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Hawthorne Racecourse (4/5/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

Creative Force, Lewis Michael, Devilofarush updates

Creative Force -- trainer Chris Block:

Stabled at Hawthorne

“There’s really no other spot for me to run him in. He’s doing good and he can get nine furlongs, so we (Team Block) decided to take a shot. He’s a big strong horse who we always knew could get a route of ground.

"He’s not much different than he was last fall (as a 2-year-old). We just hope he can continue to improve and move forward. He ran well in his last race (2nd to Devilofarush in a March 14 Hawthorne allowance) considering what he was up against. The pace was slow, and even though it was a short field, he got stuck in a pocket where he couldn’t run freely. The headwind (30 m.p.h. in the stretch) didn’t help either. He got a lot out of the race.

"If we can run third (on Saturday) it would be like winning to me. I just want him to find position and sustain a run from the half-mile to the wire. We’ll see what happens.”

Lewis Michael – trainer Wayne Catalano:

Stabled at Hawthorne

Worked a bullet five furlongs at Hawthorne on Monday, April 4 in 1:01 B.

“Everything went as planned (with the work). He went in company (with the older allowance horse Thunderous Summer), and the other horse broke off a couple lengths in front of him (Lewis Michael). He caught up quick, and went a little faster than I wanted him to the first part of it.

"Right now this horse is learning what the game is all about. We’ve been thinking about this race (for a long time), and have really been happy with the way he’s matured. He’s been on turf the last few months, but we needed to give him back on dirt to see if he was a Kentucky Derby horse. That’s where we (along with local owner Frank Calabrese) want to be. Now we need to see him jump up and run big in a race like this.

"We feel good about him. The light in his head has come on. He’s training well and has become more and more competitive. The only time he ran on dirt, he was really green, and he almost beat that horse Laity, and he’s come back and won a couple stakes. We expect him to answer the bell and run the best race of his career on Saturday. It looks like there is plenty of speed in the race, and we expect to be in the second flight of horses. We’ve had a lot of success with Frank Alvarado, and he was the best rider available."

Devilofarush – trainer Mike Maker

Set to arrive at Hawthorne on Friday

“He worked a good 5/8ths on Saturday. He’s a push button horse, and his works don’t tell you much about him either way. With a 3-year-old this time of year, you don’t have a lot of options unless you run in stakes, so the race at Hawthorne last month really suited him. They said it was an Illinois Derby prep, but we really didn’t have any aspirations of running in that race.

"His performance changed our minds. He’s run a lot, but just now have we finally gotten some consistency out of him. Saturday’s competition is much tougher than what he beat here, but this is the time of year to give them a shot. He’s matured a lot in the way he races. He used to be sluggish the first part of it, but has really learned to hit that good stride a lot earlier.

"He actually got claimed away from us for $30,000 last summer. We didn’t want to lose him, but he ran bad in Chicago the first time out, and at Churchill we wanted to enter him back where we thought he could win. The sales price was only $27,000, so the spot made sense. After we lost him, we had to get him back and correct our mistake. We put back in for him in California for $32,000, and there were multiple claims in the box. We got lucky.

"He’s in the right form right now. We know we’re pumping him up hill, but he’s had a trip over the track, and he is getting better. Now he just has to step it up a couple notches. We won the Gold Cup here a couple years ago with Freefourinternet at 27-1. It doesn’t go into my decision when I think about running a horse. The owners might think about it, but I don’t. I can’t. It’s two different horses and circumstances.”

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs February 24 through May 4 with live racing five days per week: Friday through Tuesday. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Hawthorne is dark Wednesdays and Thursdays and Easter Sunday April 16, but full card simulcasting from racetracks across the country is offered every day.

The Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby, a prestigious prep for the world famous Kentucky Derby, will be run at Hawthorne on Saturday, April 8.

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