04/21/2011 4:16PM

Hawthorne: Pretty Jenny for 3-year-old fillies comes up strong among Illinois-bred six-pack


STICKNEY, Ill. – The ranks of talented young Illinois-breds have been thin in recent seasons, but the two races for 3-year-olds on Saturday’s six-stakes Illinois-bred program at Hawthorne tell a different tale. In particular, the $100,000 Pretty Jenny for 3-year-old fillies attracted an attractive field.

“I wish I had this horse a different year,” said Richie Scherer, trainer of Our Lady in Red. “This is a tough race for Illinois-breds.”

Our Lady In Red finished a strong second behind promising Moon Buzz in an open maiden race late in the Fair Grounds meet, then easily cleared the maiden ranks April 8 at Hawthorne. Yet Our Lady in Red may be no better than fifth choice Saturday.

The Pretty Jenny includes two fillies, Wonderlandbynight and Third Chance, at least mildly competitive on the open stakes market. Wonderlandbynight won the Arlington-Washington Lassie late last summer before finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes, a race in which she was injured. She makes her dirt debut Saturday while breaking from the rail, and trainer Mike Reavis said he’s not convinced Wonderlandbynight will come out firing in her 2011 bow.

“We’re going to run her in here and see if she’s the same horse,” Reavis said.

Third Chance finished third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie but won big over Illinois-breds last fall at Hawthorne, capturing the Showtime Deb Stakes by almost seven lengths. Among three 2011 starts, her best performance might have been a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream.

Cityrap has won two recent Hawthorne starts by almost 11 lengths combined, while Missjeanlouise is unbeaten after two races for trainer Wayne Catalano.

Saturday’s race for 3-year-old males, the $100,000 Land of Lincoln, appears to have less depth and a shorter-priced favorite, Luck With a Kiss. Luck With a Kiss was a sharp debut winner last fall before easily taking the Sun Power Stakes in October. Defeated by an older horse in an allowance race March 22, Luck With a Kiss should move forward Saturday.

“We thought he was ready to run, but he was short,” said Reavis. “He’s dead fit now.”

Luck With a Kiss’s main competition could come from Lost Forty, who has posted three straight victories this meet. Table Games won the two-turn Jim Edgar Futurity last December, and the six furlongs of the Land of Lincoln might be too short.

Milwaukee Avenue: He’s Bonafide looks ready

He’s Bonafide became a profitable $40,000 claim for owner Richard Ravin and trainer Larry Rivelli when he won the $102,000 Bucks Boy Handicap last fall at Hawthorne, and there may be more to come from the 5-year-old gelding. He’s Bonafide was narrowly beaten by the sharp horse Hattash in an April 2 open-allowance race, and that start may have him set for a winning performance Saturday in the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

Just off the early pace last time out, He’s Bonafide should get a more favorable trip Saturday racing several lengths behind what ought to be a solid, contested pace. Speed could come from Big Looie, Denham, Racing Bran, and Hydro Power, all of whom look at least mildly competitive. Hydro Power gets into the Milwaukee Avenue with a feathery 112-pound weight assignment because he is a 3-year-old. Racing Bran but won this race last year is in less appealing form now.

Molaro: River Bear, Mighty Rule meet again

River Bear seems to reserve his top performances for stakes days, so what is one to make of his April 2 victory in an allowance prep for Saturday’s $100,000 Robert Molaro Stakes? Maybe nothing, but between that recent peak effort and River Bear’s rail draw Saturday, the pick to win the six-furlong Molaro is Mighty Rule, River Bear’s longtime rival.

River Bear beat Mighty Rule by three-quarters of a length last out, but Mighty Rule was a neck better two starts ago at Oaklawn Park, and the two have traded decisions the last few years. In post 3, Mighty Rule seems better drawn than his old rival on Saturday, and may show more early speed than he did in his two most recent starts.

◗ Ripe Tomato came up just short a year ago in the $100,000 Governor’s Lady, but the horse who beat her that day, Nicks, is retired now. Coming off a closing third-place finish at Oaklawn, Ripe Tomato may be set to rally past Kathleen L and Cruise and win for the ninth time at Hawthorne.

◗ Home’s the Best was no match for the pair of Christine Janks-trained horses Pathway and Jitterbug Blues in an April 1 allowance race run over a laboring, inside-favoring dirt track. But things should set up much better for her Saturday in the $100,000 Peach of It. And while Pathway finished in front of Jitterbug Blues in the allowance race, Jitterbug Blues probably is the better horse and should turn the tables in the Peach of It.