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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (2/12/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

Early Nominations Strong for Illinois Derby

Stickney, IL – We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves with more than seven weeks to go before the April 5, Illinois Derby, but when early nominations closed on Feb 4, there were 81 three-year-olds entered for the Grade II, $500,000 race, restricted to sophomores. Stakes Coordinator Debbie Lindsay thinks it’s a good beginning for the premier Illinois prep race for the Kentucky Derby.

“We got a nice list of names, not just the horses, but some leading trainers and owners who feel this could be a good spot on the way to Kentucky,” said Lindsay.

Among the standout nominees are such notables as Winstar Farm’s Court Vision, winner of the Grade II Remsen Stakes last November at Aqueduct; B. Wayne Hughes’ Into Mischief, upset winner of the Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park; Blackberry Road, a troubled-trip fifth last weekend in the Risen Star at The Fairgrounds; and Smooth Air, who outsprinted his rivals in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Also on the early list are Adriano, Crown of Thorns, Denis of Cork, El Gato Malo, Majestic Warrior and Tale of Ekati, the aforementioned in most top twenty lists of Kentucky Derby contenders.

The Illinois Derby has served as a meaningful prep race for the Kentucky Derby since 2001. In 2002 War Emblem won the Illinois Derby and later captured the 128th running of the Run for the Roses.

Although no other Illinois Derby winner has repeated War Emblem’s feat, every Illinois Derby winner since, has gone on to race in the Kentucky Derby.

With the quality of nominees already under consideration, the 2008 Illinois Derby could prove to be another important stop on the road to Louisville.

For a complete list of early nominees please go to www.hawthorneracecourse.com. From there go to live racing, stakes schedule and Illinois Derby nominations.

Hawthorne Race Course’s Spring Thoroughbred meet begins on Friday, March 7 and will continue through Monday, April 28. Live racing will be conducted Thursday through Monday, regular first post 1:35pm central time. Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at www.hawthorneracecourse.com.

 

 

 

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