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Horse slaughter in Illinois
HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
|Hawthorne Racecourse (6/1/06)
Contact: DAK Productions
Red Hot and on a Roll
Hawthorne Race Course will present its second annual Night of Champions on Saturday night, and the stars of the harness game will duke it out for early season divisional supremacy.
One of the Prairie State’s brightest new stars is Hot N Sporty, a 3-year-old colt who is perfect from six starts at Hawthorne.
Hot N Sporty
3yo bay gelding Sportsmaster-She’s Redhot-Broadway Express
Owner: James & Donna Crebs, IL
Trainer: Jim Crebs
Q&A with trainer James Crebs:
Q: Hot N Sporty took several months off between his 2-year-old and 3-year-old season, are you surprised that he really hasn’t missed a beat?
A: “He’s come back real good. He didn’t do very well turned out. He didn’t get fat and happy, and in fact, he was a little mopey. Once we got him back in (to the track), it took some effort to get his weight back on. I’m a little surprised by how quickly he got himself sharp, and am extremely pleased. He qualified well by design, and I thought we had him ready to win first time out, but when he drew the 10-hole (on May 20), I was disappointed. This is an outstanding group of 3-year-old Illinois-bred pacers, and I never thought he’d be able to make the lead so easy from out there. When nobody left, Tony (driver Morgan) did, and he got away with really slow fractions. The second race (May 27), Tony just let him be early and moved first over, and it didn’t matter. He was that good.”
Q: What kind of horse is Hot N Sporty?
A: “He’s very determined, but isn’t real aggressive. He goes when he’s supposed to go, and responds to commands well. When Mike (Brink) qualified him he said every time he chirped to him he went faster.”
Q: Tony Morgan is the only one to ever drive Hot N Sporty in a race, but he isn’t available this weekend. Why did you decide to use Dave Magee?
A: “I was aware that he (Tony Morgan) was leaving at the end of May, so I knew that we weren’t going to have him. I asked what to do, and he recommended that I use Dave (Magee). He drove Hot Chili Pepper for us last year before he got hurt (with a shoulder injury), and he certainly has the (Hall of Fame) credentials.
Q: How tough is it not to get ambitious with this horse and take on the best in 3-year-olds in the country?
A: It’s an ongoing decision. We made him eligible to the Hanover, the American National, and the Matron at Dover Downs because Tony (Morgan) is there. We’re just going to play it week to week. After this we could race him next Grand Circuit week (at Hawthorne), but it conflicts with the Cardinal Eliminations (for Illinois-breds), so we have another tough call there.
We could race in the big ones, but the cost of the supplements kind of makes that prohibitive. It’s a gamble I’m probably not willing to take for something I passed on nominating to originally. In my eyes, they have to prove that they’re better than I am. Up there at the Big M (the Meadowlands) they think if you’re an Illinois-bred, you’re probably a fluke. I think we can race with anybody, but you try to get off as easy as you can.”
Q: Who do you look to as your main competition on Saturday?
A: “Like I said, this is a real good group and on any given night any one of them could give you a run (for your money). That horse that Nelson Willis has (Wonderful One) closed real well to be second to us last week, and he’s getting better. We got the two-hole, which saved me a couple nights sleep not having to think about a bad draw.”
Q: How do you feel about your horse moving forward?
A: “Our goal is to keep him healthy and sound, and he’s been real sound all along. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him by a long way. It’s awfully hard to get an Illinois-bred on that experimental list, but he belongs there.”
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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