Cary Street won the Las Vegas Marathon on Oct. 31.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Cary Street won the Las Vegas Marathon on Oct. 31.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Cary Street Leads 11 in Hawthorne Gold Cup

Grade II winner, multiple graded stakes-placed Ever Rider top Nov. 29 test.

By Paul Mazur

A field of 11 will gather for the $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course Nov. 29, contesting the only graded stakes and open event of the Chicagoland oval's fall stand.

Favoritism among this intersectional group falls to Cary Street, 4-1 on the morning line. The 5-year-old son of Smarty Jones  is the most accomplished entrant, coming off a victory in the Oct. 31 Las Vegas Marathon (gr. II) on the Breeders' Cup undercard at Santa Anita Park, and having annexed the Sept. 1 Greenwood Cup (gr. III) at Parx Racing prior to that.

Sandwiched between victories is a third in the listed Temperance Hill Invitational at Belmont Park, where Cary Street was third on a sloppy surface going 1 5/8 miles. Regular rider Miguel Mena will once again be in the irons for conditioner Brendan Walsh, who co-owns the bay gelding along with Marc Detampel.

The horse that turned the tables on Cary Street at Belmont, Waldorf Racing Stables' Ever Rider, is 7-2 on the morning line and shares co-highweight assignment of 121 pounds with his rival. Previously second to Cary Street in the Greenwood Cup, Ever Rider also brings in another grade III placing via a second-place finish in the Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita.

A Marya Montaya trainee, this 6-year-old Argentina-bred by Rider Stripes hasn't raced since his Belmont victory Oct. 4 in the Temperance Hill Invitational. Frankie Pennington has the assignment from post 5.

Trainer Grant Forester is bullish on Call Me George, and will recruit the local meet's leading rider, Emmanuel Esquivel, to ride for owners Clint Joiner, Matthew Bond, and Jim Curry. The Point Given colt was fourth in the Greenwood Cup two starts ago, and has had the 1 1/4-mile Hawthorne Gold Cup as a goal since September.

"The distance would suit him," Forester remarked. "The Gold Cup is a neat race, it's got history. And we're looking to avoid the bigger names in the Clark or the Cigar Mile (both grade I). He's improving with age and I think he wants a mile and a quarter."

Todd Pletcher took down the Hawthorne Gold Cup with Fairbanks in 2008 and will be represented with Twin Creeks Racing Stable's Red Rifle, second in the Sycamore Stakes (gr. IIIT) over 1 1/2 miles on grass at Keeneland.

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 (gr. III), Abraham has been in good form in 2014 for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and The Elkstone Group. A winner in three of five starts on the year, he put together consecutive allowance scores on the front end this past summer in New York.

Following a fifth in the Greenwood Cup, the 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor  returned victorious in the Oct. 4 Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Grand Race Course. Joe Rocco Jr. takes the call from the rail.

The home team finished second and third in last year's Hawthorne Gold Cup, and those local players are back for another chance.

Lothenbach Stable's Mister Marti Gras became a millionaire thanks to last year's second in the Gold Cup, and the Chris Block trainee has been eyeballing a return outing. He has a second in the Hanshin (gr. IIIT) on the Arlington International Racecourse turf and a close third in the Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) on Polytrack to his credit. He was a late-closing fifth in the Fayette (gr. II) at Keeneland in his most recent start. Tim Thornton gets the call from post 10.

Conditioner Greg Geier sends out two, both sporting the colors of the late Jim Tafel. Street Spice was third in last year's Hawthorne Gold Cup, and Geier hopes to learn from that effort and from the 4-year-old Street Sense  colt's most recent start in a three-other-than alowance over the local Hawthorne strip.

"(Alex) Canchari (who rode Street Spice in last year's Hawthorne Gold Cup) told me he moved too soon and he could have been second," Geier said. "And I think he moved too soon in the three-other-than at Hawthorne. He's got one run and we need to time it."

Street Spice gets Edgar Perez in the irons from post 7.

Geier's other entrant, open stakes winner Fordubai, is grade III-placed by virtue of a second in the 2013 Illinois Derby. Israel Ocampo is scheduled to ride the 4-year-old by E Dubai from the 9 hole.

"He's been training well. He's grown up a little. But he still has a mind of his own and can do quirky things," Geier said of Fordubai. "Ocampo has worked him, he doesn't get too intimidated.

"He likes dirt. Even though he was fourth in the Washington Park Handicap, he didn't run too bad. But he likes dirt better."

Empire Classic winner Effinex, a 3-year-old son of Mineshaft  conditioned by Jimmy Jerkens for Tri-Bone Stables, ships to the Midwest to tackle older foes after defeating fellow New York-breds Oct. 18.

Midnight Aria and Hattaash complete the field.

Entries: Hawthorne Gold Cup H. (G2)

Hawthorne Race Course, Saturday, November 29, 2014, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/4m
  • Dirt
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:20 PM (local)
11Abraham (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Rocco, Jr.117William I. Mott-
22Hattaash (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSheldon Russell114Cheryl Winebaugh-
33Red Rifle (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux116Todd A. Pletcher-
44Cary Street (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMiguel Mena121Brendan P. Walsh-
55Ever Rider (ARG)Frankie Pennington121Marya K. Montoya-
66Effinex (NY)Angel S. Arroyo114James A. Jerkens-
77Street Spice (KY)Edgar Perez113Greg Geier-
88Call Me George (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmmanuel Esquivel115Grant T. Forster-
99Fordubai (KY)Israel Ocampo116Greg Geier-
1010Mister Marti Gras (KY)Timothy Thornton115Chris M. Block-
1111Midnight Aria (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulio E. Felix115Nicholas Gonzalez-