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Seven-Bagger for Wilfong and a Track Record Shattered at Hawthorne

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700


Seven-Bagger for Wilfong and a Track Record Shattered at Hawthorne


STICKNEY, IL – With just one week to the Night of Champions at Hawthorne Race Course, the racing has been fast and furious between the Illinois State Fairs along with preps and eliminations for next weekend’s finals.  As the summer season comes to a close, there have been some excellent performances around the Hawthorne oval. The summer Hawthorne meet has seen three track records fall.  The first two came on the same card on August 6 as both records for aged trotters went down. First was Jack Vernon, setting the course record for Aged Trotter in 1:53.2 for driver Todd Warren. Next was talented Illinois-bred mare Annas Lucky Star, topping her record for Aged Mare Trotter when she won in 1:53.3 with Kyle Wilfong in the bike. 

The most recent record to fall, and the third track record set of the meet came in Friday’s eighth race.  In the second division of the Kadabra eliminations for Illinois-bred two-year-old male trotters, Niko Man had himself a career race. The talented gelding owned by Bowie Racing LLC and Anthony Lombardi was coming into the race off a snappy elimination win in Springfield in 1:55, followed by a near miss in the final when he trotted 1:54.4.  After breaking before the start in his DuQuoin stakes effort, Niko Man was sharp as ever in his Hawthorne return.  Driven by Kyle Husted for wife Amy, Niko Man tucked in behind the early pace of Tankmetodennyland through an opening quarter in :29.3 and a half in :58.1.  When Husted asked Niko Man on the turn, he responded quickly, taking over and opening up into the lane. A strong final quarter of :28.1 and a nine-and-a-quarter length victory saw Niko Man stop the clock in 1:56.0.  That time shattered the previous record of 1:57.3 which had been held by Southern Rocketop since 2008.

Another big accomplishment on the track came from driver Kyle Wilfong.  The reigning champ from the winter Hawthorne meet, Wilfong has continued his winning ways this summer as he has numerous live chances on Night of Champions.  The current leading driver on the meet, Wilfong kicked off his big weekend with a win in the Thursday finale behind Mike Mike (1:51.4) for trainer Rick Schrock.  On Friday Wilfong grabbed a trio of victories.  He won the opener on the card as Fox Valley McKee (1:53.4) pulled off the upset in the Incredible Finale elimination.  The second upset win on the card for Wilfong came with Fox Valley Crete (1:52.4) taking the Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial prep.  Both wins came for trainer Nelson Willis.  Later in the card it was Wilfong in the winner’s circle with Goomster (1:58.0) as he trotted to a win for trainer Dennis Gardner in the Kadabra elimination.

While Friday was good, Saturday was even better for Kyle as he had a big night, winning seven of the ten races on the card.  Wilfong’s winning night kicked off in the opener as Marvelous Mystery (2:00.1) trotted to a win in the Fox Valley Flan elimination for trainer Curt Grummel.  A second race score behind Nootka (1:55.1) for trainer Matt Currie was followed with a win in the third by Ideal’s Nicole (1:55.1) for Hector Herrera.  The fourth race was the Tony Maurello prep as Wilfong smartly handled Scorecard Dandy, rallying to win in 1:53.1 for trainer Greg Kain.  After missing in the fifth, Wilfong was back in the winner’s circle in race six. This time it came with Annas Lucky Star (1:55.2) as she recorded career win number 54 in the Carl Becker Memorial prep.  In the seventh race, Wilfong pulled off the upset in the Fox Valley Flan elimination as Radiant Diamond (2:00.1) trotted home to the score for trainer Rick Schrock.  It was a second-place finish in the eighth race behind Fox Valley Kia for Wilfong before he grabbed his seventh win of the night in race nine.  The victory came from talented trotter Funky Wiggle (1:55.3) as she won from the second tier for trainer Curt Grummel.  Wilfong’s excellent Saturday closed with another second-place effort in the finale with Dandy’s Mnm.

Asked about his big day and how he sees things shaping up for Night of Champions, Wilfong gave lots of credit to the horses he drives, “Let me see how the draw goes (for next Saturday). I’m confident the horses I’m driving are razor sharp and have been aimed toward Night of Champions.”


Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races year-round in 2022. The winter harness season concluded on Sunday, March 20. Spring thoroughbreds kicked off Saturday, April 2 and concluded Saturday, June 25. The summer harness season began on Thursday, June 30 and races through Sunday, September 11. Fall thoroughbreds return Friday, September 23 and race though Saturday, December 31. For more information about Hawthorne Race Course visit our website

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