The 72nd edition of Hawthorne's Gold Cup race has 20 nominees, including defending champion Student Council, and last year's third-place finisher, A.P. Arrow.
Who actually races in the one-mile and one-quarter dirt race will be determined next week, but the quality of the field may shape up to be first rate for the Grade 2, $500,000 event, which will be run on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Trainer Steve Asmussen may not have nominated Curlin, but he has graded winners Magna Graduate and Zanjero on the list of possible starters, in addition to the aforementioned Student Council.
Todd Pletcher, who trains A.P. Arrow, has also nominated Fairbanks, a recent winner at Saratoga, and a runner-up in the inaugural Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap, this past spring at Hawthorne.
The talented duo of Grasshopper and Mambo in Seattle were nominated from the Neil Howard barn, and even the 9-year-old multi-millionaire Perfect Drift (2003 winner) from Richard Mandella's stable, looms a potential starter.
The Hawthorne Gold Cup has featured such notable winners as Dr. Fager, Kelso, Round Table, Black Tie Affair and Awesome Again, just to name a few of the superstars that have won this race. In 1998 Awesome Again parlayed his Gold Cup victory into a Breeders' Cup Classic triumph to cap an undefeated season.
Hawthorne Race Course will begin its fall/winter thoroughbred meet on Friday, Sept. 26, and continue through Jan. 11, 2009.
Post time on Fridays through Nov. 28 will be at 2:35 p.m. Post time on all other cards will be 1:35 p.m. No races will run at Hawthorne on Mondays and Tuesdays.