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HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE

Hawthorne Racecourse (11/1/03)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Mystery Giver Takes Carey Memorial at Hawthorne

STICKNEY, IL -- In today's 21st running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Carey Memorial at Hawthorne, Mystery Giver was able to pull off the victory with a big stretch move.

The race lost three entrants early as Generals Sword and Beau Classic were scratched along with Burning Roma, who grabbed a quarter shortly before his flight was to leave. Despite those three defections, not too much luster was lost in this field of eight and the race was extremely competitive.

Early on in the Carey, it was longshot Canaverous who broke sharply and set the early fractions, carving out the first quarter in 23.94 and the half in 47.25.

Moving along the inside to challenge in the far turn was Mc Mahon while Desert Dancer and Moonshine Hall were never far back. Covering three-quarters in 1:11.24, the field turned for home as favored Mystery Giver still sat at the back of the pack, only four and a half lengths off the lead.

As Canaverous and Mc Mahon began to fade when the field straightened out, Mystery Giver had already begun his move widest of all in the stretch and was overtaking horses quickly. At the same time, Al's Dearly Bred was also moving strongly but ran into trouble, getting boxed in at the 3/16th pole with nowhere to go. Emerging on top in the end was Mystery Giver, crossing the wire in 1:34.70 with the half-length victory under jockey C.H. Marquez, Jr.

Al's Dearly Bred closed gamely to finish second while longshot Major Rhythm was passed late after taking a slight lead in the lane to finish third, only another three-quarters of a length behind Al's Dearly Bred. The win was Mystery Giver's second on the year and ninth for his career as the Team Block owned and Chris Block trained runner boosted his career earnings to $695,510. The reigning Illinois Horse of the Year returned $5.80, $3.40 and $2.60. Al's Dearly Bred came back $4.00 and $3.20 while Major Rhythm returned $7.00 to show.

The connections of Mystery Giver were happy to get their runner back to his winning ways. "This win has been a long time coming. He's had a lot of hard luck this year," stated trainer Chris Block. "I think he would have won the Arlington Handicap if he didn't get caught up a bit on the turn and he needs a clear trip. He's got a motor in him. This rider he's got on him and that long stride he's got really gets him going.

"If he gets a good pace ahead of him he'll always come running, said Block. "I wanted more pace. Burning Roma (scratched) didn't bother me and, in fact, I wish he would have stayed in the race. The pace would have been much faster. The plan was to sit behind the pace and see what opened up. I didn't want him to get fanned too wide but I also didn't want him to get stopped. This rider fits him perfectly. He knows how to ride him. He's just what the horse needs."

Jockey C.H. Marquez, Jr. also was pleased with the effort. "That's his style of running. I was a bit worried about Moonshine Hall and Al's Dearly Bred and I was watching them for most of the way. I saw that Al's Dearly Bred had nowhere to go so I got the jump on him. I think that helped. He really came running once he got clear.

"I thought the pace would be a lot quicker but it was moderate and fast enough," he continued. "Good horses can go like that. When I got him outside and asked him he went. He's a big horse. He needs clear running. It's hard to get him going again if he gets stopped. I would rather go lose a bit of ground, like we did today, than try to get him started again."

Incidentally, C. H. Marquez, Jr's father won the Carey 19 years ago as Ronbra was victorious in the Carey in 1984.

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