by Al Cimaglia
July 20, 2017
Hawthorne will begin their Thursday-Sunday stretch of harness action with a 10-race card. There will be a .50 Pick 5 starting in Race 1 and a .50 Pick 4 will roll in Race 3. The Late .50 Pick 4 sequence with a $10,000 guarantee will be my focus, and it kicks-off in Race 7.
The meets leading driver is Casey Leonard who has lofty win percentage of 24.2%. Leonard is credited with 94 wins, which is 26 more than Mike Oosting (68 wins). The leading trainer through 7/19 is Mike Brink who has won 22 races, or 18.49% of his 119 starts. Nelson Willis is second in the trainer's standings winning 19 times in 168 starts.
Through 40 race dates the #6 post has accounted for the most wins. Although having seven fewer races than the #1-#5 post positions the #6 starting spot has 64 wins in 427 starts. Next most is the #1 post with 56 wins, followed by the #2 post with 53 wins. Favorites have won 190 of 434 races, which is a 43.78 winning percentage.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
1-Fox Valley Eli-Last two were better and will consider chances from rail with 2 chalks starting outside.
3-Heaven For Sure-Husted's choice can close well but needs a good steer to gain striking position.
5-Gio Sage-Moves up after a nice win. Appears back in good form after a sick scratch on 6-22, will use at 12- ML.
10-JD Jay Dee-Comes back after a tour at the fairs. Post doesn't help but is sharp and Leonard is back aboard.
1-Pondas Cutelildude-Speed seems to be there but needs to mind manners. If stays on stride, should be in the hunt.
5-Bermuda Beach Boy-9/5 chalk has burned a lot of money in last 2. Tough to leave out but won't dismiss others.
8-Et Tu Brute-Got on the engine and rolled to the 3/4's in 1:26 and faded. Usually tries, now looking for a different strategy.
3-Skyway Fireball-Gets post relief and Lackey should be able to work a trip, consider at a square price.
4-Tiny Jim-Still looking for 1st win of '17 but gets class relief and is Leonard's choice.
7-Trail Blazer-Dropped to this level and took a picture, consider for a repeat performance.
7-Allaboutme Hanover-Has enough speed to hang around and upset the #9 if everything falls into place.
9-Bettor's Promise-Program chalk drops to a more comfortable level. Looks like a major player even from this post.
.50 Pick 4
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