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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/22/11)

Contact: Ron Uchman
(708) 780-3700


It was expected that the Illinois Festival of Racing would produce a steady stream of favorites, most of them odds-on, but it turned out to be almost entirely the opposite. Only the Powerless Handicap produced projected results with favored Third Chance romping at short odds and Peyote Patty, who had opened as the favorite, taking the Illini Princess.


The Illini Princess, the first race of the Illinois Festival of Racing, seemed to be wide open but one of the more logical runners won.

Content to lay off the speed duel of Seans Silverdancer and Catalina Way in the early going, Timothy J. Keeley’s Peyote Patty powered to the lead at the top of the stretch and drew clear while shifting to the inside. She won by three and a half lengths.

Jitterbug Blues, who had raced right behind Peyote Patty early, also came on late to grab second, a half length ahead of pacesetter Seans Silverdancer, who held on to finish third.

Winning rider Tim Thornton, “I used to ride Seans Silverdancer and I knew she didn’t like to relax. Plus, she was on the inside with Catalina Way right to her outside. I was kind of licking my chops when I saw that. Peyote Patty does like the lead but I’ve gotten her to relax in the past. But, she’s always been the speed of the race and we didn’t have to do that in this one.

“She finished strongly, she always does.

I’ve been getting on her since she worked her first quarter. I was a little concerned about her on this track but she did break her maiden here. She always handled the dirt and worked well over it but she wasn’t quite getting there as a 2-year-old. She did run well on it she just didn’t learn how to win on it. But, now that she did, she might not stop.”

They set fast fractions of :23.93, :47.37, 1:12.70, 1:39.70, and got the mile and a sixteenth on the fast dirt track in 1:47.09

E.T. Baird, 3rd on Seans Silverdancer: "I never could get a breather."

Eddie Perez, unplaced on favored Dundalk Dust: "She didn't try today."

Florent Geroux, 2nd on Jitterbug Blues: "My filly ran good, she ran huge and everyone's happy."

Peyote Patty earned $64,800 to boost her career earnings to $355,034

Peyote Patty paid $6.40, $4.40, and $3.00. Jitterbug Blues paid $5.80 and $3.60. Seans Silverdancer paid $3.20 to show.


Most everybody, including whoever hammered him late in the win pool, thought that Twelve Hundred was going to be an easy winner in Saturday’s Sun Power Stakes but his chances might have been a bit compromised when he broke a little tardily. He had to work pretty hard to get to the lead, which he did near the upper stretch, but the effort of getting there cost him dearly and he came up empty late.

However, that fast and contested pace set things up perfectly for the late-running Sweet Luca, giving trainer Chris Block his second straight stakes victory for the day.

They covered six furlongs in 1:11.86 after fractions of :21.69, :45.64, and :58.38.

Chris Block, “When he broke his maiden I told owner Ed Fortino that we should try this stake. Get him over here on the dirt, work him a couple of times. He worked good, he wasn’t flashy by any means. I told him that there would be plenty of pace to aim at, so just let him settle. I told Eddie to just kick him into gear and to see what happens. He’s come with every race but I was a little frustrated with him. Eddie tried once to get him to switch leads but you don’t want to keep trying down the lane because you’ll take away their momentum. Had he gone over to his right lead it might have been a little bit easier for him, though I couldn’t predict that for sure. I love to see horses come on their right lead. But, he is still green and I’m hoping that he’ll continue to get better.”

Sweet Luca got up late to win by a half length over Feels Like Flying, the second choice in the wagering who was one and a quarter length ahead of Twelve Hundred who hung on for third.

Israel Ocampo, “I had a perfect trip. They went a little too fast for him early on. He didn’t want to switch leads but when he finally did late he gave me an extra burst.”

Francisco Giles, beaten favorite Twelve Hundred “He broke a little slow. I had to use him to get him into position. He just got a little tired at the end.”

Sweet Luca earned $66,480 and now has $94,734 in career earnings.

Sweet Luca paid $31.40, $9.00, and $3.00. Feels Like Flying paid $6.60 and $2.40. Twelve Hundred returned $2.10.


Another favorite failed to make an impact in the six-furlong Showtime Deb. Favored Aviyah Shines did press the early pace but she was finished after a half and wound up last.

But, yet again, a heated early pace benefited closers. Shelbi Catalano’s Class Break, trained by Wayne Catalano, dropped well back early, started moving well on the turn, angled six wide at the top of the stretch, and managed to grab the lead just after the sixteenth pole, holding on to win by a length. Late running Sweet de Baran, the longest priced-runner on the board, also came wide in the stretch to get up for second. Remembermealways, who had the lead in the stretch, faded to third.

Winning rider Florent Geroux, “Everything went well. There was plenty of pace so I was able to just sit and relax until it came time to run. I breezed her last week. She went nice and easy, five-eighths in about 1:03. I was pretty confident today with all the pace. I think that she’ll run even longer.”

Tim Thornton, 3rd on Remembermealways: "She tried her best. She gave me all she had and got a little tired the last sixteenth."

Chris Emigh, Dolly Peach: "She kind of stumbled out of the gate and was a little rough on the backside. We got through on the rail turning for home, but then she flattened out."

Eddie Perez, 2nd on Sweet de Baran: "She was the best second, she ran hard. She was jumping the dirt a little bit, but then she took off."

Class Break earned $67,260, giving her $97,147 in career earnings.

They went six furlongs in 1:13.71 after fractions of :21.87, :46.07, and :59.63.

Class Break paid $13.00, $5.80, and $4.00. Sweet de Baran paid $30.80 and $14.60. Remembermealways returned $4.60 to show.


It had been a dismal day for favorites going into the six furlong Powerless Handicap but Third Chance, owned by Ron Magers. Roe Conn, Robert Marcocchio, and Russell Scurto and trained by James Divito, lived up to her low odds and made short work of the field, beating a talented group of older rivals in a very strong time. They whisked through fractions of :22.30, :45.85, :57.80, with a final time of 1:10.80.

She broke on top but allowed Cityrap to take the early lead while she raced in close proximity. But, she cut into the lead on the far turn, grabbed the lead coming out of it, and won under steady handling. She drew off to a six and a quarter length victory while late runners Wild Hope and Kathleen L came on late to grab second and third.

Francisco Giles on Third Chance, “This was the first time I rode her. She tries very hard. We were right behind Cityrap and had to wait to make our move. But, when I asked her, it was our turn.”

Ron Magers, co-owner Third Chance, “We asked a little too much of her in the spring. She was a little overmatched. But, like her grandmother Lemhi Go, she’s really come into her own as a late 3-year-old. Her grandmother did the same thing. We had a wonderful year with her grandmother as a 4-year-old and we’re hoping we have the same kind of year with Third Chance.”

Tanner Riggs, “We had a pretty good trip. She was getting a little kickback but, like always, she tried very hard.”

“She’s training very well, “ said Magers. “We’re going down to Florida after this. We’ll see if she can hook some of the big kids now.”

Third Chance, in her third chance at Hawthorne, earned $68,040. She has now earned $265,947 in her career.

Third Chance paid $3.00, $2.60, and $2.10. Wild Hope returned $3.20, $2.40, Kathleen L brought back $3.80 to show.


Rider Francisco Giles picked up his second stakes victory of the day on Four Left Feet in the Lightning Jet Handicap at six furlongs on the main track. Trailing the field early through strong fractions of :21.80, :45.34, and :57.66 they started making a move coming out of the turn, were in fourth with an eighth to go, and got up to pass River Bear late to win by a length in a final time of 1:10.39. River Bear tracked the pace early, took the lead in midstretch, but was unable to sustain his drive. Bowman’s Secret earned the show dough.

Favored Shrewd Operator never got to the lead and faded to sixth after pressing the early pace.

Four Left Feet is owned by Carson Springs Farm, Ken Meeker, Phillip Cooper, and Letto Thoroughbreds and trained by Christine Janks.

Francisco Giles, winning rider of Four Left Feet, “He didn’t break all that well but then he relaxed. We were still pretty far back at the top of the stretch but I eased him out, he changed leads, and took off.”

Danush Sukie, 2nd on River Bear: "I had a perfect trip, he got a little tired at the end coming off that layoff. I thought we had it for awhile but..."

Eddie Perez, on beaten favorite Shrewd Operator: "My horse ran good, but he doesn't like the dirt much. He runs better on Polytrack."

Four Left Feet earned $67,320. He has amassed $127,095 in career earnings. She paid $31.40, $9.40, and $5.60. River Bear paid $4.80 and $3.40. Bowman’s Secret brought back $6.40 to show.


In the final event of the Illinois Festival of Racing, at a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt, another favorite was destined to be an also ran. Color Me Blue finished third after making a run at the leaders. But, price shot Big Looie came through with flying colors, giving trainer Christine Janks her second straight stakes victory on the card. S. D. Brilie LP’s Big Looie tracked the early pace in second place, moved to collar early leader Hydro Power at the quarter pole and ran on to a two-length victory under steady urging.

Israel Ocampo, “I had the perfect trip. The instructions were to lay up close and the horse helped me a lot by doing that. Turning for home I had plenty left in the tank and he just kept going. This was the first time I rode him but I did work him in the mud the other day. They weren’t sure if they were going to run him short or long but, thank god, they ran him long. They made the right choice.

Chris Emigh, 2nd on Racing Bran: "I thought I was going to be able get there, he tried hard. The other horse had a little too much. No excuses, I'm happy with the way he ran."

Tim Thornton, 3rd on favorite Color Me Blue: "I thought I was going to win pretty easy in the middle of the turn, but turning for home he never really fired, the other horses ran on. He didn't take the bit up and go on the way I expected him to."

Big Looie’s payday was $66,180 and boosted his career earnings to $257,980. He paid $14.40, $6.80, and $3.80. Racing Bran got up for second and paid $5.80 and $2.80. It was another length and a quarter back to Color Me Blue who returned $2:10.

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

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