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.

Danonymous Racing: Hawthorne Gold Cup Day selections and analysis

Saturday is the biggest day of the meet at Hawthorne.  The card is anchored by the Grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup, a Classic-distance race for older horses, and also features a pair of sprint stakes for older Illinois-registered horses.  The day’s nine-race card features full fields and live price horses all day — so let’s dive in!
Show Me Your Single:  Race 4 – Puntsville (3)
Longshot Specials:  Race 3 – Career Girl (9), Race 9 – Homer (8)
Head over to Danonymous Racing to read my full-card preview of Hawthorne Gold Cup Day — and don’t forget to follow on Twitter all day at @rogueclown and @picksponderings for news, notes, and photos!

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!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Showtime Deb Stakes Recap

Trainer Larry Rivelli has been a force in Illinois-bred two-year-old stakes races in recent years, and much of that success has come from the progeny of the Five Star Day mare Richiesgirlgotgame.  Richiesgirlgotgame started her racing career on fire for Rivelli and owner Richard Ravin.  On debut she beat eventual Grade 1 winner Tiz Miz Sue in a maiden special weight, then followed that effort with a third-place finish in the Miss Shenandoah Stakes at Charles Town.  Laid off for nine months after that outing, she returned in the claiming ranks.  Though Rivelli and Ravin lost her for $10,000 in May of 2010, they got her back in September for $15,000.  After racing her twice more, they retired and bred her.

Claiming her back and sending her to the breeding shed has paid rich dividends.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and relive the first Illinois-bred two-year-old stakes of the year, the Showtime Deb Stakes!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Showtime Deb Stakes Preview

For the first time since 2014, Hawthorne will host the Showtime Deb Stakes: a six-furlong sprint for Illinois-bred juvenile fillies.

The race fills an important gap in the Illinois-bred stakes program, one that has existed since the Showtime Deb and the Sun Power (its colts’ and geldings’ complement, which will be revived next week) dropped off the stakes’ schedule: without them, there was no sprint stakes race for Illinois-bred two-year-olds.  For Illinois-bred juveniles who are bred to do their best at one turn, or who still need to develop before showing their best at two, this gives them an opportunity to show their best against the best of their class.

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

Picks and Ponderings: A Better Start, a Better Finish for My Bariley

Last time My Bariley raced on the Chicago circuit, to run in the Grade 3 American Derby, things began inauspiciously: he fell to his nose after the break.  Jockey Santo Sanjur stayed in the irons, kept his cool, and got him rolling late.  Nine furlongs later, My Bariley had improved to third, but a lone leader made it difficult for him to make any more headway.

This visit to Chicago began much more auspiciously, with a clean break from the gate.  Nine furlongs later, My Bariley was in a better spot as well: three quarters of a length in front of his closest rival, and bound for the Hawthorne Derby winners’ circle.

Join me at Picks and Ponderings, and relive today’s exciting renewal of the Hawthorne Derby!