07/04/2012 12:18PM

Thistledown: Big weekend begins with Cleveland Gold Cup

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NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - The biggest weekend of racing at Thistledown gets an early start Friday when the $75,000 Daniel Stearns Cleveland Gold Cup will be run for the 45th time. The 1 1/8-mile Gold Cup, for 3-year-old registered Ohio-breds, drew a field of 13, topped by two-time stakes winner Diavoletto.

Saturday’s card will feature Ohio’s only graded stakes, the Grade 3, $100,000 Ohio Derby, and the $50,000 Cleveland Kindergarden.

Diavoletto, trained by Mike Rone, has won three of his four races this year, including the Green Carpet at River Downs on May 27 and the Howard B. Noonan at Beulah Park on April 21. He finished second to License to Bling, who is also in this field, in last year’s Best of Ohio Juvenile while making only the second start of his career. Albin Jimennez will ride.

License to Bling is part of a three-horse entry trained by Timothy Hamm and owned by Blazing Meadows Farm. License to Bling has finished third and fourth behind Diavoletto in the Noonan and Green Carpet this year. Deshawn Parker, who recently hit the 4,000-career win mark, will be in from Mountaineer Park to ride.

Brass Buckle, who has faced open company in his four starts this meet, and Mercer’s Mark, who finished off the board in the Noonan and Green Carpet, round out the Hamm-trained entry.

Eyes Super Freaky closed from just off the pace to finish third in the Green Carpet and was second in the Noonan. Luis Gonzalez will ride for trainer Gary King.