Multiple graded stakes winner Cary Street heads a field of 11 entered for the 78th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap Saturday at Hawthorne. The Gold Cup goes as race eight on a nine-race card with a post time of 5:15 PM Central. The Gold Cup will be featured in a half hour show on TVG from 5-5:30 PM as Joaquin Jaime will be on-site for coverage throughout the afternoon.
Trained by Brendan Walsh and owned in partnership with Marc Detampel is Cary Street. The 5-year-old son of Smarty Jones comes into the Hawthorne Gold Cup off an impressive victory on Breeders' Cup Friday in the Grade 2 Marathon. A distance specialist, Cary Street won the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx on Sept. 1 with a third-place finish behind Ever Rider (Arg) in the Temperence Hill sandwiched in between those victories. Coming in off the Marathon victory into the Hawthorne Gold Cup, Cary Street will be ridden by Miguel Mena once again.
East Coast invader Ever Rider (Arg) is a multiple graded-stakes placed runner from the barn of Marya Montoya. Starting the year on the West Coast, Ever Rider ran second in the Grade 3 Tokyo City at Santa Anita on March 29. Heading east following that start, Ever Rider just missed by a head in the Drosselmeyer at Belmont on May 4 before posting back to back fourth-placed finishes in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap and Grade 2 Suburban Handicap. Following an allowance win at Saratoga, Ever Rider was caught late by Cary Street in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup before turning the tables on that one with a win in the Temperence Hill in his most recent start. Frankie Pennington gets the call on Ever Rider (Arg).
Trainer Todd Pletcher has won his share of stakes at Hawthorne. He sends Red Rifle in for the Gold Cup. The 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway began the season on the dirt, winning against allowance-company at Gulfstream in January before winning the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston on March 1. Following ninth and fourth-place efforts respectively in the Grade 3 Ben Ali and Grade 3 Westchester, Red Rifle moved to turf, running second in a pair of allowance races in July and August. He was a winner in the Yankee Affair at Belmont September 6 before recently running second in the Grade 3 Sycamore at Keeneland on October 16. Florent Geroux rides Red Rifle.
Trainer Bill Mott sends out a runner familiar with Hawthorne as Abraham comes in for the Gold Cup. The fourth-place finisher behind Departing in the 2013 Illinois Derby, Abraham has been in good form in 2014. A winner in three of five starts on the year, Abraham put together back to back allowance wins on the front end this past summer in New York. Following a fifth-place effort in the Greenwood Cup, Abraham returned to the winner's circle, victorious in the Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Downs on Oct. 4. Joe Rocco, Jr. takes the call aboard Abraham.
A runner very familiar to Hawthorne and to the Hawthorne Gold Cup is last year's second-place finisher Mister Marti Gras. Trained by Chris Block, Mister Marti Gras surpassed $1 million in earnings this past summer. The second-place finisher in the Grade 3 Hanshin on the turf at Arlington, Mister Marti Gras finished a close third in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap on the Polytrack before closing late for fifth in the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland in his most recent start. Tim Thornton gets the call aboard Mister Marti Gras.
New York-bred Effinex comes into the Gold Cup for trainer James Jerkens on a high note. Making his second graded stakes start of the year, Effinex rallied late while adding blinkers for a victory in the Empire Classic in his most recent start. Working extremely well coming into the Gold Cup, Angel Arroyo gets the return ride aboard Effinex.
Another with some early speed is Call Me George from the barn of Grant Forster. A runner claimed twice this year, Call Me George has moved into stakes-company in recent starts. A fourth-place finisher in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup, Call Me George ran a strong third behind Cigar Street in the Homecoming Classic at Churchill on September 27. In the Fayette, he led the field into the stretch before giving way late, beaten only three-lengths while finishing sixth. Emmanuel Esquivel rides Call Me George.
Trainer Greg Geier has a pair entered in the Gold Cup with Fordubai and Street Spice. Both horses have won multiple times at Hawthorne and come out of the 2013 Gold Cup where Street Spice ran third and Fordubai sixth. While Street Spice has been facing allowance-company in recent starts, Fordubaui has made eight stakes starts on the year, including a win in the Louisiana Handicap and third-place efforts in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap, Prairie Meadows Handicap and Schaefer Memorial. Israel Ocampo gets the call aboard Fordubai while Edgar Perez rides Street Spice.
From the barn of Nicholas Gonzalez is Midnight Aria. Racing north of the border at Woodbine this year, Midnight Aria has made three starts. Following a win against allowance company on September 28, Midnight Aria recently ran third, nearly stealing the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes on November 9. Julio Felix gets the call aboard Midnight Aria.
Another local entered in the Gold Cup is a horse very familiar with the Hawthorne winner's circle in Hattaash. A six-time winner over the track, Hattaash nearly pulled the upset in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington on August 30, beaten only a head. Sheldon Russell rode Hattaash that day for Cheryl Winebaugh and gets the call in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.
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