Headache storms home to win Hawthorne Gold Cup

by Steve Bailey from Thoroughbred Times

headache paco lopez />Headache moved out four wide in the stretch and outfinished Where’s Sterling and Cease to capture the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (G2) on Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.

The five-year-old Tapit gelding won for the third time in his last four starts for trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, a stretch that also included victories in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs and the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3).

Headache entered the 1¼-mile race off a fifth-place finish in the Whitney Invitational Stakes (G1) on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course.

Giant Oak and Rule seemed to be in control on the turn for home before Headache, with jockey Paco Lopez aboard, took control in midstrech and held off game late charges from Where’s Sterling and Cease to win by a half-length, covering the distance in 2:04.68 on a track rated as fast.

Lopez said Headache had just enough left in the tank to hold off his foes in the end.

“I had a little trouble around the five-eighths; I had to wait a little,” he said. “I also saw a couple of horses waiting on the inside. Once we got clear around 4½ furlongs out, I went after it. I saw [Where’s Sterling] and [Cease] coming along, but I was able to hold them off.”

Where’s Sterling finished just a head in front of third-place finisher Cease, while favored Rule finished seventh as the 2.70 to-1 favorite.

Bred in Kentucky by Dr. J. K. and Lisa Griggs, Headache has won three of his seven starts this season with two third-place finishes. Overall, he has eight wins from 26 starts and earnings of $768,398 in four seasons. He is one of four winners from five starters out of the unraced Woodman mare Pamric, who was produced by Grade 2 winner La Spia.

For an Equibase chart, click here.