Three more reasons to support Hawkish in Sunshine Forever

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

May 8th, 2020

J. Keeler Johnson is tabbing #7 Hawkish (10-1) as a Freeplay Game selection in Saturday’s Sunshine Forever S. at Gulfstream Park. His analysis hits the key points – proven talent, ability to run well off the layoff, and a recent bullet work for Jimmy Toner.

As a longtime Hawkish fan, I’ll supplement Keeler’s list with three more items in support. Granted, the 1 1/16-mile turf test has come up deep. And having celebrated Social Paranoia’s barnstorming victory in the Appleton (G3) myself, I can understand James Scully’s determination to stick with him for the win.

But Hawkish is liable to be an attractive price off the bench. Here’s why he’s worth including in your wagering strategy:

1. New rider Emisael Jaramillo might suit him well.

Although Hawkish roared from far off a slow pace to score in his Gulfstream career debut, similar tactics arguably did not serve him well when fourth in the 2018 Palm Beach (G3). In his 2019 comeback in the Appleton, Hawkish settled in a good spot in the chasing pack, but could not quite peg back a loose-on-the-lead Dr. Edgar. He dropped a bit farther back next time in Monmouth’s Cliff Hanger (G3) but rallied between foes to get up.

His most dynamic efforts, however, have come when racing within striking range – his 4 3/4-length Aqueduct allowance romp in the spring of 2018 followed by his marquee performance in the Penn Mile (G2). That’s where new pilot Emisael Jaramillo enters calculations: he figures to have him well placed as the race unfolds. Jaramillo could be just the kind of rider that Hawkish needs to keep him engaged, and in position, to deploy his kick to best effect.

2. Hawkish still has time to follow the trajectory of sire Artie Schiller.

The long gaps on Hawkish’s resume make it feel as though he’s been around for quite a while, but he’s still only a 5-year-old with eight starts to his name. Until he was sidelined in the middle of his sophomore campaign, Hawkish was a rising star in the mile division.

His fine beginning to 2019 suggested that he could follow the trajectory of sire Artie Schiller. Himself a top turf 3-year-old, Artie Schiller carried his form forward as an older horse and captured the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

Unfortunately, Hawkish dropped off the scene after his Cliff Hanger score. He resurfaced with a forgettable last in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational over an inadequate trip, and disappeared again until now. If the older Hawkish can stay sound, and put together an entire campaign, he’ll be a major force among the turf milers

3. Hawkish hails from the deep family of race honoree Sunshine Forever.

The gelding’s family, with its Darby Dan heritage, has long been a signal factor in his appeal. The AJ Suited homebred is out of the Unbridled mare Bridal Memories, a half-sister to past Toner star Winter Memories among others. Interestingly, Winter Memories is by El Prado, the sire of Artie Schiller, so Hawkish is echoing that combination of sire and maternal lines.

Toner also trained Hawkish’s second dam, multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Memories of Silver. As a daughter of the Roberto stallion Silver Hawk, Memories of Silver echoed the top-and-bottom lines of champion Sunshine Forever. By Roberto, Sunshine Forever was out of a Graustark mare who was a full sister to Java Moon, second dam of Memories of Silver and thus the fourth dam of Hawkish.