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Hawthorne >> Saturday, April 7 $500,000 Grade 3 Illinois Derby >> Preview

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Posted Friday, April 06, 2012 10:31 AM   0 comments
Hawthorne >> Saturday, April 7
$500,000 Grade 3 Illinois Derby >> Preview
By Full Card Reports

(Post Time: 6:46 p.m. ET) The Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial are scheduled for Saturday, but it is the $500k Grade 3 Illinois Derby that seems to be the most popular prep of the weekend. The Hawthorne race has attracted a full field of 14 with 3 listed as Also-Eligibles. War Emblem used the race as a springboard to Kentucky Derby glory in 2002.

Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes winner CURRENCY SWAP (4-1 ML) is the favorite. He was sidelined with an injury after his Hopeful win on September 5, but returned to racing on March 16 in a Gulfstream Park allowance race. He finished second, seven lengths behind Wood Memorial favorite. Since that effort, he has worked once, going five furlongs in 1:00 B at Gulfstream. Shaun Bridgmahon picks up the mount on this son of High Cotton for trainer Terri Pompay.

OUR ENTOURAGE (9-2 ML) has been on the verge twice in graded stakes company, finishing fifth in both the Breeders’ Futurity and Remsen Stakes last year. He was beaten a mere combined 6 ¾ lengths in those two races. In his only race as a sophomore, the Todd Pletcher trainee registered a one length win in an optional claiming race at Gulfstream. Eddie Castro is on from New York to ride the Mike Repole owned son of Street Cry.

MORGAN’S GUERRILLA (10-1 ML) will use early speed as his weapon. The son of Ghostzapper races for trainer Mike Maker and will be piloted by Anna Napravnik. His last race was a maiden breaking effort over the inner dirt at Aqueduct, where he turned back the stretch bid of a foe to win by 1 ¼ lengths. He will take the field as far as he can.

DONE TALKING (20-1 ML) has drawn the 13 hole for his second race of the year. In his 2012 debut he finished a very well beaten tenth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. That race was in stark contrast to his two-year-old form. He was beaten only a length while fourth in last year’s Remsen Stakes. Look for him to move forward under jockey Sheldon Russell for trainer Hamilton Smith.

HAKAMA (6-1 ML) was nowhere to be found against Alpha in the Grade 3 Wither Stakes two back, but returned to finish second beaten a head in an overnight stakes race at Laurel. He should race near the lead under Julien Pimentel. Michael Trombetta trains the son of First Samurai.

D Wayne Lukas has shipped in with SKYRING (20-1 ML) to take a crack at this race. He was last seen breaking his maiden in his fourth race. His pedigree indicates that he should love going the extra distance today. While this one is inexperienced, his trainer knows a thing or two about getting horses ready for the Kentucky Derby. Ramon Vazquez gets the mount.

FASTESTWHOGETSPAID (30-1 ML) could be a live long shot for trainer Brian Williamson. He got up by a nose last out in the six furlong Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn. He won at 8 ½ furlongs over this track as a juvenile. The son of Henny Hughes will have jockey Israel Ocampo guiding him across the track.

John J. Moore

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Joined: March 2008
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