11/20/2003 12:00AM

Hawthorne: Allowance rematch

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This week marks a period of transition at Hawthorne Race Course near Chicago. Fans have enjoyed a steady diet of six-figure stakes during six of the first eight weekends of the meet, but the pickings start to get slim as winter approaches. In fact, no stakes, overnight or otherwise, are scheduled this weekend.

Saturday's 6 1/2-furlong feature, a $32,000 three-other-than allowance with a $35,000 claiming option, has attracted a solid field and showcases a rematch between two 4-year-old geldings who were separated by a head in their only other encounter.

True Genius, who has earned over $100,000 this year, last met Without a Doubt in an entry-level allowance at Arlington in July, and beat him in a duel that lasted well over a furlong.

True Genius and Without a Doubt have taken different paths since. Without a Doubt hit the sidelines following that loss, and did not reappear until early October. He has since won two straight impressively.

True Genius was claimed by owner-trainer Ron Shenofsky in the start following the Arlington win, and has won twice in four starts for that outfit. True Genius lost his most recent start, but was competing over a tiring surface and might be in better shape with a race over the track.

Two class droppers, Dirty Mike and Lively Minister, can contend. Both ran in an optional claimer Oct. 15, which produced one of the fastest six-furlong times of the meet.