|Hawthorne Racecourse daily notes (11/7/02)
Contact: Jim Miller
PHIL GEOGEFF ILLINOIS FESTIVAL OF RACING
Sunshine, warm temperatures, and six stakes races. It doesn't get much better than this. The annual Phil Georgeff Illinois Festival of Racing is on tap. Six stakes races, each carrying a purse of $100,000, comprise the Festival. They will go as races four through nine on Saturday's card.
Things start off with the Showtime Deb, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies. Cash the Flash, the unbeaten Richard Hazelton charge, owned by Ben Barnow, has been installed as the lukewarm morning-line favorite but her chances could be compromised by the outside post. It might be worth checking out Moon Shine Time, also unbeaten in two starts, breaking from the two hole.
The Sun Power, for 2-year-old colts and geldings, also at six furlongs, might be a bit easier to handicap. Asiel Stable's Shandy, is two for three. He beat open company in last at Prairie Meadows. All the speed in here should set up well for his good closing move.
Saturday's Powerless Stakes is a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. Tejano Honey is probably the one to beat but, again, there are no real standouts in here. Capitol View paid over $20 winning this race last year. Any might surprise in here.
The speedy Tic N Tin could go off as the slight favorite in the Lightning Jet. He managed to win six of his 13 starts so far this year. However, he'll have to deal with defending champ Magic Doe. Plus Out Of My Way has demonstrated a knack for upsetting this kind of field. The pace sets up for him and trainer Gene Cilio often rules the roost on these Illinois stakes days.
They stretch it out in the Illini Princess. All eyes will be on two-time Illinois Horse of the Year, Two Item Limit. She can't be measured by her poor finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff in her last start. She was facing the best ladies in the world and her chances were compromised when she got checked on the first turn. Plus, the winner of that race, Azeri, might have won the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic on that day and she has a good chance at winning Horse of the Year honors. It's hard to picture this filly losing a state-bred stakes race.
Chicago Six won the Illinois Coronet last year but it's anybody's race in 2002. Baker Road was named morning-line favorite at 9-2 but the post time favorite could be any of three or four different individuals. San Pedro was favored in this race last year but had to settle for second place. Maybe today he'll have his revenge.