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Sat Apr 9
2011
Marcus Hersh
61 degrees, partly sunny. Wind light and variable. Main track fast. No heavy rain Friday, but persistently wet, and that's probably a good thing, as far as the HAW main track is concerned. Good to see race 1, for maiden-claimer,s go in 1:11.69 for six furlongs. Three days ago, when the track was loose and laboring, I suspect that time would've been at least two seconds slower. Low-level claiming routers just went 8.5 furlongs in 1:47.55 in race 2. Speed went 1-2, but that was probably a function of slow middle fractions.
Fri Dec 3
2010
Marcus Hersh
It's December, the temperature is below freezing, and any Hawthorne winter regular is keeping a close eye on the track profile. Not quite cold enough to have a truly frozen surface that will produce two types of races: Early speed winner, or dead-closing winner in races that totally fall apart because all the riders are dead set on making the front end. Sadly, we're not quite in that easy-to-figure place yet, probably because its about 30 degrees, and we need around 20 or less to truly speed things up.
Thu Nov 11
2010
Marcus Hersh
Supposedly -- and I emphasize supposedly -- Lose None won race 7 in 1:01.70, a course record for five and one-half furlongs. Splits for the race were timed in 20.97, 44.09, and 55.69 seconds.
Thu Nov 11
2010
Marcus Hersh
So, I'm in the Hawthorne paddock before race 8 today, waiting to talk to a trainer whose horse, it turns out, has been scratched. I watch the horses go around this underground, indoor saddling area, and horse #4, Weatherstorm, looks a little scared and confused. Weatherstorm takes the lead when the gates open, sets a quick pace, and tired badly past the three-sixteenths pole.
Wed Nov 10
2010
Marcus Hersh
It's early November. The temperature came close to hitting 70 degrees here today. Something is wrong. At this rate, who knows, Hawthorne may be conducting a special all-turf Christmas Day card. The grass course is looking pretty chewed up, but I can't see them calling a halt to turf racing here with the weather this good.
Wed Oct 27
2010
Marcus Hersh
Feel for the jockeys out there today. They've got to be getting blown all over the track. We're in Day 2 of a gigantic Midwest cyclone, with wind whipping from the southwest sustained at 25-30 mph, gusts up to 45 mph. It's 65 degrees or so. Main track fast, turf firm.
Sat Oct 23
2010
Marcus Hersh
Maybe its because I have a BA from University of Montana (where they say Go Grizz), but I've always been partial to the horse named Da Grizz. More likely reason for favoring the animal is the fact he can be relied upon to win at Hawthorne. He just captured race 7, paying a square $9.80 under Chris Emigh. That gave Da Grizz 12 wins from 32 career HAW starts; at other tracks, his record is 1-29. Da Grizz, an 8yo, was a $10K claimer in the spring, but won here for $5K. Possible - but only just - that he could take a one-level class hike and still succeed.
Sat Oct 23
2010
Marcus Hersh
Pair of pace-pressers have won the day's two turf races, with the speed horses hanging on for a slice both times. That means that the shape of grass races on a course that has taken some rain for just about the first time since this meet opened has not changed much. Turf speed has dominated much of the meet and continues to do well, though the course, rock-hard going into today, was rated good. Worth pointing out, of course, that the winners of both grass heats today, Denham and Uno Chapo, bbth were highly logical, so it's not like this is some big bias.