Horse Racing

Pair of Hawthorne Turf Stakes Compliment Breeders’ Cup Weekend


Pair of Hawthorne Turf Stakes Compliment Breeders’ Cup Weekend

As much of the focus this weekend will take place on the Breeders’ Cup action at Del Mar, a pair of nice cards have been assembled this weekend at Hawthorne. On Saturday, co-featured turf stakes will take place with the running of the Illini Princess and Buck’s Boy Handicap. Each race is slated to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf course and both carry a purse of $100,000.

Illini Princess Handicap

Going as race two on the Saturday card, the Illini Princess Handicap has a field of eight entered, led by Prado’s Sweet Ride from the barn of trainer Chris Block. Owned by Darrell and Sadie Brommer, Prado’s Sweet Ride is a six-time winner on her career for over $300,000 in career earnings. This year she has raced exclusively in stakes-company, winning the New Orleans Ladies overnight stakes in April, and finishing second in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington on July 8. Prado’s Sweet Ride is the 9-5 morning line favorite and will be ridden by Jose Lopez.

Second choice at 3-1 is Lovely Loyree from the barn of trainer Michele Boyce. A winner seven times from 19 career starts, Lovely Loyree is lightly raced in 2017, making only a pair of starts. In her first race back off an 11 month layoff, she defeated Prado’s Sweet Ride while winning the Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap at Arlington on June 17. She most recently finished second in the Steve Morgan Memorial Stakes on Sept. 23. Victor Santiago gets the mount on Lovely Loyree. 

One Liz is one of a pair from the barn of Wayne Catalano as he also has Stormin Elle in the Illini Princess. After a winless 2016 season, One Liz grabbed a pair of victories on the polytrack at Arlington to open her 2017 campaign. She had a pair of near misses on the turf in optional claiming allowance races at Arlington before most recently finishing sixth in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 7. Edgar Perez gets the call as One Liz is 7-2 in the morning line.

The field for the Illini Princess Handicap:

Buck’s Boy Handicap

Named for the Illinois-bred Breeders’ Cup Turf winning and Eclipse Award Champion Turf Horse of 1998, the Buck’s Boy Handicap has a field of nine entered. The talented group is led by trainer Brian Williamson’s Oak Brook. The 3-1 favorite in the morning line, Oak Brook won the state-bred Black Tie Affair Handicap at Arlington on June 17. He moved up off that race, finishing a close second in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap before running sixth, beaten only 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade 1 Arlington Million. Oak Brook will be ridden on Saturday by Edgar Perez.

Trainer Chris Block runs a pair in the Buck’s Boy as Cammack and Bold Rally will both make starts in the race. Cammack is the 7-2 second choice in the Buck’s Boy as he has won three times on the year. He put together back to back wins in Florida early in the season, winning the Old Man Eloquent Stakes at Gulfstream in February, followed by a starter score at Tampa Bay Downs in April. He enters the Buck’s Boy off a win in the Les Ahrens Memorial at Arlington on Sept. 23, defeating Oak Brook in that race.

Bold Rally is the second Chris Block entrant in the Buck’s Boy as he makes his first stakes start of the year. A three time winner in 2017, Bold Rally scored in optional claiming races on the polytrack and turf during the summer Arlington meet. He was claimed away from the Block barn on Aug. 17, but recently claimed back into the barn on Oct. 20.  He will be ridden by Julio Felix and is 4-1 in the morning line.

The field for the Buck’s Boy Handicap:

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.