G1 Winner Alpha Among Hawthorne Gold Cup Probables

WGN-TV will present live coverage of the Grade 2, $350,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup at a mile and a quarter on dirt on Saturday November 30.  The program airs from 5:00 pm Central time to 6:00 pm Central time.  Post time for the Gold Cup is set for 5:45 pm CT, carded as the eighth of nine races.

In addition to TV coverage from WGN (see the promo above), WGN-AM (720 AM) radio will provide coverage of races 1-8 on the Gold Cup Day, with radio coverage beginning at 2:00 pm CT. WGN-AM radio can be accessed through mobile apps like TuneIn, should you not be able to take advantage of local (to Chicago) TV coverage.

In addition to radio and TV coverage, the first 1000 fans admitted to Hawthorne on Gold Cup Day after 11:00 AM CT receive a free long-sleeve shirt.

Along with the above promotions, the Gold Cup looks to have the following probable field of about seven runners, per Hawthorne Stakes Coordinator Debbie Lindsay:

  1. ALPHA, 8th in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last out and winner of the G1 Woodward at Saratoga during the summer.
  2. LAST GUNFIGHTER, 5th in the Breeders' Cup Classic last out and a three-time G3 winner this year (Excelsior, Pimlico Special, Iselin).
  3. MISTER MARDI GRAS, 3rd in the Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap last out and a locally-owned and based multiple G3 winner that will appear in his 3rd consecutive Gold Cup.
  4. HATTAASH, a locally-based winner of a third-level allowance at Hawthorne last time out and two starts ago 3rd in the G3 Washington Park Handicap across town at Arlington.
  5. FORDUBAI, a locally-based winner of the Straight Line Stakes at Arlington two starts ago and the runner-up in this past year's G3 Illinois Derby.

The above five are the most definite to appear in the event on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, per Lindsay, with two more runners coming from the following quartet: SUNS OUT GUNS OUT, DERBY KITTEN, STREET SPICE, and PRAYER FOR RELIEF.

The probable runners are STREET SPICE and DERBY KITTEN. STREET SPICE is a locally-based runner (from the same connections as FORDUBAI) that was fifth in the G3 Illinois Derby this past Spring at Hawthorne and winner of a second-level allowance earlier in the meet over the local oval.  He is cross-entered to a third-level allowance/optional claimer on Wedneday.  Look for STREET SPICE to aim for the Gold Cup should he scratch from Wednesday's allowance, per Lindsay.  DERBY KITTEN is a Ken & Sarah Ramsey owned-and-bred runner that won the Guilliams Handicap at Ellis Park two starts back and won the G3  Lexington Stakes in 2011 as a three-year-old.

The possible runners are SUNS OUT GUNS OUT and PRAYER FOR RELIEF.  SUNS OUT GUNS OUT was 4th in the Breeders Cup Marathon last out and fourth three starts ago in the G3 Greenwood Cup.  However, he's cross entered to the $150K Swatara Stakes at Penn National on Thanksgiving Eve. PRAYER FOR RELIEF was fifth last time in the Homecoming Classic (to 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned) and won the G3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker earlier this year.  However, PRAYER FOR RELIEF is also a possible for the G1 Clark Handicap on Black Friday.

The two probables are more likely than the possibles to make the trip to the 35th street oval, per Lindsay.

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