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Racing Action Heats Up At Hawthorne

Published: May 25, 2021 12:08 pm ET

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With the temperatures rising in the Chicagoland area, the racing action heated up as well at Hawthorne as the Night of Champions series races kicked off.

With races filling well, additional races were carded each night at Hawthorne with wins spread amongst many drivers and trainers.

The first of the Night of Champions series races was held last Friday as leg one of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial, for Illinois-bred three-year-old male pacers took place. A wide-open field of ten was led by lukewarm favourite Ryans Loan Shark. Leaving for the lead was Ideal Big Guy, clearing from an outside draw and covering the opening quarter in :29. On the backstretch, Travis Seekman guided the favourite to the front, passing the half in :57.1 and three quarters in 1:27.2. Pushed along by Ideal Big Guy into the lane with Bombay Bobby and Partyatmosasplace tucked just behind, Ryans Loan Shark wasn’t able to go on. Mid-stretch, Ideal Big Guy regained the lead as Partyatmosasplace dug in along with Bombay Bobby. A blanket finish at the wire saw Bombay Bobby and driver Kyle Wilfong emerge on top, followed by Partyatmosasplace and Ideal Big Guy, all separated by just a head. Bombay Bobby covered the mile in 1:55.4. Bombay Bobby is owned by Karla Santos and trained by Dossie Minor.

Wins for drivers were spread out on Friday evening over the 11-race card as Tyler Shehan, Travis Seekman and Todd Warren all guided home a pair of winners. Todd Warren also trained a pair of winning horses, bringing him to 973 wins on his training career as he approaches the 1,000 victory milestone.

Saturday night at Hawthorne belonged to driver Kyle Wilfong as he led the way with four victories on the evening. The most important of those wins came in leg one of the Plum Peachy, for Illinois-bred three-year-old filly pacers. With a full field of 11 lining up behind the starting car, Wilfong sat behind 2-5 favourite Harts Heart for trainer Mike Brink. Settling in early behind the pace of Princess Mooss through the opening quarter in :29.2, Wilfong and Harts Heart quickly took command on the backstretch and grabbed the lead. Chased by Princess Mooss through a half in :57.1 and three quarters in 1:26.4, Harts Heart remained in full control. With Princess Mooss unable to challenge Harts Heart in the lane, Scorecard Dandy picked up the chase. Harts Heart was able to hold on at the wire, winning by three-quarters of a length over Scorecard Dandy in 1:54.4. Princess Mooss was able to hold third. Harts Heart is owned by Donna Crebs and Judy Conzo.

To go with the win of Harts Heart, Wilfong also took home the Open pace on Friday night as Rock It Out (1:51.4) was victorious for trainer Donna Holt. Trotter Tickle My Fancy (1:56.1) was Wilfong’s third win on the night, this one for trainer Bob Phillips. Trotter Muscular Babe (1:55.4) closed out the four-win evening for Wilfong, rolling to an easy win for trainer Nicole Agosti. Ridge Warren grabbed the only other multi-win night as he drove home a pair of winners. Eleven different trainers scored victories on the Saturday card.

State-bred trotters took the spotlight on Sunday night as a pair of divisions of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial were contested along with leg one action in the Beulah Dygert Memorial. Three-year-old male trotters battled in the two divisions of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial. In the first division, all six trotters battled with each in with a shot at different points during the race. With favourite Shady Maple Spirit setting the fractions of :30.3, 1:00.3 and 1:31 as he led the field into the stretch, it was driver/trainer Cornelius Cavett giving Emsroscopcoletrain a beautiful trip, taking over mid-stretch and going onto a two-and-a-half length score in 1:59.4. Salute the Hero closed for second while longshot Sumbodygetdisfool rallied to finish third. Jacob Roedl owns Emsroscoepcoletrain.

In the second division of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial, Flacco Family Farm’s owned Rndmnunpredictable rallied as the favourite to win by two lengths for driver Casey Leonard and trainer Steve Searle. Settling near the back early behind Conway Cassy’s opening quarter of :29.3 and half in 1:00.1, Rndmnunpredictable made a quick move on the turn and gained command at the top of the lane. After passing three quarters in 1:31.3, the favourite was unchallenged at the wire, stopping the clock in 2:00.2. Loyz Say When rallied to finish second while Conway Cassy was clear in third.

Leonard and Searle teamed up once again in the first leg of the Beulah Dygert Memorial for Illinois-bred three-year-old filly trotters. This time it was with favoured Loulita but the trip was very similar to that of Rndmnunpredictable. After longshot BCs Rose made the lead through the quarter in :29.3, second choice Lucky Valerie assumed command on the backstretch, passing the half in :59 and three quarters in 1:28.3. On the move in the turn was Loulita as she rolled up alongside Lucky Valerie at the top of the lane. Quickly taking over in the stretch, Loulita extended her lead, winning easily in 1:57. Rock N Sandra Lou closed well to finish second while Lucky Valerie held third. Loulita is owned in partnership by Flacco Family Farms and Dr. Patrick Graham.

Leonard would go on to cap off a four-win Sunday night as he took both ends of the late double for trainer Peter Dora, winning Race 12 with Mayor Virgin (1:53.3) and Race 13 behind Frontier New Moon (1:53.2). Drivers Kyle Husted and Kyle Wilfong also had driving doubles on the Sunday card. Joining Steve Searle and Peter Dora for training doubles Sunday were Tom Simmons and Dean Eckley.

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races three meets in 2021. The spring thoroughbred meet concluded on April 25. The summer Suburban Downs at Hawthorne harness meet began Friday, May 7 and races every Friday-Sunday until September 26. The fall thoroughbred meet opens October 1 and races through December 26. First post nightly for harness is 7:10 p.m. Beginning in June, post time on Sunday night will be 6:30 p.m.


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