her starts over off dirt. Trainer Chris Dorris is winning at 26% on the meet, and Dorris’s “A” rider Victor Santiago has the call back on her. She should be able to stay out of the early pace battle, and get a good stalking trip.
Race 6: Maiden special weight ($20,000 purse), two-year-olds, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:40pm CST
Selections: Gray Cotton (1), Indygo Breeze (7), Wicked John (3)
My original analysis was in the latest Chicago Railbird, and the points in favour of both Gray Cotton and Indygo Breeze still stand. Particularly, with the field scratched down to four, Gray Cotton is a huge threat to wire. However, initial top choice Incensed, as well as both Scott Becker entries, are scratched from the race.
For a third slot, in this field of four, Wicked John gets the slight nod due to experience. He has a race under him; Yeomansescape does not. Still, with the field scratched down to four and neither Wicked John nor Yeomansescape having stellar mud stats or trainer stats, it is only a slight preference.
Race 7: $12,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, post time 5:10pm CST
Selections: Lookout Angel (7), Narfooska (5), Backseat Romance (6)
Lookout Angel has hit the board in nine of her last ten starts, and eleven of fifteen lifetime. Class is the question, since she spent her summer knocking around against Indiana-breds. However, her speeds are strong for the field, she has hit the board in six of seven at the distance, and she gets top rider Chris Emigh in the irons. At anything near her 8/1 morning line, consider her overlaid. Narfooska comes in third off the layoff. Her connections have been strong this meet: trainer Michele Boyce has won 25% of the time, and she and Victor Santiago have been 3-9 (and 7-9 in the money) over the last two months. Boyce is also 27% with runners third off the lay. She does her best rallying from off the pace, but as long as wieht Daddy’s Wildflower or Cooper’s Keeper does something to keep Backseat Romance honest, she should be running them down late. However, if no one else sends, Backseat Romance could have command in a game of catch-me-if-you-can. She has only run on the dirt once before, and that was a third-place finish over off going. That suggests the moisture in the track today should not hurt her. She drops into a bit easier company than she has been facing, and rider Juan Molina is solid with frontrunners.
Race 8: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of a race since June 25, races where entered for $4,000 or less do not count for eligibility, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt, post time 5:40pm CST
Selections: Ikaros (3), Hollow Creek (8), Indanameofdafather (9)
Ikaros is a horse for the Hawthorne course, having nine wins and another 19 money finishes in 51 starts over the track. All nine of those wins have come at these two-turn dirt distances of either a mile and seventy yards or a mile and a sixteenth. He has been holding his own against better, finishing third against $5,000 beaten in his last two. He should get something to chase with Flathead River, Crypto Gulch, and Indanameofdafather in the field, and gets regular rider Carlos Montalvo back in the irons. Hollow Creek drops from open claimers in his last four stars down into non-winners in five months. He can stalk relatively close to the pace or close from a ways back — giving him some versatility here, as well as some confidence that he will not get locked in the front-end fireworks. He has only started over the Hawthorne dirt once, but does have a win over the course, as well as a 7-2-1-2 career line at the distance. If one of the front-end types survives, it stands to be Indanameofdafather. He scratched out of another race for this spot, and he was second against similar last out with some pressure on his lead. He has also hit the board in four of six with moisture in the track, a factor weighing in his favour today.