Student Council makes it two straight

Hawthorne, 10th Race - September 29, 2007

STICKNEY, Ill. -- Try and figure this one out: When Student Council won the Pacific Classic on Aug. 19, he was saddled by trainer Vladimir Cerin, but was basically running on the training of Neil Howard – who had Student Council before his private purchase in August – and Steve Asmussen, into whose Saratoga barn the horse moved after Ro Parra's Millennium Farms bought him. But on Saturday, winning the Hawthorne Gold Cup in smooth fashion, Student Council won under Asmussen's name, while basically running off Cerin's training in Southern California.

"I just called Vladimir and congratulated him," Asmussen said moments after Student Council had won the Grade 2, $500,000 Gold Cup by 1 1/4 lengths over pace-setting Jonesboro.

It's all part of Parra's tag-team approach to winning races – and it's hard to knock his methods. Since Parra bought Student Council this summer, he has won twice, first taking the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic, and proving Saturday he can run just as well on Chicago dirt as Southern California Polytrack. Student Council was a 23-1 shot in the Pacific Classic, and you could easily make the case that he paid an overlaid $5.20 to win in a five-horse field on Saturday. A.P. Arrow, who had most recently been a distant third in the Washington Park Handicap, was made the 4-5 choice, checking in third once again.

More constant than Student Council's trainer has been his rider, Richard Migliore, who was aboard at Del Mar and came to Hawthorne for the ride. Saturday, he sat chilly behind Jonesboro's slow pace, always keeping the front-runner in his sites, but waiting until the stretch drive to go after him. Student Council got even with Jonesboro just past the quarter-pole, took the lead about a furlong out, and went on to win.

His time for 1 1/4 miles was 2:05, slow on the surface of things, but not so bad taken in context. Student Council came home his final quarter-mile in about 24 seconds, and Hawthorne's racetrack has been slow and deep every day so far this meet. Also, there was no way that Student Council was going to turn in a fast time off a half-mile in 50.91 seconds and six furlongs in 1:15.86.

"I think he's just a horse that shows up and runs his race," Migliore said. "He's a top-class horse because he does everything with so much class."

Parra said he would "wait a couple weeks" before making a decision on whether Student Council would start in the Breeders' Cup Classic. "We've chosen two good spots so far," he said.

The Gold Cup field was reduced to five when Extreme Supreme was scratched Saturday afternoon. Stewards said a state veterinarian reported Extreme Supreme sore on his right foreleg.

Hawthorne, 8th Race - September 29, 2007

Carey: Classic Campaign by a nose
Migliore and Classic Campaign barely won the Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap, and that may be the only way to do it with this horse.

Migliore had never ridden Classic Campaign before Saturday, but he had watched tape, and his impression of Classic Campaign was confirmed by Keith Allen, assistant to Classic Campaign's trainer, Bill Mott.

"They told me not to make the lead too early, because as soon as he hits the front, he thinks he's done," said Migliore.

Saturday, Classic Campaign had no chance to wait for the competition. Migliore didn't set Classic Campaign down until the final 200 yards of the one-mile Carey, and Classic Campaign nipped a tough-luck Crested by an inch or two.

"I asked him to go at the eighth pole," said Migliore, who recalled riding at Hawthorne only once before in his career. "I was worried I'd waited too long."

Crested, who lost the Hawthorne Derby here last year by a neck, ran well in taking a nose defeat. He stalked a solid half-mile pace of 46.96 seconds under Chris Emigh while saving ground from the rail. Pacesetters Masterpiece and Onthedeanslist chucked it turning for home, and Crested went clear in midpack. He didn't give ground, either, but Classic Campaign was slightly better on the day.

Classic Campaign ($8.20) was timed in a sharp 1:33.95 on firm ground.

Ballast, the favorite, pressed the pace but had nothing in the stretch, and wound up last. Assistant trainer Laird George said neither he nor Rafael Bejarano had an immediate excuse for the performance.

Hawthorne, 9th Race - September 29, 2007

Indian Maid: Jennie R. sets record
Jennie R. was even better on two weeks' rest than she had been with a more typical break between starts.

Coming back 14 days after getting nailed on the wire of an Arlington turf stakes, Jennie R. turned in the best race of an already excellent season, winning the Indian Maid Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths while setting a turf-course record of 1:40.46 for 1 1/16 miles.

Jennie R. began the year in a $50,000 claiming race, and took about forever to clear her second allowance condition, but she has turned into Chicago's best grass mare this season. At Arlington, she won the Possibly Perfect Stakes and was a good second in the Grade 3 Modesty before finishing fifth in the Beverly D. On a different turf course, and with jockey T.D. Houghton subbing for regular rider E.T. Baird, Jennie R. was just as good.

She made a clear early lead before the first turn, and Houghton said Jennie R. quickly relaxed while setting a legitimate pace of 47 seconds and change to the half-mile. Jennie R. briefly looked like she might be in trouble at the top of the stretch, but once challenged she opened up and drew away late in a strong performance.

The favorite in the $100,000 Indian Maid, Jennie R. paid $5.60 to win. Barbette edged longshot Glitter Star by a half-length for second.