The second week of racing continues today at Hawthorne, with an eight-race card. There are a lot of salty fields, none saltier than the fourth race, an open $18,000 claimer with the likes of Rocket Professor, Roarin Missile, and Goesse. There’s a pair of maiden races, as well, and a state-bred allowance with a field of eleven. It should be a good betting card, with just the right mix of plausible singles and beatable chalk.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Race 1: $7,500 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 2:10pm CDT
Selections: Stature (2), Ranger Sam (1), Dr. Kyi (6)
I don’t always single in $7,500 maiden claimers, but when I do, it’s with a horse like Stature. He looks the inside speed, he got the worst of a three-way place photo against maiden special weight company last out, and his breeding suggests that this route distance will suit him better than that dirt sprint last out. This is also his first try routing on dirt. Ranger Sam drew the rail, and is trying dirt for the first time. Two turns should suit him, and his form has been improving. This bottom-level claimer is the right level. Dr. Kyi stretches to a route for the first time; though his dam has produced sprinters, sire Fort Prado throws routers, so it may suit. He drops to this level for the first time, and trainer Steve Manley does well with these sorts of class drops.
Race 2: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 2:40pm CDT
Selections: Flying Phoebe (5), Sing Kitty Sing (4), Coyote Breeze (1)
Flying Phoebe is the speed of the speed if she wants to send, but she also has a rating gear. She has a strong record (29-5-5-6) going six furlongs, and also has a win last out at Hawthorne, back in December. She gets regular rider Juan Molina back in the irons, and trainer Gerald Butler is an 18% winner with positive ROI with runners coming in off three-month or longer lays. Sing Kitty Sing likes to stalk the pace, and should not be far off the early going. Her speeds are strong, and she has good records over the course (16-3-5-3) and distance (23-3-9-5). Coyote Breeze got the plum rail draw, and five of her six career victories have come at Hawthorne. Though six furlongs may be a little short for her, she was hitting the board against better fields last fall. As long as new rider Jerome Lermyte does not drop her too far off the pace, she should be in for a share underneath.
Race 3: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 3:10pm CDT
Selections: Awesome Citizen (5), Gritty Greeley (7), Drill Sergeant (2)
Awesome Citizen could take this field wire to wire, though he also has a pressing gear if Mightylee or Gritty Greeley tries to gun it early. Though he was overmatched at Oaklawn, he takes a big class drop here, and should find this competition more to his liking. His only particularly decent races have come at Hawthorne, as well; he may be a horse for this course. Gritty Greeley rates on form, and has the versatility to run well whether he is right on the pace or rallying from somewhat off it. The biggest issue with Gritty Greeley is how much he likes to come in second. Though he has hit the board nine times in fifteen starts, he still has his N2L. Drill Sergeant is a deep closer, but he regularly fires, and does well even when the pace is slow. He has made the exacta four of five times at Hawthorne, and seven of eight at the distance. He has the same second-itis issue as Gritty Greeley, but is too reliable to count completely out.
Race 4: $18,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, five and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:40pm CDT
Selections: Nagys Piggy Bank (2), Barnyard Fiddler (3), Roarin Missile (6)
This is a salty race, and arguments can be made for several in the field. That said, with Goesse, Rocket Professor, Roarin Missile, and even Top Gato having shown some early speed, Nagys Piggy Bank looks well set to stalk, get first run, and mow them all down. The relative inside post is a plus, as is his 13-7-2 career line over the Hawthorne main. He also comes from the blazing-hot Scott Becker barn. He will likely be the longer priced of the uncoupled Becker entry, but with Rocket Professor likely to have so much competition on the front end (and with him coming off such a long lay), Becker B looks the way to go. Barnyard Fiddler is another who could get the stalking trip, and does not stand to get tied in with a front-end battle. He has a strong 9-2-4-2 record at dash distances, and finished just a nose behind Nagys Piggy Bank here last out. If he can run back to that, particularly with the shorter distance, it would not be absurd for him to turn the tables. Roarin Missile has a lot of early speed, but he can grab a share even from a bit off the pace. He drops a bit in class here, and has four wins and a second in seven starts over main-track dash distances. He has a bit of the second-itis, but his 33-2-9-3 line over the Hawthorne main suggests enough affinity to get a share.
Race 5: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, Illinois-bred, five furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:10pm CDT
Selections: Bella Carmella (4), Wildwood Ranger (6), Inside No Five (9)
For my detailed analysis, read this week’s Chicago Railbird.
Race 6: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, five furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:40pm CDT
Selections: Tinderella (3), Appollos Baby Girl (1), Gracious Diva (8)
Tinderella will be chalk, and there’s a bit of “Rivelli fire sale” fear here, but she looks far too good for this field. She faces the lowest level in her career, is the speed of the speed, and should be able to outgun K’s Bonnie and get to the rail quickly. She also showed the ability to rebuff a challenge in her maiden win. Tinderella should take this one, gate to wire. Appollos Baby Girl drew the rail, and drops in class from a couple of winter starts at Oaklawn. She should be fit here, and she should appreciate returning to easier company. She comes in third off the lay for trainer Ingrid Mason, and should be able to ride the rail and stalk for a share. Gracious Diva has hit the board in four of six starts over the distance, and five of nine on the Hawthorne dirt. She comes in second off the layoff, and drops from a fourth-place finish against tougher last week at Hawthorne. Trainer John Haran has had a solid beginning to the meet, and he could invade the exotics at a price with this one.
Race 7: Allowance, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, non-winners of $9,800 once OR non-winners of a state-bred race other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L, five and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:10pm CDT
Selections: Gray Mensch (8), Even Fever (7), Small Fortune (11)
For my detailed analysis, read this week’s Chicago Railbird.
Race 8: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races in 2015-2016, claiming races for $4,000 or less not considered for eligibility, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 5;40pm CDT
Selections: W W Orient (4), Gold Legion (8), Yankee Hater (3)
W W Orient won last week, and wheels right back here. The Scott Becker trainee is the only “condition book horse” in this field — he has won twice between last year and this year, but his win last year came for a $4,000 tag. Though this race could get a bit zippy with Valley Fog and Gold Legion, W W Orient has the versatility to rate a bit if they get locked into a fight up front. His speeds are solid, and both his wins have come at this distance category. Between the two speeds, Valley Fog has the better post, but his form could not be more suspect, and he has only hit the board once in ten tries at Hawthorne. Gold Legion is the better of the speed types. He scratched yesterday to run today, and has strong records at the distance (44-8-12-5) and over the track (29-7-8-3). Trainer Doug Matthews also has a solid 19% win rate with horses laid off three months or more — that and the long worktab suggest he has a shot despite being laid off since September. Yankee Hater, the Becker B entry, comes in second off the layoff. His midpack running style could suit perfectly if the pace gets hot. He has a huge shot if he can bring his Fairmount form up here. That is a huge *if*, since he has been off the board in all five tries at Hawthorne. But, given how long it has been since Won’tualwayswonder (the other legitimate contender, and the other who I would toss in a superfecta) has actually won a race, it makes sense to give the other Becker a shot at a big better price.