May 19, 2022

Hawkish spreads his wings in Penn Mile

Hawkish will stretch out off a dynamic victory in the Penn Mile

by John Mucciolo

A talented field of sophomores went postward in Saturday evening’s $500,000 Penn Mile (G2). American Turf (G2) star Maraud looked like the one to beat on paper, but in the end there was little doubt as to which horse is rapidly skyrocketing up the three-year-old turf ranks.

HAWKISH took late action and left the gate as the 7-5 favorite. Jimmy Toner trainee entered the Penn Mile with a two-for-tree record, most recently dominating allowance foes in the Empire State, and the betting majority was spot-on in this case.

Steadied some and a bit rank early on at Penn National, Hawkish finally settled from off the pace and trailed all but a single rival after the opening half-mile. Once he found his best rhythm, the race was essentially over. Manny Franco asked the gelded son of Artie Schiller approaching the final turn and the leggy three-year-old began picking off runners with ease, clearing the field by early stretch.

Hawkish powered home a convincing three-length winner, with his inexperience still showing as he lugged in down the lane, and appears to still have plenty of upside. This is one serious race horse!

Hawkish was a fine debut winner at Gulfstream Park in early January, going from seventh-to-first in the stretch like he was shot out of the proverbial cannon. He was thrown in with graded foes next, finishing a respectable fourth after making a huge middle move before leveling off late.

The Kentucky-bred learned from the stakes race when returning at Aqueduct in an allowance event, saving ground and waiting for the cue from the rider before offering another explosive turn of foot, blowing past the eventual runner-up in the matter of three of four jumps. The final margin was 4 ¾ lengths at the wire but could have been more.

Hawkish is the first stakes winner out of the unraced Bridal Memories, kin to a quartet of stakes winners including millionaire standout Winter Memories. They were all produced from the exquisite Memories of Silver, a two-time Grade-1 heroine who was pure class.

Toner is not known for hyperbole but clearly thinks he has a very good one on his hands.

“He’s a monster,” the conditioner said. “Some people worry about making moves, but when you’ve got a horse with that kind of natural ability, you take those aggressive moves and move him up in company.”

To this point, Hawkish has been campaigned as a miler. He still is a bit speedy and anxious at times, so the trip seems ideal for him at this stage of his development. But he will continue to stretch out in distance going forward. And the sky is the limit as the ultra-talented youngster gets more relaxed with experience.

Hawkish will point towards the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) at 1 ¼ miles on July 7. It’s safe to say that I am bullish on Hawkish.