|Hawthorne Racecourse daily notes (3/16/03)
Contact: Jim Miller
Ides of March Stakes Recap, Contreras wins first, ChiTown Update
Fight For Ally Takes Ides of March Stakes
The always strong connections of Owner Frank Calabrese, trainer Wayne Catalano, and new Chicago teammate, jockey Curt Bourque, got together to grab a win in the Ides of March Stakes Saturday. The $40,000 added event for older horses had a strong field, which included the likes of Meadowminer and Fighting Indians, along with speedball Stormy Impact.
As the field broke from the gate, it was Stormy Impact who was immediately to the front. A quarter of a mile into the race, he had a two-length lead over Meadowminer, as Fight for Ally sat third through the :24.59 quarter. After a half in 48.26 and three-quarters in 1:12.79, it was still Stormy Impact up a length, but Fight for Ally had closed to second and Fighting Indians was moving into third on the outside.
Mid-stretch it was a two horse race as Stormy Impact held well over Fight For Aly and the late-closing Fighting Indians. At the wire though, Fight For Ally had gotten a neck in front for the victory, followed by Stormy Impact and 3½ lengths further to Fighting Indians.
"This horse was much the best," stated Fight For Ally's jock Curt Bourque. "We left there running, I put him right where I wanted to be, and turning for home I picked him up and he went to running. He's a nice little horse."
Fight for Ally covered the 1 1/16 miles on the fast track in 1:47.53. He paid $6.60, $4.20, $2.80. Stormy Impact returned $5.80 & $3.40 while Fighting Indians paid $2.60 to show.
Jockey Cruz Contreras rides home first winner
Hawthorne's new apprentice rider, Cruz Contreras rode his first career winner on Friday as he guided home Kick It In Gear to a win in the day's first race. Contreras, 22, got into the business as a hotwalker and groom in Mexico. When he was 15, he started riding and came to Chicago this spring. He has been a freelance exercise boy for trainers such as James Childers, Jeff Lynn and Tom Tomillo. He plans to continue riding in Chicago through the summer.
Just six days into the ChiTown Challenge, the majority of the field is gone. In the on-site contest, only 10 of the 122 that started remain. Those 10 are left to compete for the 125,000 Club Hawthorne Points as a top prize.
On-line, only 149 of the original 1572 contestants are left to play for the $5,000 top prize.