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Hot Hawthorne Start For Searle Barn

Published: February 25, 2020 3:53 pm ET

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Week 2 of the harness season at Hawthorne Race Course was vastly different from opening weekend in regard to weather, as temperatures rose by 20 degrees and a feeling of spring was in the air.

Week 2 also produced some fine results for horses and barns that showed they were fit and ready for the early start to the racing season.

One barn that has benefitted early on is trainer Steve Searle’s stable. After a strong opening weekend that saw three Searle entrants find their way into the winner’s circle along with four others finish second from nine starts, there was no slowing them down in Week 2.

Things got off to a quick start for Searle on Saturday evening, as Louscardamon trotted to victory in the night’s opener in 1:58 for driver Casey Leonard, which made her the first two-time winner of the meet. In the very next race, Hawthorne saw its second repeat winner, as the Searle-trained Louzotic (1:56.4) was impressive while winning right back over another Searle trainee in Lousraptor. Casey Leonard was in the bike with Louzotic, which gave him the early double.

After Illinois-bred Rollin Coal (1:55.4) was game in victory for driver Juan Franco and trainer Hosea Williams in Race 3, Hawthorne had another two-time winner on the meet in the fourth race. The Todd Warren-trained and driven Always A Law (1:53.4) just held off Salvatore to win the fourth by a nose.

The middle part of Saturday’s 13 race card belonged to trainers Merv Chupp and Derek Burklund. The Chupp-trained Its Chocolate Time (1:58.4) trotted to a win for Brandon Bates in Race 5. Chupp also sent out Northern Angle (1:54.2) to a score for Casey Leonard in Race 8.

Derek Burklund trainees found the winner’s circle three times Saturday. Race 6 saw a 6-1 upset as Lukes Rocketman (1:56) scored for Kyle Wilfong. The duo of Burklund and Wilfong was right back in the winner’s circle the following race with Castle Flight (1:51.1), who was a five-length winner in a tough open pace. Tyler Shehan guided home 20-1 shot Holdonwererolling (1:54.2) to a clear victory in Race 10, which led a $161.80 Burklund exacta which saw his Adventure Bound finish second in that race.

Saturday night closed with driver Casey Leonard getting his fourth win on the card, as Pondas Prospect (1:55) won Race 12. Driver Kyle Wilfong capped Saturday night, as he grabbed his third victory of the evening, with Boogie on Down (1:55.2), who won the nightcap.

Sunday night at Hawthorne was a tail of two halves, as the first half of the card saw upsets aplenty while the second half was very chalky.

The evening kicked off with 7-1 winner Toxic Rock (1:55.3) for driver Ridge Warren and trainer Mike Brink. It was ‘bombs away’ in Race 2, as Perfectly Dune (1:59) got up in the shadow of the wire for driver Travis Seekman to win at odds of 96-1 for trainer Matt Rodriguez. With a 48-1 third-place finisher and 28-1 fourth-place finisher in that race, the 20-cent superfecta returned $12,187 to a single winner.

In Race 3 it was 10-1 shot Downwyn Shark (1:54.2) who was game on the front end for trainer Marna Shehan and driver Tyler Shehan. Third choice My Uptowne Girl (1:57) won Race 4, which made her the fourth repeat winner on the meet, before 8-1 winner Queens N Tens (1:55.4) become the fifth two-time winner on the meet (she scored in Race 5).

Despite the far outside draw, Dirt E Rock (1:56.2) was very impressive at first asking, as she won her debut in Race 6 for trainer Mike Brink and driver Mike Oosting. Thought Provoking (1:55.4) won Race 7, which made her the sixth repeat winner in the first two weeks of racing. Leonard and Searle teamed up to win the eighth with Joe Joes Violet (2:00.4) before Tyler Shehan and Derek Burklund closed out the weekend with Pirates Alley (1:56.1) by winning the Sunday finale.

Two weeks in, driver Casey Leonard has moved to the top of the driver standings with nine wins. Brandon Bates continued his hot start as he is second in the standings with eight victories. Mike Oosting follows with six wins and Todd Warren has five. Trainer Steve Searle has sent out six winners to open the meet while 13 of his first 18 starters have found the board. Derek Burklund’s good weekend moved him to second with four victories while Jace Sundeen and Terry Leonard are tied with three wins apiece.

(Hawthorne Race Course)

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