10/08/2012 4:01PM

Hawthorne: Pool Play might give Breeders' Cup Classic a try after Gold Cup win

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Four-Footed Fotos
Pool Play wins the Hawthorne Gold Cup, bringing his record on dirt to 2 for 2.

STICKNEY, Ill. – It took Pool Play about 26 seconds to run his final quarter-mile in the Hawthorne Gold Cup on Saturday. But that was fast enough. And Pool Play’s sustained bid that won the Grade 2, $500,000 race, which was run over a deep, exhausting racing surface, might have landed him a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Trainer Mark Casse said Monday that Pool Play, back among Casse’s horses stabled at Churchill Downs, had come out of the Gold Cup in good physical condition. The win, his first in four starts since returning from a year-plus layoff caused by a tendon injury, gave 7-year-old Pool Play a 2-for-2 mark in dirt races, his only other such start having produced an upset win in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster in 2011. Pool Play won both races with the same kind of long, determined run that Casse and owner Bill Farish think might be effective in the BC Classic.

“Bill and I have been talking about it, and we’re not exactly sure yet, but I guess the Classic is a good possibility if he can get in,” Casse said, adding that the Clark Handicap during the Churchill Downs fall meeting is another option.

Pool Play, who earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in Saturday’s performance despite a slow final 1 1/4-mile time of 2:06.36, has won his two dirt races closing into a slow pace. His trainer wonders if he might not be even more effective with quick fractions at which to run, something that’s entirely possible in the Breeders’ Cup.

“If we were to get lucky and the pace fell apart a little bit, he might be able to get a piece of it,” Casse said.

Romacaca heading for Fasig-Tipton

If Romacaca has made her last start, she went out on a high note, scoring a decisive victory Saturday in the Indian Maid Stakes.

Owner Frank Calabrese has Romacaca entered in Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale.

“She’ll have a good reserve on her,” trainer Danny Miller said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Six-year-old Romacaca, a daughter of Running Stag who was claimed out of her fourth career start in April 2009 for just $25,000, has won 15 of 31 starts and is a two-time graded stakes winner. She won the Modesty Handicap this summer, giving Miller one of his two graded stakes wins.

◗ Suntracer, a rallying winner of the $100,000 Carey Memorial on Saturday, is a likely runner in the Oct. 27 Buck’s Boy Handicap, an Illinois-bred turf stakes, trainer Chris Block said.

Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
Why not the Marathon , its all bums in their anyway and Euros cant run on dirt. Pool Play would be 2-1 in Marathon
Pat More than 1 year ago
I hear ya...but he uy likes to e sroud he big days. He has won most evrything at woodbine
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
With all due respect. Bad idea. Mr Casse deserves credit getting Pool Play back to win Gold Cup. But lets stay grounded here.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
There's Derby fever,and Breeders Cup fever
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
I think Casse is staying pretty grounded. He only mentions picking up a "piece." Fourth place pays out 300k and I think that would be a reasonable finish for him.
Steve More than 1 year ago
4th is very possible considering how the Classic usually falls apart near the finish where random bombs can sneak into minor placings by sitting back and waiting for the speed to kill eachother off and back up.