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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Hawthorne Racecourse (10/3/09)
Contact: Ron Uchman (708) 780-3700
“Cup” Gold for Awesome Gem
STICKNEY, IL – Awesome Gem, the 3-1 second choice, scored a length and a quarter victory in Saturday’s $500,000 Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup. Under a confident ride by veteran reinsman David Flores, Awesome Gem saved ground in the early going, angled out when they turned for home, and rallied under steady pressure.
David Flores was ecstatic: “I thought that if we were sitting four or five lengths off the lead we would be in a good spot. The horse is doing so good right now. I worked him last week. He’s racing like he never did before. I was confident. We were in good position after the first turn. I was pretty much looking for the right spot and he was taking me there pretty easily. At the top of the stretch I tapped him left handed and he just went on really nice.
“He ran a great race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the only other time he ran on an off track. He came running late in that race, the same way he did today. But, he can handle any track.”
Jon Court, rider of runner-up Nite Light: "He ran an honest, strong race. I had horse at the end, but he just didn't have the turn of foot. He's more of a steady grinder. He's just a big horse, it takes him awhile to get his footing, but when he does he just stays with it. He's got a lot of stamina. He's tenacious. He fought to the end and when David (Flores, on Awesome Gem) went by me, I thought, 'he's got the horse with the kick at the end.' My horse was still running. I was hoping to put a little lead on him turning for home, make him more of a challenge to run down. I held off the rest of the field, but the one quick closer managed to get by me."
Assistant trainer, Michael McCarthy added, “It was a good performance under less than ideal conditions."
Luis Quinonez, who rode third-place finisher Going Ballistic: “I just rode the horse the same as I did the last time. He was last most of the way and he started moving good but we just ran out of track."
Jesus Castanon rode beaten favorite You and I Forever: “He gave a good effort and I don’t have any complaints. Coming up to the quarter pole, I was right next to the winner, but the last sixteenth of the mile, he just spit it out on me. He gave me a nice kick but it wasn’t enough.”
Pacesetter Shadowbdancing’s rider Randy Meier: “Around the first turn he was having a little trouble so I moved him off the rail to the first tractor path. I thought the rail would be a good spot to be but he was kind of (bobbling) a little so I moved him out a bit. Up the backside, he felt a little better but on the (second) turn he wasn’t handling it as well as I thought he would. He gave a good run. He’s campaigned hard and he’s been good to us.”
Awesome Gem’s share of the $500,000 Guaranteed purse, $282,000, boosted his career earnings to $1,695,682.
They went the mile and a quarter, on a track rated sloppy, in 2:04.36 with fractions of :24.17, :48:60, 1:13.04, and 1:38.30.
Awesome Gem returned $8.40, $4.40, and $3.80. Nite Light paid $6.40 and $5.20. Going Ballistic closed with a rush at 24.5-1 and brought back $10.20 to show.
Hawthorne will be racing live every Wednesday – Sunday this fall with a first post of 1:20 pm. Racing will be conducted Wednesday through Sunday with first post of 1:20 pm. On Fridays through November 20, post time will be 2:30 pm with two special twilight cards on the evenings of October 9 and 16 with a first post of 5:30 pm.
For more information on Hawthorne Race Course visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com or call 708-780-3700.
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