Hawthorne Racecourse (4/20/13)
Contact: John Walsh, 708-222-3342
Savannah Short, 859-298-0003
DEPARTING LIVES UP TO EXPECTATIONS IN GRADE III ILLINOIS DERBY
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's Departing left little to doubt in Saturday's $750,000 Grade III Illinois Derby. Going off as the 9-5 favorite in a full field of 14, Departing scored an impressive three and a quarter length victory in the 56th running of this race.
Opting to skip the Kentucky Derby for this easier spot, Departing rewarded his connections with a $450,000 payday and stamped himself as possibly one of the top 3-year-olds in the country.
Departing raced a bit off the pace early and was still eighth after a half but rider Brian Hernandez guided his mount out after that, made a sweeping move four wide on the turn, to gain control by the top of the stretch and extend his advantage through the length of the stretch.
Longshot Fordubai finished second and was able to withstand a claim by the rider of Abraham, the fourth-place finisher, besting Siete de Oros by a neck.
Rider Brian Hernandez was impressed with his mount "I let him tell me where he wanted to be. He broke cleanly and we got a good spot. We were able to save a little ground going around the first turn. When we got straightened out on the backside, I just let him out and let him cruise to the half mile pole. When we got to the half mile pole, I thought I was on the winner. He showed it today. He got over the track well. At first the dirt was hitting him in the face but he got used to it pretty quickly and leveled off. It seemed that the farther he got, the stronger he got.
Trainer Albert Stall Jr. thought he finally got some payback. "We had some awful trips in the Hawthorne Gold Cup the past two years so it was our turn to get a nice trip. Where Brian had him the whole trip, I think was the right spot. The dirt was kind of heavy and the kick back wasn't what he was used to.
Diego Sanchez, rider of second place finisher Fordubai, was pretty happy as well. "My horse ran very good. He had good position. I sit and I sit so then at the quarter pole I asked him and he finished. He was looking a little at the signs and he went a little crooked. He is still a little green."
Angel S. Arroyo, 3rd on Siete de Oros: "He ran a good race."
Javier Castellano, 4th on Abraham: "My horse didn't break that sharp, he stumbled really bad at the gate. Those two horses on each side, he bounced around a little bit. I think that cost me the race."
When asked about future plans for Departing, trainer Albert Stall Jr. was guarded: "There's no use talking about the Preakness until we see what happens in the Kentucky Derby. There are some good horses there. If they do their thing and scare everybody off, we might do something differently. But, right now we're going to enjoy this win and ride it out."
As written earlier, Departing earned $450,000 for the victory. He has now amassed $628,000 in earnings.
After fractions of :23.10, :47.71, 1:13.03 and 1:38.15 Departing got the mile and an eighth on the dirt track in 1:50.78, coming home in an impressive :12.63.
Departing paid $5.80, :$3.60 and $3.00
Fordubai returned $16.60 and $9.40
Siete de Oros paid $5.80 to show
ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
Hawthorne Race Course has been Chicago's "hometown track" for 122 years and currently offers the only traditional dirt racing for Thoroughbreds in northern Illinois. Hawthorne's spring meet opens February 15 and runs through April. Live racing is hosted Friday through Sunday in February and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in March and April. Daily post time is 1:35 pm, and admission costs $4. The historic track is located a half-mile north of I-55 on Cicero Avenue, and 2 miles south of I-290 on Laramie Avenue at 35th Street. For more information visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com or call Guest Services at 708-780-3733. Fans are welcome at Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne and for up-to-the-minute racing tips become a follower at Twitter.com/ClubHawthorne.