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HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE

Hawthorne Racecourse (5/23/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

A Night Out + a Twist of Fate = a Handicapping Championship!

Life itself is no stroll in the park, and we must all relish the good times we have with the people we love most.

For 81-year-old Fred Pelini, a night out with his buddies, and a twist of fate, led to a handicapping championship at Hawthorne, and an experience he’ll cherish forever.

“I had a hip replacement last August, and just when I was ready to go home, they told me I needed surgery on my colon,” Pelini explained. “After the surgeries and all the rehab, I was in the hospital for five months. I finally came home in January, and this is really my first big night out.”

And it certainly paid off.

Pelini, who has been playing the horses all his life, called on a lifetime of handicapping experience, and a fateful hunch, to outlast more than 270 contestants in Hawthorne’s second handicapping satellite tournament of the spring harness season.

Pelini made his big move in Sunday night’s ninth race, maxing out $384 across the board on the 22-1 shot Iron Bullet. How did he come up with that unlikely longshot?

“I knew he was in the war, so I asked him if he ever got shot,” said Pelini’s friend Bill Grass. “He told me he did, so I steered him toward Iron Bullet. Then he tells me he got shot with a needle, not a bullet.”

Either way, Pelini took another “shot,” and this one paid off.

For his efforts, Pelini received $500, and along with the rest of the top ten, a berth into the $10,000 Club Hawthorne Handicapping Invitational, to be held on Sunday, June 11.

So what’s Pelini going to do with his winnings?

“Take my friends out to dinner,” he said. “They’re just great people, and without them, I wouldn’t have been here tonight.”

Handicapping Open Satellite #2 Results

Rank Name Score
1st Fred Pelini 14,757
2nd Steve Rusky 10,386
3rd Frank Lucas 8,818
4th Tom Domagala Jr 8,734
5th Joe Colletta 6,701
6th Mike Canella 6,060
7th Rich Zipp 4,962
8th Joanne Trochin 4,876
9th Edmund Gulley 4,708
10th Stanley Pyka Sr 4,523

If you haven’t yet qualified for the Invitational, there is still one more opportunity to do so. The final satellite handicapping open will be held at Hawthorne on Sunday, June 4.

The tournaments are open to all horseplayers, but are limited to the first 300 who register. For just $10, contestants receive an appetizer and dessert buffet and an opportunity to compete for over $1,000 in prize money. The contests are held on the third floor of the grandstand, and registration begins at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the Handicapping Contest section of our website at www.hawthorneracecourse.com, and best of luck!

On Tonight’s Card

Two divisions of Leg Two of the Brandenburg for Illinois-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings are on the Thursday docket.

Litigator, who posted a Leg One Series win last week as the 3-5 chalk by more than five lengths, should be the overwhelming favorite in the first division (race one). The Roger Welch trainee is perfect from three starts this season.

Trivoli, who also scored a handy victory in his Leg One division last week, will be the odds on choice to do it again in Leg Two (race four). The Homer Hochstetler trainee is four for five lifetime, with his only defeat coming at the hooves of Litigator. The two top trotters are on a collision course to square off in the $50,000 estimated Brandenburg Final on Night of Champions, Saturday, June 3.

Hawthorne’s spring 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, and opening day, Saturday May 6 (special early post).

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.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet ran February 24 through May 2.

For more information visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com.

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