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Hawthorne Invites Attract Major Interest

Published: September 21, 2018 6:27 pm ET

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As Kevin Costner told us in the 1989 hit movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come.”

Hoping to capitalize on Illinois’ biggest night of racing, Night of Champions, Hawthorne Race Course has also added a pair of $25,000 Invitationals that have attracted some of the top “open” pacers and trotters currently campaigning locally and throughout the Midwest as part of Saturday’s huge 13-race program. All the action is scheduled to kick off at 6:55 p.m. and the Invitationals will go as races nine and 10 on the program.

“We are really thrilled with the turn out we have received for these events,” said Director of Publicity/Racing Analyst Jim Miller. “Eventually we want to grow these events into $50,000 and then $100,000 type of events that people will circle on their calendars when plotting out a horse’s engagements for the year and this a great start.”

Trotters will be first to hit the track in race nine with Summit Pacing Acres' Satin Dancer installed as the 5-2 morning line choice in the field of 10.

The four-year-old Indiana-bred daughter of Big Stick Lindy has racked up 24 career wins for trainer Byron Hooley, hitting the board in 39 of 47 career starts while earning almost $675,000.

Burke Racing Stable will send out veteran campaigner Call For Justice from post three and the six-year-old can draw closer to the $550,000 mark in lifetime earnings as he looks for his 39th lifetime victory while going behind the gate for career start 99. The son of Justice Hall boasts a mark of 1:52.4 and has hit the board in 67 of his 98 starts.

Minnesota sensation Pridecrest will carry the hopes of owner Chris Schick as the six-year-old Angus Hall gelding looks for his fifth straight victory. A 30-time career winner, Pridecrest will have the services of leading reinsman Casey Leonard on Saturday night as he leaves from the inside post in search of his 13th win in 21 trips to the gate in 2018.

Rounding out this fine field of sidewinders are Chupp Racing’s Pine Dream, who is fresh off back to back wins here at Hawthorne; Celebrity Farms' Celebrity Eventsy, a career winner of $566,000; CC Racing’s Gloire Dream, an Ohio invader who has taken a mark of 1:53.1 this season; Robert Key’s Cue Hall, who owns the distinction of being the fastest trotter in the field with a mark of 1:52 this year; Jeralene Roland’s Banker Volo, who recently went over the $400,000 mark in career earnings; Robert Silberberg’s Walter White and 11-time winner over the past two years whose career best of 1:53.3 came here at Hawthorne earlier this season and John Barnard’s Swan Chase, an Indiana Sire Stake terror who banked nearly $300,000 last season.

In total the 10 trotters entered into this inaugural Night of Champions Invitational Trot have 240 career wins with nearly $4.1 in lifetime earnings.

The pacers will follow in race 10 with Burke Racing Stable’s Dancin Yankee dropped in as a heavy 9-5 favourite in the group.

The 10-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser is showing no signs of slowing down with age racking up nine wins, seven seconds and one third in 20 starts this season while adding another $160,275 to a career bankroll which now sits at a whopping $1.8 million. The 68-time career winner also boasts a lifetime mark of 1:47.2.

Thomas Pollack and Jeff Cullipher’s New Talent is fresh off miles of 1:48.4 and 1:48.3 at The Red Mile and Hoosier Park respectively and this five-year-old gelding figures to get plenty of attention despite being stuck on the far outside of this field. With 16 of his 18 lifetime wins coming over the past two seasons the five-year-old son of Mach Three is definitely living up to his name.

Allard Racing Inc and Rick Howles have sent their five-year-old A Bettors Risk right back to Hawthorne for this event after “gutting” out a thrilling victory in 1:50.2 in last week’s Open on this surface. Under the watchful eye of conditioner Payton Ode this altered son of Bettors Delight has a mark of 1:48.3 this season and appears to be a pacer who is starting to establish himself as one of the fastest in the mid-west this year.

Completing the field for the Invitational Pace will be Engle Stable & JL Benson Stable’s Ballerat Boomerang who invades from Pennsylvania with more than $81,000 in earnings on his card this year for trainer Nick Surick; The Panhellenic Stables' Granite who is fresh off back to back victories at Hoosier Park; Z Tam Stables' Uncmprmising Z Tam, a 12-time winner this year with a mark of 1:49.0 which was taken at Hoosier Park in June; Clinard Properties Inc.’s Yankee Bounty, who sports lifetime earnings of more than $733,000; Terry Leonard and Chris Schick’s Trashytonguetalker, who has been one of the top pacers on the Chicago circuit for the past few seasons; Chris Choros, Eleven Star Stables, Jeff Brewer and P. J. Dillon’s Bettor Spirits N, a wire to wire winner in 1:51 last week at Dayton and Ervin Miller and John Koliopoulos’s Air Strike, a seven-time winner in 2018.

With eerily close stats to their trotting brethren, this classy field of pacers has put together 251 lifetime victories with just over $4.5 million in career earnings.

Fans can also enjoy a “blast from the past” as some of Chicago’s biggest driving stars of the past will be on hand to meet and greet fans in the Revel Stoke Party Box area located behind the winner’s circle on the first floor of the grandstand.

Such favourites as Dave Magee, Joe Anderson, Doug Hamilton, Jerry Graham, Connel & Nelson Willis, Dan Shetler, Dwight Banks, Lavern Hostetler, Wayne Temple, Delvin L. Insko, Carl Porcelli and Randy Jacobs are all expected to be on hand. The meet and greet is expected to start around 7:00 p.m.


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