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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (9/25/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

The 72nd Hawthorne Gold Cup (G II) Headlines Stakes-Filled Saturday

On a day when Curlin looks to become the first $10 million dollar earner in Thoroughbred history…in that other ‘Gold Cup,’ seven salty veterans with combined earnings of nearly $5 million will do battle in Chicago’s signature fall classic: The Hawthorne Gold Cup.

On Saturday, September 27, the 72nd running of this Grade II $500,000 mile and a quarter race will feature multiple graded stakes winners, but the post time favorite will likely be either Fairbanks or Magna Graduate, not so coincidentally the first and second choices in the morning line odds.

Fairbanks, trained by Todd Pletcher, is coming off a rousing win in the Duke of Magenta stakes at Saratoga. The mile and three-sixteenths victory marked the five-year-old’s first win since March of 2007. In his previous race, right here at Hawthorne, Fairbanks finished second to Ryan’s For Real in the inaugural Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap.

Finishing third to Fairbanks in the Duke of Magenta was none other than Magna Graduate, whose impressive resumè includes career earnings of over $2.3 million. Steve Asmussen (Curlin’s trainer) assumed the training duties of Magna Graduate in early July, taking over for Pletcher. This will be the second start for his new conditioner, and the six-year-old son of Honor Grades will look to turn the tables on his main rival.

“The race up at Saratoga was definitely a prep,” said Scot Blasi, the right-hand man for Asmussen. “We kind of had this race in mind and needed to get a race in him before the Gold Cup. We thought the last race was a good place to get him started.”

While the aforementioned duo will likely take the brunt of the betting action, there are other legitimate contenders who are worthy of mention.

The speedy Barcola, from the barn of Mark Hennig, exits the Grade I Pacific Classic, where he led for a little more than a half mile before ultimately finishing last. Perhaps more indicative of his ability is his third-place finish in the Stephen Foster, to the mighty Curlin.

“This is a softer spot than last time and fewer unknowns than the Polytrack we ran on in his last start,” Hennig said. “He came out of his last race very well and the short field can only help his chances.”

Wayzata Bay and Better Than Bonds should also be serious competitors in this well-matched lineup.

The Judi Hicklin-trained Wayzata Bay has chalked up quite a year, winning three times in six starts, with three seconds. That record includes a win in the Grade II Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows and year-to-date earnings of $287,500. Wayzata Bay ran fifth and last in the 2007 Gold Cup, won by Student Council.

Better than Bonds, though winless on the season, has amassed $113,045 in 2008, by virtue of four runner-up finishes in eight starts. Obviously consistent, his tactical speed makes him a threat and he is trained by the highly regarded Graham Motion.

Rounding out the field are Brothers Nicholas and Canela, both of whom have done their best running on either Polytrack or grass.

The field in post position order with jockey and morning line odds:

1. Wayzata Bay, Ocampo (6-1); 2. Brothers Nicholas, Perez (8-1); 3. Canela, Karlsson (8-1); 4. Magna Graduate, Emigh (3-1); 5. Fairbanks, Migliore (5-2); 6. Barcola, Carmouche (5-1); 7. Better Than Bonds, Rose (9-2)

The 26th Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (G III)

A full field of 11 will take to the turf for the Grade III $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap for three-year-olds and upward. Oddsmaker Jim Miller, recognizing the depth of contention, has installed The Bill Mott-trained Vanquisher the tepid 4-1 morning line favorite.

However, the highweight for this event will be Earle Mack’s five-year-old turf specialist, Galantas, who will carry 117 pounds in this one-mile test.

Galantas (5-1) will make his first start since competing in the Grade I Woodbine Mile last September, but that race clearly showcased his enormous skill, as he finished third to the since retired Shakespeare and the eventual Breeder’s Cup Turf Mile winner Kip Deville.

“I think this horse has a ton of ability and we wanted to find a sensible place to bring him back where he would be very competitive,” said Galantas’ trainer Graham Motion. “He ran a great race that day (Woodbine Mile) and unfortunately he came back with a reoccurrence of a soft tissue injury. He is a horse that is obviously really delicate and it makes choosing his first start back even more important.”

As mentioned, this race appears tough to decipher, as a case can be made for most of the other ten participants. And while the race appears to go through Galantas, horses like Dynaman (8-1), a winner of three straight races; Dastardly Deeds (6-1), a four-time turf winner; Jungle Fighter (9-2), speedy and classy; and Vanquisher, a recent runner-up in a $50K stakes at Ellis Park, all figure prominently.

The field in post position order with jockey and morning line odds:

1. Dynaman, Silva (8-1); 2. Demeteor, Sanchez (8-1); 3. Dastardly Deeds, Migliore (6-1); 4. Galantas, Rose (5-1); 5. Wise River, Torres (6-1); 6. Media Play, Baird (9-2); 7. Jungle Fighter, Baird (9-2); 8. Vanquisher, Emigh (4-1); 9. Chief Thief, Ocampo (15-1); 10. Tiganello, Karlsson (15-1); 11. Tom Archdeacon, Campbell, Je (10-1)

The Indian Maid Handicap and The Regal Rumor Stakes

The 36th edition of the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap and the $50,000 Regal Rumor Stakes round out the action-packed Saturday card.

The grassy Indian Maid Handicap, for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward, will have another evenly matched field in which to pick and choose your favorite. The morning line choice is the Eddie Kenneally-trained Ballymore Lady (7-2) who exits two decent efforts in graded company including a solid second to Dreaming of Anna, two starts back in the Grade 3 Mint Julep Stakes.

Kiss With a Twist (5-1), trained by Jose Fernandez, has also faired well with the graded types, finishing third in the Mint Julep and followed that performance with a second-place finish in the Grade III Modesty at Arlington Park.

Local conditioner Frank Kirby will send out Ciao (6-1), a four-year-old who may benefit from some class relief on Saturday after running in four-straight graded stakes, including the Grade I Beverly D.

Keep an eye on Drop a Line (4-1), a recent synthetic-surface stakes winner, and Quiet Queen (8-1), an in-and-out sort who seems talented enough to make an impact in the mile and one-sixteenths race.

The Regal Rumor Stakes is for three-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the dirt and has a field of nine.

Palanka City (5-2) will look to regain her winning ways for trainer Terry Gestes after tackling much tougher stock at Saratoga in her last two starts. Perhaps Lune Rouge (4-1), Summer Flight (6-1) and La Wildcat (9-2) can upset what looks to be the shortest-priced favorite of the four stakes.

Hawthorne Race Course will begin its Fall/Winter Thoroughbred meet on Friday, September 26, 2008 and continue through January 11, 2009. Post time on Fridays through November 28 will be at 2:35 pm central time. Post time on all other cards will be 1:35 pm central time. Dark days will be Mondays and Tuesdays. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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