Hawthorne quick picks: 12.10.16

Post time is getting close, so we’re going to keep this short.  But, here are my thoughts on today’s card at Hawthorne.  It’s a brisk day…but the big question is how the track will play.  Thursday, speed was a magic panacea.  Friday, speed held less well.  The fields are a bit short today, so when in doubt, these are a bit weighed for early pace.

Keep an eye on Twitter (@picksponderings) for my notes throughout the day, too.

Race 1

  1. Crooked Lady (3) – She’s the fastest horse in the race, and with the scratch of Greta’s Position, she is the clear early speed.  Come and catch her.
  2. Positionedtodance (4) – Trainer Scott Becker scratched Greta’s Position, and left this first-time starter.  There are some worktab gaps, but the last couple months are solid.  And, she has a half-sister named Bel Dancing who won first time out.
  3. Summer Bride (6) – The Carlos Silva barn has been hot, and she gets a change to seven-pound bug Carlos Ulloa.  The cut back to a sprint also stands to help her.  Beating the top two will be tough, but she makes some sense underneath.

Race 2

  1. Rods Run Away (6) – The John Haran barn has gotten hot in the last two weeks or so, particularly when rider Carlos Ulloa has the call.  The race does not have a lot of speed, and some of this one’s back lines have him relatively close to the pace.
  2. Comic Trick (1) – Comic Trick is a pure pace play here — speed in a short field at a price.
  3. Pride of Life (5) – Last out, Pride of Life showed a bit more early speed than he ever had before.  He cuts a bit in distance, and this is a far weaker $5K N2L field than he faced last time out.  He’s the class of the field.

Race 3 (Note: this is an ALL button race.  I’m noting the ones I think are best, but the only winner who would surprise me even a little bit would be Dorothe Marie.)

  1. My Moment (6) – She takes a class drop from allowance company, and has been running well against better for much of the year.  She has some six and a half furlong form, and has versatility to be on a contested pace or rally from a stalking spot.
  2. Eileen Evelyn (3) – She beat a relatively weak open $8K field a week ago at a wildly overlaid price.  You won’t get 26/1 on her again here, but she has three wins at this specialist six and a half furlong distance, and she goes out for hot connections in John Haran and Carlos Ulloa.
  3. Lake Snow (5) – She missed the break on a heavily speed-biased day last time out, and made up ground late.  She keeps solid rider Edgar Perez aboard, and both a better break and a fairer track will put her in this.

Race 4

  1. Azeg (4) – Azeg’s last start suggests he is coming back into form, and he keeps Santo Sanjur from that effort.  He loves the Hawthorne course, has a handful of wins going six furlongs, and has the versatility to win from the front or from off the pace.
  2. Bank Account (3) – Bank Account loves the course and the distance.  He gets a rider change to Denny Velazquez, and usually-cold trainer Dawn Apperson just notched a win a few days ago with Muncher.  Perhaps that’s the last bit he needs to get back to his winning ways.
  3. Smart Alex’s Posse (8) – He will not likely win this race, but is a must for underneath.  His record at the distance says it all: 20 starts, 1 win, 17 seconds or thirds.  He’s more of a Fairmount horse than a Hawthorne horse, but with a win and a second upstate this meet, it appears he has found his level here.

Race 5 – Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity: go to Picks and Ponderings for my detailed analysis.

  1. Awesome Asher (6)
  2. Devileye (1)
  3. Prairie Chief (5)

Race 6

  1. Nagys Piggy Bank (3) – This horse consistently runs well, and should get some pace to run at here.  He was third against similar last out, but it was his first start since April.  Expect him to be better this time around.  He also has excellent form at this specialist distance: three wins and a third in four tries at six and a half furlongs.
  2. Bluegrass Sight (4) – This is a step up in class, but he hit the board twice at this level earlier in the meet.  His rapport with rider Denny Velazquez is good, and trainer Joel Berndt has been firing at 27% this meet.  He will be forward, but does not need the lead, good given the likely contested pace.
  3. Gritty Greeley (2) – The first part of his name says it all; he fights and he tries.  Last out, he was farther off the pace than he likes, and still fought on for third.  He should be closer up here, but can get the best of a duel.  And, the connections are on fire: trainer Cipriano Contreras has basically lived in the winners’ circle this week, and the meet’s top jockey Julio Felix rides.

Race 7

  1. Karla With a K (4) – This mare won in state-bred allowance company last out.  Though she may regress just a touch from that, even a small step back puts her right in with this group.  She loves the course, she loves the distance, and she has a great rapport with rider Santo Sanjur.  She also gets pace to chase here.
  2. Hollarforadollar (3) – She faltered last time, but it was her first start in a few months, and a stretch out to six and a half furlongs.  Here, she cuts back to six, a distance at which she is well proven.  She has some versatility, and can win from the front or off the pace.  And, she gets top rider Julio Felix in the irons.
  3. Realta Ean (6) – With the scratch of Looking For Bits, if Hollarforadollar doesn’t send, Realta Ean could have a pretty easy time up front.  And, her last race was surprisingly goo.  She sent, dropped off the pace, and made a nice re-rally for second in a slightly tougher allowance field, behind top selection Karla With a K.

Race 8

  1. Tambov (8) – In this weak low-level maiden claimer, Tambov has more positive marks than anyone here.  He drops in class, tries first-time dirt, and is lightly raced (just a second-time starter here).  The connections have been a bit cold at Hawthorne this meet, but Tambov will not have to beat much here.
  2. Brad’s Wager (2) – This horse has started twelve times, making him a bit of a career maiden, but there are some suggestions he could wake up.  He has some early speed in a race without much of it, and has some of the better speed figures in the field, particularly with the scratch of even more dyed-in-the-wool professional maiden Dr. Bud.
  3. He’s a Council (6) – He’s a Council showed some speed on the stretch out last time.  He went too fast too early there, but if he can calm down in the early stages of the race (like he has, to an extent, in the paddock) perhaps he holds the cards in a game of catch-me-if-you-can.

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