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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (4/3/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

Local Horsemen set for Illinois Derby

Stickney, IL – John Wainwright is a practical man, and he realizes his entry in the Illinois Derby, Instill, is probably not Kentucky Derby material, but that doesn’t mean winning the local Derby is completely out of reach… is it?

“If I can be one, two or three, I would be very happy,” said Wainwright, who trains Instill for Sharon Morgan, of Illinois. “If I can be on the board I would be thrilled. Of course everything will have to go right, and he’ll have to rebound from his previous race, but he’s a horse that wants to go a route of ground and he’s performed well at Hawthorne.”

The previous race Wainwright was referring to was a disastrous outing in the Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park. Instill finished 10th of 11 starters, that day, beaten more than 18 lengths, but his trainer is hoping that Polytrack was the culprit and not a lack of talent that his Illinois-bred had previously displayed.

“The race at Turfway, I’m just hoping he didn’t (like) Polytrack, simple as that,” Wainwright explained. “He came out of the race fine, we regrouped and now it’s time to give the Illinois Derby a whirl.”

Instill, twice a winner at Hawthorne – including the $114,000 Illinois Futurity – gets reunited with jockey Chris Emigh and will break from the two-post on Saturday.

While Emigh returns to ride Instill on Saturday, another jockey, Tim Thornton, is set to ride one of the more likely win candidates in the Illinois Derby, the Florida invader, Golden Spikes.

“The connections called about a month ago,” Thornton said. “They asked if I’d like to ride him (Golden Spikes), and that they had been watching me ride and thought I might fit the horse well.”

Golden Spikes is a well-bred son of Seeking the Gold, and comes off a distant fifth place finish in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. The blinkers will come off for the Illinois Derby, hopefully to get the horse to relax early in the race.

“He’s a good looking horse, maybe on the small side, but I know they want the horse to be more settled early, and I look forward to riding him,” Thornton said.

“It feels great just to be able to ride these types of horses. I really feel honored. I know I’m only 20, but this is what it’s all about.”

And what about having a home-track advantage over most of the other jockeys?

“I definitely feel like I have an edge,” Thornton continued. “I know the best parts of the track, or at the very least, you’re used to the racetrack. Any little advantage will help and I’ll use every bit of it.”

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 1:35 pm central time. Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804, gates open daily at 7 am. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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