STICKNEY, IL – A competitive field of nine was drawn on Monday for the $100,000 Hawthorne Derby, presented by BetMakers. The 52nd running of the Hawthorne Derby will take place as race seven on Saturday at 1 1/8 miles on the Hawthorne turf course.
The very evenly matched field is led by Speaking Scout, from the barn of Graham Motion. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Speaking Scout comes into the Hawthorne Derby as one of the more seasoned runners, making 11 career starts. Racing primarily on the turf in 2022, Speaking Scout followed up a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream in February with an allowance score over the Keeneland turf in April. That victory was followed by four consecutive turf stakes efforts. Speaking Scout finished a good fourth in the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware on July 2, followed by a fourth-place finish in the Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel on August 6. His most recent race came in the Dueling Grounds Derby on September 5, a race where he was only a length off the lead mid-stretch before tiring late. Speaking Scout is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Hawthorne Derby and will be ridden by Jareth Loveberry.
Second-choice at 7-2 is Encourage from the barn of Kenny McPeek. Owned by Stephen Baker, the move to the turf has brought out a different racehorse in 2022. After three juvenile starts on the main track that produced no better than a fourth-place finish, Encourage was away from the races for eight months before returning on August 12. In that maiden race at Ellis Park, Encourage settled mid-pack early before rallying late to win by a head. He returned three weeks later at Kentucky Downs, producing a big performance in a turf allowance, again resulting in a head victory. Chris Emigh rides Encourage on Saturday.
Another horse that has been fantastic since moving to the turf is American Mayhem for owner Doubledown Stables, Inc. and trainer James DiVito. Debuting this May, American Mayhem made three starts on the Churchill Downs dirt before moving to the turf. He rallied from the back of the pack to break his maiden on July 24 at Ellis Park and followed that victory with an allowance score at Ellis on August 26. He tried stakes-company in his most recent start, finishing third in the Gun Runner Stakes as the favorite. Orlando Mojica gets the call on the 4-1 third choice.
Trainer Mike Maker sends a pair out in the Hawthorne Derby with 6-1 Wicked Genius and 8-1 Camp David. Owned by Paradise Farms Corp. & David Staudacher, Wicked Genius was claimed into the Maker barn on April 14 for $50,000 off a sixth-place effort at Keeneland. In his next start, he shifted to the turf at Churchill and was a winner when in for a $75,000 tag. He followed that race with another turf score, this time at Kentucky Downs against Starter-company on September 1. Jose Lopez rides Wicked Genius. Camp David draws the rail for owner Three Diamonds Farm. After a maiden victory to close out his two-year-old season last October at Keeneland, Camp David made his first three-year-old start at Horseshoe Indianapolis on May 17, winning a dirt allowance. After a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Matt Winn on June 12, Camp David chased the pace before tiring in his most recent start in the Gun Runner at Kentucky Downs.
Hugh Robertson also has a pair in the Hawthorne Derby with Xavey Dave and Tonka Warrior. The Minnesota-bred Xavey Dave is owned by the Estate of Warren L. Bush. Spending the winter in New Orleans, Xavey Dave won a Fair Grounds turf allowance on March 25. After a fourth-place effort in a Keenland turf allowance in April, Xavey Dave spent the summer at Canterbury Park. He made four stakes starts at Canterbury, most recently finishing second in the Blair’s Cove on September 10. Eduardo Gallardo rode Xavey Dave in that race and rides again on Saturday. Tonka Warrior enters the Hawthorne Derby with three victories from seven career starts. After finishing third in his debut at Oaklawn on April 23, Tonka Warrior also spent the summer at Canterbury, breaking his maiden and winning a pair of allowance races, one of those coming on the turf. Victor Santiago rides Tonka Warrior for owner Xtreme Racing Stables, LLC.
Bens Malice enters the Hawthorne Derby as the most seasoned horse, making 13 starts and winning three races. Owned by Pete Mattson and trained by Tim Padilla, Bens Malice has made nine starts on the turf, finishing first or second in seven of those nine races. Along with a pair of allowance wins on the turf, Bens Malice finished second in the Columbia Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 12. He also posted a runner-up effort in the Mystic Lake Derby on June 22 and finished third in the Minnesota Derby on August 13 at Canterbury. Regular rider Alonso Quinonez is in to ride Bens Malice.
Protonic Power races for owner Antonio Donato and Armando Hernandez. After posting a couple of early season wins at Gulfstream Park, Protonic Power was claimed for $16,000 at Ellis on July 17 and then claimed again for $30,000 two weeks later at Ellis. His most recent performance was a third-place effort at Horseshoe Indianapolis on September 14 in an allowance race that was taken off the turf. Javier Tavares rides in the Hawthorne Derby.
Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races year-round in 2022. The winter harness season concluded on Sunday, March 20. Spring thoroughbreds kicked off Saturday, April 2 and concluded Saturday, June 25. The summer harness season began on Thursday, June 30 and raced through Sunday, September 11. Fall thoroughbreds returned on Friday, September 23 and race through Saturday, December 31. For any information about Hawthorne Race Course visit our website www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com.