Hawthorne Racecourse (11/10/10)
Contact: Jim Miller
A look back at the Breeders' Cup
People may feel free to take my opening comments with a grain of salt, but I want to make a couple of post-Breeders’ Cup statements. First of all, I would like to thank our staff and Horsemen, along with the fans for providing us with a great weekend of racing here at Hawthorne. Our full fields, competitive racing and great crowd made for a great atmosphere and a pair of sold wagering days.
In the Breeders’ Cup, there were some great performances. In my humble opinion, I felt that Breeders’ Cup Saturday provided much more in regards to the strength of racing than the Friday card did. Big Drama was great in the Sprint and could be a top sprinter for a while to come. Uncle Mo should be deserving of early Kentucky Derby favoritism and hopefully he will stay healthy leading into the First Saturday in May and Goldikova won even easier this year in the Mile than prior years, defeating a solid field.
A couple of observations, while Gio Ponti ran his heart out in the Mile, I think he would have easily handled that group on the Turf. The decision of Workforce to scratch may have been the right one, and I commend the connections for sticking to their guns and keeping what they believed was the best interest of their horse in mind.
Finally, the Breeders’ Cup Classic was a Classic race this year. Blame ran a great race and Zenyatta gave everyone a late thrill, coming up just short. The question will now come as to who is Horse of the Year? People will say it has to be Blame, because he won the Classic, but then Zenyatta should have been named Horse of the Year last year over Rachel Alexandra. Take nothing away from Blame, but I would put Zenyatta on my ballot on top for Horse of the Year. Although she lost the race Saturday, she has five consecutive Grade 1 wins on the year compared to three Grade 1 wins for Blame. Zenyatta ran and won one more race than Blame and while Zenyatta’s only loss on the year came by a head against males, the four-length loss by Blame in the Jockey Club Gold Cup was not an inspiring effort. As an ambassador of the sport, there has been more interest leading into, during, and even after the Breeders’ Cup in Zenyatta then there ever was with Blame. Blame is a great horse and should be named the top older male on the year, but my vote for Horse of the Year is with Zenyatta.
Here at Hawthorne, we enter our sixth full week of live racing for the fall meet. The weather continues to hold and we continue to race on the turf. We will be backing off on grass races a bit following this week sue to uncertainty in weather, along with wear and tear on the course, but we will still offer grass races as long as the conditions allow.
In the standings, Tim Thornton holds a seven win lead for leading jockey with 24 victories, followed by both Pablo Morales and Jozbin Santana, each with 17 apiece. Joel Berndt continues his fine meet as he leads all trainers with 14 wins, followed by Roger Brueggemann with 11, then Jamie Ness and Chris Block, each with 10. Midwest Thoroughbred-owned horses have been on fire in the past couple of weeks as the ownership group has 13 wins for the meet. We still await our first three-time winning horse this fall as eight runners have grabbed two wins.
Finally, Joe Kristufek and myself will be online every racing day for the remainder of the meet on www.HorseplayerNow.com to offer chats covering our racing cards. Joe and I both know this circuit well and will be offering info and wagering ideas, along with answering questions every racing day. The chat today starts at 1:15 pm.
Main Track – Fast
Turf Course – Firm
SCRATCH #3 – Go Gone Girl
SCRATCH #3 – K Lynn
SCRATCH #10 – Charlie Baby
SCRATCH #13 – Market Cap
SCRATCH #14 – Tsunami King
SCRATCH #10 – Lucky Tip
SCRATCH #14 – Kettle Corn
Featured Race of the Day
Race 4 on Wednesday is a 1 1/16 mile turf allowance for Illinois Bred runners that drew a field of 10 with nine betting interests. This is an extremely evenly matched bunch headed by an entry from trainer Chris Block’s barn. I do like a part of that entry with #1 Striking Heat on top. This race looks to have a decent amount of early pace and Striking Heat may have the perfect style as he will be stalking early and looking to get first run on some of the late closers. Working against him is the two-month layoff leading into this start but he hasn’t missed a morning work and his consistency on race day makes him the most logical one to put on top. A few others can run in, but key the Block-trained entry on top in gimmicks, Pick 3s and Pick 4s.