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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (8/9/07)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

From A-Z . . . A Harness Meet To Remember

Always good racing. We had some setbacks from the word “go,” but the racing from start to finish was contentious thoughout the meet and never without surprises.

Brent Holland began the meet with 13 straight racing days of at least two winners per night. From there he never let up and earned his first Chicago driving title with 75 winners.

Chi-Cal Pick Four gave Chicago and California harness players a chance at some big money when every Wednesday night, $25,000 was guaranteed in the pool. Some nice payoffs ensued, but the homerun will have to wait for next year.

Dave Magee might not have won the driving title, but he cold cocked the Night of Champions’ program. The Hall of Famer won seven races on the card, including five stakes, and reminded those with very short memories, he is still the King of Chicago racing.

Engel Stable’s thriving operation had consistent success throughout the Hawthorne meet. Mucho Sleazy missed the winner’s circle on Champion’s Night, but you can expect many more victories as camp moves to Maywood and Balmoral.

First pari-mutuel win for 18-year-old Marcus Miller, son of trainer Erv. On July 6, the young Miller guided Arty Ryan to a 25-1 victory. Considering the Miller bloodlines, the maiden driving score figures to be the first of many.

Generous returns for a dime. The ten cent superfecta was wildly applauded by the betting public and on numerous occasions it returned more than $1,000. Getting a lot for a little is what the game is all about.

Hold all tickets! Thankfully, you rarely heard those ominous words as very few inquiries and even fewer disqualifications took place during the meet. Unfortunately those who bet on Mokey will not feel the same.

Illinois racing fans are to be thanked for their loyalty during some interesting times. They are knowledgeable horseplayers who do not hesitate to voice their opinions. Hawthorne thanks you for your continued support.

Joe Seekman might not have envisioned Booze Cruzin winning the Master Shawn Finals on June 23, but six week later, the talented trainer was celebrating his colt’s lifetime best 1:51.0 upset mile after he wired a talented field of eight on Champions’ Night.

Kimberly Roth and Rick Dane teamed up for multiple winners throughout the 39-day session. At first it was “show me more,” but it soon became clear they would be a factor all meet long.

Lis Deo already looks like a champion. The brother to pacing sensation Lis Mara was nothing short of sensational in his first two lifetime starts. His trainer Erv Miller knows a thing or two about nice horses, so expect national attention for this precocious two year old before too long.

Manhardt never seemed to get the respect a really fast pacer should get. In six starts at the Hawthorne meet, the son of WesternIdeal finished either first or second against the best of the lot and never went off at odds lower than 5-1. Manhardt finished second in the Carey Memorial at odds of 17-1 to complete the impressive six-race streak.

Nothing shows the quality of racing more than a few track records going down. Maxter, Omaha Survivor and She’s So Hot all notched a few ticks off of previous Hawthorne record miles. Maxter broke his own record in the Plesac finals, a mark he had established in an elimination two weeks earlier.

Old timer Taser Gun made an appearance on Night of Champions looking every bit the celebrity as he paraded in front of an appreciative audience who remember many of his 69 wins. Taser Gun is one of many supported by the American Standardbred Adoption Program.

Post six produced the most number of winners at the meet with 61. Favorites won at a rate of 39.7 percent. If you played the five post you finished in the money 40.9 percent of the time. You figure out what it all means.

Qualifier Wednesdays gave our illustrious track announcer Peter Galassi numerous opportunities to amuse his listeners. Nobody calls a qualifier with more verve and vigor than Peter the Great.

Rucker, Rucker, Rucker! 45 winners from 209 starters gave Ken Rucker the training title by eight wins over Erv Miller. Rucker won races in most classifications, using talented driver Mike Oosting for many of the stable’s winners.

She’s So Hot blew away Hawthorne’s track record for two-year-old fillies in the second leg of the Broadway Tax and then showed courage and class while taking the finals. The Illinois-bred filly has lost but once and appears on the verge of greatness.

Tim Tetrick graced the Hawthorne crowd and showed his character by committing to driving Cheyenne Hollywood in the Robert F. Carey Memorial. Tim drove the Hamletonian Oaks winner just hours earlier at the Meadowlands and jetted out to Hawthorne to participate in the Night of Champions. Tim finished third with “Hollywood” but the script ended perfectly as he drove Omaha Surivor to a record setting win in the night’s finale.

Unusual consistency describes the three-year-old filly Sportsfancy. Trained by Homer Hochstetler and driven by Ryan Anderson, Sportsfancy started five times at the Stickney oval and won three times including the finals of the Determination Plus. For the year, the daughter of Sportsmaster has won eight of 11 with two seconds.

Valley Victor sired three winners on the Night of Champions and continues to be the stud trotting sire in Illinois. His children lost only the Star Slinger final, where he sired the favorite and co-favorites So Sexy and Chugwater Gal. It was a proud night for papa.

Warren and Widger were hard-pressed to find victories in the first four weeks of racing, but they both exploded late to finish an impressive 5th and 6th respectively in the driver’s standings. On July 20, Todd and Sam were winning with less than 8 percent of their assignments, but by meet end, both were winning at a near 12 percent clip. Quite a comeback.

Xample, well, Prime Xample A, gets the unofficial vote for Hawthorne horse of the meet. The mare from down under started six times under the Stickney lights and paced away with victories in each, three times besting her lifetime mark. Included in her front-end victories was a win in the $33,600 Sox Series Final.

Young and old, the harness meet at Hawthorne produced fast times and awesome performances. Life Guard On Duty missed the track record for four-year-old pacers by 2/5ths of a second when he paced in 1:48.4, getting up in the last few steps to win an exciting Invitational over Manhardt. Life Guard on Duty would get interfered with and break stride as the favorite in the Carey final, but his effort from one week earlier will not be forgotten.

Zilch, zip, zero. Despite a strike that forced us to close racing to the public, Hawthorne Race Course never missed providing live racing for all 39 of its scheduled dates. The program went on as unusual. Without the live crowds it was a surreal experience, and one we would have gladly done without, but it is an accomplishment all of us are proud of. Thank you, and see you all next summer.

Hawthorne Race Course presented live harness beginning on June 22 and concluding on August 5. Thoroughbred racing returns September 17. 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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