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HAWTHORNE NOTES

Hawthorne Gold Cup advance

Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700

Guided Tour, Chicago Six to Hook Up in Gold Cup

Heading into the running of Saturday's Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup, much of the interest will be around a pair of horses that have knocked heads in the past, Guided Tour and Chicago Six. But in the ranks of older handicap horses, anything can happen as seen by the effort put forth by 38-1 shot Dust On the Bottle in last year's edition of the race.

Turning for home last year, it appeared that Guided Tour was on his way to victory in the $500,000 event. He was battling head and head down the stretch with heavily favored Golden Missile and had put him away at the eighth pole. Just jumps before apparent victory and the $300,000 winner's share, the Niall O'Callaghan trainee was collared and passed by Glen Hild's surprising closer.

This year there is no Dust On The Bottle to contend with in the race, but Guided Tour does have tough competition, that coming from Richard Trebat owned Chicago Six, amongst others. Guided Tour though hasn't given in since that defeat. After a poor effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Guided Tour returned to run second just 20 days later in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap. He then ended 2000 with a two-length triumph in the Louisiana Handicap at the Fair Grounds.

Opening the 2001 season, the William Teinowitz owned five-year-old ran to a strong victory in the $300,000 Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap. After a fifth place effort in the Santa Anita Handicap, he came to Chicago and battled Chicago Six in the National Jockey Club Handicap at Sportsman's, missing by just three-quarters of a length. He returns to Hawthorne Saturday to try and take what he thought was his last year, the Hawthorne Gold Cup. Guided Tour's regular rider, Larry Melancon has the mount once again.

Chicago Six will once again try to deny Guided Tour a victory in a stakes event. Running for a claiming tag early in his career, the six-year-old by Wild Again has now become one of the top older handicap horses in Chicago and a win in the Gold Cup would vault him into national prominence. The Jere R. Smith, Sr. trainee rolls into the Gold Cup off of five consecutive wins, most recently defeating Guided Tour in the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap at Sportsman's on April 22. Alfredo Juarez, Jr. has been aboard Chicago Six during this streak and he will be up once again this weekend.

Prominent as a three-year-old and rounding back into form at five is Elliot Walden trained Ecton Park. With earnings of over $1.5 million, Ecton Park has taken on the best in America and overseas over the past two years. In 2000, he took on the top horses in the world as he competed in the $6 million Dubai World Cup. After a solid fifth in that start, he won a $100,000 event at Pimlico, but hasn't won since.

That doesn't mean he hasn't been running well though as he has since taken on the likes of Lemon Drop Kid, Skimming, and Tiznow with moderate success. Although he had only the one win in 2000, he earned $645,850 for his starts.

In 2001, he's only run once, that being a fourth-place effort in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland. Alex Solis gets the mount aboard Ecton Park.

An unknown in this race may be the Robert Frankel trained Lido Palace. Bred in Chile, Lido Palace ran with much success, winning six times from ten starts. Some interesting facts arise about Lido Palace for this start though. The four-year-old colt most recently ran in the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby in Dubai, but how can a four-year-old run in a Derby? The reason being, in the Southern Hemisphere, he's really only listed as a three-year-old, but when running in the Northern Hemisphere, he is listed as a four-year-old. Regardless of age, his third place effort in Dubai was a strong one, and he'll come to Hawthorne as a threat. David Flores will be aboard.

The probable pacesetter in the Gold Cup is Patrick Byrne trained Duckhorn. As a three-year-old, Duckhorn was impressive in winning four times, but in 2001, he has won only once, that in a $60,000 stake at Laurel. But today he breaks from the rail and will definitely be a factor from the start in the Gold Cup. Hawthorne's all-time leading rider, Randall Meier, is aboard.

A longshot threat in the Gold Cup is Mitch Shirota trained Jadada. After a hot start to his 2000 season, he fizzled off a bit in the end, but most recently ran to a nice third place effort in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland. With this being his second race after the five-month rest, Jadada may benefit from a fast pace up front. Tim Doocy rides.

Rounding out the field for the Gold Cup is one that has been running well in 2001 and that is Winning Connection. Trained by Randy Morse, Winning Connection has won three times this year and most recently comes out of a solid fourth-place effort in a Grade 3 event at Oaklawn. Eddie Martin Jr. will guide Winning Connection in the Gold Cup.

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Post Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Duckhorn 8-1 Randy Meier Patrick B. Byrne
2 Ecton Park 7-2 Alex Solis W. Elliott Walden
3 Lido Palace (CHI) 5-1 David Flores Robert J. Frankel
4 Jadada 8-1 Tim Doocy Mitch Shirota
5 Chicago Six 3-1 Alfredo Juarez Jr. Jere R. Smith, Sr.
6 Guided Tour 5-2 Larry Melancon Niall M. O'Callaghan
7 Winning Connection 8-1 Eddie Martin Jr. Randy L. Morse

 

 

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