2017 Hawthorne Gold Cup Preview, Entries & Odds

Horse Betting Online

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois will be the scene of the G3 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap on Saturday, November 25. Horses three years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $150,000 purse when they take to Hawthorne's dirt track and race 1 1/4 miles.

A field of eight will give it a go in the Hawthorne Gold Cup Stakes - race 6 on Hawthorne's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:30 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all eight entries for this competitive G3 stakes.

2017 Hawthorne Gold Cup Entries at Hawthorne Race Course

Eagle 8-5

Neil Howard trainee has placed in 16 of 23 career starts - seven wins, seven seconds and two third-place finishes. He was second behind Watershed in the G3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland April 15 (a race he won in 2016) and has been OK in four starts since. Last time out was a fifth in the G3 Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs September 30 after an OK second in the G3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth August 26 and a win in the listed Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes at Indiana Grand in July. He had three straight fourths to start 2017 - the G2 New Orleans Handicap April 4 and the G3 Mineshaft Handicap February 25 and also posted consecutive runner-up finishes in 2015 - the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap in June and the G2 Alysheba Stakes a month before that. Eagle has placed in just three of his last eight starts overall but has been fairly competitive more recently against some good fields. He shoots for his second stakes win in four starts Saturday when the morning line favorite leaves from post 5 with Ty Kennedy aboard.

Scuba 9-5

Brendan Walsh trained gelding has 23 carer starts with six wins, six seconds and three third-place finishes. In 2016 he won the G3 Greenwood Cup Stakes and the G2 Marathon Stakes but has failed to place in five of his last six tarts overall. Last time out was a sixth in the listed Temperance Hill Invitational at Belmont Park October 1 which followed another sixth in the 2017 G3 Greenwood Cup, a second in the listed Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga August 3 and a fourth in the G3 Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine July 1. Scuba is the most experienced entry against top company and hopes for his first win in a year (six races) when he leaves from the outside gate 8 with Alonso Quinonez aboard the second betting choice.

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Futile 6-1

Chris Hartman trained gelding has six wins and a third-place finish in his 12 career starts. He makes his stakes debut Saturday on a two-race win streak - a Claiming at Churchill Downs November 9 and another Claiming at Keeneland October 1. He failed to place in his previous four starts including a sixth in the minor Wolf Hill Stakes at Monmouth Park in May and a seventh in the minor Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay in February. Futile hasn't been great in stakes company but does arrive on a bit of an uptick. He searches for a first stakes score and third straight win overall from gate 2 with Rodney Prescott guiding him.

Van Damme 8-1

Has just four wins in 23 career starts to go along with four seconds and four third-place finishes. He finished second in the 2015 G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and has been up and down since. Last time out was an OK second in the restricted One Last Chance Stakes at Belterra Stakes October 7 which followed a second in an Allowance at Thistledown September 19, an eighth in the listed West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup at Mountaineer August 5 and an Allowance score on that track in July. Van Damme has placed in five of his last six starts ahead of this weekend - in OK form and will chase a first stakes score from gate 6 Saturday. TD Houghton gets the call.

Hay Dakota 12-1

Joel Berndt trained gelding has six wins, a second and five third-place finishes in 19 career starts. He won the G3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs and has been inconsistent since. Last time out was a disappointing seventh in an Allowance at Keeneland October 26 which followed an eighth in a Starter Allowance at Kentucky Downs September 10 and a Starter Allowance score at Canterbury Park August 11. He placed in his previous four starts as well including a good win in the minor Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury in June. Hay Dakota has shown some serious form at times and will be out to snap out of an ugly two-race funk from the rail Saturday. Constantino Roman rides.

Side Pocket 15-1

Has 32 career starts for trainer Jere R. Smith Jr. with eight wins, four seconds and three third-place finishes. He steps into stakes company for the first time Saturday on a two-race win streak - a Starter Optional Claiming on this track November 2 and in a similar race at Arlington September 9. Before that was a seventh in a Starter Optional Claiming in August, a Starter Optional Claiming score in July and a second in a Claiming two weeks prior to that. He also posted consecutive wins on this track at this time last year - both Claiming races. Side Pocket has been good against lesser company and hopes it translates Saturday in his major step up in competition. Victor Santiago gets the call from post 3.

Empirestrikesagain 15-1

Anthony Michell trained gelding has five wins and five seconds in his 24 career starts. He arrives off a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track November 10 after a Starter Optional Claiming score at Arlington May 26, a fourth in a similar race on that track May 6 and a win and a second respectively in a pair of Allowance races last winter here. His only graded stakes result was a seventh in the G3 Hanshin Cup Stakes at Arlington in 2015. Empirestrikesagain has been inconsistent and hopes to deliver a career-best effort from post 7. Santo Sanjur has the mount.

Volograd 20-1

Lightly raced Jugo Rodriguez trained gelding has three career starts and has placed in all - one win and a pair of third-place finishes. He steps into stakes company for the first time Saturday on the heels of consecutive thirds on this track - an Allowance November 9 and a Claiming October 18. He won his debut at Arlington September 22. Volograd steps up in OK form and will have Edgar Perez in the irons from gate 4.


2017 Hawthorne Gold Cup Odds & Entries

Race 6 on Hawthorne's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:30 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Hay Dakota 12-1 Constantino Roman Joel Berndt
2 Futile 6-1 Rodney Prescott Chris Hartman
3 Side Pocket 15-1 Victor Santiago Jere Smith, Jr.
4 Volgograd 20-1 Edgar Perez Hugo Rodriguez
5 Eagle 8-5 Ty Kennedy Neil Howard
6 Van Damme 8-1 T. Houghton Robert Gorham
7 Empirestrikesagain 15-1 Santo Sanjur Anthony Mitchell
8 Scuba 9-5 Alonso Quinonez Brendan Walsh

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Race Tracks Time (EST)
Aqueduct 12:24 PM
Australia A 9:29 PM
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Cork (IRE) 7:54 AM
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