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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/29/09)

Contact: Ron Uchman (708) 780-3700

Fort Prado to Bid Farewell in Illinois Festival

Saturday marks the return of the popular Illinois Festival of Racing at Hawthorne Race Course. This much-anticipated event is comprised of six races, each carrying a purse of $100,000. The races are restricted to runners that have been registered, conceived and/or foaled in the state of Illinois.

With solid fields from top to bottom, the focus will be on the final race of millionaire Fort Prado. The eight-year-old horse has won 18 times from 58 career starts for earnings of over $1.2 million. The multiple graded stakes winner is cross-entered in both the Lightning Jet Handicap and the Buck’s Boy Handicap, and a final decision of which race he will run in will be made Friday morning.

A brief look at each race, and the fields for the Illinois Festival of Racing:


The 9th running of Powerless Handicap, for fillies and mares at six furlongs is first up. Nicks, owned by Carson Springs Farm, Arbaway Farm, and Ken Meeker, won last year’s edition of this race. This Christine Janks charge has been freshened since July but she’s done well off of layoffs in the past and has always shown a definite affinity for this racetrack.

6 Furlongs | Fillies and Mares | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000

No. Horse Jockey Trainer Weight M/L
1 Cruise Emigh C A Janks Christine K 113 7-2
2 Nicks Ocampo I Janks Christine K 122 3-1
3 Taylor Madison Karlsson I Dini Mike 116 6-1
4 Ripe Tomato Meier B Brueggemann Roger 117 6-1
5 Magnetic Miss Compton P Broussard Joseph E 120 4-1
6 Secret Kin Perez E E Block Chris M 119 5-2


Two-time Illinois Princess winner, Stop a Train, is apparently retired but we did get the 2008 Illinois 3-year-old Filly of the Year, Apple Martini. This Chris Block trainee, owned by Virginia Tarra Trust, never won here but she did finish third in this race last year and she did take the $89,000 Lincoln Heritage at Arlington the last time she met state breds. She could be poised to take the 32nd edition of this race.

1 1/16 Miles | Fillies and Mares | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000

No. Horse Jockey Trainer Weight M/L
1 Home's the Best Wade L Williamson Brian 122 5-2
2 Tour d'Aura Ocampo I Yanez Moises R 115 7-2
3 Labar Geroux F Lindsay Rick 116 5-1
4 Stardust Raj Karlsson I Goodridge Ronald O 110 8-1
5 Ally's Little Sis Compton P Zavash Kerry P 114 8-1
6 Apple Martini Perez E E Block Chris M 118 4-1
7 Lakeaway Castanon J L Block Chris M 114 9-2


For 2-year-old fillies, the 14th running of the Showtime Deb is a tough event to handicap. None of the fillies in here have won more than one race and one is still a maiden. Shake N Quake, trained by the red-hot Jim DiVito and owned by Robert Neumeyer, will probably be favored off a good second-place finish in the Prairie Meadows Debutante, but she’s not facing an easy task.

6 Furlongs | Fillies | 2 Year Olds Stakes | Purse: $100,000

No. Horse Jockey Trainer Weight M/L
1 Groom Chaser Compton P Broussard Joseph E 115 8-1
2 Pretty Tipsy Ocampo I Gulick James M 115 6-1
3 Run Mama Beare Run Sukie D G Hellman Rusty 115 12-1
4 Shake N Quake Sanchez D DiVito James P 115 3-1
5 Thats Whatshesaid Smith A E Gulick James M 115 7-2
6 Kel's Dreamer Meier R LaMew Brian L 113 8-1
7 Cupid's Best Karlsson I Catalano Wayne M 115 5-1
8 Speak Peace Emigh C A Scherbenske Percy E 115 10-1
9 Sweet Lemon Chello Castanon J L Merritt Lisa L 115 8-1


The 13th running of the Buck’s Boy Handicap features another seeking to defend his championship. The speedy Broussard charge Stonehouse led every step of the way in last year’s edition. This Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich-owned horse has plenty of company on the front end, however, and he’s going to have to hold off the late runs by many of his rivals, including the venerable Fort Prado. This is reportedly the last race for Fort Prado, who has amassed earnings in excess of $1,200,000. His connections would love to see him go out with one more victory.

1 1/16 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000

No. Horse Jockey Trainer Weight M/L
1 Devil Me Not Smith A E Scherbenske Percy E 110 10-1
2 All in Slew Thornton T Gulick James M 114 10-1
3 Stonehouse Compton P Broussard Joseph E 124 2-1
4 Bill of Bills Hernandez R M Schwan Emmagene K 114 12-1
5 Last Demand Ocampo I Williamson Brian 113 8-1
6 Sundae Slew Sanchez D Scherbenske Percy E 113 12-1
7 He's Bonafide Perez E E Robertson Hugh H 112 6-1
8 Fort Prado Castanon J L Block Chris M 120 4-1
9 Racing Bran Emigh C A Wiggins Lon 115 5-1


This six-furlong event for 2-year-old colts and geldings, is another race where none have won more than one. From a pedigree standpoint, Team Block’s Striking Hight, trained by Chris Block, would seem to hold an advantage and he did win his only start but he’s had only the one start. It’s quite possible that he’ll be vulnerable in this one.

6 Furlongs | Open | 2 Year Olds Stakes | Purse: $100,000

No. Horse Jockey Trainer Weight M/L
1 Striking Hight Castanon J L Block Chris M 116 8-1
2 My Time to Star Ocampo I Romans Dale 116 9-2
3 Boston Outlaw Pitty C D Mendoza Carmelo 116 6-1
4 Officer McNeal La Sala J Catalano Wayne M 116 6-1
5 Bless This Wade L Gulick James M 116 10-1
6 Doubt Riggs T Wainwright John C 116 10-1
7 Royal Express Compton P Broussard Joseph E 116 4-1
8 Rich City Dude Emigh C A Janks Christine K 116 12-1
9 Roarin Missile Sanchez D Mokry Michael J 116 10-1
10 Devient Behavior Thornton T Hellman Rusty 116 8-1


This could be the toughest race on the card. This six-furlong race, for runners three and up, features many past local stakes winners. Fort Prado is cross-entered in this race. However, he might not even go off as one of the favorites, if this is where they choose to run him. Scarlet Stable’s Mighty Rule, Roger Brueggemann the trainer, was pegged as the lukewarm morning-line favorite. He’s been victorious is five of his 11 local races. But, they might have to catch Shrewd Operator. He finished second in his two local starts but he simply dominated in his last at Arlington and he’s been working nothing but local bullets ever since. Plus, High Expectations might not be in the best form of his career but he did win this race last year off similar form and Christine Janks always seems to have him dead fit for these Illinois stakes days.

6 Furlongs | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000

No. Horse Jockey Trainer Weight M/L
1 Carson's Hawk Sukie D G Domenosky Tammy 114 15-1
2 Southern Vision Wade L Mullins Scott D 117 12-1
3 Last Wompus Smith A E Scherbenske Percy E 112 15-1
4 Shrewd Operator Perez E E Block Chris M 117 5-1
5 Last Gran Standing Ocampo I Williamson Brian 116 12-1
6 Fort Prado Castanon J L Block Chris M 121 9-2
7 River Bear Thornton T Hellman Rusty 118 6-1
8 Mighty Rule Ferrer J C Brueggemann Roger 118 4-1
9 High Expectations Emigh C A Janks Christine K 120 10-1
10 Tripper's Cart Cosme E Manley Steve 113 12-1
11 Big Rushlet Karlsson I Brueggemann Roger 117 6-1


Just a reminder…Starting Monday, November 2nd, Cicero Avenue will be closed just north of the I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) exit. It is scheduled to remain closed for six days. Please make your travel plans accordingly.




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