Fairbanks Favored in Bill Hartack 'Cap
Photo: Benoit
Fairbanks will carry high-weight in the Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap.
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Team Valor International’s Fairbanks has not won in more than a year, but is still the horse to beat April 19 when he takes on four geldings in the inaugural $200,000 Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course.

Formerly known as the National Jockey Club Handicap, the Bill Hartack Memorial will be run on the main course at 1 1/8 miles.

Fairbanks last won March 31, 2007 in the Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita, making him the lone starter with a graded stakes victory. The son of Giant's Causeway   has run seven times since, finishing second on three occasions, including a half-length defeat to Sir Whimsey two starts back in the March 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II).

Most recently, Fairbanks faded to finish sixth in the Oaklawn Park Handicap (gr. II) April 5. In his other start as a 5-year-old, the bay horse was fifth in the Donn Handicap (gr. I).

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Fairbanks, who was instilled as the 7-5 morning line favorite, has won four of 15 lifetime starts and has earned $475,718. Out of the Time for a Change mare Alaska Queen, he was bred in Kentucky by Kidder, Griggs and Mamakos. Mike Smith will get the mount for the first time and break from post four.

Charles Haynes and Jayne Slysz’ Ryan’s for Real (2-1) has been graded stakes-placed three times in his career, all of those efforts coming last year. The son of Sword Dance--Beaties for Real has been off the board in three starts in 2008, but was just two lengths back of the winner in the seven-furlong General George Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 18 at Laurel Park. The bay gelding was seventh earlier this month in the Carter Handcap (gr. I) at Aqueduct.

Trained by Dale Capuano, 5-year-old Ryan’s for Real has never won at the stakes level, but has scored at the 1 1/8-mile distance as a sophomore. Erick Rodriguez will ride.

The hottest starter coming into the race is Alice and James Sapara’s Good and Lucky. The 5-year-old Wild Rush gelding has won five of his last seven starts, including a pair of stakes triumphs in Louisiana. The Josie Carroll trainee is coming off a wire-to-wire victory in the 1 1/16-mile Gulf Coast Classic Stakes at March 21 Delta Downs, giving him two wins in as many starts this year.

Good and Lucky (3-1) tried graded stakes company twice last year, finishing out of the money both times. James Graham will likely take the Florida-bred straight to the lead from post three.

Kentucky-bred geldings Mister Triester (6-1) and Mr. Champ (8-1) round of the field. Each have four victories – none in stakes competition – in their careers. Mister Triester, a 5-year-old son of Old Trieste, was second to Sweetnorthernsaint in the 2006 Illinois Derby (gr. II), but has not been back to Hawthorne, or graded stakes competition, since. He was claimed by Maggi Moss earlier this year, and has a pair of wins for current trainer Steve Asmussen.

$200,000 Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap (gr. III, Race 5, 3:29 p.m.), 3-year-Olds & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Mr. Champ (KY), 111, Victor Lebron
2. Mister Triester (KY), 111, John McKee
3. Good and Lucky (FL), 115, James Graham
4. Fairbanks (KY), 116, Mike Smith
5. Ryan's for Real (FL), 114, Erick Rodriguez 

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