OCEANPORT, NJ – After a frustrating year that saw Hawkish winless in six starts, with a second-place best effort, coach Jimmy Toner saw the first signs that the 6-year-old gelding is back in the game.
Sunday, he hopes to get a more definitive answer.
After nearly missing out on second place on his 2021 debut after a seven-month layoff, Hawkish will face eight turf rivals going a mile and a sixteenth on Sunday in the $ 100,000 Oceanport Stakes, headliner of Monmouth Park’s 11 race card that day. .
Hawkish, who has earned $ 512,050 in just 15 career starts, enters the 74e the Oceanport Stakes race kicked off a massive effort at Pimlico in an optional $ 50,000 claimer on July 11.
“He had a huge comeback race. He just got pinched by the wire, ”Toner said. “I’m really happy with his effort and this race. I couldn’t be happier.
Among Hawkish’s four career wins (with three seconds) is the Penn Mile Grade 2 in 2018. He also won the Cliffhanger Stakes at Monmouth Park in 2019 and finished second in the Oceanport Stakes a year ago behind Sacred Life. , trained by Chad Brown, who is back and looking to repeat in the race.
But Hawkish’s mere suspicion of regaining his old form is enough to give Toner hope. Artie Schiller’s son ended his 2021 campaign with a 10e-a place at Kentucky Downs on September 9, followed by a seventh place in the Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct on November 20.
“We didn’t have a good year with him last year,” Toner said. “After Kentucky Downs, it pretty much wiped us out for the rest of the year. He didn’t handle that trail and just backed off from there so we gave him time off for the winter.
“But he’s doing as well as he’s ever been doing in his life right now. This might be one of the few times you put one down for a while and they come back as good or better than before.
Sunday is when Toner hopes to find out if Hawkish is back, although the veteran conditioner has acknowledged that “his best distance is probably a mile.”
“It is difficult terrain,” he said. “He’s at a stage where there aren’t a lot of races for him. He has no conditions and is an older horse. So this type of racing is for him.
“But when he is well he will give you everything he has and he will be there.” If he can beat those horses again at that level, we’ll have to see.
Owned by AJ Suited Racing Stable LLC and Madaket Stables LLC, Hawkish has not won since May 4, 2019, Cliffhanger Stakes at Monmouth Park, an eight-race drought. Hector Diaz Jr. is listed to ride.
In addition to Sacred Life, a winner of $ 512,268, Brown also took part in Analyze It, which won the Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park last year. Analyze It cashed $ 873,850 over his 12-run career, with a pair of seconds in freshman turf stakes.
Monmouth press release
Photo: Hawkish # 1 with Trevor McCarthy riding won the Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park on May 4, 2019. Photo by Taylor Ejdys / EQUI-PHOTO