12/08/2012 8:24PM

Hawthorne: Chatfield Road defies pedigree to take Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity

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Chatfield Road, under Seth Martinez, holds off Lassell by a head in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

STICKNEY, Ill. – The 2-year-old gelding Chatfield Road didn’t show trainer Tom Swearingen much when he started training with a hint of seriousness this past summer. Swearingen wasn’t surprised. He had trained Chatfield’s Road’s siblings and knew they all possessed limited talent. The horse’s breeder and owner, John Carver, gave away Chatfield Road’s dam, Ms. Chatfield, when nobody wanted to buy her. And when Swearingen debuted Chatfield Road for a $15,000 claiming price Nov. 15 at Hawthorne, he figured no way the horse would get claimed.

He was right – and that was lucky.

Chatfield’s Road won that first start by 14 lengths, prompting Swearingen to enter the gelding back in the $119,625 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, and Chatfield’s Road won that, too, making the lead under Seth Martinez and staving off a belated move by Lassell to win by a head.

“All of a sudden he just woke up,” Swearingen said. “We decided to take a shot in this race.”

Not only have Chatfield’s Road’s brothers and sisters worked with a low ability-ceiling, they mainly have proven to be sprinters. Chatfield’s Road ($25.60) ran six furlongs in his debut, but stayed 1 1/16 miles Saturday, setting splits of 24.28 seconds for his opening quarter-mile, 49.32 for the first half, and 1:15.43 for six furlongs. His final time on a fast but tiring track was 1:49.45.

“I was just a passenger,” Martinez said.

Lassell, who had won the Sun Power Stakes last month at Hawthorne, chased the winner much of the trip. Lassell lost ground from the three-furlong pole to the eighth pole, but closed on the leader the final half-furlong and just came up short.

“He’s really talented, but you just have to make him do things,” said jockey Quincy Hamilton.

Tall Grass Cat rallied from last to finish third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Lassell and a length in front of 5-2 favorite Smokin Glock.