The rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the fans at Hawthorne on Friday night (July 20) as a combination of stakes action and exotic animal races filled the evening.
The stakes focus of the evening was a pair of divisions for leg two of the Incredible Tillie Stakes. The Incredible Tillie is for Illinois-bred, 2-year-old pacing fillies as each division had a field of seven.
Race one was the first division as Fox Valley Halsey was the favorite with leading driver Casey Leonard in the bike. Getting away for the lead was Yankee Joanie and Ryan Anderson as they were just in front of the favorite through the quarter in :29.3 over a 'good' track. After passing the half in :59 and three-quarters in 1:28.2, Yankee Joanie led the field into the stretch.
Asked to go after the leader was Fox Valley Halsey but she made a break into the lane, leaving Perch and Kyle Wilfong to take up the chase. Midstretch, Perch tipped out and was able to catch Yankee Joanie in the shadow of the wire, winning in 1:58.2. Fox Valley Halsey recovered from the break to finish third. Perch is trained by Jay Garrels.
After race one was the camel race as drivers Casey Leonard, Juan Franco, and Richard S. Finn were joined by Olivia Goethals of Agency 360. A quick start for Leonard was good enough as he guided his steed to victory. Juan Franco was a close second followed by Goethals and Finn.
The juvenile pacers were back at it in race three as Brienne The Beauty was the 3-5 favorite with Travis Seekman driving. Making the early lead was Fox Valley Lil Kim as she passed the opening quarter in :29.3 as Brienne The Beauty quickly joined her. Taking over through a half in :59.1 was the favorite as Fox Valley Lil Kim chased her into the turn. After three-quarters in 1:28.1, Brienne The Beauty remained in command and drew clear at the wire, winning in 1:56.2. Fox Valley Lil Kim came back for second while Foolishlittlegirl was third.
Brienne The Beauty is owned in partnership by Anthony Somone, David McCaffrey, Joseph McCaffrey, and trainer Clark Fairley.
Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through Sept. 24. (Hawthorne)