04/25/2013 3:55PM

Hawthorne: Brueggemann loaded for Illinois-bred stakes day

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Four Footed Fotos
Missjeanlouise, the favorite in the Third Chance Stakes, is one of seven horses trainer Roger Brueggemann has in Saturday Illinois-bred stakes at Hawthorne.

STICKNEY, Ill. – One wouldn’t take the trainer Roger Brueggemann for a kingpin. An old injury causes him to drag a leg, and when Brueggemann is walking, it’s usually away from the spotlight. He keeps his sentences short and his profile low, watching his sets of horses train from an SUV positioned at about the eighth pole in the Hawthorne grandstand parking lot. But for the fourth straight Hawthorne meet, Brueggemann absolutely is killing them, and he looks poised for a powerhouse showing here Saturday, when Hawthorne hosts six $100,000 stakes for Illinois-breds.

Brueggemann has seven horses entered in three of those stakes, and where a Brueggemann horse shows up, a Brueggemann horse is likely to be legitimately favored. Signsealndeliver heads his trio of runners in the Robert Molaro for older sprinters, while Missjeanlouise should be the chalk in the Third Chance for older female sprinters. And finally, P D Q Kiddo stands a decent chance of winning the Milwaukee Avenue for the second year in a row.

Since Brueggemann began training for Midwest Thoroughbreds, the perennial leading owner in the country by wins, he has regularly amassed gaudy win totals at Hawthorne, but his efficiency this year has been remarkable. It has taken Brueggemann just 93 runners to get to 37 wins, and Brueggemann is the only trainer in North America’s top 20 by 2013 wins with a strike rate over 30 percent: His is 37 percent.

P D Q Kiddo shows up in the Milwaukee Avenue, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race, making his first start since Nov. 23 and second since June 19, but layoffs do not derail the Brueggemann train: P D Q Kiddo has won his last three races coming back from a layoff, including his decisive score in this race one year ago. An 8-year-old owned by Midwest, P D Q Kiddo, his races loosely spaced, has developed into the leading Illinois-bred dirt-route horse of the last two years, and two sharp recent workouts should have him ready for a representative performance.

The main danger to P D Q Kiddo appears to be Dad Are We Here. A 5-year-old trained by Doug Matthews, Dad Are We Here has improved steadily over the last year, and a repeat of his April 3 open allowance-race win at Hawthorne could produce another victory.

Missjeanlouise hasn’t started since Oct. 20 but appears to be among the day’s strongest favorites as one of 10 entrants in the Third Chance. Midwest claimed Missjeanlouise last June for $40,000, but didn’t race her until Brueggemann sent her out to a convincing score in the Powerless Stakes last fall at Hawthorne. Missjeanlouise shows encouraging works for her first start since and faces no rival she need fear on her best.

Brueggeman’s trio of runners in the Molaro – Signsealndeliver, B Two Special, and Sacred Gift – might all be capable, but Signsealndeliver looks superior. Making his first start in five months, Signsealndeliver won the Lightning Jet Stakes last fall at Hawthorne by almost two lengths, and this time around, Brueggemann was able to get a prep race into the gelding. He finished fifth April 6 in an open allowance and should improve sufficiently to beat Nagys Piggy Bank, his primary foe not housed under the same roof.

◗ With no Brueggemann-trained runners as a beacon, the Land of Lincoln for 3-year-olds and the Pretty Jenny for 3-year-old fillies are trickier races to figure.

My Option probably is the best horse in the Pretty Jenny, the question being whether she can rally in time to win a six-furlong race. My Option’s two good wins last fall at Hawthorne came in routes, but she was beaten just a neck in a short sprint at Arlington in her career debut, and trainer Chris Block put a sizzling half-mile drill into My Option on April 21. Indygo Kiss, Bold Kitten, Girls Rock N Rule, Scarlet Power, and Beeway all appear to be plausible winners.

The Land of Lincoln, another six-furlong dash, is equally tricky. The Carlos Silva-trained pair of Lassell and Smokin Glock was narrowly better than most of their counterparts last year, but the slight edge at 2 could be gone at 3. A better plan Saturday might be to focus on Chatfield Road, who must break alertly from the rail, and potential upsetter Flathead River.

◗ The horse to watch in the Peach of It, for older female dirt-route horses, is Summer Again, a three-time started 4-year-old filly with a chance to be a cut above the standard-issue Illinois-bred stakes horse.

The Richard Otto homebred is by Empire Maker and out of the talented mare Summer Mis, and after a belated start to her career, Summer Again has won two of three races this meet. The performance of note was her Illinois-bred allowance win April 6, when Summer Again scored by 14 lengths while appearing to cross the wire with something left.

If Summer Again can’t handle the class rise, either Seans Silverdance or Diva’s Diamond should find the winner’s circle.