In Eclipse Awards voting, Hawkster was voted the third best turf horse in the country last year, behind Steinlen and Yankee Affair. Hawkster has won four of five starts on grass, but is two for 14 on dirt. The Big 'Cap is 1 1/4 miles on the main track.
In another Big 'Cap development, [Trainer Ron McAnally] announced that Pat Valenzuela would regain the mount on Hawkster. The change from Russell Baze is believed to be the decision of Shelly Meredith, who owns Hawkster.
Under Baze, Hawkster won the 1 1/2-mile Oak Tree in 2:22 4/5, a world- record time. Baze has also ridden Hawkster in his two races since then, a fifth-place finish in the Japan Cup and a third-place finish in the Strub on Feb. 4.