Hawthorne Gold Cup
Held in late November, the Hawthorne Gold Cup is one of the last graded-stakes opportunities for older dirt horses in the United States each year. A $250,000 Grade 2 event run at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter, the Hawthorne Gold Cup annually draws top-notch competition and is the marquee event of the year at Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, IL. The race was inaugurated in 1928 and has been held consecutively since 1946 at various distances.
Historically, the Hawthorne Gold Cup has been a race of some significance and includes many notable past winners beginning with National Racing Hall of Fame inductee Sun Beau who won three consecutive Gold Cup’s from 1929-193 – no other horse has won more than two runnings of the Gold Cup. Other important winners include: Round Table (1957 & 1958), Kelso (1960), Dr. Fager (1967), Nodouble (1968 & 1969), Cryptoclearance 1987 & 1988), Black Tie Affair (1990), Awesome Again (1998), and Awesome Gem (2009). Awesome Again’s win in 1998 was part of an undefeated season in which he won the Breeder’s Cup Classic and Horse of the Year honors. As a stallion, Awesome Again sired 2009 Hawthorne Gold Cup winner Awesome Gem.
Each year, the winner of the Hawthorne Gold Cup earns a solid gold trophy. No horse has recorded multiple wins of the race since Cryptoclearance won back to back runnings in 1987 and 1988 – the later by a record-breaking ten lengths. Since 2000, only Michael Maker has trained multiple winners of the Gold Cup with Freefourinternet in 2004 and Headache in 2011. While the Hawthorne Gold Cup is no longer considered a premier race for older horses, it occupies a specific niche at the end of the racing season while attracting talented fields and offering good betting opportunities.
Hawthorne Gold Cup Betting Odds
In the midst of a nice string of runs, 6-1 Red Rifle went to the lead in the 2014 Hawthorne and played-catch-me-if-you-can with the field. None could, and the Giant’s Causeway colt claimed his first graded-stakes win. More importantly for horseplayers with bets made online through the Bovada racebook, the wide-open race produced a huge return of more than $1300 on the trifecta.
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2016 Hawthorne Gold Cup Contenders
Despite a pair of also-ran finishes leading up to the 2015 Hawthorne, last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Commissioner went off in the as the heavy favorite in the race, and didn’t disappoint his backers. After a clean break under jockey Flroent Geroux, the A.P. Indy colt settled into a perfect stalking position three wide just 2 1/2 lengths off second choice Majestic Harbour before being put down to a drive entering the stretch. He managed to get to the front with a furlong to run, and from there pulled away to a comfortable 2 1/2 length victory. The 6-1 Neck ‘n Neck ran well to get up for third, with Majestic Harbor at 3-1 rounding out the trifecta.
2015 Results Win Place Show
1) Commissioner $3.60 $2.60 $2.10
2) Neck ‘n Neck $4.00 $2.60
3) Majestic Harbor $2.60
(Also Ran: Street Spice, Valient City, Lashad, Mister Marti Gras, Fordubai)
Check back before race day for the 2016 Hawthorne Gold Cup contenders!