Hawthorne Racecourse (10/13/11)
Contact: Jim Miller
Still fast and firm at Hawthorne
Well, we saw the first rain we have seen in two weeks, but fortunately it has been widely scattered thus far. I took a look at the track and the turf at 10:00 am and the main track was in great shape and was fast while the turf needed the rain and is still firm. Hopefully we avoid any showers throughout the day and we are able to stick with those conditions for our nine-race card.
Thus far this has been a meet dominated by jockey Florent Geroux. While Geroux only has a single second and third place finish to his record from 41 mounts, he knows how to find the winner’s circle, winning 12 races already on the meet. His three-bagger yesterday put him 5 ahead of Eddie Perez and Julio Felix early in this fall meet. For trainers, the meet has been an even start for many with Roger Brueggemann on top with 5 wins, followed by Joel Berndt and Moises Yanez with 4 apiece. The spring meet's leading owner, Midwest Thoroughbreds, currently leads the owner standings with 3 victories.
The main track continues to play very evenly and has produced many large payouts thus far for the fall meet. We have had many carryovers and today we get a pair of carryovers in the Pick 6 ($3,911) and the Pick 5 ($6,816).
Checking in on the Survivor Contest, we are only through 4 days, and from the initial 2,619 contestants that began in Survivor, only 79 remain! From those 79, only 2 people have correctly selected a winner in each of those cards. We will see just how long the contest goes.
Yesterday we drew the field for the Grade III $200,000 TVG Hawthorne Derby and the field is excellent for the Saturday feature. The likely favorite in the Hawthorne Derby is Willcox Inn from the barn of Mike Stidham. The winner of the Grade II American Derby this summer at Arlington, Willcox Inn was a close 4th in the Grade I Secretariat in his last start. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has a fine one in Breathless Sorm as jockey Paco Lopez looks for another stakes win following his Hawthorne Gold Cup win last week aboard Headache. Breathless Storm has won two in a row including the Jersey Derby in his last. Trainer Mike Maker sent out Headache in last week’s Gold Cup and this week he has graded stakes winner Derby Kitten in the Hawthorne Derby. Solid on turf or dirt, Derby Kitten recently won the Ontario Derby at Woodbine in his last start. Overall, a great field of 10 is assembled for the Hawthorne Derby which will go as the 8th race on the Saturday card.
Today I’m looking forward to our Jim Versus competition as two of my favorite people from the track will join me. Christina Bialek and Joe Bunzol both defeated me last year and are back for another go round. Looking at our selections, we agree quite a bit today, so there will be only a few races to sort everything out.
Main Track – Fast
Turf – Firm
Hawthorne Race Course opens for live racing on Saturday, October 1 and races live through Saturday December 31. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, racing Wednesday-Sunday. Live racing will also take place on Monday, December 26. First post daily is 1:35 pm. On Fridays through November 25, first post will be 3:00 pm. Hawthorne Race Course is located in Stickney IL at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. For information on live racing or groups at Hawthorne Race Course, contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700 or visit Hawthorne online at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.