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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/17/06)

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Vacare Returns to Hawthorne; Breeders’ Cup Decision Looms

Decision on Grade I QE II winner to come this weekend

Fresh off her victory in Saturday’s Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday at Keeneland, Robert Lothenbach’s Vacare has returned to Hawthorne in good shape, and the verdict on her status for Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, to be run Saturday Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, will be handed down this weekend.

“The decision is Mr. Lothenbach’s,” said trainer Chris Block, whose win on Saturday marked the first grade I victory of his 17-year career. “She came back out of the race in good shape, but it’s tough to tell too much about her right now because she’s so low key all the time. We’ll know more about how well she bounced back when we send her to the track on Thursday.”

Block realizes that running back in the Breeders’ Cup against a classy group of older females over an 11 furlong distance that his filly has never tried – just three weeks after she ran the biggest race of her life – would be a lot to ask from Vacare.

“We ran in our Breeders’ Cup last Saturday,” Block said of the QE II. “That was such a huge win for us. I think she’s capable of running well in the Breeders’ Cup. We have to decide if the timing is right to try that this year, or put forth a course of action that makes that (the Breeders’ Cup) our priority next season. She’s taken a step forward in every race, and I truly believe there are more forward steps to take.”

In other Hawthorne news:

  • Illinois Derby romper Sweetnorthernsaint, who finished seventh as the lukewarm 5-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby, is entered in a third-level allowance race on Thursday at Laurel Park. The seven-furlong contest will mark Sweetnorthernsaint's first start since he finished second to Bernardini in the Preakness on May 20.
  • Jockey Eddie Martin Jr., who upset Saturday’s Grade III Hawthorne Derby with Bar Three LLC’s Best of Buddies, is rapidly approaching 3,000 career victories. He’ll begin the racing week on Wednesday with 2,993 wins to his credit.

The 2006 fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne Race Course runs September 15 through January 1 with live racing five days per week – Wednesday through Sunday (except Nov. 23). The dark days are Monday and Tuesday (except Oct. 9 and Jan.1). 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 races can be seen live on Horse Racing Television (HRTV). HRTV provides full, in-depth coverage of the current Hawthorne Race Course meeting, with complete post parades, and expert analysis from the network's hosts.

Hawthorne’s spring 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run February 23 thru May 3. The summer 2007 Standardbred meet will be held June 22 thru August 5. The fall 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run September 17 thru December 31.

For more information visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com.

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