Now, why not Pool Play? I mean the horse was a perfect
1-for-1 on the dirt and that lone victory was in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster
last summer at Churchill. Obviously there were not a lot of people who thought he
could repeat the feat today at Hawthorne. As the second longest shot in the
field, at 16-1, Pool Play watched the field ahead of him and was very relaxed
through the first mile. Post time favorite and the class of the field,
Alternation, had the lead for 6 furlongs but he was unexpectedly challenged by
Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer. Even though the times were slow (24.3,
49.2, 1:13.4) the pressure might have been too much for him as he eventually
faded to last.
At the top of the stretch Eldaafer actually had a
half-length lead for a moment before ultimately fading to third. Cease and Pool
Play were the ones to come from behind as expected. Pool Play took the five
path and Cease took the four path down the stretch to battle for the victory. Ultimately
Pool Play had enough left to defeat them all, and getting ahead of Cease by
half of a length.
Winning jockey Miguel Mena noted, “I won the Stephen Foster
the last time I rode him. I had confidence in him because I knew he could
handle the dirt. He loved the long stretch here. He just keeps coming. He got a
good trip even though the pace was slow. When we got to the three-eighths pole,
I was pretty excited. I was trying to stay away from Cease, who was also coming
I was thinking the scratch of Nates Mineshaft
allowed Alternation to get free and clear, but that was not the case. In fact
in a bit of controversy before the race, Hawthorne’s Jim Miller
stewards, ‘There was a disagreement between the owner and trainer concerning
Nate's Mineshaft.’ thus leading to the scratch…my guess is fitness possibly a
concern with only four works leading into the race.” Well I’m glad that the connections
made the right decision for the horse, but I am still surprised by the outcome
of the race!
And how about the value provided by a six horse field?! The
exacta paid $127.60, the trifecta paid $878.40 and the superfecta paid
$1,529.50! Not bad!!
There were also two other great races at Hawthorne
yesterday! The Indian Maid and the Robert F. Carey Memorial stakes each went
two turns on the turf for purses of $100,000 each. In the Indian Maid, leading
rider Cisco Torres guided Romacaca to an easy victory by almost two lengths on
the lead the whole way. In the Carey Memorial, Chris Block’s Suntracer won as
expected charging home from dead last to win by a neck over Nikki’s Sandcastle
and Tazz. Block said of Suntracer, "We're
proud of the horse. He trained really well coming to it, and ran like I hoped
he would. He got a pace today which is unusual for him. A lot of cases he'll
get a slow pace like he did last time, so when he got those fractions I thought
that it set up nice for him. He likes to win, he's tenacious. He comes from the
family of Taxable Deduction, his mom, Leading Astray, Free Fighter and
Corrupt." Check out the photos and videos from Saturday’s adventure!!!
(Cisco wins again!)
My other photos from the day! Click HERE
My videos from the day! I do promise next time to tilt the phone sideways to get the wide angle...
Don’t forget, next weekend is the Hawthorne Derby for 3 year
olds! I’ll be previewing the race, but I’ll be at Keeneland for the first time
ever, thus missing the derby… L
Still, you can catch all of the racing action here on Horse Racing Nation!!