Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Remington Springboard Mile Day Preview

The stakes season at Hawthorne may be over, but that means Picks and Ponderings now turns eyes afield to the early-stage Kentucky Derby preps.  Sunday the road to the Kentucky Derby visits Oklahoma for the first time, and we delve into that prep, the Remington Springboard Mile.

In addition, we also preview the She’s All In Stakes in detail.  The race has a pair of ties to the Chicago circuit.  The race’s namesake, She’s All In, achieved her only graded stakes triumph on our local circuit, taking the 2012 Sixty Sails Handicap (G3) at Hawthorne.  The field also features the undisputed standout of this year’s Illinois-bred three-year-old  crop, Babybluesbdancing.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings for my analysis of this pair of stakes Sunday at Remington Park, as well as my selections for all six stakes on the card, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity Recap

Before today, just two horses had won both the Sun Power Stakes and the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.  Rambling Richie did it for trainer Larry Rivelli in 2013, and Dom the Bomb performed the same feat for Rivelli in 2014.  This year, lightning struck thrice.  Rivelli sent out Pass the Gravy to victory in the Sun Power Stakes three weeks ago; this afternoon at Hawthorne Race Course, Pass the Gravy completed the sweep with a game rail-running victory in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my look back at today’s Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, and let me know your thoughts on the race in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity Preview

Saturday’s card features the final stakes race of the Hawthorne fall meet, the $50,000 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.  The race is the second stakes of the meet for Illinois-registered two-year-old colts and geldings.  The first, named after 1982 Futurity winner Sun Power, was won by Larry Rivelli trainee Pass the Gravy.  The son of Afleet Alex returns here, and eight others have entered to take him on.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Cowgirl Callie Fights to Victory in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante

Those who think of Hawthorne in the late fall as a dreary place would have had a hard time recognising it during today’s Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante.  The mercury rose into the mid-fifties, light bathed the fast dirt course, and the enthusiasm of Bob and Lynda Esposito beamed more brightly than the sun as their filly Cowgirl Callie held off a dogged inside challenge from Royal’s Position to take the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and relive the heart-pounding stretch drive in this year’s Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Showtime Deb Stakes Preview

The Hawthorne stakes calendar rolls on this Saturday with the feature event for Illinois-bred juvenile fillies: the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante.  The race, instilled in 1983 as the Illinois’ Breeders’ Debutante, has carried the name of the name of longtime Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation (ITBOF) board member Pat Whitworth (1936-2011) since 2003.  This year’s edition of the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante drew a field of just six for a share of a $50,000 purse — all six return from the Showtime Deb Stakes last month, and almost oddly for an Illinois-bred two-year-old stakes, all six entrants have broken their maidens.

Though Showtime Deb winner RICHIESLILWILDCAT has been instilled as the 2/5 morning line favourite, race history is not on her side.  In the 34 previous runnings of the Illinois Debutante, only one horse has parlayed a Showtime Deb victory into top honours in the two-turn race: Class Break, who swept the pair for trainer Wayne Catalano in 2011.  In a sense, it’s ironic that Showtime Deb winners have so rarely won the Debutante — after all, Showtime Deb herself won this race in 1988.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s Showtime Deb Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Thursday’s Carryover Pick 5 Sequence

Though 11/1 shot Bubuzela was the longest shot to win any of the first five races on Saturday at Hawthorne, no favourites crossed the wire first.  That was enough to confound the Pick 5 players: no one got the sequence right, so there’s a $8,866 carryover into Thursday’s sequence.  The minimum wager is $0.50, and it’s not a jackpot, so the whole pool pays out whether there is one correct ticket or there are many.

The sequence starts in race 1, and first post is at 3:10pm on Thursday, November 30.  For future reference, Thursday is the last day of this fall’s meet on which first post is that late — starting Friday, December 1, post time will be at 12:55pm each day through the rest of the meet.

Right here, we provide an ABCX chart to help you plan your tickets, as well as horse-by-horse analysis of each race.  Good luck!

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Thursday’s Pick 5 sequence at Hawthorne, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

looking back at Hawthorne Gold Cup Day

This Saturday was Hawthorne Gold Cup Day!  Over at Picks and Ponderings, I’ve published a pair of pieces that take a look back on the fall meet’s biggest evening of racing.

In one piece, I look back at the three stakes races on the card: the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3) won by Scuba, the Powerless Handicap won by Shar Ran, and the Lightning Jet Handicap won by Goneghost.

In a second, I share some of the photographs I took during the course of Gold Cup Day, as well as some short vignettes about the horses and the day.

Picks and Ponderings: Hawthorne Gold Cup Day Stakes Preview

Thanksgiving is here, and it’s time to show our gratitude for the return of three races to Chicago’s fall racing schedule this Saturday!

Hawthorne’s flagship autumn race, the Grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup, returns after a one-year hiatus.  A handicap at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter, the race drew a field of eight, with a mix of shippers and locals to compete for the $150,000 purse.

The day’s card also features the return of two Illinois-registered sprint races for older horses, that return after two-year hiatuses: the Powerless Handicap for fillies and mares, and the Lightning Jet Handicap for open company.

Despite a rainy Hawthorne meet, the weather looks mostly dry through the week, and dry for Saturday.  There should be a fast track for the stakes races — and even a pair of turf miles earlier in the day on the undercard.  This preview focuses on the three stakes races on the card — though NN’s full-card analysis will be published at Danonymous Racing later in the week, and will be cross-linked here.

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

Picks and Ponderings: Eagle, Scuba headline Hawthorne Gold Cup probables

This Saturday’s card at Hawthorne features the flagship race of the meet, the Grade 3, $150,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup.  The only graded stakes of the fall, it is also the only mile and a quarter race of the year.

Picks and Ponderings will have full coverage of the Hawthorne Gold Cup, including a handicapping preview, on-site news and notes, and a recap.  Our coverage of the race starts right here, with a rundown of the probable and possible entries in the race.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and get to know the probable and possible entries in this Saturday’s Hawthorne Gold Cup!

Picks and Ponderings: Pass the Gravy makes it three Sun Power Stakes in a row for Rivelli

This year, the Sun Power Stakes was run for the first time since 2014.  Leading into the hiatus, trainer Larry Rivelli had dominated the race, with wins by Rambling Richie in 2013 and Dom the Bomb in 2014.  Three years hence, Rivelli picked up right where he left off, as Pass the Gravy rolled to an easy victory in Saturday’s running of the Sun Power Stakes.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my recap of the Sun Power Stakes, and catch up on today’s stakes action at Hawthorne!