Hawthorne Racecourse (10/8/11)
Contact: Jim Miller
Headache Takes Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup
STICKNEY, IL – Ken and Sarah Ramsey had a nice day on Saturday capped by a fine Grade 2 score in the 75th running of the Grade II $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. The race, contested at 1 ¼ miles on a fast Hawthorne track initially appeared to be a matchup between Rule and Giant Oak, but wide trips compromised both of those runners.
Breaking sharply from the gate, longshot Cherokee Lord cruised out to the lead, setting early fractions of :24 and :48 3/5 for the half. Slowing things down into the turn, the field bunched up after three-quarters in 1:13 3/5. As horses looked to find position, favored Giant Oak swung 6 wide while Cease and Where’s Sterling split horses to take the lead into the stretch. Following those two, jockey Paco Lopez made his move and angled out in the stretch to wear both down, winning by a half length while stopping the clock at 2:04 3/5. Where’s Sterling just held off Cease for second while Mister Marti Gras closed sharply for fourth, followed by Giant Oak, Maristar, Rule, Moe Man, Worldly and Cherokee Lord.
Sent off at 5-1, Headache returned $12.60, $6.00 and $4.40. Where’s Sterling returned $7.40 and $5.80 while Cease came back $4.40. The Gold Cup was the second Graded Stakes victory for Headache as he won the Grade III Cornhusker in June at Prairie Meadows.
Jockey Paco Lopez had just enough aboard Headache to hold off his foes in the end, “I had a little trouble around the five-eighths. I had to wait a little. I also saw a couple of horses waiting on the inside. But, once we got clear, around four and a half furlongs out, I went after it. I saw the number 8 (Where’s Sterling) and the 10 (Giant Oak) coming along with Cease but I was able to hold them off.”
Jockey E. T. Baird was aboard Where’s Sterling, “He broke good but then we were hung wide on the first turn. Other than that it was a good trip but he just got outrun.”
Miguel Mena was aboard up-and-coming star Cease, “I wish he would have relaxed a little better, if he had he would have won. He has a really nice way of going.”
Local favorite Giant Oak’s jockey Jesus Castanon just didn’t get the trip today, “They went so slow early. I got pushed pretty good on the first turn and that got my horse upset. He wanted to go after them. I got him settled down on the backside and then he went fine. He made a move but they went away from him.”
On the Gold Cup Day undercard, there was a pair of fine overnight stakes on the turf that were dominated by the same barn. In the running of the $60,000 added Indian Maid Handicap, trainer Michele Boyce’s Happy Henrietta ($16.20), made every call a winning one in the 1 1/16 mile event. Ridden by Jozbin Santana, Happy Henrietta took the field from gate to wire. Trainer Chris Block’s Mourette closed with a late rush to finish second while Instant Style finished third, followed by Trac N Jam. Happy Henrietta covered the 1 1/16 miles distance on the turf in 1:42 3/5.
In the Robert F. Carey Memorial, Cherrywood Stables and Terry Biondo owned Princeville Condo ($10.40) closed late, and had to overcome an inquiry to prevail. The Michele Boyce trainee had Jozbin Santana aboard Princeville Condo as well, defeating Gleam of Hope and Tazz. Princeville Condo covered the 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf course in 1:42 1/5.
Hawthorne Race Course opens for live racing on Saturday, October 1 and races live through Saturday December 31. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, racing Wednesday-Sunday. Live racing will also take place on Monday, December 26. First post daily is 1:35 pm. On Fridays through November 25, first post will be 3:00 pm. Hawthorne Race Course is located in Stickney IL at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. For information on live racing or groups at Hawthorne Race Course, contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700 or visit Hawthorne online at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.