09/30/2010 2:34PM

Redding Colliery figures to have company up front in Hawthorne Gold Cup

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Lone Star Park
Redding Colliery will try to stretch his speed to 1 1/4 miles in Saturday's Hawthorne Gold Cup.

STICKNEY, Ill. – The average winning time in the last seven editions of the Hawthorne Gold Cup has been 2:04.20 for 1 1/4 miles. The race is not for the fleet of foot but for the stout of heart and leg.

Morning-line favoritism in the race’s 2010 edition Saturday goes to rail-drawn Redding Colliery, whose top performances have come skipping along on a quick pace.

“We are probably the favorite at Hawthorne,’’ said New York-based trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who chose Hawthorne over the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. “We like to run our horses in the best spots. It’s a much easier race in Chicago.”

But is Redding Colliery, a one-time sprinter who has never raced farther than 1 1/8 miles, the right kind of horse for a typical Gold Cup slog? Redding Colliery turned in the best single 2010 performance among any of the eight Gold Cup entrants when he won the Lone Star Park Handicap by almost seven lengths May 31. But 1 1/16 miles at fast-playing Lone Star is nothing like 1 1/4 miles on the demanding Hawthorne dirt.

Redding Colliery has led or pressed the pace in all his route races and is unlikely to be taken back from post 1. If he goes to the front, Redding Colliery figures to have company from any combination of Shadowbdancing, Racing Bran, Arcodoro, and Temple City.

Shadowbdancing, a winner in 11 of 26 starts, set the pace and tired to sixth in the 2009 Gold Cup. He was rated behind the leaders winning the Cornhusker Handicap in June, but only after breaking from post 9. Drawn in post 2 on Saturday, Shadowbdancing should head toward the lead. So should Racing Bran (cross-entered at Hoosier, but more likely for Hawthorne), while Arcodoro has been the first-call leader in his four 2010 starts. A front-end battle looks possible.

California shipper Temple City also has speed, but drew outside the other front-runners Saturday and could wind up just behind the leaders. And Temple City has proven he can go the distance, with an open-lengths win earlier this year in the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II Handicap. Temple City is being aimed toward the long-distance Breeders’ Cup Marathon, and his showing in the Gold Cup – Temple City’s first dirt race – will help determine his participation.

“He has a nice style for the dirt,” trainer Carla Gaines said. “He has pace and he can carry it. He’s a big, strong horse.”

Giant Oak’s lone prior Hawthorne start produced a good second-place finish in the 2009 Illinois Derby, and he has the stamina for 1 1/4 miles. What Giant Oak has not been doing is winning: He has gone 0 for 7 this year and just 1 for 16 since 2009.

A.U. Miner looks slightly overmatched, but Going Ballistic has a chance. He was a closing third behind Awesome Gem in the 2009 Gold Cup and has evolved into a reliable late-runner in true distance races.

“Very seldom do we get to run a mile and a quarter on the dirt,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel said. “We had this race in mind all summer.”

Carey: Tawaared goes for 4 in row

The front-end situation also looms large in Saturday’s co-feature, the Grade 3, $100,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at one mile on turf. Tawaared, a sharp winner of three straight turf races at the Arlington meet, could lead all the way in the Carey, but only if he shakes loose from prime pace rival Exchanging Kisses.

“That’s the horse I wish wasn’t in there,” said Tawaared’s trainer, Dan Peitz.

Tawaared, a 4-year-old Unbridled’s Song colt, probably always wanted to go to the lead, Peitz said, but his connections tried to teach him to relax off the pace during 2009.

“We were always trying to get him to settle before,” Peitz said. “When he broke his maiden, I didn’t think there was a lot of speed in the race, and I told Quincy [Hamilton] to just give him his head.”

Tawaared won that race by three lengths and came back with a four-length score over first-level allowance foes. Most recently, he won a second-level allowance by almost two lengths, despite tiring slightly going 1 1/8 miles.

“A mile is more what he wants to do,” Peitz said.

Wise River won the 2008 Carey and was poorly drawn in post 12 when he finished sixth in his most recent start, the July 4 Firecracker at Churchill. If the Carey pace turns hot and contested, Tybalt’s closing kick could prove effective. Vanquisher brings at three-race win streak to the Carey, while Cabernigh has worked sharply for his first start since being claimed July 31.

First post is 1:35 p.m., with the Gold Cup carded as race 8 and the Carey as race 9. Cool, windy, and dry conditions are forecast.