Hawthorne got some rain yesterday, but the track is drying out nicely. They have rated it fast, and between the heavy winds and the track work, that rating should be right on point. Today’s card at Hawthorne features eight races, including a salty starter allowance as the 7th, and a big field to close the day.
Without further ado, let’s go to the races!
Race 1: $10,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, N2L, five and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 2:10 CDT
Selections: All American Man (1), At the Grande (5), Blackhawk Warrior (3 – underneath)
All American Man drew the rail, got Chris Emigh back in the irons, and shows up in the easiest condition that Hawthorne offers for winners. He may appreciate a bit more distance than this, but if he can outgun At the Grande from the rail, or even press him in the early stages, he looks solid here. At the Grande is the only other speed, but like All American Man, he was able to win while pressing early, instead of on an easy lead. He faced significantly tougher last out, and just could not get up with Outlawjoe early. Here, he has a shot to get the jump on All American Man. On form, he comes in second off the lay for trainer Terrel Gore, 19% with a positive ROI in that situation. Blackhawk Warrior does not often win horse races, but hits the board a lot. He has won once in 24 starts, but has nine more money finishes. He has been second in all three of his tries at a main track dash distance, and his speeds are in range. Expect him to rally from midpack, and expect him to be a reliable key underneath.
Race 2: $7,500 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one mile and seventy yards on the dirt, post time 2:40 CDT
Selections: Tessies Red Head (3), Angel’s Cry (1), Irish Zip (5)
Tessies Red Head tries a route on a non-sloppy track for the first time, and against much easier company than she did at Oaklawn two starts back. With no one else in this field who has shown any early speed, she stands a threat to wire. Trainer Tom Swearingen’s +$2.58 ROI with sprint-to-route moves appeals, too. Angel’s Cry tries something new; she has never done a route before. Being by Street Hero out of a Crypto Star mare, two turns should be just the ticket to wake her up. She wheels back after a week, but if that race put some condition in her, she could improve here. Irish Zip has shown little in her three starts so far, but today will be her first time going two turns. Being by City Zip out of a Thunder Gulch mare, this distance should suit. She runs for the always-dangerous connections of Scott Becker and Victor Santiago — don’t expect that 7/2 morning line to hold. But, don’t be surprised if she figures it out today.
Race 3: $25,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:10 CDT
Selections: Cat’s Alley (1), Run Fort Run (2), Vbreeze (4)
For my detailed analysis, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 4: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, non-winners of a race since October 2, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:40 CDT
Selections: Sterlingten (4), Space Traveler (1), Little Kick (5)
With so much speed in this race, Sterlingten is a mid-pack type who stands to benefit. He finished third last out on a speed-favouring opening day, and his speeds are strong for the field. He has won twice over this track and twice over this distance, and if there’s still a little water in the track, he has won his only start over off dirt. Space Traveler was a well-beaten fourth last out, but has back form at Hawthorne (8-3-4-0) and stands to improve second off a long layoff. He also had a stalking style, and can avoid the front-end fireworks in the earliest stages. Little Kick is second off the lay. He was third last out behind Surf Cast and Half Foxy, two horses better than anyone he faces here today. He does his best work near the front, but could shake out to be the speed of the speed. Though he has done most of his best at Fairmount, he also has a win at Hawthorne.
Race 5: $5,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N3L OR non-winners of a race since October 2, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt, post time 4:10pm CDT
Selections: Read to Me (4), Betty Grables Legs (5), Miss Livingston (6)
This is an ALL button sort of race; no one really looks like they can win, to the point that it would be no surprise for anyone to. It drew no shortage of speed, but the best horses in the race are forwardly placed. At least Read to Me has a history of being able to stay game on a contested lead. She is probably better across town, but was second against a better $5,000 beaten bunch last out, and E. T. Baird’s riding style should fit. Betty Grables Legs and Miss Livingston are the only horses in this field who do their best from off the pace. Betty Grables Legs does not win a lot, but should get first run. She comes in second off the lay, and both her career wins have come at Hawthorne. Miss Livingston will be a pole back early, but fires reliably. All four of her wins have come at this distance, and she should benefit from the fight on the front end.
Race 6: $4,000 claiming, four-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of two races in 2015-2016, claiming races for $3,200 or less not considered for eligibility, five and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:40pm CST
Selections: Fleet Performer (7), Salutethehero (1), Look Who’s Here (6)
Fleet Performer is squarely the one to beat here. She gets a lot of pace to chase. And, last out, she finished second at this class level despite some trip trouble, and despite rallying from the clouds on a bad day for closers. She does not have to be quite that far off the pace, and any improvement from that last effort should win this easily. Salutethehero was well-beaten at this level last out, but should improve second off the lay. She is another who will benefit from all the one-way speed in this race, and has enough form over the course and distance to figure. Look Who’s Here is the best among the frontrunners in this field. She has recent form at Turfway against better, and has shown the ability to stay in the frame on a contested pace. She has three wins in main-track dashes, and though she is a better poly horse than dirt horse, she does have a win over this course.
Race 7: Starter allowance, four-year-olds and up, starters for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2015-2016, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:10pm CST
Selections: Fort Lewis Rivers (7), Even Fever (10), Champagne Tony (6)
Though quite a few of the horses here do their best work forwardly placed, Fort Lewis Rivers is the clear speed of the speed, and could take this field gate to wire. He has been able to win with some pressure on him. He also loves the track (11-4-3-1 lifetime) and distance (13-4-4-1). He was caught last out, but he started poorly and was going a bit shorter. With a better start, the rest could all easily lose this game of catch-me-if-you-can. Even Fever beat state-bred allowance company as easily as he wanted to last out, and remains in protected company here. his speeds are strong for the field, and though he can wire a field, he is just as happy to stalk. He gets top rider Victor Santiago back in the irons, comes second off the lay, and should get first run on Fort Lewis Rivers. Champagne Tony started four times at Fair Grounds this winter, and finished in the money each time. This includes a third-place finish last out against starter-optional company, from which this is a class drop. He also has solid form over the track (28-4-5-4) and distance (32-5-6-4); he is not just a Fair Grounds horse for the course. Should the pace get too feisty up front, he will be well set to mow them down in the lane.
Race 8: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N3L, five and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:40pm CST
Selections: Jais Michael (1), Try Arguing Harder (6), Greeley’s Special (2)
Jais Michael drops to his lowest class level since passing his N2L condition. He was well-beaten in state-bred allowance company last out, but comes in second off the layoff against this far softer company. Both of his career wins have come over this track, he gets pace to chase, and he did solid work with rider Nicholas Meza last year. He should be a good price, and should figure it out against the right class. Try Arguing Harder returns to the dirt after a winter at Turfway. This horse hates poly, and should improve on the return to a dirt surface. The way he was running late last out suggested that he is coming back into form — though he was sixth, it was about as good as one could ever expect from him over a synthetic. He has never missed the board in five main-track dashes, and should be able to stalk and pounce here at huge odds. Greeley’s Special is another who should be stalking the pace. He comes in second off the lay, and keeps regular rider Carlos Montalvo. His speeds are comfortably in range, and his current form should get him a share against this relatively weak field.
One word about the track condition. In the morning, it was still rather wet. Should an off track persist to the end of the day, do not leave Smokey’s Bandit (8) off your tickets. His fast dirt record is a dull 6-0-0-1, but he has shown the best form of his life in his two starts over slop. With some speed for him to attack, if the track stays wet, Smokey’s Bandit will threaten