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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/15/11)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700


The 47th running of the Grade III TVG Hawthorne Derby brought together some of the best 3-year-old turf runners in the country. Contested at a mile and an eighth over a firm turf course, this final Illinois graded stakes race of 2011 boasted a strong field of 10, headed by the talented Willcox Inn.

He didn’t disappoint.

Sent off at $1.10-1, this Michael Stidham charge won by a comfortable four and a half lengths.

Legendary King was sent right to the lead and maintained that position for the first six furlongs but six furlongs was about it and he faded quickly. Willcox Inn, still sixth at that point, started making his move. He drew within striking distance on the far turn, shifted out to challenge for the lead at the quarter mile marker and powered his way to the front. He was never challenged.

Team Block’s Suntracer, who had finished second to Willcox Inn in the Arlington Classic and the Arlington Derby, came along late to finish second again, just passing Friendly Banter as they approached the wire.

Eddie Perez, 2nd on Suntracer: "He broke good, we had a good trip. I just can't beat that horse."

Tim Thornton, 3rd on Friendly Banter: "It set up exactly like we thought it would. When I asked him to run he responded, we just got outrun."

“We were disappointed that we couldn’t run at Delaware. We came here thinking that we would do pretty well but we didn’t think we would romp,” said co-owner Marty Nixon.

Where are you going next? TVG’s Mike Joyce asked trainer Michael Stidham, “We’re looking at the Hollywood Derby,” he replied, ignoring hoots and heckles from All In Stable’s Marty Nixon and some of the other representatives of Willcox Inn. They obviously want to head to the Breeders’ Cup with this talented sophomore.

“Actually, on numbers, even though Willcox Inn finished fourth in the Arlington Million, he moved forward in that race. We felt really good about that effort. He came out of the race in good shape. We wanted to run in Delaware in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes but obviously the weather didn’t allow us to do that. But, we’re happy to be here. He’s just a solid little horse that really puts his effort into every race.

“I was a little concerned because there were some nice horses in this race but the way he drew off was quite impressive.”

Willcox Inn earned $120,000 for the victory, boosting his career earnings to $480,943.

They covered the mile and an eighth in 1:48.97 following fractions of :24.12, :48.47, 1:12.39, and 1:36.85

Willcox Inn paid $4.20, $3.00, and $2.60. Suntracer paid $6.80 and $4.40. Friendly Banter returned $12.20.

Hawthorne Race Course opens for live racing on Saturday, October 1 and races live through Saturday December 31. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, racing Wednesday-Sunday. Live racing will also take place on Monday, December 26. First post daily is 1:35 pm. On Fridays through November 25, first post will be 3:00 pm. Hawthorne Race Course is located in Stickney IL at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. For information on live racing or groups at Hawthorne Race Course, contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700 or visit Hawthorne online at

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