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Hawthorne Racecourse (4/22/06)

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Illinois Champions Day Nominations Released

Six Stakes for Illinois-breds Offer Some of the Best Wagering Opportunities of the Year!

Nominations for the six $100,000 Illinois Champions Day stakes to be run at Hawthorne on Saturday, April 29, have been released. Listed below are the races, the total nominations to each, and the headliners.

Illinois Champions Day Stakes (for Illinois registered, conceived, and/or foaled)

$100,000 Chicagoland Handicap (4yo’s & up, six furlongs) – closed with 16 nominations*.

The 123-pound highweight is Ben Dover Stable’s defending Chicagoland champ Take Achance On Me. Based in Maryland with Michael Trombetta, a trainer who captured the Illinois Derby earlier in the meet with Sweetnorthernsaint, the 8-year-old gelded son of American Chance has won eight of 45 career starts en route to banking $472,561.

The list of nominees for the Chicagoland (with trainer) also includes: Eugene Young’s multiple Illinois-bred stakes winner Silver Bid (Joel Berndt), who with an earned check on Illinois Champions Day will eclipse $700,000 in career earnings: and MY Stable Inc.’s Knowwhatimean (Michael Nance), who posted a 12-1 upset in the Lightning Jet Handicap last November at Hawthorne.

$100,000 Governor's Lady Handicap (4yo’s & up, fillies & mares, six furlongs) – closed with 17 nominations*.

Hawthorne racing secretary Gary Duch has assigned Bob and Nancy Bartels’ Bluesbdancing top weight of 120 pounds for the Governor’s Lady Handicap. A two-time Illinois-bred stakes winner, the 4-year-old daughter of Golden Gear swings back off an impressive conditioned allowance win over open foes here on March 18 for trainer Terrel Gore.

The list of nominees for the Governor’s Lady (with trainer) also includes: Robert Bockel and Dwight Espenschied’s Denoun N Deverb (Leroy Hellman), the gate to wire victress in the Powerless Handicap at Hawthorne last November; last year’s Governor’s Lady Handicap winner Fighting Fever (Tom Dorris); and 2005 Illinois-bred 3-year-old filly champ Pretty Jenny (Christine Janks), the winner of the Lady Hallie Stakes on Illinois Champions Day last year.

$100,000 Lady Hallie Stakes (3yo fillies, six furlongs) – closed with 19 nominations*.

Oxbow Racing’s Rich Fantasy and Asiel Stable’s Rolling Sea, both of whom posted stakes victories at Hawthorne last fall, highlight the list of names for the Lady Hallie.

Rich Fantasy, a 3-year-old daughter of Richter Scale, scored a game win in the Showtime Deb on Nov. 12 for trainer Ronnie Werner, and just missed posting an open company stakes tally in her follow-up start in the Dixie Belle at Oaklawn.

Rolling Sea, who broke her maiden for a $25,000 tag on Oct. 27 at Hawthorne, stretched out around two turns for the first time on Dec. 10 for trainer Richard Hazelton, and responded with a 28-1 upset in the Pat Whitworth Debutante Stakes. Cut back to six furlongs for her 3-year-old debut, the daughter of Sefapiano posted a sharp, second-level allowance victory over her Illinois-bred counterparts.

$100,000 Land of Lincoln Stakes (3yo colts & geldings, six furlongs) – closed with 17 nominations*.

Centerfire 3’s Rochester Cat, a sharp winner of the ITBOF Sales Stakes as the overwhelming 1-9 favorite for trainer Andy Hansen earlier in the spring Hawthorne meet, and Scott E. Ricker and Richard S. Kaster’s Silver Titan, the runner-up the Sun Power Stakes at Hawthorne last November for conditioner Ronnie Werner, highlight the list of nominees for the Land of Lincoln.

Of the remaining 17 nominees to the Land of Lincoln, 11 have scored victories at Hawthorne this spring.

$100,000 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap (3yo’s & up, 1 1/16 miles) – closed with 12 nominations*.

William Pacella, Joseph Rizza and Ronald Schwed’s multiple stakes winning Wiggins has been assigned top weight of 123 pounds for the Milwaukee Avenue Handicap. The 6-year-old son of Cartwright overwhelmed his Illinois competition over similar conditions in the High Alexander Handicap here last fall for trainer Dale Romans, defeating fellow Milwaukee Avenue nominee High Expectations by nearly five lengths. The winner of 12 of his 29 lifetime starts, Wiggins has banked $628,742.

Nancy A. Vanier’s Air Academy, who had done most of his recent work on turf prior to the current Hawthorne spring meet, has really flourished on the dirt recently for trainer Brian Williamson, posting consecutive open company allowance wins. The 5-year-old son of Royal Academy is listed second in the weights at 119 pounds.

S. D. Brille, LP’s High Expectations was named Illinois Champion 3-year-old colt or gelding based on a sensational season which included a romping win in the Springfield Stakes last summer at Arlington Park. The 4-year-old gelded son of Peaks and Valleys has been the model of consistency for trainer Christine Janks throughout his young career, hitting the board in 13 of 14 lifetime starts.

$100,000 Peach of It Handicap (3yo’s & up, 1 1/16 miles) – closed with 19 nominations*.

Patrick Walsh’s Toll Taker, who has campaigned outside of her home state for all but one of her 18 career starts, has been assigned highweight of 122 pounds for the Peach of it Handicap. The stakes winning 4-year-old daughter of Bernstein has competed in several graded events throughout her young career for trainer Tim Hills. In her only previous appearance at Hawthorne, during the fall of her 2-year-old season, Toll Taker stumbled out of the gate and lost her jockey as the overwhelming favorite in the Showtime Deb Stakes.

The list of nominees for the Peach of It Handicap (with trainer) also includes: Asiel Stable’s Meadow Bride (Richard Hazleton), who as a 3-year-old defeated her elders in the Illini Princess Handicap here last fall; and William Lydon & Carson Springs Farm’s Ms. Lydonia (Christine Janks), who was awarded the win in last year’s Peach of It Handicap following the disqualification of Jaguar City.

* pending late mail

For a complete list of nominations and early past performances for all six stakes events (courtesy of Equibase), go to:

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs February 24 through May 4 with live racing five days per week: Friday through Tuesday. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Hawthorne is dark Wednesdays and Thursdays and Easter Sunday April 16, but full card simulcasting from racetracks across the country is offered every day.

Hawthorne’s summer 2006 Standardbred meet runs May 6 through June 17 with live racing six days per week: Tuesday through Sunday. Post time is 7:20 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Opening day, Saturday, May 6, post time will be at 6:30 p.m.

Hawthorne’s fall 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs September 15 through December 31 with live racing five days per week: Wednesday through Sunday. Post time is 1:10 p.m.

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