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Stakes Bonanza On Tap At Hawthorne

Published: August 28, 2019 12:04 pm ET

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After an extremely successful week of racing at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Mother Nature was not as kind when racing shifted to the DuQuoin State Fair last weekend. Rain fell for four consecutive days leading to the start of the fair, leaving the track in no condition to contest races.

“We weren’t expecting the weather conditions to be as poor as they were in DuQuoin,” stated fair racing general manager Jim Miller. “An unexpected storm the morning of the first day of racing made it so the track surface couldn’t recover in time. We consulted with our horsemen’s group, the Illinois Racing Board, and Illinois Department of Agriculture, and everyone felt it was in the best interest of the horses to shift the races to Hawthorne this Friday. Logistically this made the most sense. We wanted to make sure that every horseman who had entered to race in DuQuoin was given an opportunity to race, thus the reason why all 25 races will be contested at Hawthorne on Friday.”

The 25-race card on Friday at Hawthorne will make for an eight-hour afternoon and evening of harness action. Nine non-wagering events will kick off the afternoon, starting at 4 p.m., followed by a 16-race wagering card, beginning at 6:30 p.m. With the DuQuoin cards shifting to Hawthorne, those horsemen contesting overnight races will be given additional opportunities to race. Expanded cards at Hawthorne will be offered on Saturday and Sunday evening this week with a first post of 6:30 p.m.

While the cards from DuQuoin shift to Hawthorne, all of the races moved over as drawn initially for the 25 races. Some top Illinois-breds will be on the track in the non-wagering races as they gear up for possible Night of Champions competition. In the seventh non-wagering event, Primed N Powerful and Talk About Valor match up. Primed N Powerful has won eight times on the year with a 1:55.1 best mile at Scioto in the slop. Talk About Valor has found the board in all 16 starts this season, including a victory in 1:55.1 at Springfield.

In the eighth non-wagering event, track record holder Annas Lucky Star returns as she looks for her seventh win of the year. The five-year-old mare has faced the boys much of the season, but gets to take on females in this event with Kyle Wilfong driving. Wilfong is back with another solid entrant in the final non-wagering event as he drives Youremyhearthrob. A winner in 1:49.4 for the fastest mile at Springfield this year, he looks to have returned to his top form at the right time.

The 16-race wagering card on Friday night includes eight stakes events, creating a great Night of Champions preview just three weeks before the richest night of harness racing in the state.

Three-year-old filly trotters kick off the stakes action in the $27,250 Windy Skeeter. The field of five is led by eight-time winner Louzotic, from the barn of trainer Steve Searle for owner Flacco Family Farms LLC. A winner of four of her last five, Louzotic’s top competition may come from Joe Joes Violet and Heidi High. Joe Joes Violet has hit the board in 11 of 17 starts on the year for trainer Roshun Trigg while Heidi High is 11 of 13 in the money for trainer Charles Arthur.

The Shawnee goes as race 10 on Friday, as a field of nine two-year-old filly trotters line up. Trainer Steve Searle sends out the top two choices in Bee See and Lous Abigail. Bee See has won four of seven starts this year, including a game victory over Lous Abigail in the stakes final in Springfield last out. Lous Abigail has finished first or second in all seven starts this year as she draws just to the inside of Bee See.

A competitive field of six three-year-old filly pacers follow in the Time Dancer. Fox Valley Torrid is the morning line choice for Fox Valley Standardbreds and trainer Rodney Freese. A five-time winner on the year, she won her elimination in Springfield before finishing a good second to was Perch, who races for trainer Rick Schrock. A six-time winner in 2019, Perch rallied late for the win in Springfield for driver Kyle Wilfong.

The Darn Safe is next for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters, with nine set to face off. Trainer Tom Simmons sends out morning line choice Fox Valley Quest, who finished first or second in all eight starts. Casey Leonard drives for owners Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons. To his outside is the horse who upset Fox Valley Quest in the Springfield final, On Higher Ground. Trained by Mike Brink, On Higher Ground has won three of his last four, and Ridge Warren takes the return drive.

Two-year-old filly pacers follow in the Directors Award with a full field of 10. Double Parked benefits from the improved post off her Springfield final as Travis Seekman drives for owner-trainer Leroy Hunt. A winner of six of eight starts on the year, Double Parked was impressive in her elimination before giving way in the final. The winner of that final, Sleazy Gal, races for Engel Stable of Illinois LLC and trainer Erv Miller. Sleazy Gal has found the board in five of six starts, and Kyle Wilfong will drive.

The Governor’s Cup has a field of eight three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Fox Valley Ren will be heavily favoured as he carries a six race win streak into this start. Owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc. and trained by Nelson Willis, Kyle Wilfong drives. RGs Tracer poses the biggest threat to Fox Valley Ren, having chased him home in each of his last three starts. RGs Tracer will be driven by Travis Seekman.

The Dudley Hanover goes as race 15 on Friday, with a competitive field of three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Meyer On Fire is a slight favourite for Engel Stables and trainer Erv Miller. A winner of his last two, Meyer On Fire rallied late for Kyle Husted to win going away. Springfield runner-up Fox Valley Triton races for Dandy Farms Racing, Ft Racing Stable and Peter Kouchis. The Terry Leonard trainee has hit the board in 10 of 12 starts this year and was the runner-up in each of his Springfield starts.

The final race of the 25-race bonanza Friday is the Pronto Don for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Lousraptor is the favourite for Flacco Family Farms LLC and trainer Roshun Trigg. Impressive in both wins in Springfield, he will look to hold off Lourhianon and Louscardamon.

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s hometown track, returned for live harness racing on May 3. The summer harness meet continues through Sept. 22. Fall Thoroughbreds close out the year, running from Oct. 10 through Dec. 28. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.

(Hawthorne Race Course)

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