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Hawthorne Racecourse (4/2/06)

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Cause to Believe Ready; Sweetnorthernsaint Leaning This Way

On Saturday prior to the first race at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California, Cause to Believe, the likely favorite for Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 8, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.62 in what will be his final major move in preparation for the race.

"I talked to Jerry (trainer Hollendorfer) and he told me it was perfect," said part owner and Chicago native Peter Abruzzo. "It was exactly what we wanted."

The plan is for the Maria's Mon colt to leave his Northern California base on Tuesday. Russell Baze is slated to ride the Grade III El Camino Real and California Derby winner.

"One of the horses we beat in the El Camino Real came back to win the Win Star Derby by five lengths," Abruzzo said of the Bob Baffert trained Wanna Runner, who captured Saturday's $600,000 event at Sunland at odds of 4-5. "We're feeling really good about our horse."

Sweetnorthernsaint, the close-up third place finisher in the Grade III Gotham and the likely second choice in the Illinois Derby if he ships in from the East Coast, also worked on Saturday. He traveled a handy half-mile in :47. It was the fastest move of the 29 horses to work the distance.

According to Hawthorne stakes coordinator Debbie Lindsay, trainer Michael Trombetta has indicated that the connections are leaning towards sending the son of Sweetsouthernsaint to the Illinois Derby in lieu of a run in the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct the same day.

“He called me Saturday afternoon, said he was pleased with the work, and told me it was fairly certain that they would run (in the Illinois Derby),” Lindsay said Sunday morning.

Entries for the Illinois Derby will be drawn on Tuesday.

Possibles for the Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby, to be run at Hawthorne Race Course on Saturday, April 8, 2006.

Horse-Trainer-Jockey(if available)-Expected Arrival

Cause to Believe Hollendorfer R. Baze Tuesday
Creative Force Block On the grounds
Devilofarush Maker Baird Friday
Itsallboutthechase G. Sims Emigh Wednesday
Lewis Michael Catalano On the grounds
Malameeze B. Barnett McKee Friday
Mister Triester G. Stute Blanc On the grounds
More Than Regal Asmussen Unknown
My Golden Song Pletcher DeCarlo Friday
Racketeer Frankel Friday
Sweetnorthernsaint Trombetta Desormeaux Wednesday

A complete list of nominations and early past performances, courtesy of Equibase, can be found using this link:

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs February 24 through May 4 with live racing five days per week: Friday through Tuesday. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Hawthorne is dark Wednesdays and Thursdays and Easter Sunday April 16, but full card simulcasting from racetracks across the country is offered every day.

The Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby, a prestigious prep for the world famous Kentucky Derby, will be run at Hawthorne on Saturday, April 8.

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