After years of being denied a harness meet by the IRB, Hawthorne resumes it harness racing tradition by default with the bankruptcies of Balmoral Park. To commemorate the return of the standardbreds, I have handicapped the initial 10 race slate.
Team Allard has headed out to the Midwest to try their luck at Hawthorne while Joe Anderson returns to his old stomping grounds; it will be interesting to see how they do. Something to keep in mind is with the last thoroughbred race being contested on January 2, there was little time to convert the track over so it may not have fully settled. With the short turn around, there was no opportunity for these horses to qualify at Hawthorne so we will be seeing everyone making their first appearance over the oval.
Just a note, Hawthorne is uncoupling entries with common ownership so you may see the same owner with two horses in the same race such as in race 7.
Here are the selections:
1st Pace - $5,000; $5,000 Claiming
1 Cool Like That (S. Allard, 5-2) - Nice qua at Monti. Only concern is dropping 50% in price. Wins or finishes up the track.
5 BC's Bad Cat (Leonard, 15-1) - Tried to wire field and paid price. Look for a trip which puts him in race. Upset chance.
10 Major Male (Smolin, 9-2) - Used the passing lane to win last; steps up.
2 Another Beauty (Widger, 10-1) - Won non-winners claiming in last start and move up.
2nd Pace - $5,000; Non-winners of 1PM
1 Ocaptain Mycaptain (Leonard, 2-1) - Close second from post 10. Draws rail, must consider.
2 HTH Lynn Roy (Carpenter, 6-1) - Needs to get away near front to factor in. Drops from nw2 claimer.
4 Trixsen Gram (Loney, 7-2) - Figures to ride rail; must get away quickly.
5 Fox Valleyrichrokr (Widger, 5-1) - Used twice in last. Share with trip.
3rd Pace - $4,000; $4,000 Claiming NW (State owned or bred)
5 Bell Valley Tiger (Carpenter, 3-1) - Just missed in last and drops down to non-winners. Logical choice.
7 Richess Nestor (R Warren, 9-2) - Drops back to competitive class. May land share.
1 Darin Skippie (Seekman, 15-1) - Toss last. Expect to take advantage of rail.
9 Dunside Art (Widger, 4-1) - Drops. Wait for inside post.
4th Pace - $4,000; NW $1,000 Last 5 Starts (State owned or bred)
6 Heavenly Knox (Hiteman, 8-1) - Been off form but highest money earner in 2015. Minor upset chance.
8 Powerful Pilot (Widger, 2-1) - Public fave drops down but not worth a play at 2-1.
2 Memory King (Carpenter, 6-1) - Threat from inside post. Don't ignore.
3 Tim's Finale (Wilfong, 15-1) - Went overland route in last and finished 3rd. Must play in exotics.
5th Pace - $5,500; Non-winners of 2PM
3 Always Kenzer (Warren, 5-1) - Just missed in last and takes drop.
7 Eddie Eddie Eddie (Widger, 8-1) - Better post gives him a fighting chance.
1 Parklane Indy (Leonard, 9-2) - Winner of two straight moves out of claiming ranks. Could win it all if top picks falter..
8 Bayside Tequilla (Hiteman, 12-1) - Drops but moves out. Share with a trip.
6th Pace - $6,000; Non-winners of 3PM or $12,500 Lifetime
8 Lotta Richess (Seekman, 15-1) - Steps up off 2 move victory. Looking for upset here.
5 Party Falls (Carpenter, 3-1) - Winner of last; been consistent. Figures to compete for victory.
4 Sir Arthur D (Leonard, 15-1) - Figures to look for trip. Lands share with good trirp.
10 Say It Aint So (Stalbaum, 5-1) - Post hurts chances for victory. Must use in exotics.
7th Trot - $10,000; Winners Over $8,000 in 2015 Handicap
7 KY Lucky (Curtin, 15-1) - Won in cheaper but looks like has some back class. Going for upset.
2 Hudson Jesse (Leonard, 6-1) - Winner of 3 out of last 4. Can win it all.
8 Smoother Ride (Allard, 5-2) - Shipper drops in class. Likely in the money.
5 JB Oui Oui (Warren, 4-1) - Anderson trainee ships in off a win. Don't leave out of exotics.
8th Pace - $8,000; Non-winners of $6,000 Last 5 Starts or 6PM Lifetime
4 A Stitch In Time (Allard, 3-1) - Just missed at Meadowlands. Should find these slightly easier.
2 Uncle Bud (Hiteman, 15-1) - Couldn't capitalize on cover trip. Look to see more aggressive drive.
10 Company Man (R Warren, 15-1) - Returns from Canada and back in same class. Possible share with trip.
1 Somestarsomewhere (Widger, 8-1) - Fits class like a glove. Lands share.
9th Pace - $9,000; FM Non-winners of $8,000 Last 5 Starts or 8PM Lifetime
9 Bittersweet Dreams (Curtin, 8-1) - Ships in from New York and drops down. Note 1 month layoff.
8 Just By Design (Leonard, 8-1) - Massive effort in last. Similar effort can win it here.
1 All Pink (Carpenter, 10-1) - Winner of last two deserves a look in this higher class.
3 Lovethewayyoulook (Wilfong, 3-1) - Hoosier horse won Chi-town debut. May improve this rating.
10th Pace - Non-winners of $2,500 Last 5 Starts
9 Skim The Top (Harmon, 8-1) - Huge class drop. Wins or up the track.
2 Montero Blue Chip (Widger, 5-1) - Expect another wire-to-wire attempt. Consider.
4 Charlie B (Thompson, 9-2) - Rosecroft shipper makes things interesting here.
7 Jackson Berlow (Warren, 7-2) - Tough effort in last. Repeat lands share.
3 Rejoiceandbeglad (Carpenter, 8-1) - 8yo altered son of Cole Muffler fits class. Include in Jackpot High Five.