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Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (9/26/07)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
The 71st Running of the Hawthorne Gold Cup
Millennium Farm’s Student Council, fresh off an upset win in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar, was installed the 5-2 morning line favorite in a field of six for the Grade II $500,000 1 ¼ mile Hawthorne Gold Cup. The race for three year olds and up will be contested on Saturday, September 29.
Student Council drew the outside post in this select field and, in fact, his trainer Steve Asmussen thinks he landed in “an ideal spot.” The prolific trainer, however, probably has greater concerns than post position as Student Council may still have to prove he is as capable on conventional dirt as he has been on the Polytrack, the surface on which the Pacific Classic was contested.
“He’s a veteran racehorse who has run well over dirt and synthetics, but his record over the Polytrack is tough to ignore,” said Asmussen. “I haven’t had him long. Four days before he went west and a few days since he came back, but we’ve got a sound horse and we’ll find out more in here.”
Jockey Richard Migliore, aboard for the Pacific Classic win, thinks Student Council probably doesn’t need the Polytrack to bring out his best. “This is a sound, long-striding, and athletic horse. My experience is the athletic ones don’t need to bring their track with them.”
If Student Council falters, even slightly, there are other contenders who figure to take full advantage.
Michael Langford’s Jonesboro, a $10,000 supplemental entry, will attempt to stretch his considerable speed beyond 1 1/8 for the first time, but his trainer Randy Morse thinks the extra distance will be right in his wheelhouse. “This horse shows me long loping strides in the morning, so I’ve wanted to run him longer for quite some time. I also don’t think he absolutely needs to be on the lead. Although we were too far back, I thought he showed he could close in the Stephen Foster.”
A. P. Arrow, from the powerhouse barn of Todd Pletcher, will attempt to better his runner-up finish to It’s No Joke in last year’s Gold Cup. A. P. Arrow was the 6-5 favorite in last year’s renewal, and is the 3-1 second choice in the morning line, to make amends.
The race also attracted the claiming star of 2007, Miami Sunrise. Claimed for $10,000 this past April, the Michael Maker-conditioned gelding has reeled off four straight victories including the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Ellis Park.
“It’s been a great run with him, but we’re just taking a chance here,” said Maker. “If we get third in this race, it will be like winning a race somewhere else.”
The field in post position order with jockeys and morning line odds:
1 A.P. Arrow, Rafael Bejarano (3-1)
Two competitive stakes races head the Gold Cup undercard.
Richard Thompson’s Ballast heads a field of eight going one mile on the turf, in the Grade III $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap favorite. A lifetime winner of $343,287, this Graham Motion-trained gelding is coming off a close fourth place finish in the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga. Rafael Bejarano gets the riding assignment on the 3-1 morning line choice.
His main competition is likely to come from the speedy Obi Wan Kenobi (6-1) and the William Mott trained Classic Campaign (7-2), both of whom figure to take plenty of wagering action.
A full field of 12 will go postward in the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap, a one mile turf race for fillies and mares three years old and up. Jennie R., enjoying a marvelous grass campaign in 2007, has been made the tepid 4-1 morning line favorite.
While competition to Jennie R. can come from anywhere, look for Ebony Rose (5-1), Round Heels (9-2), and My Chickadee (6-1) to get plenty of pari-mutuel support.
Hawthorne Race Course’s Thoroughbred meet begins on Friday, September 21 and will continue through the end of the year. Live racing will be conducted Wednesday through Sunday, regular first post 1:35 pm central time. Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804, gates open daily at 7 am. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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