Archive for October 2011

Patient Headache Earns Hawthorne Gold Cup

Third at mid-stretch, former claimer Headache closed steadily to edge Where’s Sterling by a half-length in the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) in Illinois Oct. 8.

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Urged home by Paco Lopez for trainer Michael Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Headache scored at 5-1 while running the 1 1/4-mile distance in a tepid 2:04.68 over a fast main track.

Headache was reserved toward the rear of the 10-horse field while saving some ground to the far turn and advanced between foes under patient handling. Reaching contention near mid-stretch, he was three across with Where’s Sterling and Cease at the16th pole and finished best under strong handling.

“I had a little trouble around the five-eighths,” Lopez said. “I had to wait a little. I also saw a couple of horses waiting on the inside. But once we got clear around 4 1/2 furlongs out, I went after it. I saw (Where’s Sterling) and (Giant Oak) coming along with Cease, but I was able to hold them off.”

Winner of the Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III) by 2 1/2 lengths at Prairie Meadows June 25, Headache had not been out since running fifth in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 6. The 5-year-old Tapit gelding out of the Woodman mare Pamric won for the third time in seven starts in 2011.

The Ramseys claimed Headache for $25,000 at Belmont Park in September 2009. The gray/roan was bred in Kentucky by Dr. J.K. and Linda Griggs.

Where’s Sterling, who gained the lead in upper stretch for E.T. Baird, proved stubborn while holding on for the place spot by a head over Cease and Miguel Mena. Rule, the slight 5-2 favorite, came up empty in the lane and finished seventh. Giant Oak, a dual grade I winner this year who was also sent off at 5-2, rallied mildly for fifth as the 119-pound high weight.

“They went so slow early,” jockey Jesus Castanon said of his trip aboard Giant Oak. “I got pushed pretty good on the first turn and that got my horse upset. He wanted to go after them. I got him settled down on the backside and then he went fine. He made a move but they went away from him.”

Cherokee Lad, at 50-1, set the pace (:24.11, :48.79, 1:13.72) before fading.

Headache posted his eighth lifetime win in 26 starts. He earned $300,000 for the victory and has now banked $768,398. He captured the Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park in July 2010.

The winner carried 115 pounds and paid $12.60, $6, and $4.40 as the fourth choice. Where’s Sterling returned $7.40 and $5.80. The exacta was worth $84.80. The show price on Cease was $4.40.

Mister Marti Gras finished three-quarters of a length farther back in fourth, followed by Giant Oak, Maristar, Rule, Moe Man, Worldly, and Cherokee Lord.

Hawthorne: Headache grinds out a big win in Gold Cup

STICKNEY, Ill. – Mike Maker still was a trainer on the rise when he won the 2004 Hawthorne Gold Cup with Freefourinternet, a 27-1 shot. These days, Maker-trained horses pop up in major stakes races all over the country, and Headache’s win Saturday in the 2011 Gold Cup came as much less of a surprise. Wearing down Where’s Sterling and Cease in a slogging war of attrition, Headache won the Grade 2, $500,000 Gold Cup by a half-length, paying $12.60 as the fourth choice in a field of 10.

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Headache grinds out a big win in Gold CupA 5-year-old Tapit gelding, Headache is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and was ridden to victory by Paco Lopez. The Ramseys owned Headache for the first five races of his career, in 2008 and 2009, when Nick Zito trained the horse. In September 2009, Headache was claimed for $20,000, but the Ramseys claimed him back for $25,000 a month later and after one more race for a tag, Headache permanently exited the claiming ranks. Mainly an allowance horse last year, Headache’s big 2010 win came in the Claiming Crown Jewel, but Headache has continued to improve this season.

He crushed third-level allowance foes May 21 at Churchill Downs, pairing up top performances when winning the Cornhusker Handicap, his first graded stakes, over Awesome Gem on June 25. Headache was a tough-trip fifth Aug. 6 in the Grade 1 Woodward, went back to Kentucky for a slight freshening, and scored the biggest win of his career on a summery afternoon at Hawthorne.

Headache raced in sixth and seventh around the first turn and down the backstretch, staying clear of trouble as Cherokee Lord set splits of 24.11 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.79 to the half. Rule, narrowly favored at 5-2 over Giant Oak, raced just in behind the leader, with Moe Man between horses near the lead and Cease farther out in the track. Cease pushed forward around the far turn, taking the lead past the three-furlong pole, and briefly opened a length or so at the top of the stretch. Where’s Sterling soon drew abreast of Cease, and those two raced head and head as Lopez and Headache eased into contention on the far outside. Headache reached the top pair past the sixteenth pole and continued on resolutely to the wire, with Where’s Sterling a head better than Cease for second. Winning time for the 1 1/4 miles was a tepid 2:04.68, and the Gold Cup’s final quarter-mile went in 25.48. A significant Breeders’ Cup Classic prep this probably was not.

Mister Marti Gras finished fourth, followed by Giant Oak, Maristar, a fading Rule, Moe Man, Worldly, and Cherokee Lord.

Cease, making just his sixth start, was rank under the wire the first time and wound up four wide around the first turn when Moe Man pushed him out.

“He was a little strong,” jockey Miguel Mena sad. “I think he might have won.”

Giant Oak lost even more ground. Very wide around the first turn, Giant Oak made an early wide run down the backstretch and might have been seven paths off the fence around the far turn. Jockey Jesus Castanon told trainer Chris Block that Giant Oak “got bumped a little and got rank” on the backstretch, Block said.

With the Keeneland meet in full swing, neither Maker nor the Ramseys attended the Gold Cup. Assistant trainer Dave Kueffner saddled Headache for Maker.

Trainer Michele Boyce swept the two overnight stakes on turf as Princeville Condo ($10.40) closed late, and survived a stewards’ inquiry to win the $60,000 Robert Carey Memorial and Happy Henrietta ($16.20) led wire to wire in the $60,000 Indian Maid Handicap.

Headache storms home to win Hawthorne Gold Cup

by Steve Bailey from Thoroughbred Times

headache paco lopez />Headache moved out four wide in the stretch and outfinished Where’s Sterling and Cease to capture the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (G2) on Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.

The five-year-old Tapit gelding won for the third time in his last four starts for trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, a stretch that also included victories in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs and the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3).

Headache entered the 1¼-mile race off a fifth-place finish in the Whitney Invitational Stakes (G1) on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course.

Giant Oak and Rule seemed to be in control on the turn for home before Headache, with jockey Paco Lopez aboard, took control in midstrech and held off game late charges from Where’s Sterling and Cease to win by a half-length, covering the distance in 2:04.68 on a track rated as fast.

Lopez said Headache had just enough left in the tank to hold off his foes in the end.

“I had a little trouble around the five-eighths; I had to wait a little,” he said. “I also saw a couple of horses waiting on the inside. Once we got clear around 4½ furlongs out, I went after it. I saw [Where’s Sterling] and [Cease] coming along, but I was able to hold them off.”

Where’s Sterling finished just a head in front of third-place finisher Cease, while favored Rule finished seventh as the 2.70 to-1 favorite.

Bred in Kentucky by Dr. J. K. and Lisa Griggs, Headache has won three of his seven starts this season with two third-place finishes. Overall, he has eight wins from 26 starts and earnings of $768,398 in four seasons. He is one of four winners from five starters out of the unraced Woodman mare Pamric, who was produced by Grade 2 winner La Spia.

For an Equibase chart, click here.

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