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Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (6/14/07)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
Top Three Year Old Pacers Headline Hawthorne’s Opening Weekend
Hawthorne Race Course’s lucrative stakes program kicks off on Saturday June 23 with the inaugural running of The Chicago and The Lady Chicago, two stake events for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies respectively. The purse for both feature races will be $60,000.
Hawthorne’s Racing Secretary, Billy Perkins, is pleased with the number of nominations for both events, and believes these two races might have a promising future. “We drew 46 for The Chicago and 32 for the Lady Chicago, not bad for a debut stakes race. I’m expecting many of these horses to line up behind the starting gate on Saturday (June 23).”
One of those horses Perkins is hoping will commit to The Chicago is David McCaffrey’s and MGJB Racing Stables’ two-year-old Illinois colt pacer of the year, Home Bed Advantage. Trained by McCaffrey, Home Bed Advantage won eight of nine races in 2006, and along the way broke the two-year-old pacing record with a 1.50.1 mile at Balmoral.
This year, the son of Cole Muffler has run into a bit of tough racing luck and is winless from six starts, but with earnings closing in on $175,000 in 2007 alone, you can make a case that the reigning champion is still at the top of his game. “He (Home Bed Advantage) got roughed up every step of the way in his last start (The Maywood Pace) and still raced his heart out,” said McCaffrey. “He’s just a nifty horse, skinny as a marathon runner, but all heart and guts.”
Another standout two year old from last year, Fox Valley Barzgar is expected to make his season’s debut in The Chicago. The winner of the Woodrow Wilson Pace at The Meadowlands was beset with a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection in the spring, but his trainer Tom Harmer says those troubles are behind him. “He’s doing great physically, and Hawthorne will be a great place to get him started.”
Other potential starters for The Chicago, among many, are outstanding pacers The Quiet Mon, trained by John Butenschoen, and Johnny Charisma, conditioned by Ken Rucker.
The Lady Chicago
The co-feature will also provide a plethora of racing talent. No less than freshman stars Sports Fancy and Cabana Fever will headline the Lady Chicago. The two were heads apart in the prestigious American National last year at Balmoral with Cabana Fever getting the nod. This year Homer Hochstetler, Sports Fancy’s trainer, hopes to turn things around. “My filly couldn’t be doing any better. She won effortlessly in her last start and we’ll be at Hawthorne if things go well on Saturday (The Hanover at Balmoral),” Hochstetler said. When Hochstetler learned that Cabana Fever would also be a probable starter in The Lady Chicago, Hochstetler added tongue in cheek, “well then... maybe we can kick her butt this time.” If Sports Fancy wins The Hanover, she will enter The Lady Chicago off six consecutive wins.
As for Cabana Fever, she will make her '07 debut in a separate division of The Hanover, but her trainer, Joe Seekman, hopes to be at Hawthorne for the Lady Chicago one week later and anticipates another successful season. “She’s 100% right now, and the two qualifiers were sharp, so we think she’s ready for some action.” It will be hard for Cabana Fever to duplicate her two year old campaign, which not only included the hard-fought win in the American National, but a tantalizingly close third in the 2006 Breeders Crown. Cabana Fever completed her season with seven wins from ten starts for earnings of $359,350.
Other possibilities for the Lady Chicago are the Erv Miller trained Kiss of Heaven, winner of the Springfield State Fair Championship, and Fox Valley Sarong, the runner up to Sports Fancy in the recently run Maywood Pace for fillies.
Hawthorne Race Course presents live harness beginning on June 22 and concluding on August 4. During this time only Mondays will be a dark day for our live program. As always, Hawthorne will be open for simulcasting 7 days a week. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL, 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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