HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
|Hawthorne Racecourse (11/8/03)
Contact: Jim Miller
Top Performances Highlight Georgeff Festival
STICKNEY, IL -- Saturday's Phil Georgeff Illinois Festival of Racing brought out some spectacular performances as six stakes winners were crowned on the day. It was a day of favorites as five of the six winners were favored in their respective races.
Illini Princess Handicap -- Julie's Prize Dominates in Stakes Record Time
In the running of the Illini Princess Handicap, R. Otto Stables, Julie's Prize posted an extremely dominating race in winning by 11¼ lengths. Trained by Anthony Mitchell, Julie's Prize settled in behind the early pace which was set by longshot Moon Shine Time as the field went through fractions of :23 2/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12 3/5. Heading into the far turn, jockey Larry Sterling Jr. decided it was time to go as Julie's Prize took off and went to the lead in the easiest way.
Cruising under the wire with an 11¼ length triumph, Julie's Prize won in stakes record time of 1:44.01. Julie's Prize returned $3.40, $2.80 and $2.20. Moon Shine Time came back $9.80 and $4.00. Samantha B. closed to run third, returning $3.00 to show. The win was Julie's Prize's fourth on the year and fifth in her career. The $51,975 top prize boosted her career earnings to $298,542.
"She's just been so solid all year. What can I say," stated trainer Anthony Mitchell. "She is going to get turned out till next year. She will be headed for South Carolina. She'll get some grass and some sun on her back and get ready for next year. As much as I have of her she has excelled and God knows what we are going to do with her next year. We have turf and dirt. We are in a win win situation."
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. was equally impressed, "I thought she'd be a little far back coming off the grass races. She took herself back a little further than I expected but I knew there was enough speed to set up for her. She was just much the best. All I had to do was hang on."
Sun Power Stakes -- Jaguar Friend Posts Game Victory
In the running of the Sun Power Stakes, Jaguar On The Run Stable's Jaguar Friend posted a very game win under jockey Randall Meier. Pressed by Matthew's Blessing through a first quarter in :22 and a half in :45 4/5, Matthew's Blessing could go on no further in the lane, but a new challenge arose as Sir Fidgity was now in contention. Jaguar Friend held well to the wire and won the Sun Power by a neck over Sir Fidgity.
Trained by Frank Springer, Jaguar Friend returned $6.20, $4.20 and $3.00. Sir Fidgity came back $8.60 and $4.20 while Iron Rogue closed late to run third at $3.20 to show.
The win was Jaguar Friend's second on his career as the $54,720 winners share boosted his career earnings to $75,520.
Jockey Randall Meier was pleased with Jaguar Friend's performance, "He's a nice colt. When I first started working him I really liked him. The first time he ran he was kind of goofing off and he was still goofing off today. He hasn't learned to focus yet. I think he wants to go further. If I would have been on the outside of the other horse I would have been back a little further. He has a lot of ability. I can't wait to ride him again."
Showtime Deb Stakes -- No Beans Solid in Victory
In the running of the Showtime Deb, Canadian invader No Beans emerged triumphant for owner John Hillier and trainer Scott Fairlie.
Settling back off the early pace set by Keep This Cat and Gold Spike, No Beans wasn't rushed as the leaders went :21 4/5 and :45 4/5 to the half. At the top of the stretch, it was anyone's race as there were five runners contending for the front. No Beans and jockey James McKnight were able to split horses with a sixteenth of a mile to go and draw off to a length victory in a final time of 1:11.83.
The win was the second on No Beans career as she returned $9.00, $6.00 and $3.80. Journey Fever moved nicely through on the inside to get up for second, paying $11.80 and $6.60 while Keep This Cat held well for third, returning $5.40 to show.
No Beans collected the winner's share of $73,365, boosting her career earnings to $128,821.
The adding of blinkers for this race may have been the key for No Beans as stated by winning jockey James McKnight, "She's a nice filly. One of the fillies who beat us in the last race is one of the better fillies in Canada. This filly showed talent her first time out. She didn't quite show it the second or third time so Scott decided to put blinkers on her. It seems like it worked. This was the first time she raced with them and she was more attentive about her business. This is a long stretch and I made the lead pretty early and she handled it. It looks like she can cover a longer distance. She got to loafing a little on the front end."
Trainer Scott Fairlie said he'll be back, "I'm definitely coming back here next year for these Illinois-bred stakes. Anytime you can run in a state bred race for a big purse, it is worth trying. She has been keeping some pretty good company in Canada. I thought we would have a good chance down here. This is probably it for her for this year."
Lightning Jet Handicap -- Bulldog George Outduels Silver Bid
In the Lightning Jet, all of the favoritism in the race went to Out of My Way, but after he stumbled badly while leaving the gate, it was anyone's race. Hooking up for a fierce speed duel were Bulldog George and Silver Bid. Flying through early fractions of :22 and :45, the two were still hooked up turning for home when Silver Bid stuck a head in front and looked to have the advantage. Skimming the rail, Bulldog George never gave in and clawed his way back to take the lead in the final 70 yards and capture the Lightning Jet by a neck in stakes record time of 1:09.50.
Bulldog George and jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. returned $6.20, $3.60 and $2.60. Silver Bid came back $4.20 and $3.20 while Classic Appeal closed to finish third, returning $4.20 to show.
The win was the fifth on the year for Bulldog George and 12th for his career as the $51,795 winner's share for the Lightning Jet boosted his career earnings to $230,805.
Jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. was impressed by Bulldog George's performance, "I thought I would sit off the pace with him a little bit but the trainer told me to go on with him. He's a game horse. The trainer didn't want me to take back and have to circle horses. He said if we get beat we get beat to just go on with it. We knew that the horse in front of us tends to pull up when he gets to the lead so I really wasn't that worried about him. He ran big."
Jimmy Wiser couldn't have asked for more from his entrant, "It's a privilege to have the kind of horse that can run and win with this kind of company. We can run at Fairmount all year and not make this kind of money. He is such a dominant horse. He was a godsend for me. We take it race by race and we always see how he comes out of the race before we plan our next stop. We plan on staying on the Illinois circuit though we did do pretty well at Keenland in his last race. Hopefully something will come up here so we can run him back here again this year."
Powerless Handicap -- Weight No Issue for Summer Mis
The only question in the Powerless Handicap was if Summer Mis would be able to tote the 127 pounds assigned to her as she spotted some in the field as much as 14 pounds. She erased that question as she went on to a game victory in the Powerless.
Breaking sharply, Summer Mis and jockey Larry Sterling Jr. went to the lead and was pressed by longshot Gracility through fractions of :22 1/5 and :45 2/5. Still together at the top of the stretch, Summer Mis began to urge to the front and raced under the wire with a 2¾ length victory in stakes record time of 1:10.48.
Summer Mis gave jockey Larry Sterling Jr., trainer Anthony Mitchell and owner Richard Otto Stables a double for the Georgeff Festival card.
Summer Mis returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40. Gracility held well to finish second, paying $7.20 and $4.20 while Cashmere Miss closed on the outside to run third and pay $4.20 to show.
The win was the fifth straight for Summer Mis, sixth on the year, and ninth for her career as the winner's share of $55,980 for the race pushed her career earnings to $414,883.
Trainer Anthony Mitchell knew Summer Mis was good enough but was worried about the weight, "She handled the weight but I do not ever want to subject her to anything like that again. We will wait and see how she comes out of this race before shipping to New York to run in the Grade II Top Flight. Then she goes home for the winter."
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. was happy as well, "She ran her normal race. Super! She struggled a little under the weight. I haven't seen a horse carry 127 since I have been riding here. I thought it was a little odd how much she had on her but I guess that was the only way they could make the race go and fair. It took its toll. Tony has done a great job with her."
Robert F. Carey II Handicap -- Wiggins Beats Older Runners
In the showpiece event of the Georgeff Festival, three-year-old Wiggins took on older runners for only the second time of his career and handled them nicely. Heading immediately for the lead, Wiggins and jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. broke sharply for lead and guided the field through fractions of :23 4/5, :47 3/5, 1:11 3/5.
Opening up in the stretch, Wiggins cruised under the wire for a two-length win in final time of 1:43.89.
Longshot Scooter Roach ran on nicely to finish second, paying $8.60 and $6.00 while Baker Road was third, returning $3.80 to show.
The win was the fifth on the year for the Pacella, Schwed, and Rizza owned runner and seventh on his career. The Anthony Granitz trainee earned $71,610 for the race and boosted his career earnings to $323,474.
Jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. knew this one was good, "Tony told me to stalk the speed but the first part of the race was kind of slow so I took advantage of the situation. When I asked him he went on with it. The first time I hit him he rebroke and the race was pretty much over. Every time I ride him he shows me more and more. I think he will get better the further he runs."
Trainer Anthony Granitz was proud of his runner as well, "Everything went unbelievably well. He broke sharp, laid right off the pace then he grabbed the lead and that was it. The horse is really developing and getting better every day. He went into this race sharp and he won like a champion. We're glad the local people got to see him again. There was a spot in Oklahoma next week for him but we decided we wanted to race him in Illinois. It is good for everyone here to see him."