Hail the Chief Returns in Clark
Updated: Saturday, November 30, 2002 2:00 PM
Edited from Churchill Downs track notes
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 2:43 PM
Peter Crane's Hail the Chief, a British import who stamped himself as one of the rising stars in America's handicap division in the spring, will make his anticipated return to racing in Friday's $400,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II).
The 5-year-old son of Be My Chief dominated his opposition in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) at Hawthorne Park and the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) at Sportsman's Park in the spring, but went to the sidelines when he suffered an ankle injury while training at Churchill Downs for the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I). Trainer Niall O'Callaghan had hoped to bring Hail the Chief back in a scheduled allowance race, but that race failed to fill and the Irish-born trainer said his stable star needs to run.
"I'd like to have race under his belt," he said, "but this horse could hit the board if he runs good."
O'Callaghan said Hail the Chief has trained well at Churchill Downs with works on the both the main track and the turf course. His stable star is ready to run, but whether he can win against such company as Woodward (gr. I) winner Lido Palace and Tenpins in his first race after such a long break remains to be seen.
"I'm expecting him to run well," said a smiling O'Callaghan. "Only (the late) Charlie Whittingham wins these kind of races off of a layoff. I don't think it's within my capabilities to win this off the layoff, but the horse might overcome me."
O'Callaghan will also run Flying Column Stable II's Generous Rosi, who was narrowly beaten by Clark rival Tenpins in the Washington Park Handicap, in the Clark.
"He's got a solid shot," said O'Callaghan. "This is definitely tougher than the Washington Park Handicap and Tenpins is a good horse, but I don't we're too far behind him in the thing."
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