04/20/2010 11:00PM

Statebred sprints add spice


STICKNEY, Ill. - There is a lot of old, but plenty of new in the six Illinois-bred $100,000 stakes races carded for Saturday at Hawthorne.

The sextet of statebred-restricted dirt stakes bring out familiar names like Shrewd Operator, Stonehouse, and Nicks, but the best betting races in the sequence look like the pair of sprints for 3-year-olds, the Pretty Jenny for fillies and the Land of Lincoln for colts and geldings.

The Pretty Jenny has drawn a 10-horse field, and may have no defined favorite, while the Land of Lincoln got nine horses and appears loaded with moderately promising stock. The race's most accomplished horse is Royal Express, who won an allowance race and a stakes while wintering at Fair Grounds for trainer Spanky Broussard.

Broussard also sends out stalwart Stonehouse in the Milwaukee Avenue Handicap, a race Stonehouse won by more than five lengths last year.

Shrewd Operator figures to be the day's strongest favorite as the probable lone speed in the Robert S. Molaro. Nicks won the 2009 Governor's Lady, but will be challenged this year by stablemate Cruise as well as Hawthorne-loving Ripe Tomato.

Baze bats .800 in local debut

Jockey Michael Baze made the most of his first Chicago riding experience, winning with 4 of 5 mounts last Saturday and Sunday at Hawthorne, and capturing the Sixty Sails Handicap on Saturday.

Baze, who has spent most of his career in California, is shuttling back and forth between Hawthorne and Keeneland for now, but plans on spending the summer at Arlington Park.

Sanchez banned 15 days

Jockey Diego Sanchez was hit with a major suspension in a ruling issued Tuesday by stewards at Hawthorne. The stewards gave Sanchez 15 days (April 26-May 10) for "crossing in front of and impeding the progress of another horse" while riding Forest Queen in the sixth race on April 18. Sanchez's actions, the stewards ruled, caused Instant Style to clip heels and stumble, unseating jockey Tim Thornton. Forest Queen finished first in the race, but was placed sixth.

Sanchez has won 12 races at the Hawthorne meet. He had something of a breakout Arlington season in 2009, winning 35 races, 10th-best at the meet.