|Hawthorne Racecourse news release
THE $116,000 ERWIN F. DYGERT MEMORIAL TROT
Saturday night marks not only closing night of Hawthorne's successful return to Harness racing, but it will also feature the 29th edition of the $116,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot, one of the premier Trotting events in the Midwest.
The race was named for Erwin F. Dygert, the primary force behind nighttime racing in Chicagoland, as well as the founder of Suburban Downs.
Dayan, driven by W. Myer, won the first two editions of this storied race, in 1970 and '71. In 1996, Federal Yankee, with Homer Hochstetler in the bike, set the stakes record of 1:56.2, a record in serious jeopardy in this year's renewal.
Undoubtedly, however, Speedy Crown, the winner of the 1972 renewal of this race, is the most famous on the long list of Dygert champions. This Hambletonian winner, campaigned by Howard Beissinger, later became harness racing's all-time leading sire, with numerous million-dollar winners and several different Breeder's Crown champions.
It's with great pride that we present this year's Dygert field:
DYGERT ANALYSIS (In post position order; morning line in parentheses)
1-HOCHHAUSER (6-1), with the country's leading driver, Tony Morgan, in the bike, might be getting good at the right time. He did little better than split the first four local fields he faced but in last, the first of the Dygert Eliminations, he closed well to finish second at 25-1.
Driver: Anthony Morgan Trainer: John Butenschoen
Lifetime Earnings: $198,428 Lifetime Best: 1:55.2
2-YANKEE DOUGLAS (4-1) has been sensational this year, winning four of his five starts, including the second Dygert Elimination race last week. He's had little trouble grabbing the lead from outside posts and carrying his speed the distance. He should be very tough to catch with this favorable draw.
Driver: Doug Snyder Trainer: Perry Smith
Lifetime Earnings: $350,661 Lifetime Best: 1:54.1
3-PEGASUS SPUR (3-1), with over $1,234,000 in earnings, is certainly the most accomplished member of this field. He finished second in the Hambletonian in 2001. Raced a bit dull in his Dygert prep but he's certainly far better than he showed in that race. Could prove it tonight.
Driver: Richard Stillings Trainer: Charles Stillings
Lifetime Earnings: $1,234,765 Lifetime Best: 1:54.1
4-LAVECSTER (30-1) earned over $214,000 in 2001, winning five of his 19 starts. His races so far in 2002 haven't impressed but this will only be his third start. He's certainly eligible to improve.
Driver: Brooke Nickells Trainer: Brooke Nickells
Lifetime Earnings: $217,831 Lifetime Best: 1:57.1
5-AMER I CAN (20-1) was largely ignored in his Dygert Elimination but he closed with a rush, making up over five lengths in the stretch, and missed by a mere nose. He's been having some breaking troubles this year but he's super sharp when he turns in a clean race. Earned over $270,000 last year without winning a race. Could be the upsetter.
Driver: D. R. Ackerman Trainer: Doug Ackerman
Lifetime Earnings: $384,606 Lifetime Best: 1:57.1
6-YANKEE TOPAZ (8-1) either wins or finishes out of the money. He won six of his last 19 races but showed little outside of those races. He appears to be an all or nothing proposition. If you're looking for a longshot a win bet might be in order.
Driver: Brent Holland Trainer: Dirk Simpson
Lifetime Earnings: $94,342 Lifetime Best: 1:56
7-EDDIE SPAGHETTI (15-1) displays a decent late move at times but he hasn't been having much luck against this type of company. However, if a heated early pace would develop he might be able to make full use of his good closing kick.
Driver: Roger Plante Jr. Trainer: Roger Plante Jr.
Lifetime Earnings: $107,694 Lifetime Best: 1:56.1
8-LIFES A HOLIDAY (12-1) might not be a match for Yankee Douglas on the front end but he does own good tactical speed and he could tuck in to a suck-along spot along the rail. Hasn't exactly exhibited a strong closing kick lately but he should find himself in a strong tactical position tonight.
Driver: Homer Hochstetler Trainer: Homer Hochstetler
Lifetime Earnings: $313,653 Lifetime Best: 1:55.2
9-BLASTAWAY SAHBRA (5-1) was favored in his Dygert Elimination, and he raced prominently throughout, but he just didn't have the late kick when it was needed. Many, however, fare far better after they have had a race over this track. Guessing this talented 4-year-old will be one of them.
Driver: Kurt Sugg Trainer: Roger Welch
Lifetime Earnings: $299,317 Lifetime Best: 1:54.3
10-SHEEZHOMEWARDBOUND (9-2) surprised many when she won her Dygert Elimination but this talented racemare has handled just about everything thrown at her in her career. Earned more than any in here but Pegasus Spur. Won four of her 11 starts this year, 10 of 24 in 2001. She has beaten the boys with regularity. Can again.
Driver: Dan Shelter Trainer: Dan Shelter
Lifetime Earnings: $486,525 Lifetime Best: 1:54.3