04/22/2009 11:00PM

Janks sends veteran crew


STICKNEY, Ill. - Hawthorne this year renamed Saturday's older-mare sprint handicap for recently retired Pretty Jenny, but Pretty Jenny's trainer, Christine Janks, hopes to have more to celebrate than just the honorary race designation. Janks has horses for three of the day's six $100,000 Illinois-bred stakes, and hopes to replicate the great success she has recently enjoyed in these statebred-restricted smorgasbords.

Janks said Thursday that she has a solid crop of younger horses ready to unveil at Arlington, but her stable will work Saturday with the older generation. In fact, the Peach of It Handicap, the first of the six stakes, will be the last hurrah for Stop a Train, the most successful Illinois-bred route mare the last three years or so.

"This will be her last race," Janks said. "She's going to be bred after this."

Stop a Train won the 2008 Peach of It, but enters this year's race after two clunkers - a distant ninth last fall in the Falls City at Churchill, and a well-beaten fifth on March 28 in a Hawthorne overnight stakes race

"I don't know," Janks said, when asked if she expected a Stop a Train rebound. "I just have a theory that these mares get to a point where they say, 'I don't want to do this any more.' "

Stop a Train is one of eight in a closely matched field. Either Brian Williamson-trained horse, Lawn of Homes' the Best could score. Boudoir and Mongoose Gold (who was cross-entered in six-furlong Governor's Lady) also have a chance.

In the six-furlong Robert Molaro (renamed this year for the horse-friendly Illinois legislator), Janks entered old standbys High Expectations and Mighty Rule. High Expectations won this race last year, and should improve significantly over his comeback fourth in an open overnight stakes on March 14, Janks said.

"That wasn't a race that he had to win," said Janks. "It was a prep for this."

High Expectations is a dead closer, and might be challenged by another late-runner, stakes-debuting 4-year-old Wildeyedsouthernboy.

Janks calls Nicks, her Governor's Lady entry, "my best chance" among Saturday's starters. Nicks won her staked debut here last fall, beating Pretty Jenny in the Powerless Handicap. She, too, should improve in her second start back from a winter break, and has been working bullets for Saturday's race.

Milwaukee Avenue: Stonehouse looks ready

If Stonehouse produces the same kind of performance that won the $100,000 Fifth Season on April 9 at Oaklawn, he will make short work of his rivals in the Milwaukee Avenue, the two-turn dirt race for older males. The Fifth Season win came just two weeks ago, and Stonehouse shipped from Oaklawn to Hawthorne the next morning, but trainer Spanky Broussard is nothing but confident that Stonehouse will be ready to go Saturday.

"If he was tired, I wouldn't have him in. I think he'll run his race. I've been wrong once, maybe, but I can't think of the last time," said Broussard, always ready with a punchy turn of phrase.

Instill upset Stonehouse in the 2008 Milwaukee Avenue, but has not come close to running as well since.

Land of Lincoln: Devil's Halo returns

As interesting as any horse on Saturday's card is Devil's Halo, who shot toward the top of the Illinois-bred 2-year-old division last fall before sustaining an injury that cut short by one race his 2008 campaign. Devil's Halo makes his first start since winning the Nov. 1 Sun Power Stakes in the six-furlong Land of Lincoln, and based on the colt's strong work pattern, trainer Richard Hazelton has him ready.

Devil's Halo hit the work tab on March 21, and has since logged five breezes. By March 31 he was up to five furlongs, and he worked three-quarters on both April 7 and April 16.

My Dominick James, an open stakes winner last year at 2, could be a worthy foe, but probably is better on synthetic surfaces than dirt. Will's Honey looked good winning an Illinois-red allowance race here March 27.

* Happy Henrietta beat Cumulonimble by one length here last fall in the Showtime Deb stakes, and those two are prime players again Saturday in the six-furlong Pretty Jenny for 3-year-old fillies. Both, however, come off a winter layoff, and a horse like Tessies Tilbury, who has accomplished less but raced more recently, could pull a minor upset.