By Dick Jerardi
Bobbi Anne Hawthorne has been a licensed trainer for three decades. She has been around horses essentially forever.
“My mother trained horses as well,’’ she explained in the shedrow of her immaculate Parx barn. “We did hunters, jumpers, eventing, foxhunting. Anything horse related, we loved it.’’
Bobbi Anne has nine horses in her barn, some of them owned by her son Andy. They got a good one back in February when they claimed Manolete for $12,500.
“The pandemic I think helped us with him because he was a bleeder and he did get the 90 days turned out which I think really helped him,’’ Hawthorne said. “He’s come back and run well for us.’’
Manolete was off four months between the claim and his first start for Hawthorne. He won his second race for the trainer and has been good ever since.
Manolete, a 6-year-old son of Mineshaft, has been claimed five times during his 45-race career. With 13 wins and $276,590 in earnings, Manolete has been good for everybody. But the horse just ran the best race of his life on Nov. 19 at Penn National, earning an 87 Beyer even though he was dismissed by the bettors at 26-1. It was his third win for Hawthorne, once in July at 12-1 and then again in September at 4-1.
Hawthorne grew up in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and lives now on Four Leaf Farm in Medford, N.J. She has been on the track since “I was about 12.’’
She spent time at Garden State Park, Atlantic City, Monmouth Park.
Bobbi Anne remembers Jersey-bred Charley’s Diamond as the best horse they had in the barn. And no wonder. Charley’s Diamond won 10 races and nearly $300,000 for the Hawthornes from 2006 to 2010.
Andy Hawthorne is very much part of the barn scene and he has some horse stories of his own.
“I was riding bulls when I was in eighth grade,’’ Andy said. “When I got a little smarter, I focused on the race track.’’
Yes, he was in the rodeo. Seriously, riding bulls?
“It’s very extreme,’’ Andy agreed. “It’s a very unforgiving sport. Any bull rider will tell you this: it’s not a matter of if you get hurt, it’s when…I’m just trying to focus more on the race track, maybe not break so many bones and see where Hawthorne Racing goes.’’
For the uninitiated, it’s easy to keep score in bull riding. Stay on for eight-second or you lose.
Andy has a fake shoulder, reconstructed knee, and an ankle that has been damaged many times. He has traded all that to be with his mom in the “sedate’’ world of the race track.