Hawthorne Wednesday card proved quite revealing

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Ted Black

January 29th, 2016

Most midweek standardbred cards often leave a lot to be desired, but the Wednesday card at Hawthorne Race Course near Chicago offered race goers and those watching from various other venues and simulcast sites a chance to see several youthful pacers begin an early ascent to the top classes.

Wednesday's opener at Hawthorne was the first of four divisions of the second round of the Whizzer White series for pacers that had not won two races or earned $10,000 as of December 1, 2015. Two of the opening round winners were on hand for this first split, but much of the attention was on one of them.

Over Friskie (Tom Tetrick) had won his opening round division by 15 lengths in 1:54.4 and was immediately tabbed as the future book favorite to sweep the series. In the second round on Wednesday he was made the tepid 6-5 favorite from post eight, while fellow first round winner Pillage And Burn (Casey Leonard) was the solid 8-5 second choice. Party Falls, a clear second to Pillage And Burn the first week, was the 6-1 third choice.

When the gate folded in the first division, longshot Eddie Eddie Eddie left alertly to gain command from along the rail, while Big moon Rising, Party Falls and Over Friskie were also away in good order. Party Falls gained command past the opener in 30 second flat then Over Friskie continued his extended bid for the lead and finally cleared to the top before reaching the halfway station in 57.1.

Over Friskie continued to show the way through the far turn, but Party Falls was not about to let him get away. Over Friskie owned a length lead at the head of the lane, but Party Falls rallied inside of him and the two crossed under the wire almost inseparably. In fact, they proved to be inseparable as Over Friskie and Party Falls were declared dead-heat winners in 1:55. Pillage And Burn rallied well to get third.

Two races later in the second Whizzer White split, much of the focus was on Prince Bayard (Travis Seekman) who won his opening leg by two lengths for trainer Catrina Rucker. Prince Bayard brushed to command before reaching the half in 57.4, but John Jay (Kyle Husted) overcame a first over journey and then drew clear in the lane to a three-length score in 1:55. The three-year-old Dali gelding trained by Ronnie Roberts looms a series contender.

Then one race later in the third Whizzer White split, Mr Pockpocket (Leonard) posted a modest 5-2 upset when he rallied from midpack first over to score in 1:55.4. The four-year-old Richess Hanover gelding trained by Terry Leonard had been second to Prince Bayard the week before, but overhauled 3-5 choice One To Draw To (Ridge Warren) in the lane. One To Draw To settled for third on this night and has been the beaten favorite in each of his two prelims.

Then one race later in the fourth division of the Whizzer White, Macho Burbon (Robert Smolin) benefited from patient handling and a ground-saving journey throughout to nail favored Lyons Jimmydean in the lane for a length score in 1:55.1. A four-year-old Sportsmaster gelding trained by Wiliam Crone of St Elmo Hero fame, Macho Burbon notched his first win in the series and Lyons Jimmydean settled for runner-up honors for the second time after being thumped by Over Friskie the week before.

Then one race later in the lone division of the second leg of the Suburban Downs series for pacers that had not won five races or $25,000 lifetime as of last December 1, Kolt Power (Dale Hiteman) brushed to command early and led throughout to score by a neck over Why Ask Why in 1:54.4. One week earlier Kolt Power had rallied to finish third as Why Ask Why prevailed by a length in 1:54.3. Valiente Stride (Leonard) rallied first over to finish third and merits respect moving forward. He was the beaten favorite in one of the two divisions the week before.