05/14/2002 11:00PM

Cup offers speed, closers, intrigue

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CHICAGO - Something will have to give Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course when six horses face off in the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. Either Hail the Chief or Duckhorn must back away from the early pace, or the Gold Cup will unfold with a speed duel that could be suicidal for both horses.

"It's going to be a fun race," said Duckhorn's trainer, Pat Byrne. "There are two speed horses and four closers. It should be interesting."

The Grade 2, 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup, highlight of the Hawthorne meet, was drawn Wednesday, with Chicago Six, Dollar Bill, Parade Leader, and Sir Bear joining Duckhorn and Hail the Chief in the lineup.

Byrne describes the Gold Cup as a jockeys' race. Tough decisions will be made by several riders, including Randy Meier, who rides Duckhorn on the second day of Meier's comeback from injuries suffered during a spill at Sportsman's Park. The combination has clicked before. Meier picked up the mount in last year's Gold Cup on Duckhorn, an 11th-hour entry in the race, then let Duckhorn roll on a fast pace as he scored a surprisingly easy win over Lido Palace and Guided Tour, both of whom later excelled in the handicap division.

Trainer Niall O'Callaghan watched Guided Tour give futile chase behind Duckhorn last year. This time, he can counter with speed in Hail the Chief. A European import who has taken to American dirt racing, Hail the Chief ran off to an early lead in his last start, the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap at Sportsman's, and won by more than 11 lengths.

Hail the Chief runs fast for the first half mile, but will jockey Jorge Chavez, who actually rode Duckhorn to an easy win in the Ben Ali Handicap at Keeneland last month, try for the lead with Hail the Chief? And if he tries, can he make it?

"I just wonder if he can even keep up with Duckhorn," said trainer Neil Howard.

Howard has seen both horses first hand, and his Gold Cup entry, Parade Leader, would be a prime beneficiary of a duel.

"My horse likes to go to the front," Byrne said. "I don't know if Niall's horse wants to go with me or not. If he does, it will just set the race up for a closer."

Perhaps, but both Hail the Chief and Duckhorn have the ability to sustain a high cruising speed over a distance of ground, though it is Duckhorn, whose pedigree is packed with speed influences, who already has demonstrated an ability to carry his speed a mile and a quarter. In the Gold Cup, even a speed duel might not mean the end of the speed.

Lanerie's gets Parade Leader back

One jockey looking on with interest to see if a pace war percolates in front of him is Corey Lanerie, who leaves his home base at Lone Star Park to ride Parade Leader in the Gold Cup.

The mount is a coup for Lanerie, who has had regional success, but rarely is called upon to leave town and ride a $500,000 graded stakes. Lanerie lost the mount on Parade Leader in last month's Ben Ali stakes to Pat Day, who rides regularly for Howard, but it was he who won the New Orleans Handicap on the horse.

Day isn't available Saturday because he rides Booklet in the Preakness, but Howard didn't hesitate to hire Lanerie. "Corey has done a great job," he said. "He's been very understanding about the situation with Pat."

Roussel finds key to Extended View

Jog, jog, jog some more, then work. The training pattern Louie Roussel devised for Extended View has paid off. Combined with maturity, increased strength, blossoming confidence, and a ton of early speed, Extended View has gotten better and better since her career hit bottom last summer. Once a tepid favorite in a $25,000 maiden-claiming race, Extended View will be a strong choice Friday in Hawthorne's featured sixth race, a high-class allowance.

Roussel, who paid $145,000 for Extended View in a 2-year-old sale two years ago, held the filly in high regard early in her career. But Extended View would run fast for a half-mile, then throw in the towel.

"I think growing up and settling down has helped her," said Lara Van Daren, Roussel's Chicago assistant.

Van Daren said that last summer, after Extended View briefly fell into the claiming ranks, Roussel changed her training regimen, eschewing daily gallops for two-mile jogs interspersed with quick workouts. "She could be too hard on herself galloping," Van Daren said. "She was tough."

Extended View hasn't lost a bit of early speed, but now she's finishing, and Van Daren feels a stretch out to six and one-half furlongs shouldn't hurt Extended View, who has won three of five and comes off a dominant allowance win at Sportsman's Park.