In sticking with the three year old theme of our Horse Racing Race of the Week, this weekend we will be taking a closer look at the 2013 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Racetrack where Departing has been installed as the 7/2 morning line favorite.
With just two short weeks to go until the 2013 Kentucky Derby don’t discount anyone in the field to make an impact on the classics.
Over the past 10 or 15 years, (the Illinois Derby was first run in 1968) there have been several horses that have made an impact in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes.
In 1999, Illinois Derby winner Vision n’ Verse ran second in the Belmont Stakes that same year, in 2002 War Emblem won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before almost falling on his face at the start of the Belmont Stakes. The very next year’s winner Ten Most Wanted finished second to Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes and 2006 Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint actually went off as the 2006 Kentucky Derby favorite (but finished fifth to the ill-fated Barbaro) and came second in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later (to Bernardini).
Other major races this weekend include the $1.5 million Charlestown Classic Stakes at Charlestown Racetrack in Charlestown, West Virginia. The race is at a mile and an eighth, which is three turns
around the six furlong main track at Charlestown.
On paper, it looks like a two horse race as the speedy Game On Dude will once again square off against the late running Ron The Greek in another classic game of “cat and mouse”. The pair, who are also two of leading older male horse in training today, have traded decisions recently.
Also, on Saturday afternoon, is the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland Racetrack in Kentucky. The race, which is run at one and one eighth miles on the synthetics, is a “wildcard” race for any horses who are trying to “backdoor it” into the Kentucky Derby.
This one looks to be fairly wide open (I wouldn’t bet this race with your money) with Sunbean looking to bounce back off a poor performance in the Louisiana Derby and Purefun, a filly, that has run well in her last three races, might be amongst the betting favorites.
Hawthorne – Saturday, April 20, 2013
Race 8 – 5:15 PM
Illinois Derby (Grade: 3)
One And One Eighth Miles.
|1||1||Bells Big Bernie||3/C||L||T Thornton||122||S D Mullins||20/1|
|2||2||Dewey Square||3/C||L||C J Lanerie||122||D L Romans||8/1|
|3||3||Street Spice||3/C||L||J Sanchez||122||G Geier||20/1|
|4||4||For Greater Glory||3/C||L||S Bridgmoha||122||S Hobby||15/1|
|5||5||Ground Transport||3/C||L||M Guidry||122||M Stidham||8/1|
|6||6||Taken by the Storm||3/C||L||A Garcia||122||K G McPeek||15/1|
|7||7||Dakota Mac||3/G||L||S B Martinez||122||H H Robertson||30/1|
|8||8||Abraham||3/C||L||J Castellan||122||T A Pletcher||8/1|
|9||9||Show Some Magic||3/C||L||M Mena||122||H Dominguez||6/1|
|10||10||Fordubai||3/C||L||D Sanchez||122||G Geier||20/1|
|11||11||Stormin Monarcho||3/C||L||F Geroux||122||J Berndt||15/1|
|12||12||Siete de Oros||3/G||L||A S Arroyo||122||R Preciado||5/1|
|13||13||Departing||3/G||L1||B J Hernandez, Jr.||122||A M Stall, Jr.||7/2|
|14||14||Narvaez||3/C||L||P Lopez||122||A C Bezara||20/1|
1) Departing- it’s no secret I like this colt a lot and was thoroughly disappointed when his connections announced last week that they will not be entering the 2013 Kentucky Derby. (He was my Derby sleeper horse)
He has such a visually beautiful stride; he seems to just skip over the track. He also possesses a powerful closing run that should be on display Saturday afternoon from about the quarter pole to the wire.
Albeit, he suffered his first career defeat (to Revolutionary) in his last, (the Louisiana Derby) he was charging hard late in that race despite being 3 or 4 wide most of the way around and 5 wide on the turn for home. Still, after all that, he was only beaten a little more than 3 lengths.
I love the huge work (at Churchill) last week when he blitzed a half in :47 flat.
When the entries came out, and before the morning line odds were listed, I said to myself, “Departing will be less than 2-1 I’m sure…maybe 9/5 or 8/5”…when I saw 7/2… I sat back in my chair…that, readers, is a gift.
Either I’m a complete idiot (which is a distinct possibility) or there is a serious overlay going on here….either way, he should handle this field.
2) Siete de Oros-is having a very good, albeit winless, year. Take a look at those last three races closely.
Jan 5, he gets beat a head to Vyjack in the Jerome mile, in his next race (Feb 2 Withers Stakes), he led to deep stretch and finished second (beaten just 2 lengths) to Revolutionary. Then in his last race (March 2), he was bumped hard at the start and was as far back at seventh position early, yet closed the gap to finished fourth (once again) to Vyjack.
I like the versatility as he can run from on or off the pace with effectiveness and he clearly looks a) the best of the rest and b) Departing’s main rival in this race.
3) For Greater Glory- jumped from a maiden win straight into a Turfway Stakes race and did not embarrass himself by finishing a fast closing third after being blocked down the stretch.
He followed that race up with a better than it looks, late running sixth to Black Onyx in the Spiral Stakes about three weeks ago.
He’s hit the board 5 times in 6 career starts and you might hearing from him late in this race as well.
15-1 morning line odds?….geez, I’m starting to like the odds-maker at Hawthorne more and more.
Ground Transport finished just a half length behind the top choice in the aforementioned Louisiana Derby after a nothing short of a horrendous trip….positively a threat with a cleaner trip. Show Some Magic, chased a runaway winner in his last (Govenor Charlie in the Sunland Park Derby) but shows 8 of 11 starts on the board. Chestnut colt by the gorgeous Any Given Saturday rates an outside shot here
Record: 8-20 = 40%
2012: 24-74 = 32%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2012 two year old champion Shanghai Bobby sustained a pelvic stress fracture following the Florida Derby March 30 at Gulfstream Park.
The very handsome, almost black colt finished fifth in the Florida Derby, 10 3/4 lengths behind winner Orb.
Dr. Larry Bramlage said he expects Shanghai Bobby will be able to completely recover following a 90-day rest period. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the injury may explain the off-the-board finish in the Florida Derby by the two-time grade I winner.
“Although it is disappointing that Shanghai Bobby has sustained this injury, perhaps this offers an explanation of his performance in the Florida Derby,” Pletcher said.
Just as a side note, I knew something was up after his connections aid he “needed some time off” after running just twice in six months.
**** 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan cruised home in the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland last Saturday in his 2013 debut.
The now 6-year-old gelding, trained by Charlie LoPresti, stalked an easy pace set by Silentio and came three wide on the turn home, before making the lead at the eight pole and had plenty left to hold off the late run of Data Link by a length with Mr. Commons third.
Wise Dan’s final time for the mile on firm turf was 1:36.1.
**** Speaking of easy wins, Cyber Secret bounded home by almost six lengths in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap last Saturday for track owner and president Charles Cella as heavily favored Fort Larned backed up to fifth.
Cyber Secret recorded his fourth straight win this season at Oaklawn for trainer Lynn Whiting. It was Cyber Secret’s fifth victory from eight tries during his career over the Oaklawn main track.
Whiting said that he will likely take the colt to Churchill Downs next for the Alysheba Stakes (May 4).
“I knew he was sitting on a big, big race. I couldn’t be any happier with him. He’s just done everything right this whole meet,” he said.” I’m thrilled for Mr. Cella. The Razorback was his first graded win at his home track. Now, he’s won his second.”
After pressing the leaders on the outside to the quarter pole, Fort Larned came with his run before giving way coming into the stretch.
“I thought he ran great today,” said winning rider Robby Albarado. “They were clipping right along up front, but at every part of the race I felt like he was in my hands. He wanted to do it. Turning for home, he exploded for me and then held off some very nice horses.”
Taptowne finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of the late-running Sabercat, who closed from sixth.
Sabercat was followed by Fort Larned, Win Willy, Atigun, Alternation, Unstoppable U, and Golden Ron.
“I don’t know what to think,” Trainer Ian Wilkes said of Fort Larned, who was making his second start of the year. ”He ran a little flat. I just want to get him back to the barn and make sure he’s ok. He didn’t run his race.”
**** Australia’s super-mare Black Caviar has been retired after winning her 25th consecutive race, (to go 25 for 25 in her career) trainer Peter Moody said Wednesday.
In what turned out to be her final start, the big black mare won the T. J. Smith Stakes last Saturday to earn her 15th group I victory
The T. J. Smith win took her career earnings to Aus$7,497,754
“Twenty-five’s a great number and we thought she did us all proud on Saturday,” Moody said on Racing Victoria’s website. “The mare’s in great shape. We thought long and hard about racing on for another season, we thought about (Royal) Ascot, we thought about Brisbane, we thought about Adelaide. But at the end of the day, we believe she’s done everything we’ve asked her to do and she couldn’t have possibly done any more. It’s the right time to call it a day on what’s been a wonderful career of maybe one of the finest horses we’ve ever seen.”
She was Australia’s champion sprinter and Horse of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and She was the world’s top-rated sprinter in 2010, 2011, and 2012 on the World Thoroughbred Rankings.
**** 2013 Kentucky Derby hopeful Itsmyluckyday breezed a mile in 1:43 1/5 yesterday (Thursday) at Calder Racecourse in what will likely be his next to last work before shipping to Kentucky for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt is tentatively scheduled to breeze one more time before departing Florida April 26.
After winning the Gulfstream Park Derby in early January, the good looking dark bay colt took the Holy Bull Stakes before finishing second to Orb in the Florida Derby.
“I’ll be making the trip with him (to Kentucky) and will be watching him all the way,” said assistant trainer Frankie Perez “Just walking a horse like him through the barn is the best feeling there is. Knowing that right there, in my hands, I’m holding a horse that could be a champion and is worth millions. Not everybody gets to experience that.”
“I’ll sleep right there next to him if I have to,” Perez said pointing to an area next to the horse’s stall. “I don’t care where I stay. Wherever he goes, that’s where you’ll find me.”