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.
Trainer Steve Asmussen may not have nominated Curlin (you can find him in that other ‘Gold Cup’), but he has graded winners Magna Graduate and Zanjero on the list of possible starters, in addition to the aforementioned Student Council.
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 history of the Hawthorne Gold Cup is rich and deep, with such notable winners as Dr. Fager, Kelso, Round Table, Black Tie Affair and Awesome Again, just to name a few of the superstars who have kept this race a meaningful event in American racing.
In 1998 Awesome Again parlayed his Gold Cup victory into a Breeders’ Cup Classic triumph to cap an undefeated season.