Reigning Illinois-bred Horse of the Year and multiple Grade
1 winner, Giant Oak heads a field of 10 for the 75th running of the
Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. To
be contested on the dirt at 1 ¼ miles, the Gold Cup will go as the 9th
race on the Saturday Hawthorne Card with a 5:45 PM post time.
Owned and bred by recently named National Small Breeder of
the Year by TOBA, Rudy and Virginia Tarra (Virginia H. Tarra Turst), Giant Oak
has gained a massive following locally along with nationwide. Trained by Chris Block, Giant Oak has posted
five victories from 29 starts for over $1.4 million in earnings. To his credentials, Giant Oak posted back to
back victories in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill last fall and the
Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream this past February. With regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan out due
to injury, Jesus Castanon picks up the call on Giant Oak Saturday.
Recently third to top mare Havre de Grace in the Grade 1
Woodward, Rule looks to provide stiff competition for Giant Oak. Trainer Todd Pletcher has had tons of past
success at Hawthorne, winning the Gold Cup in 2008 with Fairbanks along with
three Illinois Derby wins at Hawthorne (Pollard’s Vision – 2004, Cowtown Cat –
2007, and Joe Vann – 2010). Rule was on
the path to three-year-old stardom with wins at two in the Delta Jackpot (Grade
3) and then three-year-old wins in the Sam F Davis (Grade 3), and then was
third in the Florida Derby (Grade 1) in 2010.
After some time away, he has returned to form, winning the Birdstone at Saratoga, before running
third in the Woodward. Owned by WinStar
Farm LLC, Rule will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.
Chris Block has a second runner in the Gold Cup who could
also be a factor as Lothenbach Stables, Inc. sends out Mister Marti Gras. A model of consistency on turf, Mister Marti
Gras recently showed his ability on the polytrack, winning the Grade 3
Washington Park Handicap at Arlington
on September 3. A five time winner on
his career, Mister Marti Gras has earned over $416,000 on his career.
Another solid factor is Grade 3 Cornhusker winner
Headache. Owned by Kenneth and Sarah
Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, Headache is a seven-time winner of over
$468,000. He was impressive in victory
in the Cornhusker, knocking off Grade 1 winner Awesome Gem in that spot, and
recently closed to finish fifth following a troubled start in the Grade 1 Whitney. Headache will be ridden by Paco Lopez.
Trainer Gerard Butler has a fine four-year-old filly taking
her shot at the Gold Cup as Maristar looks to come running late. Following a strong score against allowance
company at Arlington in July, Maristar overcame
a tight trip in the Washington
Park to finish third
before being moved to second. Maristar
will be ridden in the Gold Cup by Florent Geroux.
Grade 2 $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup
Handicap - October, 8 – Race 9 –
1 ¼ Miles Main Track
PP. Horse Trainer Jockey Weight M/L
1. Worldly P.
McGee J. Santana 114 10-1
2. Moe Man I. Wilkes J.
McKee 111 15-1
3. Rule T.
Pletcher C. Lanerie 118 5-2
4. Cherokee Lord C.
Livesay C. Roman 111 20-1
5. Cease A.
Stall, Jr. M. Mena 112 12-1
6. Headache M.
Maker P. Lopez 115 6-1
7. Maristar G.
Butler F. Geroux 110 20-1
8. Where’s Sterling N. Canani E.
Baird 116 6-1
9. Mister Marti Gras C.
Block E. Perez 114 15-1
10. Giant Oak C.
Block J. Castanon 119 2-1