On Saturday evening, Illinois-bred two-year-old filly pacers were the focus in two divisions of the Violet. Each race went for $29,925 as six lined up behind the starting car in both divisions. Race two was the first division as favorite Foolishlittlegirl debuted for trainer Dirk Simpson and driver Casey Leonard off a pair of sharp qualifiers at the Meadows. Leaving for the lead in the race was longshot Grace Ann, passing the opening quarter in :31.0. On the backside, second-choice Yankee Joanie and driver Ryan Anderson moved to the front, covering the half in 1:00.2. Stalked by Foolishlittlegirl, Yankee Joanie maintained her lead through three quarters in 1:29.4. In the stretch, Foolishlittlegirl tipped out to challenge, but Yankee Joanie was up to the task, holding on to win by three quarters of a length in 1:57.0. Foolishlittlegirl was second while Grace Ann held on for third. Yankee Joanie is owned by Milton Greer and trained by Herman Wheeler.
In the second division of the Violet pace on Saturday night, Fox Valley Halsey was the even money choice for driver Casey Leonard and trainer Nelson Willis. Making the top early was 4-1 third choice Winter Gram, guided by Ridge Warren through a quarter in :30.3 and the half in 1:00.1. Chased through the half by Fox Valley Hotcake, Winter Gram led the field into the turn, while favored Fox Valley Halsey settled in fifth. After three quarters in 1:29.3, Winter Gram turned into the lane a length on top while Fox Valley Halsey began to move from the back of the pack. With Fox Valley Halsey closing quickly, Winter Gram was all out to the wire, holding on to win by a head in 1:58.0. Fox Valley Halsey was second, while Fox Valley Hotcake finished third. Winter Gram is owned by trainer Thomas Graham, Jr. along with Carol Graham.
On Sunday evening, trotters were the focus as two divisions of the $30,050 two-year-old Violet took place, along with the $59,900 Cardinal trot. Race two started off the action as a field of eight was led by 4-5 favorite Heidi High for driver/trainer Charles Arthur. Making the top easily was Heidi High, cruising through the opening quarter in :30.0. Passing the half in :59.0, Heidi High held a two-length lead over Notnangel into the far turn, with the rest of the field far back. After three quarters in 1:28.4, Heidi High was clear into the lane as Notnangel faced a challenge from 60-1 shot E L Game On. At the wire, Heidi High was an easy winner, four lengths clear of E L Game On in second. Notnangel was able to hold third. Heidi High is also owned by Charles Arthur.
Race three on Sunday was the $59,900 Cardinal for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters. A field of eight lined up, led by 1-5 favorite Fox Valley Picaso. Making the top early was 39-1 shot Rusty Red Valor, with the favorite breathing down his neck through the quarter in :31.0. Moving to the top on the backstretch was Fox Valley Picaso, passing the half in 1:02.1. On the turn, Fox Valley Picaso remained clear for driver Casey Leonard as Foxvalleysrushhour joined Rusty Red Valor in the chase through three quarters in 1:32.0. Roused in the stretch, Fox Valley Picaso drew clear, winning easily in 2:01.2. Rusty Red Valor was able to hold second while Foxvalleysrushhour finished third. Fox Valley Picaso is owned by Todd John and trained by Herman Wheeler.
Race four was the second division of the Violet with a field of nine, led by Lous Mistress with Casey Leonard driving. Leaving for the lead was 3-2 second choice Puddin Cheeks as the favorite broke stride and dropped back. Passing the quarter in :30.2, Puddin Cheeks led the field onto the backstretch, chased by Ivanka and Encantado. Nearing the half, Puddin Cheeks broke stride, as Encantado took over, passing the half in 1:00.1. After three quarters in 1:29.2, Encantado faced a challenge from Friday I'm In Love. These two drew clear from the field in the lane, with Encantado holding on at the wire in 1:59.3. Friday I'm In Love finished second while Loussolataire was third. Encantado was driven by Kyle Husted, is trained by Jim Eaton and owned in partnership by Eaton, Langley, and Schwartz.
Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.