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Hawthorne Racecourse (4/8/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

Jim Miller’s Illinois Derby Day Blog

Jim Miller serves as Hawthorne’s between race analyst and morning-line maker (among many other things). In the past, he has also worked as a clocker and jockey’s agent. His Illinois Derby Day insights, as of 8 a.m. (CDT) are posted here.

First of all, I’ve walked the backstretch, and all the Illinois Derby horses have arrived safely, and are doing well this morning.

In the Lost Code, Rochester Cat will be scratching to run in the Sales stakes on Sunday. That basically eliminates the pace in the race and makes it very tough for City Dweller to be caught on the lead. All horses in that race, are in fine form as of this morning and I paid a visit to each barn. The Fires horse, Spotsgone, was visually impressive when galloping here yesterday morning.

In the Meafara, there were reports about the morning-line choice, Victorina, having a bit of a cough. When I saw her this morning, she appeared fine and should run, but I don't get scratches until 8:30 AM. The remainder of the field is in fine order. The Williamson horses may have a bit of an advantage by being stabled here, but My Chickadee raced very green in her debut and may need more experience.

In the Illinois Derby we will have an important late added workout to post. Mister Triester worked here on Wednesday 5f in 100.3b. He went very easily and did it over a rather dead track that morning. His gallop out was 115.2 and he also got the benefit of schooling in the paddock before yesterday's first race. Additional, Cause to Beleive, Victorina, and City Dweller all schooled yesterday. Creative Force is an interesting longshot in the race. He learned to rate closer in his last against a short field and will benefit from having a bit more pace to chase. I don't know if he can win, but he may be able to round out a Trifecta or Superfecta.

When it comes to the track, we haven't made any drastic changes like many other tracks to, such as blading the track or trying to speed it up for the big day. Our track has played evenly when it comes to bias, and while it has been a bit slow in times, every horse has had a shot. When looking at times, take into account that there where very strong headwinds down the backstretch yesterday which slowed things down as well. The winds have calmed down this morning and should help times a bit. As for maitenance, the only thing that will be done is a bit more water will be added to the track to tighten it up. No surface has been taken off and no surface will be added.

This morning, the track surface is not overly deep and horses have been gliding over it. The workout times are slightly quicker than they have been. There is still a steady tail wind in the stretch (out of the East), but it’s expected to calm by post time.

Also, if you come out to Hawthorne and get an Ostrich card, I suggest that you do everything in your power to trade for a “Slimmy.” He’s a multi-dimensional bird with a big heart, and he seems to really have taken to his surrounding since arriving late yesterday morning.

Hopefully this info helps and best of luck to you all today!

Jim Miller





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