10/14/2009 11:00PM

Weather figures key for feature


STICKNEY, Ill. - The featured seventh race on Saturday at Hawthorne is carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf. That's trouble.

Turf racing and the Hawthorne fall meet have not mixed well this year: Races have been rained off turf eight of the first 11 days, and rain on Thursday was forecast to continue at least into Friday, if not beyond.

Too bad if the Saturday feature gets rained off and turned into a scratch-fest, because the race, a third-level allowance open to $50,000 claimers, is excellent as drawn. Ten horses were entered, along with two more, Rector and Unbridled Vicar, who will run only on dirt.

The field includes win-machine Drivingmaxandmitzi, who has raced five times on the Hawthorne grass course and never lost. Trainer John Good claimed Drivingmaxandmitzi for himself on Aug. 19 at Arlington for $35,000 and tried him in the $147,000 DeBartolo Memorial at Remington Park, but Drivingmaxandmitzi finished a no-factor sixth. That may be cause for concern, even if Drivingmaxandmitzi was in tough. Though Drivingmaxandmitzi has won 21 of 44 starts in his career and is 19 for 36 on turf, he gets traded around frequently, and successful connections have been willing to part with the horse for $25,000 on several occasions. At some point, that Hawthorne winning streak is coming to an end.

Rahystrada could be tough. He's 1 for 1 at Hawthorne and won at a higher class level than this during the 2008 fall meet, easily getting over a testing autumn grass course rated yielding that afternoon. Rahystrada, in from Kentucky for trainer Byron Hughes, fits well for the $50,000 price and shows a sharp recent half-mile dirt drill back home.

In Nike's Honor made his grass debut Sept. 11 at Arlington and looked good winning by 1 1/2 lengths. The gelding was in for a $35,000 tag that day, but on Saturday is entered under allowance conditions by trainer Chris Richard. And, should Saturday's race come off grass, In Nike's Honor is one of the few horses proven on dirt.

The race also marks the prospective return of Dynaman, who came out of obscurity to win an overnight stakes and run respectably in the Grade 3 Carey here last fall. Dynaman has not started since, however, and comes back under the $50,000 claiming option Saturday.

Also worthy of note is Princeville Condo, an Illinois-bred who has won 4 of 7 on grass and was impressive beating open second-level allowance horses last month at Arlington.