Oeuvre Repeats as Third Chance Champ


STICKNEY, IL – The first Illinois-bred stakes took place on Sunday as state-bred fillies and mares were featured in the $75,000 guaranteed Third Chance Handicap. Contested over a fast track, the 128 lbs. high weight was Oeuvre for owner Richard Perkins and trainer Chris Block.

With Orlando Mojica in the saddle, Oeuvre broke well as she stalked the pace which was set by second choice Purr Sea and jockey Julio Felix. After an opening quarter in 22.70, Purr Sea held a length advantage over Oeuvre, who was chased by Journeyist. After a half in 45.74, Purr Sea held onto her length advantage, but Oeuvre was gearing up. At the top of the lane Mojica said it was time to go and Oeuvre responded immediately as she accelerated and opened up a length and a half lead. Under the wire it was Oeuvre a four-length winner, stopping the clock in 1:09.61. Purr Sea was game to hold second while Commissioner Gulch rallied to finish third. With her ninth victory in 11 career Hawthorne starts and as the 1-9 choice, Oeuvre returned $2.20, $2.10, $2.10. Purr Sea paid $2.80 and $2.40 while Commissioner Gulch returned $2.40 to show.

Despite the heavy favoritism, trainer Chris Block was a bit nervous about the weight Oeuvre had to carry, “She’s what we look for in a racehorse. There are very few that can run any distance, on any surface, at any track. All we do is stay out of the way. We take care of her the best we can. She does all the rest. She has that racehorse kind of mind. Any time I run her I get a little nervous. She carried 128 pounds today, but she just looked like she was out there enjoying herself. The level of nervousness can increase with the more weight she carries but this is home for her here. Mr. Perkins bred her and raised her right here in the state of Illinois, so we came home to run her here through the summer. She loves Hawthorne, she really does. We’re proud to be a part of the Illinois program and proud to race her at Hawthorne.”

When asked about her next possible race Block continued, “We can still pick her spots. Actually, I think maybe up next might be two turns on the turf. Mr. Perkins might argue with me on this but I think she might be better around two turns on turf. But it’s hard to argue with what she did today and what she has done in the past. But that will probably be the plan; to stretch her out around two turns and then we can always go back to the sprints as well.”

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races three live meets in 2024. The winter harness season concluded on February 12. Spring/Summer thoroughbreds begin March 23 with live racing through October 13. Harness racing returns October 19 and races through the end of the year. Hawthorne is open daily for full-card simulcasting as well as for sports wagering in the Fanatics Sportsbook. For any information about Hawthorne Race Course visit our website www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com.