Hennig Hopes Carlino Will Be ‘Coming At The End’ For Jockey Club Gold Cup Upset

Courtlandt Farm’s homebred Carlino, a 1 ½-length winner of an optional claimer on August 26, will try to play the role of spoiler for trainer Mark Hennig in the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday.

Installed at 30-1 on the morning line for the Gold Cup, Carlino earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for his latest effort, closing from last of six to win the 1 1/8-mile route, his first race at shorter than 1 3/8 miles since finishing third in the Mr. Sinatra in March. Following the Mr. Sinatra, the 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid gelding was fourth in the Flat Out and then finished fifth behind Hoppertunity in Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational in June, his first graded stakes try.

His pacesetting trip in the 1 ¾-mile Birdstone on August 2 at Saratoga encouraged Hennig to cut Carlino back in distance in an effort to get him back to his preferred, off-the-pace running style.

“We felt like in that last race, he really appreciated having an honest pace in front of him,” said Hennig. “We tried stretching him out in those marathon races and he ended up on the lead in one of them, which is just not the way he wants to run. So, we backed him up in that allowance race and it worked.

“Then watching the Woodward, it looked like a lot of those horses weren’t coming at the end, and he’s a horse that’s always coming at the end,” he added. “Obviously, it’s a big step up in class, but we feel like it’s an opportunity to let him try and get a piece of it. He’s run well at a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and a quarter, but I think it’s also a matter of getting a legitimate pace. I felt like in this race, we’ve got a good shot to get a legitimate pace.”

Carlino will be cross-entered in Sunday’s $200,000 Temperence Hill Invitational at 1 5/8 miles as a Plan B, said Hennig, in the event that the weather gets temperamental before this weekend.

“In the Temperence Hill, we probably won’t get that same kind of pace, but he’s not a big fan of mud or slop and it doesn’t cost us anything to enter, so we’re going to put him in there just in case something strange happens and he doesn’t run Saturday,” said Hennig. “I don’t foresee that, but just in case.”

The post Hennig Hopes Carlino Will Be ‘Coming At The End’ For Jockey Club Gold Cup Upset appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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