Updated on 09/17/2011 10:21PM

Few Gold Cup probables are in Perfect Drift's league

Beth Rutzbeck/Canterbury Park
Desert Boom captures the Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park.

STICKNEY, Ill. - Saturday's should provide a perfect prep for Perfect Drift, who will go on to the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic if plans hold. The timing of the Gold Cup, four weeks out from the big one, is ideal, and Perfect Drift shouldn't have to produce a gut-wrenching effort to win or at least run creditably on Saturday.

Choctaw Nation, the only possible Gold Cup starter really in Perfect Drift's league, apparently will not make the trip from California. His owner, Robert Bone, still has a horse for the race, the speedy reformed claimer Desert Boom. And this is another check mark in the positive column for Perfect Drift: ample pace to set up his run.

Besides Desert Boom and Perfect Drift, nine others are expected to be entered when the $750,000 Gold Cup is drawn Thursday: Lord of the Game, Good Reward, Super Frolic, Fantasticat, Freefourinternet, Home of Stars, Nkosi Reigns, Collateral Damage, and Ascertain. Nkosi Reigns and Lord of the Game both have speed, and will ensure an honest pace.

Desert Boom, once in for an $18,000 tag, and Lord of the Game, who ran for $10,000 in his career debut here last winter, met in the Claiming Crown Jewel, with Desert Boom winning by almost three lengths over Lord of the Game. But Lord of the Game had run a taxing race just two weeks before when winning the Cornhusker Handicap, and should be better Saturday than he was the last time Desert Boom saw him.

"He's doing good again now," said Tom Tomillo, Lord of the Game's trainer, on Wednesday morning. "Perfect Drift is one thing, but he's run with the rest of those kind of horses."

Lord of the Game, a winner in eight of his 11 career starts, won four races at Hawthorne last winter and spring, and ran well in defeat when he finished third to Pollard's Vision and Badge of Silver in the National Jockey Club Handicap. Lord of the Game is at home at this track, and worked five furlongs here on Monday prepping for the Gold Cup.

The two other stakes Saturday also are coming up with decent fields. Fort Prado, G P Fleet, and Remind - the three highweights - top the field in the Carey Memorial at a mile on turf, while Sister Swank, Noisette, Chic Dancer, and Atlantic Frost give the Indian Maid Handicap a solid backbone.

Jockey insurance boosted to $1M

Hawthorne and the local colony of jockeys averted a showdown when the racetrack purchased a new insurance policy for the riders last weekend. The new policy provides $1 million of catastrophic coverage, a major increase over the $100,000 of coverage previously provided by the track. Thomas Carey, Hawthorne's general manager, said he had found the policy on Saturday and that track officials and riders had finalized its implementation on Sunday.

There had been speculation that the jockeys would strike over the insurance issue, but Jerry LaSala, a veteran Chicago rider who has been active in various issues concerning local riders, said the local riders had signed a contract that forbade them to strike. LaSala said he and other riders were "extremely pleased" with the new policy.

Big plans for Original Spin

Original Spin, who impressively won the Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sunday, is taking it easy this week. It is her connections that will have to work on figuring out what to do next.

Trainer Tony Mitchell said Original Spin had come out of the Lassie in good physical condition, but that he was giving the filly a week of walking anyway.

"She's just a 2-year-old," he said.

Mitchell said Original Spin, a Distorted Humor filly who is now 2-for-2, could start next in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, or go to Belmont for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

"Those are the two choices, and we have to sit down and talk about which is the way to go," said Mitchell.

Original Spin is by a hot sire, and won the Lassie in stakes-record time, so naturally there have been calls about purchasing her. But Mitchell said that Original Spin's owners, the heirs of longtime owner Russell Reineman, did not seem inclined to sell.

Several barns west of Mitchell, trainer Jim DiVito still was thinking about what might have been in the Lassie. DiVito was forced to scratch Lizzy's Township, who might have been favored in the race had she not taken ill last weekend.

"The horse had mucus," DiVito said. "I've never seen them run any good with that. It was really bad timing, but what are you going to do?"

Lizzy's Township has recovered, DiVito said, but no plans have been made for her next start.

Royal Copenhagen heads home

Royal Copenhagen, winner of the Pucker Up Stakes on Saturday at Arlington, has gone home to trainer Laura de Seroux's Southern California base. Whether she leaves again next month for a start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Keeneland remains to be seen.

"We did receive an invitation for the Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland," de Seroux said. "The other alternative is the Harold Ramser Stakes at Oak Tree, which is only a $100,000 listed. Those are the last races on the calendar for 3-year-olds."

Since Arlington chairman Dick Duchoissois owns Royal Copenhagen, "the long-term goal of course is the Beverly D. next summer," de Seroux said. "We'll kind of count backward from there. I want to give her a break soon."

Kaenel, 17, joins jockey colony

It is essentially the usual cast of characters in the Hawthorne jocks' room this year. Jesse Campbell is coming off an excellent Arlington meet; Chris Emigh did well there, too, and Eddie Razo had a solid season. Larry Sterling figures to quickly pick up the pace having returned to Hawthorne, Randy Meier is due back soon from injury, and Seth Martinez will ride regularly here.

A new face - a very young face, in fact - is that of five-pound apprentice Kyle Kaenel. The 17-year-old son of jockey Jack Kaenel broke his neck and shoulder blade in April at Turf Paradise when his mount jumped the turf rail. Kaenel, whose agent is Lindy McDaniel, said he rode his first winner just over a year ago. He had won 72 races from 346 mounts before being injured, and said he is happy to be back.

"I just love being around horses," Kaenel said.

At a glance: Hawthorne

RACING SCHEDULE: 68 days; Friday through Jan. 1, Wednesdays to Sundays; racing Monday, Oct. 11; dark Thursday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Dec. 25. Hawthorne has the option of going dark on Wednesday's in December

POST TIME: 1:10 p.m. Central

SIMULCASTING: daily (no simulcasting Dec. 25)

PARKING: General, free; clubhouse, $2; preferred clubhouse, $3; preferred grandstand, $3; valet, $4.50

ADMISSIONS: Grandstand, $2; clubhouse, $4

HIGHLIGHTS: Grade 2, $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup, Oct. 2; Grade 3, $250,000 Hawthorne Derby, Oct. 15; Grade 3, $150,000 Carey Memorial Handicap, Oct. 9; Illinois Day (six statebred stakes), Nov. 13; $100,000 Illinois Debutante, Dec. 11; $100,000 Illinois Futurity, Dec. 18

LOCATION: Between Laramie Ave. and Cicero Ave. at 35th St., bordering Chicago, Stickney, and Cicero. Accessible via I-55 or overland on Cicero Ave. or Laramie Ave.

BUSINESS ADRESS: 3501 S. Laramie Ave., Stickney/Cicero IL, 60804

PHONE: (708) 780-3700

INTERNET: www.hawthorneracecourse.com