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Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (9/28/06)
Contact: DAK Productions
Itís Anybodyís Gold Cup!
Flamethrowintexan Renews His Rivalry With Papi Chullo; Pletcher Fires Dangerous Arrow
During the course of its 69 runnings, the Hawthorne Gold Cup has been won by several odds on favorites, and quite a few longshots.
This yearís champ will fall somewhere in between.
A wide open field of seven older handicap horses is entered to run in the $500,000 Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup to be contested over ten furlongs at Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, Illinois, on Saturday, September 30.
Grasshopper Stableís Flamethrowintexan, the expected speed in the race, drew the extreme outside post for trainer Jim Penney and jockey Ricky Frazier. The 5-year-old gelded son of Way West held off Greg Normanís Papi Chullo by a desperate neck in the Grade III Longacres Mile on August 19 at Emerald Downs, but morning-line odds maker Jim Miller has installed his beaten foe as the lukewarm 3-1 morning line favorite to turn the tables in the Gold Cup.
Following his narrow defeat in the Longacres Mile, Papi Chullo returned to finish a creditable fourth in the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga for trainer Buenaventura Vargas. He exits from post position number three with Robby Albarado astride.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has always been a major player in graded stakes events held at Hawthorne Race Course. This decade alone, Pletcher has bagged two Grade II Illinois Derbies (2001 with Distilled and 2004 with Pollardís Vision), a Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap (2005 with Pollardís 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 will change on Saturday when he sends the 4-year-old A. P. Indy colt A. P. Arrow to the post for the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust.
As a 3-year-old, A. P. Arrow was brimming with potential, but he only managed to get a maiden victory and a first-level allowance score out of a nine-race campaign. He took failed cracks at the Grade I Santa Anita Derby (ninth) and the Grade I Belmont Stakes (fifth) early in the year, but he did run a huge race to finish second in the Grade II Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in the fall.
Following off season knee surgery, A. P. Arrow was turned over to Pletcher in June. He won his only start this season, a second-level allowance race over nine furlongs at Saratoga. John Velazquez is named to pilot, and the team will leave from post four.
Jockey Mark Guidry has twice sipped from the storied Gold Cup, winning with Yourmissingthepoint in 1995 and Buckís Boy in 1997. On Saturday he will hop aboard Kenneth and Sarah Ramseyís Nolanís Cat, who may be best known for his third place finish behind Afleet Alex in the Grade I Belmont Stakes in 2005. He was last seen finishing fourth behind Suave in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park.
Niall OíCallaghan, the trainer of Greg Besingerís Summer Book, is the only conditioner with a horse in Saturdayís race to have previously won the Gold Cup, capturing the 2002 edition with Hail the Chief. Earlier this spring, Summer Book finished a solid third over Hawthorneís main track in the Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap. Jose Ferrer is slated to grab the reins.
Rounding out the Gold Cup field are (with trainer): Stan Fultonís Itís No Joke (R. Maker), runner-up in the Grade III Turfway Fall Challenge last out; and Wexler Racing Stableís Kid Grindstone (Campbell), winner of the Grade III Fifth Season at Oaklawn Park earlier this spring.
8th Race $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Hcp. (G2)
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.
Hawthorneís spring 2006 Standardbred meet ran May 6 through June 17.
Hawthorneís spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet ran February 24 through May 2.
For more information visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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