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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (9/30/06)

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Maker’s Decision Good as Gold

It’s No Joke – Last Minute Call Leads to Gold Cup Glory

Trainer Rebecca Maker entered It’s No Joke in both the $350,000 Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic and the $500,000 Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup, but it wasn’t until Friday that she decided to send the son of Distorted Humor to Chicago.

It was the right call.

Well placed throughout, the 4-year-old colt colt overtook pacesetter Flamethrowintexan turning for home and held off a mild late rally from the favored A. P. Arrow to win the Grade II race by a length under veteran Chicago jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. The team completed the ten furlong journey in 2:03.89.

“I just thought the added distance would be an advantage,” Maker explained as to why she selected the Gold Cup over the mile and an eighth Turfway Park race. “I always thought he would be a mile and a quarter horse. It was a last minute decision to decide to bring him here. I thought about it a lot. It was basically 12 hours ago that I made up my mind. This is the biggest win of my career.”

The victory was the fourth in nine starts this year for It’s No Joke and the $300,000 winner’s share more than doubled his bankroll to $545,658 for his owner Stan E. Fulton. His overall record improved to six wins from 14 starts.

A. P. Arrow, the 13-10 post time favorite, was mid-pack early, moved up on the turn, angled to the outside in the stretch but proved no threat to the winner.

“I had a perfect trip,” said John Velazquez, who came in from New York to ride the beaten favorite. “He just got there and kind of hung a little bit. At the quarter pole I thought I was the winner, and the eighth pole, I said ‘Uh oh.’ My horse handled the track good. I thought I had a chance to win but he just didn’t have enough.”

Locally-based Kid Grindstone closed from far back to finish third. Summer Book, Flamethrowin Texan, Papi Chullo and Nolan’s Cat completed the order of finish.

Flamethrowintexan, winner of the Grade III Longacres Mile, led through fractions of 23.64, 47.73, 1:11.74, 1:37.66 before giving way in the stretch.

“It’s hard to go a mile and a quarter when you don’t get to relax,” said Flamethrowintexan’s jockey Ricky Frazier. “I wanted at least another quarter mile to get this horse to relax. Robby (Albarado, jockey on Papi Chullo) came at me early, and my horse jumped back in the bridle at the three-quarter pole. I would have liked to gone 10 lengths slower (early) and he would have if they’d let him. He’s a nice colt and he’ll come back to fight another day.”

It’s No Joke returned $17.80, $7.40 and $4.60. A.P. Arrow paid $2.80 and $2.40, and Kid Grindstone returned $5.60 to show.

Complete Gold Cup quotes:

Rebecca Maker, winning trainer, It’s No Joke: “Well I just thought that the added distance would be an advantage and coming back on the dirt off the Polytrack. I always thought he was going to be a mile and a quarter kind of horse. That’s why I ran him in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. But, we’re kind of getting him back on track right now. We had backed him up a little bit. That’s been successful. Since that’s been successful, I thought that stretching him back out would be twice as successful. I’m so excited. This is the biggest win of my career. It was a last minute decision to decide to bring him here instead of running at Turfway. It was a hard decision. I thought about it a lot. It was basically about 12 hours ago that I made up my mind.”

Eusebio Razo, Jr., winning rider, It’s No Joke: “Becky (Rebecca) Maker had confidence in me. I never rode this horse in a race but I have worked him in the mornings so I knew him a little bit. Plus, I have watched his races. He’s a little bit funny to ride. Sometimes he doesn’t have his mind on the race. Becky and I talked about the race. The main thing was not to get behind horses or get crowded. He doesn’t like that. When we passed the wire the first time, I was in a perfect spot. Things worked out well from there.”

Jesse Campbell (jockey, No Kid Grindstone, third): “He ran his race. I think this horse wants about a mile and an eighth to be more comfortable. I thought if we ran second it would be an enormous effort. We ran third and we’re very happy.”

Ricky Frazier (jockey, Flamethrowintexan, fifth): “It’s hard to go a mile and a quarter when you don’t get to relax. I wanted at least another quarter mile to get this horse to relax. Robby (Albarado, jockey on Papi Chullo) came at me early and my horse jumped back in the bridle at the three-quarter pole. I would have liked to gone ten lengths slower (early) and he would have if they’d let him. He’s a nice colt and he’ll come back to fight another day.”

John Velazquez (jockey, A. P. Arrow, beaten favorite, finished second): “I had a perfect trip. He just got there and kind of hung a little bit. At the quarter pole I thought I was the winner, and the eighth pole, I said ‘Uh oh.’ My horse handled the track good. I thought I had a chance to win but he just didn’t have enough.”

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.

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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