2015 Hawthorne Gold Cup

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois will play host to the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap this Saturday, November 28. A purse of $250,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/4 miles on Hawthorne's dirt track.

A competitive group of eight older entries have been confirmed for the Hawthorn Gold Cup - race 8 on Hawthorne's Saturday card. Post time is 5:45 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all eight combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.

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2015 Hawthorne Gold Cup Race Favorites

Commissioner 9-5 - Todd Pletcher trained multiple graded-stakes winning colt has four wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 14 career starts with a second behind Tonalist in the 2014 Belmont Derby being the highlight. He looked terrific in the spring with wins in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March and the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May but has failed to place in his last two starts overall. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 2 Haygard Fayette Stakes at Keeneland October 30 after a sixth in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap in June. Commissioner looks to get back to his early season form and to snap a two race losing streak when he departs from post 7 with Florent Geroux guiding the morning line favorite and 119 pound highweight.

Majestic Harbor 4-1 - was at his best in 2014 when he won the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup in March and the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June. He posted a couple of Allowance races earlier this year and has been OK since. He enters on the heels of consecutive seconds - the Grade 2 Marathon Stakes last time out October 30 at Keeneland and the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx September 7. Before that was a third in the minor West Virginia Governor's Stakes in August, a fourth in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap in June and a ninth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap in May. Majestic Harbor now has 36 career starts with eighth wins, eight seconds and five third place finishes and will be after his fist graded stakes score in 17 months Saturday. He enters in decent form and leaves from the rail with Francisco Torres in the saddle.

Hawthorne Gold Cup 2015 | Remaining Contenders

Neck `n Neck 7-2 - multiple grade stakes winning Ian Wilkes trainee was at his best in 2012 when he won three graded stakes races. He has been decent ahead of this race placing in four straight. Last time out was a third behind Majestic Harbor in the Grade 2 Marathon Stakes at Keeneland October 30 after a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming October 9 and a win over Majestic Harbor in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx in September. Overall he has six wins, five seconds and six third place finishes in 30 career starts and has hit the board in eight of his last 10 starts. Neck `n Neck is expected to be in the mix again Saturday from gate 4 with Chris Landeros guiding him.

Valiant City 6-1 - Scott Becker trained gelding has 21 career starts with nine wins, five seconds and three third place finishes. He makes his graded stakes debut Saturday off three straight Allowance Optional Claiming scores - the last coming on this track October 14. Before the streak was three straight off-the-board finishes and another four-race Allowance win streak. Valliant City Steps up full of confidence and is an interesting entry for this one. Christopher Emigh has been tabbed to ride from post 3.

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Mister Marti Gras 8-1 - multiple graded stakes winner has a whopping 50 career starts for trainer Chris Block with 10 wins, 14 seconds and six third place finishes. He has participated in this race four times in his career - a fourth in 2011, a fourth in 2012and runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2014. He enters this year's edition is so-so form. Last time out was a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming here October 14 after a fifth in the minor Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs in September, a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming in August and a respectable second in the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup at Arlington in July. Mister Marti Gras has been a tad inconsistent and looks for his first win in 17 months from gate 6 with ET Baird in the irons.

Fordubai 12-1 - multiple stakes winner will be after his first graded stakes score Saturday. He has 24 career starts with six wins, four seconds and four third place finishes and has placed in four of his last five starts overall. Fordubai enters off a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming here November 14, an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track in April, an eighth in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap in February and a second in the minor Louisiana Handicap in January. Fordubai hits the track for just the second time in seven months Saturday and enters in so-so form from post 5 with Edgar Perez in the reins.

Street Spice 15-1 - finished third in this race in 2013 and sixth last year and has been up and down against lesser competition since. He enters off a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Keeneland October 9, a fourth in a similar race at Arlington August 23 and an OK third in the minor Prairie Meadow Handicap in July. Street Spice will be after his first graded stakes win Saturday but enters in less-than-spectacular form. Timothy Horton has been tabbed to ride from the outside gate 8.

Lahshad 20-1 - has 31 career starts with just five wins, six seconds and two third place finishes. He finished second in the minor Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes at Prairie Meadows in June but has failed to place in four starts since. Last time out was a seventh in the minor Cicero Handicap here October 24 after consecutive fifths - both Allowance Optional Claiming races and a fourth in his only graded stakes action to date - the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup at Arlington in July. Lahshad looks for his first stakes win from gate 2 with Julio Felix aboard the longest shot in the field.

2015 Hawthorne Gold Cup Entries & Odds

Race 8 on Hawthorne's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:45 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Majestic Harbor Francisco Torres Paul McGee
2 Lahshad Julio Felix Robert Dobbs, Jr.
3 Valiant City Christopher Emigh Scott Becker
4 Neck 'n Neck Chris Landeros Ian Wilkes
5 Fordubai Edgar Perez Greg Geier
6 Mister Marti Gras E. Baird Chris Block
7 Commissioner Florent Geroux Todd Pletcher
8 Street Spice Timothy Thornton Greg Geier

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Race Tracks Time (EST)
Aqueduct 1:26 PM
Australia A 10:34 PM
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Century Downs H 3:20 PM
Clonmel (IG) 2:32 PM
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Woodbine (TB) 1:02 PM

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