Frontier Red

Frontier Red
a bay more brown than blood
when shrouded by sweat and twilight
only occasionally sparkling
when she passes under the burning floodlights

most of the time the winner trots back
easily, head held high
a quarter-mile victory stroll

she laboured back, dragging her empty rear hooves behind her
hanging her head, bobbing it up and down, searching
for any current of spare oxygen her flaring nostrils could catch
to replenish reserves run empty
by fighting to the wire to beat
six other non-winners
     of one pari-mutuel
     to be claimed for eight thousand dollars
a level that wouldn’t test so many on the grounds
but only left her with enough
to perform the herculean labours of
lifting her eyes to the winners’ circle camera
and trudging home

Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association: Harness racing is all in the family for trainer-breeder Brian Judy

For my latest for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association, I sat down to talk with trainer-breeder Brian Judy, whose Frontier Elsa has been rounding into beautiful form at Hawthorne this summer.  We talked about how he and his father got into the game, about his stable of homebreds,a nd about his training at his family’s farm downstate.

Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association: Laurie Price-Chapman Stays Connected To Dad

In the eighth race at Hawthorne on May 10, Allaboutme Hanover drove clear to win by two and a half lengths.  It was his first win of the year, and his third since entering the care of owner Laurie Price-Chapman and her late father Duncan Price.  

When they first got Allaboutme Hanover, there was no guarantee he would ever race again.  Hopes had been high early for the son of Somebeachsomewhere, as he sold for $95,000 as a yearling.  He began his career on the east coast, racing mainly at the Meadowlands, Pocono, and Yonkers at ages two and three.  But then, Allaboutme Hanover suffered a broken coffin bone. It was during that recovery that Duncan Price purchased him, and he and his daughter took over his care and rehabilitation.  Even as they scaled down their string of horses after the closure of Maywood and Balmoral, they kept the big bay gelding in training.

Read on at the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association!

Picks and Ponderings: Dandy Gal, Goneghost, Recount Win Closing Day Stakes at Hawthorne

Hawthorne’s fifteen-day spring meet drew to a close today with three stakes races for Illinois-registered horses.

It was a red-and-green-letter day for the triumvirate of owner William Stiritz, trainer Scott Becker, and jockey Chris Emigh.  The three combined for two stakes wins today: Dandy Gal in the Third Chance Handicap, and Goneghost in the Milwaukee Avenue Handicap.  Both stakes winners were homebreds for Stiritz, from the final crop of his longtime stallion Cherokee Rap.  They all three accepted meet titles, as well.  With ten wins, Stiritz claimed leading owner honours for the meet.  Those same ten wins brought Scott Becker the training title.  Emigh, with his pair of stakes wins on the final day of the meet, ended the spring at Hawthorne with a meet-leading fourteen victories.

Read on at Picks and Ponderings, and catch up with the end of the Hawthorne Thoroughbred season before moving across town to Arlington on Friday!

Picks and Ponderings: Older Illinois Horses (and Colour Guard) Take the Spotlight Saturday at Hawthorne

Saturday is closing day of the all-too-brief Hawthorne spring meet.  After Saturday, the Thoroughbreds migrate north to Arlington, the main track surface at Hawthorne gets swapped out again, and standardbreds take centre stage at 35th and Cicero.

However, closing day features a slate of stakes races for older Illinois-registered horses.

The card includes a pair of six-furlong sprints, the Robert S. Molaro for ages four-and-up, and the fillies’ complement, the Third Chance Handicap.  The mile and a sixteenth Milwaukee Avenue Handicap is open to Illinois-breds aged three and up; the lower age limit makes sense, as there was no two-turn stakes for three-year-olds at Hawthorne.  There was a fillies’ complement in the condition book, The Peach of It Handicap, but it did not draw enough nominations to go.  The Peach of It’s loss is the Milwaukee Avenue’s gain: a pair of top-quality Illinois-bred mares, Prado’s Sweet Ride and Babybluesbdancing, will challenge the boys.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s closing day stakes at Hawthorne, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Get Your Piece of Wednesday’s Superfecta Carryover at Hawthorne

…more surprising was that no one who played the superfecta even had Silver Saver, Starship Brooklyn, Waddle, and Midnite In Miami in that order.  So, there’s a $9,693 carryover in the superfecta pool.  It goes right into the superfecta pool for Wednesday’s opener, and any and all players with a winning ticket can reap the benefits.

Wednesday’s opener is a turf dash for open $10,000 claimers.  This analysis is focused on the turf, since the weather is slated to be clear until late in the week, perfect for this Wednesday race to stay on the grass.

Read on at Picks and Ponderings, get to know the players in Wednesday’s opener, and get ready to hit the superfecta!

Picks and Ponderings: Jean Elizabeth Overcomes Bad Break, Remains Perfect in Pretty Jenny

For a race in which she so easily towered on paper once her stablemate scratched, the start of the 2018 Pretty Jenny Stakes could hardly have been more difficult for Jean Elizabeth.

Unraced since a tour de force victory in an allowance optional claiming race at Hawthorne last October, she was fractious in her long-awaited return to a starting gate on race day.  “The gate guy was trying to get her head pointed straight ahead,” recalled jockey Julio Felix, “but when he got her straight she lunged and hit her head, hard, on the gate.”

From there, things went far better for the Larry Rivelli trainee.

Read on at Picks and Ponderings.