Badge of Silver carries a special distinction going into the $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) April 23 at Hawthorne. The even-money choice, he is the only one in the five-horse field with a stakes win to his credit this year and will carry top weight of 120 pounds. In fact, Badge of Silver has two stakes wins in as many starts and both are at the National Jockey Club distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Badge of Silver began the season at Gulfstream Park in the Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III). He raced close to the pace in the early going and was all out to the wire for a neck victory. In the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), Badge of Silver never looked back as he won by a length, stopping the clock in a good 1:48.78.
Pollard's Vision, fourth in the New Orleans Handicap, is looking for a return to the winner's circle at the same track where he won last year's Illinois Derby (gr. II). The millionaire runner will be making his third start of the year and will carry 118 pounds.
Local favorite Lord of the Game looks to continue his Cinderella run as he tries to make it six for six in his first stakes try. Winner four times at Hawthorne, Lord of the Game was claimed for $10,000 out of a 22 ¾-length victory debut in December at the Chicago track. He totes 115 pounds.
Not to be overlooked in the National Jockey Club Handicap is Freefourinternet under 113 pounds. Last fall, the millionaire runner was overlooked in the $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) and went off at 27-1. Allowed to settle far back early, he closed with a rush and won by 1 3/4 lengths.
Seek Gold, also at 113 pounds, will be trying for his first win since last year at Saratoga.
National Jockey Club Handicap
Race 7 Estimated Local Time: 3:57
Post -- Horse, Jockey, Weight, Odds
1 -- Seek Gold, Larry Melancon, 113, 6/1
2 -- Pollard's Vision, John R. Velazquez, 118, 5/2
3 -- Badge of Silver, Jerry D. Bailey, 120, 1/1
4 -- Lord of the Game, Eusebio Razo Jr., 115, 7/2
5 -- Freefourinternet, Willie Martinez, 113, 12/1