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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/10/06)

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Janks Stable Firing on All Cylinders

Illinois-bred stars on top of their game in advance of Nov. 11 Georgeff Festival

Four weeks in advance of Hawthorne’s Phil Georgeff Illinois Festival of Racing, many of those expected to compete are trying to get in one final prep in advance of the big day. Last week at Hawthorne, a trio of Christine Janks-trained Prairie Staters served notice that they are more than ready.

On Wednesday, her 2-year-old colt Chillin Villain defeated a solid field of open allowance foes to remain perfect from two starts. Janks said the hard race “knocked him out,” but that he should have plenty of time to get back on track for the $100,000 Sun Power Stakes.

“There’s enough time between now and then for him to rebound and for us to get him ready,” Janks said. He raced a little greenly in the stretch, but has really progressed nicely, and we expect him to be very competitive in that stake.”

Known as a patient trainer, Janks doesn’t push very many 2-year-olds to the races, but she does expect to run a handful of babies at the current Hawthorne meet.

“They have to drag me kicking and screaming in order for me to run them as 2-year-olds,” Janks said. “Chillin Villain is by Good and Tough and his offspring are usually good at two. This colt had a little respiratory problem during the summer, but other than that, he hasn’t missed a beat.”

On Thursday, the 4-year-old filly Pretty Jenny, who has already won four stakes in a 14-race career, smoked an open company allowance field at Hawthorne, and she will go into the $100,000 Powerless Handicap as the probable favorite.

“She tailed off a little bit this summer, but is doing really well right now,” Janks said. “The stake will be the last race of the year for many of these horses, including her.”

On Sunday, the late flying High Expectations rolled to a sharp win in a tough optional claimer, defeating his high profile stablemate Fifteen Rounds in the process. Fellow Illinois-breds Iron Rogue, Jimmy’s Boy and Alabama Clay finished 2-3-4, and all four are expected to return for the $100,000 Lightning Jet Handicap.

“I thought he would run well, but my husband Barry was convinced he would win,” Janks said. “He’s turning into the red version of Chindi (grey millionaire sprinter who raced until the age of 11). I just hope he’s around that long.”

High Expectations has sprinted, routed and run on turf during his career, but has convinced Janks that he’s at his best around one turn.

“He comes up a little short in routes,” she said. “In sprints, he just has to sit back and make one big run. There’s a lot of racing luck involved there. Having an honest pace, and avoiding traffic trouble, but race shape is important every time any horse runs, regardless of their style.”

As for Fifteen Rounds?

“He’s had some old problems pop up,” Janks said. “He’s just not as sharp. We thought we had him back to his old self after his last work, but he was just a little flat on Sunday. On his best day, he’s the best horse in that race. He only got beat three lengths, but that wasn’t him out there. We may turn him out for a while.”

In addition to her recent Hawthorne winners, Janks also has the 4-year-old filly Stop a Train on target for the $100,000 Illini Princess Handicap. The daughter of Devil His Due has four wins and four seconds from eight starts this year, and was most recently seen finishing second in the Grade III Arlington Matron.

“She’s entered in an allowance race at Keeneland on Friday,” Janks said. “She didn’t even break her maiden until this year, but has risen to every occasion since. Horses from her family seem to get better with age. She’s doing great right now.”

The Phil Georgeff Illinois Festival of Racing will be run at Hawthorne on Saturday, Nov. 11. Six $100,000 stakes restricted to Illinois-breds will be contested on the card.

Race Conditions Purse
Showtime Deb Stakes 2yo IL Filly 6f $100,000
Sun Power Stakes 2yo IL C&G 6f $100,000
Powerless Stakes Handicap 3 & up IL F&M 6f $100,000
Lightning Jet Stakes Handicap 3 & up IL 6f $100,000
Illini Princess Handicap 3 & up IL F&M 1 1/16m $100,000
High Alexander Handicap 3 & up IL 1 1/16m $100,000

The 2006 fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne Race Course runs September 15 through January 1 with live racing five days per week – Wednesday through Sunday (except Nov. 23). The dark days are Monday and Tuesday (except Oct. 9 and Jan.1). Post time on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is 1:10 p.m. Friday post time through November 17 is 3 p.m., at which time it will revert back to 1:10 p.m. for the remainder of the meet.

Hawthorne’s races can be seen live on Horse Racing Television (HRTV). HRTV provides full, in-depth coverage of the current Hawthorne Race Course meeting, with complete post parades, and expert analysis from the network's hosts.

Hawthorne’s spring 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run February 23 thru May 3. The summer 2007 Standardbred meet will be held June 22 thru August 5. The fall 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run September 17 thru December 31.

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