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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Hawthorne Racecourse (4/5/08)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
Distorted Groom and La Wildcat steal away in Sprint Stakes
In the stakes races preceding the Illinois Derby on Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course, the name of the game was front-end speed. Both Distorted Groom and La Wildcat found the top early and stayed throughout, emerging victorious in the James M. Levitch Illinois Owners Handicap and the Meafara Stakes, respectively.
The inaugural running of the Levitch turned into the Owen Rainwater show as his entrants ran one-two in the $75,000 six furlong sprint restricted to majority Illinois ownership. Rainwater owns and trains both Distorted Groom and the second place finisher, Riverson.
Jesse Lantz piloted the winner, as the two grabbed the early lead, withstood pressure throughout, and had enough to hold off his stablemate and Mighty Rule, who settled for third. The time for the race was 1:09.91.
Coach Jimi Lee, Hawthorne’s track record holder for six furlongs ran fifth as the 2-1 favorite.
“This horse likes the competition and he wants to wait for somebody,” Lantz said in the winners circle following the race. “So when I had the lead, he was going pretty easily and I knew I had a little bit left for the end.”
The entry of Distorted Groom and Riverson returned $9.20 $9.80 and $4.80.
The Meafara Stakes, run this year as an overnight stakes, was also decided in wire-to-wire fashion, this time by La Wildcat, and Hawthorne’s leading jockey Tim Thornton.
La Wildcat was hustled out of the gate by Thornton and needed an opening quarter of 21.94 to secure a contested lead. Under constant pressure from Paddy Wak Wakie down the backstretch, La Wildcat finally put away that challenger and then had just enough to hold off the 4-5 favorite, J Z Warrior to spring the upset.
The margin of victory was a neck, with Optimistic Sreva rallying late to get third money. Paddy Wak Wakie faded to fifth. The time of the race was 1:10.11.
La Wildcat returned $19.20 $4.80 and $3.60.
Hawthorne Race Course’s Thoroughbred meet concluded January 13, 2008 and will reopen Friday, March 12, 2008. Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804, gates open daily at 7 am. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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