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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (9/22/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

Pletcher Nominates Five to Hawthorne Gold Cup

Former Winners Perfect Drift and Super Frolic Also on List; Carey and Indian Maid also booked for Sept. 30

Trainer Todd Pletcher, always a major player in graded stakes events held at Hawthorne Race Course, lists five horses among the 25 nominees for the 70th running of the $500,000 Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup, to be run over ten furlongs on Saturday, September 30.

This decade at Hawthorne, Pletcher has bagged two Grade II Illinois Derbies (2001 with Distilled and 2004 with Pollard’s Vision), a Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap (2005 with Pollard’s Vision) and back-to-back runnings of the Grade III Sixty Sails (2005 with Isola Piu Bella and 2006 with Fleet Indian).

Surprisingly, Pletcher has never run a horse in the Gold Cup, but that should change on September 30. His nominees include: Allen E. Paulson Living Trust’s A. P. Arrow and Roman Dynasty, Team Valor Stable’s Fairbanks, Aaron and Marie Jones’ Master Command and Zabeel Racing International’s West Virginia.

With over $980,000 of earnings in the bank, West Virginia is the most accomplished of the Pletcher potentials, but A. P. Arrow who may be the most intriguing. Second in the Grade II Super Derby at Louisiana Downs at the tail end of his 3-year-old season, the son of A. P. Indy recent scored a second-level allowance victory at Saratoga in what was his 2006 debut.

Also included on the nominations list for Hawthorne’s signature race are a pair of former Gold Cup winners -- Stonecrest Farm’s Perfect Drift (2003) and Super Frolic (2005).

Super Frolic upset the Murray Johnson-trained Perfect Drift in last year’s renewal, and according to Hawthorne stakes coordinator Debbie Lindsay, the connections plan on returning the 6-year-old son of Pine Bluff to Chicago to defend his title. In his two most recent starts, the Vladamir Cerin trainee finished third behind Lava Man in both the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup and the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

With over $4.5 million in the bank, Perfect Drift is the richest Thoroughbred currently in training, but the connections are reportedly leaning towards passing on a third trip to the Gold Cup in lieu of a run in the Grade II $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway on the same day.

Longacres Mile homestretch
Flamethrowintexan and Papi Chullo finish one-two in the Grade III Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on August 20, 2006. Photo credit: John Loftus.
Grasshopper Stables Flamethrowintexan (Jim Penney), the pride of Seattle, outlasted Greg Norman’s Papi Chullo (J. Buenaventura Vargas) to win the Grade III Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on August 20, and the pair is expected to renew acquaintances in the Gold Cup.

Other top names on the Gold Cup nominations list include (with trainer): Farish, Elkins and Webber’s multiple graded stakes winner Alumni Hall (Neil Howard); Phipps Stable’s millionaire Good Reward (“Shug” McGaughey III); Melnyk Racing’s Gouldings Green (Anthony Reinstedler), a winner of three graded stakes this season alone; Harrick Racing LLC’s Magnum (Darrell Vienna), winner of the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap on May 29; Kline, Alevizos and Whelhan’s Grade I Woodward upsetter Premium Tap (John Kimmel) and Barbara Cesare’s Woodward runner-up Second of June (Bill Cesare).

The storied Gold Cup is strategically placed five weeks in advance of the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Gold Cup champions Black Tie Affair (1990, won 1991 Classic), Buck’s Boy (1997, won 1998 Turf) and Awesome Again (1998, won 1998 Classic) have all gone on to Breeders’ Cup glory.

The Gold Cup is part of a three-stakes package that also includes a pair of added-money turf events for older horses: the $150,000 Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap for the boys and the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap for the girls.

The grassy one mile Carey attracted 18 nominations, including the last two winners: Team Block’s Fort Prado (2005), trained by Chris Block, and Carl Moore Management’s Scooter Roach (2004), conditioned by Bret Calhoun.

Other graded stakes winners with a potential eye on the Carey include (with trainer): Steve Ramsey’s Gigawatt (Greg Geier); James Scatuorchio’s Icy Atlantic (Pletcher); B. Wayne Hughes’ Osidy (Dick Mandella); Dolphus Morrison’s Rapid Proof (Lon Wiggins); Donald Adam’s T. D. Vance (Graham Motion); and Charles Patton’s Therecomesatiger (Tom Proctor).

The Indian Maid, run over 1 1/16 miles of turf, lists 44 nominees, including (with trainer): Brille, Holland and Denker’s Chic Dancer (Christine Janks), the winner of three consecutive stakes at Arlington including the Grade III Modesty; Lone Star Thoroughbred’s Group I winning Argentine import Honey Rose (Pletcher); Monceauz Stable’s Naissance Royale (Christophe Clement), winner of the Grade II Nassau at Woodbine last out; and Glen Hill Farm’s Rich in Spirit (Tom Proctor), winner of the Grade III Locust Grove over the Churchill green earlier this summer.

Hawthorne is advertising a $50,000 guaranteed all stakes “Golden Pick Three” as part of the September 30 wagering program.

The 2006 fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne Race Course runs September 15 through December 31 with live racing five days per week: Wednesday through Sunday (except Nov. 23). The dark days are Monday and Tuesday (except Oct. 9). Post time on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is 1:10 p.m. Friday post time through November 17 is 3 p.m., at which time it will revert back to 1:10 p.m. for the remainder of the meet.

For a list of nominations and past performances for the Gold Cup, Carey and Indian Maid, go to www.hawthorneracecourse.com/horsemen_tb/stakes.php.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Standardbred meet ran May 6 through June 17.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet ran February 24 through May 2.

For more information visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com.

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