|Hawthorne Racecourse daily notes (3/1/03)
Contact: Jim Miller
Classic Appeal wins Hula Chief Stakes
It figured that there was going to be a speed duel. After all, the race was filled with front runners. The surprise might have been that Magic Doe, the 8-year-old gelding trainer by the aged but ageless James Eckrosh, displayed better speed than he had in almost a year, and was hot on the pace from the start.
Asiel Stable's Classic Appeal, trained by Richard Hazelton, and ridden by Carlos Silva, figured to be one of the main beneficiaries of the blistering pace. He was. Confidently ridden by Silva, Classic Appeal saved ground in the early going, then angled out leaving the top of the stretch. He caught the front runners passing the sixteenth pole and drew off to win by two and a quarter lengths.
"It was a great race," said rider Carlos Silva. "Every thing went perfect. His last race was great but he got into a lot of traffic trouble with no place to go. This time he was able to follow the leaders early and angled out in the turn. He finished very fast. He's a great horse."
As noted above it was surprising that Magic Doe showed such crisp early speed. What was even more surprising was that he came back, after dropping out of contention, and passed all but the winning Classic Appeal.
Jockey Ronnie Gabriel, who returned to riding late last year after a 12-year hiatus, was understandably excited. "He really ran well. He broke so sharply on the lead, but I knew I couldn't go with the others and have anything left, so I took back a bit. We were able to save some energy in the turn and when I got into the stretch, he had something left.
"If this race were 6½ furlongs, I think we win. I really need to thank Mr. Eckrosh for giving me this opportunity. He knew the horse was ready and he gave me a shot. I've gotten myself back into the best shape I've been in years and hopefully this race will lead to more opportunities."
Favored Gold Taker, who had a narrow lead for much of the race, held on to finish third. Jockey E. T. Baird did all he could to hold him together but the pace of the race took its toll. "He ran his race. He broke well and got into perfect position early. We weren't able to take a breather with two other front runners at his heels. He did hold on well but we were simply caught at the end."
The covered the six furlongs 1:10.37 after fractions of 21.84; 44.91; and 57.43.
Classic Appeal paid $9.60, $5.20, and $3.40. Magic Doe paid $25.40 and $10.60. Gold Taker brought back $3.20.
The $2 1-3 Exacta paid $208.20. The $2 1-3-2 Trifecta paid $532.00. The $2 Superfecta 1-3-2-5 brought back $6,342.60.