Horse Racing

Voodoo Song leads talented field in return of Hawthorne Derby


Voodoo Song leads talented field in return of Hawthorne Derby

After a year hiatus, the $100,000 Hawthorne Derby returns to Hawthorne on Saturday for the 51st running of the race. To be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the Hawthorne turf course, the Hawthorne Derby will go as race six on a nine race Saturday card with an 11 horse field.

Leading the field in the Hawthorne Derby is Voodoo Song for owner Barry Schwartz and trainer Linda Rice. The talented colt has really woken up with the move to the turf course at Saratoga in July. After a win on July 22 against $40,000 claimers, Voodoo Song was back just four days later to defeat state-bred allowance company on the grass. Victorious in that race, he would win again against New York-breds on Aug. 23. With another quick return to the races, Voodoo Song battled to a game score in the Grade 3 Saranac on Sept. 2. His most recent effort was a near miss in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel on Sept. 30. Edgar Perez will be aboard the 9-5 morning line favorite on Saturday.

Second choice in the Hawthorne Derby is Adonis Creed from the barn of trainer Brad Cox. Owned by Zilla Racing Stables, Adonis Creed has raced with mixed results on the year. After a sixth-place effort in the Grade 3 Palm Beach in March, Adonis Creed was an allowance winner on the turf at Keeneland on April 8. That victory led to a string of six consecutive stakes races which included a third-place run in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware on July 15 and a pair of second-place finishes in the Stanton Stakes at Delaware and most recently in the Jefferson Cup at Churchill. Shaun Bridgmohan comes in to ride Adonis Creed as he is the 9-2 second choice in the morning line.

Trainer Joe Sharp has Phat Man entered in the Hawthorne Derby for owners Brad and Misty Grady. After a maiden score at Fair Grounds to open the year, Phat Man tried stakes-company in his next two starts, missing the board in both. After a nice string of four starter races where he finished no worse than second, Phat Man got his first stakes win in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth on July 8. He would go on to finish sixth in the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby in his next start before running second most recently in the Super Derby on the turf at Louisiana Downs. Chris Emigh gets the call aboard Phat Man on Saturday.

Three Diamonds Farm’s Bronson is entered in the Derby for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Tyler Gaffalione. After a victory against optional claiming allowance company at Gulfstream on the turf to open the year, Bronson has made six straight stakes starts. After a close-up fifth in the Grade 3 Spiral at Turfway in March, Bronson was the winner of the English Channel Stakes at Gulfstream on May 6. He would go on to finish second in the Not Surprising Stakes at Gulfstream on July 4, followed by a third-place run in the Dueling Grounds Derby on Sept. 10. Most recently, Bronson finished fourth in the Jefferson Cup at Churchill on September 30.

The field for the $100,000 Hawthorne Derby:

PP          Horse                              Jockey                Trainer                M/L

1             Imposing Will                   J. Lopez                 M. Boyce             20-1

2             High On Sugar                A. Nunez                L. Slager              30-1

3             Voodoo Song                  E. Perez                  L. Rice                  9-5

4             Phat Man                        C. Emigh                 J. Sharp                6-1

5             Thirsty Actor                  C. Hill                      W. Catalano        15-1

6             Adonis Creed                 S. Bridgmohan      B. Cox                   9-2

7             Blue Sky Kowboy           J. Felix                    M. Boyce              12-1

8             All Right                          D. Sarvis                 K. Gorder             15-1

9             Bronson                         T. Gaffalione          M. Maker              5-1

10           My Bariley                      S. Sanjur                A. Granitz             10-1

11           Red Corvette                 C.H. Marquez        G. Scherer            30-1

[MORE: HandiKapping with David Kaplan, presented by Xpressbet]

Eagle, Scuba Headline Field for Hawthorne Gold Cup

Barbara Weidl

Eagle, Scuba Headline Field for Hawthorne Gold Cup

Saturday marks the 80th running of the most historic race on Hawthorne’s calendar as the $150,000, Grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup returns. To be contested at 1 ¼ miles over the Hawthorne main track, a field of eight has assembled with a mix of locals and out of towners. A trio of graded stakes winners in Eagle, Scuba, and Hay Dakota lead the way in the Gold Cup.

The 8-5 morning line favorite in the Hawthorne Gold Cup is Eagle, from the barn of trainer Neil Howard.  The 2016 winner of the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland and second-place finisher of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill last year, Eagle has raced with mixed results during his 2017 campaign. He opened the season with a pair of fourth-placed efforts in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap and Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds.  He returned to Keeneland in April, finishing second in this year’s edition of the Grade 3 Ben Ali before a flat effort in the Pimlico Special in May.  He got back on track though, winning the Michael Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Grand before running a good second in the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth in August.  He enters the Gold Cup off a fifth-place performance in the Grade 3 Lukas Classic at Churchill in his most recent start. Ty Kennedy gets the call aboard Eagle on Saturday.

The 9-5 second-choice in the Gold Cup is the Brendan Walsh trained Scuba. The multiple graded stakes winning gelding posted a big 2016 campaign, finding the board in all eight of his starts last year.  His season closed with a bang, as he rattled off victories in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx, the Temperence Hill Invitational at Belmont, and capped his season by winning the Grade 2 Marathon on Breeders’ Cup day. Receiving a break after his Marathon win, Scuba began his 2017 season with sixth and fifth-place efforts respectively in the Ben Ali and Flat Out Stakes. After running fourth in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine, he finished second in the Birdstone at Saratoga on Aug. 3. Scuba enters the Gold Cup off a pair of sixth-place efforts in the Greenwood Cup and Temperence Hill but figures to be the pace of the race on Saturday. Alonso Quinonez gets the call on Saturday to ride.

The field for the Hawthorne Gold Cup:

PP           Horse                                    Trainer                 Jockey             M/L

1              Hay Dakota                         J. Berndt              C. Roman            12-1

2              Futile                                   C. Hartman        R. Prescott           6-1

3              Side Pocket                        J. Smith, Jr.          V. Santiago         15-1

4              Volgograd                           H. Rodriguez      E. Perez              20-1

5              Eagle                                     N. Howard         T. Kennedy         8-5

6              Van Damme                       R. Gorham          T.D. Houghton   8-1

7              Empirestrikesagain          A. Mitchell          S. Sanjur              15-1

8              Scuba                                    B. Walsh            A. Quinonez       9-5

Pair of State-bred Sprints on Saturday Undercard

The top sprinters in the state will also be on the track on Saturday as part of the Gold Cup day undercard. Race four on Saturday is the $100,000 Powerless Stakes for Illinois-bred fillies and mares to be contested at six furlongs. Race eight is the Lightning Jet Handicap as the state-bred boys sprint for $100,000.

Puntsville has been installed as the even-money favorite in the Powerless Handicap for trainer Michelle Boyce.  A winner of 10 of 20 career starts, Puntsville has won three of four races in 2017, including the Hoist Her Flag Stakes at Canterbury and the Richie Scherer Memorial at Arlington Park.  Regular rider Victor Santiago gets the call on Puntsville. 

The Lightning Jet Handicap is a rematch of the top two finishers from the state-bred Buck’s Boy Handicap earlier this month at Hawthorne. The winner of that race, Goneghost, is the 2-1 morning line favorite as one of a pair for trainer Scott Becker in the race that also includes the speedy D’Rapper (5-2). Trainer Michele Boyce with saddle talented three-year-old Devileye, who faced the first defeat of his career in the Buck’s Boy, finishing second to Goneghost.

The fields for the Powerless and Lightning Jet Handicaps:

Powerless Handicap

PP           Horse                                    Trainer                 Jockey                  M/L

1              Kalispell                                J. Johns                O. Hernandez    10-1

2              Dr Winn Kyi                         S. Manley            R. Prescott          8-1

3              Puntsville                            M. Boyce             V. Santiago         1-1

4              Darlin Rosie                        R. Dobbs, Jr.       C. Roman             12-1

5              Jolee                                     A. Mitchell          S. Sanjur              9-2

6              Ima Little Kitten                 R. Lindsay            J. Molina, Jr.       12-1

7              Church Road                      S. Manley            C. Ulloa                 6-1

8              Shar Ran                             M. Tomlinson    E. Perez                10-1

Lightning Jet Handicap

PP           Horse                                    Trainer                 Jockey                  M/L

1              Goneghost                         S. Becker             V. Santiago         2-1

2              Mexico Memories           L. Hellman           A. Quinonez       20-1

3              Reigning Catfish                 J. Smith, Jr.         C. Roman             8-1

4              Devileye                              M. Boyce             S. Sanjur              7-2

5              D’Rapper                             S. Becker             V. Bailon              5-2

6              Cashel Rock                        D. Matthews      J. Lopez                10-1

7              Armando’s Star                 M. Cristel             R. Prescott          5-1

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

In the latest edition of HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan makes his picks for the weekend.

Kap made his picks with the help of Eddie Olczyk this week.