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Hard Aces Ready to Rumble in Breeders’ Cup Classic

Hard Aces Ready to Rumble in Breeders’ Cup Classic: Hard Aces may seem to be hard-pressed when it comes to finding victory in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), but owner Kosta Hronis of Hronis Racing believes their charge will be able to run with the best of them.

Hard Aces Breeders' Cup Classic 2015

Preparing for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, Hard Aces poses with owner Kosta Hronis in the barn.

“Ace is a true grinder type, nothing fancy,” Hronis noted regarding the five-year-old horse’s preferred style of traveling mid-pack before making a single run to the wire. “He earned the Classic spot by winning the Santa Anita Gold Cup (GI), and we look for that same type of race.”

In that Gold Cup victory, Hard Aces’ mad dash to the finish line after closing in on the leaders along the rail to win by a nose cemented his anticipated start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Gold Cup was the horse’s first graded stakes victory in 25 lifetime starts and bumped his win count up to 6.

Prior to racing under the Hronis banners, Hard Aces ran for Dreamchaser Thorobreds under the watchful eye of trainer Larry Jones, who also trained both of Hard Aces’ parents, sire Hard Spun and dam All in With Aces. For those initial connections, the horse easily claimed a four-length victory in the Louisiana Handicap in January before being privately purchased by Hronis Racing and moved to the barn of trainer John Sadler.

Then pointed to Grade I company in the Santa Anita Handicap, Hard Aces finished fourth behind champion Shared Belief. A duo of losses followed with his runs in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) and Californian Stakes (GII) before his hard-earned triumph in the Gold Cup. Currently, Hard Aces claims $592,645 in lifetime earnings and a solid record of 25-6-3-7.

Since that victory, Hard Aces has finished sixth in both the Pacific Classic (GI) and Awesome Again Stakes (GII). However, his morning workouts have given Hronis reason to believe the best is yet to come for Hard Aces.

“It looks like he is coming back into form,” Hronis said of Hard Aces’ four-furlong work in :47.00 on October 10. “We were so happy to see him work like he is capable of. If he runs like that workout, he has a great chance.”

As long as Lexington weather cooperates, Hronis Racing is intending to have Hard Aces arrive at Keeneland on October 25. The plan is to have him on the Keeneland track daily to acclimate him to his new environment. In the meantime, Hronis is certain the horse will still participate in his typical post-workout naps and will still appreciate carrots, his most beloved treats.

In addition to Hard Aces, Hronis Racing also has Santa Anita Oaks (GI) winner Stellar Wind in the Distaff (GI) and Electrum in the Filly and Mare Turf (GI). The Hronis family looks forward to traveling to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup, and they certainly have a lot to look forward to with their group of promising horses, headed by Hard Aces, looking for the winner’s circle.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic takes place at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 and will air on NBC from 4:00-6:00 pm ET. 

Hard Aces Breeders' Cup Classic 2015

Hard Aces and jockey Victor Espinoza cross the finish line first at Santa Anita Park on July 27, 2015 in the Gold Cup Stakes. Photo: Benoit

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