07/29/2010 2:14PM

Cardashi, Heros Reward to clash in Governor's Cup

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Cardashi, who was running for a $10,000 claiming price early last year, and Heros Reward, a three-time graded stakes winner, will both be looking to capture the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup for the second time Saturday night at Penn National Race Course.

Defending champion Cardashi, who paid $61 as the second-longest shot on the board in last year’s Governor’s Cup, and Heros Reward, the 2008 winner as the 2-5 favorite, head a field of 12 older turf sprinters in the richest of three stakes on an 11-race card that begins 45 minutes earlier than usual at 5:45 p.m. Eastern. The supporting stakes, both worth $75,000, are the Capital City for 3-year-olds going a mile on turf and the East Hanover Township for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs on the main track.

Cardashi, an 8-year-old gelding who was claimed for $10,000 by trainer Tim Kreiser in February 2009, earned the biggest victory of his 50-race career when he scored by 1 1/2 lengths in last year’s running of Penn National’s most prestigious stakes. Although he is 3 for 3 over Penn National’s turf course, Cardashi has not come close to the career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure he earned for his Governor’s Cup victory and is just 1 for 5 this year, winning a $16,000 starter allowance at Philadelphia Park in June.

In contrast, Heros Reward brings sharp recent form against graded stakes competition into the 38th running of the Govenor’s Cup. The leading earner in the field with $1,116,598, the 8-year-old Heros Reward most recently missed by a neck in the Grade 2 Highlander at Woodbine. He is following the same path he took two years ago when he won the Highlander and followed up by taking the Governor’s Cup by 1 3/4 lengths. Heros Reward, trained by Dale Capuano, did not run in last year’s Governor’s Cup.

The solid field also includes Chamberlain Bridge, whose seven stakes victories in turf sprints include a Grade 3 win at Churchill Downs, and Blue Sailor, a 12-time winner on turf and the runner-up to Cardashi a year ago.

The 6-year-old Chamberlain Bridge comes into the race off a 4 1/2-length victory over Bullet From Abroad in the June 26 Arlington Sprint Handicap. Bullet From Abroad will take another crack at Chamberlain Bridge, but drew wide in post 12.

Blue Sailor, who finished a length ahead of third-place Chamberlain Bridge in this race last summer, has been off since early June but usually fires fresh. He is 3 for 3 returning from extended breaks over the past two years.

◗ Thunder Brew, whose five wins on turf exceed the combined grass victories of his seven rivals, looks like a standout in the Capital City (race 3). Based at Delaware Park with trainer Anthony Pecoraro, Thunder Brew has already won the Lamplighter at Monmouth and the Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay Downs. His opponents are a collective 4 for 11 on grass.

◗ Peppi Knows, who began his racing career by winning twice at Penn National before going on to finish second in the Grade 2 Remsen in New York, returns to his home track for the East Hanover Township (race 7). Peppi Knows shortens up to a sprint for the first time since last October while making his first start since early March.

His six opponents include Awesome Son, a wire-to-wire winner in each of his last two starts, both at Monmouth Park.