Hawthorne Racecourse (4/22/11)
Contact: Jim Miller
Look ahead to Illinois Champions Day
A big weekend of racing kicks of today with a fine 9-race card as we lead into Illinois Champions Day tomorrow. Unfortunately, the massive amount of rain and cold weather recently will keep us off the turf today. After walking the grass course Thursday, I have my fingers crossed for possibly running on the turf Saturday, but we will need a day without rain Friday to luck out.
The Saturday card for Champions Day is a tremendous card! The six Illinois stakes races all have large fields and very competitive fields as we showcase some of the 2010 state-bred champions and get our first look at the year ahead. Both of the three-year-old races are very good fields and in the older races, some claiming runners such as Denham and Distorted Groom have peaked at the right time with upset potential against stakes runners. The weather looks great for Saturday, so expect a great day of racing from top to bottom.
On Wednesday, Florent Geroux and Jozbin Santana each had riding doubles on the card. A recent surge by Santana has brought him back atop the riding standings in a tie with Tanner Riggs with 43 wins apiece. Florent Geroux continues his fine meet with 33 wins to move him to third while Tim Thornotn is 4th with 29 winners and Seth Martinez continues his tremendous meet with 25 wins.
The race for leading trainer has stayed about the same for the last month as last fall’s defending champ Joel Berndt has kept Frank Kirby at arms length. Berndt has 27 wins through Wednesday, followed by Kirby with 21 then back to Jimmy DiVito with 13 wins. In the owner’s race, Eagle Valley Farm leads with 9 wins, followed by Hondo Ranch with 8 and Midwest Thoroughbreds with 7. That is a race that will also go to the wire.
We are going to be busy with online chats for the next two days as Joe Kristufek and myself will be covering the Friday card on HorseplayerNow.com. After Friday’s races, we will be previewing the Illinois Champions Day card on Friday evening, followed by a look at Saturday’s races on Saturday afternoon. For schedule and details, go to HorseplayerNow.com.
Main Track – Sloppy ( May be upgraded depending on rain)
Scratch #5 – Toquinho
Race 6 – Off Turf – 5 ˝ Furlongs Main Track
Scratch #6 – Royal Taat (NZ)
Scratch #4 – Lil Brian Too
Race 9 – Off Turf – 1 1/16 Miles Main Track
Scratch #1a – Our Rachel
Scratch #2 – Veiled Frost
Scratch #2b – Cerada’s Image
Scratch #4 – Ginny’s Classic
Scratch #9 – Southern Runner
Scratch #10 – Bellerive
Hawthorne Race Course is in its 102nd year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne races Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in April. First post daily is 1:30 pm with Friday’s first post at 2:35 pm. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.