The Saturday, Dec. 23 racing program at Hawthorne kicked off with a claiming event that brought Brooklets Banner into the spotlight, literally. Dense Fog set in across the Midwest from Chicago to south of Indianapolis. Therefore, most of the race was not viewable by the public, but as the field emerged from the fog in the stretch, it was Brooklets Banner who led the way.
Brooklets Banner and Casey Leonard were selected as the early morning line favorite in the $6,000 claimer, and they took their early billing serious, leaving the gate from post eight to try for the top spot early on. Barry J and Kyle Husted grabbed the top spot early on from an inside post, but Brooklets Banner was on the move and didn’t stop until he had the lead past the quarter in :28.1. The head on camera down the backstretch caught a glimpse of the field moving to the half as Brooklets Banner led the way through the second quarter in :57.1.
Heading into the final turn, the field was half in, half out with Brooklets Banner still leading the way. The Indiana sired gelding was strong to the three-quarters in 1:26.1. In the stretch, motion was not detected due to the fog, but eventually, the white Leonard bike being pulled by Brooklets Banner came into focus, several lengths ahead of the field. In the end, he was a winner by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:55.0, a final quarter in :28.4. Barry J held his ground for second while another Indiana sired son of Real Desire, Mac Special, closed in to finish third for driver Michael Oosting in a tight photo.
Brooklets Banner paid $5.80 for the win. The seven-year-old son of Personal Power is owned by Ray Kyllonen and Ed Peterson of Illinois. Terry Leonard trains the Gary Wilcox graduate.
When pari-mutuel racing began, several Indiana sires made an immediate impact on the breeding program. Wilcox first started with Armbro Century followed by Personal Power. Paired with Armbro Century from Wilcox’s farm in Urbana, Ind., the two sired several Indiana Sires Stakes champions, with Premieronbroadway one of the most successful for Personal Power. The horses carried the Wilcox farm name, Brooklets, into the winner’s circle. Wilcox raised and trained many of the horses from his farm, but a few were sold to other interests, including the great Brooklet’s Redneck, campaigned by Wilbur Eash for Victory Hill Farm, and Brooklet’s Hotshot, trained by Ernie Gaskin for Crimson Lane Farm. Both were standouts in the first years of action for the Sires Stakes program and went on to be some of the best horses in the top pacing classes at Hoosier Park. Personal Power foals then picked up in the 2000s and continued to carry the torch for Wilcox.
The last year Personal Power stood at stud for Wilcox was in 2021 with his final foals born in 2022. Brooklets Banner is one of the quickest foals by the stallion as he took his career best time of 1:48.3 last season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. He has since been acquired by his current connections. Wilcox campaigned the gelding up until he was first claimed last year. As detected by many of the breeding stock from the Wilcox farm, Brooklets Banner is the final foal from his mare Armbro Banjo, who produced seven winners in nine total foals. The gelding can be traced back to the great Sandra Lil on his maternal side. His dam, Armbro Banjo is also a half sister to the dam of Indiana standout Rocket Fuel.