10/10/2012 4:49PM

Breeders’ Cup Classic an ‘unlikely’ next stop for Alternation

Barbara D. Livingston
Alternation was the 4-5 favorite in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.

Alternation on Wednesday was “unlikely” to advance to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic after finishing sixth in last weekend’s Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup, said trainer Donnie Von Hemel. The horse was still in Chicago as of Wednesday, and Von Hemel said no plans for him have been set, including with regard to the BC Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

“Unlikely is probably as far as I would go right now,” Von Hemel said of Alternation’s status for the Classic. “We do not have any plans at all right now.”

Alternation was the 4-5 favorite in the Hawthorne Gold Cup on the strength of a 2012 season in which he has won five stakes, including the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and Grade 3 Pimlico Special. He led for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/4-mile Hawthorne Gold Cup before finishing 7 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Pool Play. Alternation, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90, appears to have come out of the race in good order, Von Hemel said Wednesday.

“No apparent problems, but I don’t have any answers,” he said. “I felt good going into the race. The only thing I can come up with is the track was fairly deep. They went a mile and a quarter in 2:06, and maybe that was not to our liking.”

Alternation came into the Hawthorne Gold Cup off a nose win in the $200,000 Governor’s Cup at his fall base of Remington Park in Oklahoma City. He became a millionaire in that race for breeder-owner Pin Oak Stable.