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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (7/7/07)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

‘Top Dog’ Nips ’em in Cubs Series Final

Stickney, IL – Gregorio Aglipay’s Skippers Top Dog worked out a picture perfect trip for driver Mark Saporito, and got the best of Fox Valley Curahee by a head, in the $35,500 Cubs Pacing Series Final on Saturday night at Hawthorne Race Course. It was almost three lengths back to the post time favorite, Mahdi, who had no apparent excuses, while rounding out the trifecta. Skippers Top Dog took 4/5 of a second off his lifetime mark when he paced the mile in 1:51.4.

Skippers Top Dog
Skippers Top Dog wins the Cubs Series Final over Fox Valley Curahee.
Saporito left sharply with ‘Top Dog’ to secure early position behind the pace setter Deadly Attack as they paced the opening quarter in 28.0. Longshot One Step More attempted a first over move, but broke stride in front of Fox Valley Curahee, slightly impeding his progress, as Michael Oosting, the driver of Fox Valley Curahee had to wait for the breaking horse to move to the outside. From there Fox Valley Curahee grinded his way to the lead in mid stretch, only to succumb late to the pocket sitting Skippers Top Dog just as they hit the wire.

Without much speed in the race, leaving sharply gave Saporito all the opportunity he needed to have a chance at victory. “I didn’t think there would be any cover in front of me, so I would have to come first over if I didn’t leave,” said Saporito. “We were fortunate to get a tuck before the turn and then it turned out perfect from there, though for a moment I was worried we wouldn’t get out.”

Trainer Kimberly Rinker, elated in victory, was quick to thank the owner for his support. “I’m really happy for this owner because he stuck by us a long time and has been very patient with this horse,” Rinker offered. “I’m training this horse for very nice people. Hey, it’s a lot of fun to win a race like this, especially for them.”

Sent off at odds of nearly 10-1, Skippers Top Dog paid $21.40 to win.

Additional Quotes, Cubs Pacing Final:

Michael Oosting (driver, Fox Valley Curahee): “Mark (Saporito) got a real nice trip. I’m surprised he got the hole that easy. . . I brought Brent (Holland, driver of Mahdi) up, that was the one I was worried about. . . my horse dug in all the way to the wire. . . When the horse broke in front of us it may have cost us a length or so, and that could have been the difference.”

Brent Holland (driver, beaten favorite Mahdi): “I got the perfect trip. They went out of there enough, they went to the half enough, and I didn’t need to go wide. . . I couldn’t have drawn it out any better. For some reason he didn’t have the kick tonight I was expecting.”


Manhardt and driver Brent Holland win the Invitational.
In tonight’s co-feature, Robert Silberg’s Manhardt made it two straight Invitational scores by sitting a pocket trip and then pacing bravely through the lane, to hold off a hard charging Load the Dice to win by a half length. My Boy David, who brushed to the lead before the half mile, held the third spot. The time for the mile was a snappy 1:50.3

“This horse is just real solid every week and the same horse shows up every time,” said Manhardt’s driver, Brent Holland.

Holland and Manhardt made great use of the rail draw, and were able to use Manhardt’s good early lick to get a winning set up.

“The trip was perfect. I didn’t have to go out there too much, but I was able to get out there enough to control things,” said Holland. “When I got out through the lane I kind of stayed tight to the wire. It was enough to get the job done.”

For the 2-5 heavy favorite Load the Dice, it was a tough trip loss, but a useful one, nonetheless. “We wanted to get him to relax tonight. We did that, and if we had shaken loose a little earlier he would have probably gotten up.” said his driver Michael Oosting.

Manhardt, once again overlooked in the wagering, paid $17.40 to win.

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




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