GRANTVILLE, Pa. — Hawkish, making only the fourth start of his racing career, overcame some novice jitters in the home stretch and drew off to a three-length win in the $500,000, Grade 2 Penn Mile at Penn National Race Course on June 2.
Racing in the colors of owners Robert LaPenta, A.J. Suited Racing and Madaket Stables, the 3-year-old gelded son of Artie Schiller out finished six rivals in the one mile contest on the turf course. The Jimmy Toner trainee went into the race showing a maiden win at Gulfstream Park and good fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes during the winter. In his last start he was a handy allowance winner at Aqueduct.
Despite his lack of experience, the bettors at Penn National (and around the nation) sent the bay gelding and jockey Manny Franco off as the 7 to 5 betting favorite. Maraud and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, the Palm Beach winners and later the American Turf winners at Churchill, were the second choices in the wagering at even money.
Maraud and Encumbered, the Del Mar Juvenile Turf winner, made it a horse race early with Hawkish back in sixth place, a location that was forced upon him when he clipped heels with He's Bankable, the eventual last place finisher. Once Hawkish resettled into stride, he and Franco made their move around the far turn.
They entered the stretch with a half length lead over Maraud and Encumbered who had been battling for the lead. Hawkish showed his greenness by sharply lugging in passing the eighth pole. Franco, a veteran journeyman, got his charge back on a straight course and then hand rode him to the wire and a three-length win.
Way Early, a 20 to 1 outsider, came charging from last place to secure second by a neck over fellow outsider Coltandmississippi who was 21 to 1. Maraud appeared to run out of gas in the stretch and finished fourth.
Hawklish stopped the timer in 1:35.16 over a firm turf course. His owners collected $284,000 to add to his previously earned $75,700.
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