Hawthorne Racecourse (9/29/10)
Contact: Ron Uchman
COMPETITIVE GRADE II HAWTHORNE GOLD CUP HIGHLIGHTS OPENING WEEKEND
Saturday’s Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap, with a purse of $250,000, kicks off what promises to be an exciting meet. Nine full races, brimming with runners, 98 to be exact, is likely to be the “norm” for the meet. The barns are overflowing.
The Hawthorne Gold Cup, contested at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter on the “real” dirt track, will be the 74th renewal of this storied contest. Walter J. Salmon’s Display won the first edition in 1928. Sun Beau won the next three. In the following years, the race was won by such legends as Equipoise, Round Table, Kelso, Dr. Fager, Nodouble, Cryptoclearance, and Black Tie Affair.
Since 1997, when the “Cup” was repositioned to its current spot early in the fall meet, this race has served as an important stepping-stone into the Breeders’ Cup races. Black Tie Affair, Buck’s Boy, and Awesome Again, the winners in 1990, 1997 and 1998, respectively, went on to win Breeders’ Cup events. Black Tie Affair and Awesome Again would later win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, while Buck’s Boy took the Breeders’ Cup Turf two years later.
While the 2010 edition of the race might not feature a “legend,” at least not yet, it promises to be a highly competitive event and a great betting race.
Redding Colliery, owned by Mrs. Fitriani Hay and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, was pegged as the 8-5 morning line favorite. He finished third in the Grade III Philip H Iselin in his most recent start but he was returning from a three-month layoff. In his previous start he crushed the field in the Grade III Lone Star Handicap, winning by six lengths and defeating last year’s Hawthorne Gold Cup winner, Awesome Gem, in the process. The speed figure he generated in that race, 111, was by far the highest ever produced by a member of this field. Regular rider A R Napravnik will be the pilot.
Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Temple City has been installed as the 5-2 second choice. This versatile runner just finished sixth in the Grade I Pacific Classic, but he preceded that race with a victory in the Grade III Cougar II, both contested at Del Mar. Trained by Carla Gaines, he will be ridden by locally based E T Baird.
Virginia H Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak is projected to go off as the third choice at 4-1. It’s been a long time between victories for this talented runner, but he was a fast-closing second in his last race, the Grade III Washington Park Handicap at Arlington, which was his best finish of the year. Giant Oak finished second to Musket Man in the Illinois Derby here in the spring of 2009, making his lone local main-track appearance. Musket Man went on to finish third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The pace of this race would certainly seem to set up for this closer. Trained by Chris Block, he’ll be ridden by Eduardo Perez.
The complete field, from the rail out: Redding Colliery; R N B Racing LLC’s Shadowbdancing, Eddie Razo, in the irons, trained by Terrel Gore; Racing Bran, William Stiritz owner, Scott Becker trainer, and Michael Baze in the irons; Giant Oak; Southern Equine Stable LLC’s Arcodoro, trained by Eric Guillot, with Miguel Mena aboard; Don L. Benge’s A. U. Miner, Clark Hanna the trainer with Frankie Pennington up; and Going Ballistic, owned by Kindred Thoroughbreds LLC, trained by Donnie K Von Hemel with Chris Emigh the pilot.
Hawthorne Race Course is in its 101st year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne races Wednesday - Saturday from October 1 through December 31. First post Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday is 1:35 pm. First post on Fridays, through November 19 will be 2:35 pm. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.