HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
|Hawthorne Racecourse (10/11/03)
Contact: Jim Miller
Hawthorne Derby Attracts 29 Nominees
STICKNEY, IL -- Nominations for the 39th edition of the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby, to be contested at one mile and one eighth on the turf, carrying a purse of $250,000, closed with 29 on Wednesday, October 8. The race will be run next Saturday, October 18, 2003.
Inaugurated in 1965 as the Hawthorne Diamond Jubilee Handicap (honoring Hawthorne's 75th anniversary), the race was run under that title through 1968. The name was changed to the Hawthorne Derby the following year.
Bold Bidder won the inaugural Diamond Jubilee/Hawthorne Derby. The first 19 editions of the race were contested on the main track. In 1984, recognizing the future trend toward grass racing in this country, Hawthorne management switched its Derby to the turf course. Nationally prominent Pass The Line captured the first Hawthorne Derby contested on turf.
The last three editions of the Derby have been among the more interesting. In 2000, Hymn and Rumsonontheriver hit the wire together, resulting in the only dead-heat victory in Hawthorne Derby history. Kalu won the Derby in 2001 but tossed his jockey, Jose Santos, on the way back to the winner's circle. Santos suffered a broken wrist. In 2002, longshot Scooter Roach was placed first weeks after the race when first-place finisher Flying Dash was disqualified for a drug infraction.
The 2003 renewal of the race promises to be the best yet. Not all of the 29 nominees have been tested on turf but all have legitimate qualifications. However, a pair of the nominees appear to stand out.
Daniel Borislow's Toccet, trained by John Scanlon, was considered one of the best 2-year-olds in the country last year when he won six of his first seven races, including the Grade 1 Champagne and the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity. A loss in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Futurity was the lone mar on his 2002 record. He will be trying turf for the first time, if he runs in the Derby, but with his pedigree, Awesome Again-Cozzene's Angel by Cozzene, he definitely has breeding to be successful.
Stroll is already a turf specialist. Owned by Claibourne Farm and trained by William Mott, he won five of his seven grass races, including the Grade 2 Jamiaca Handicap in last and the Grade 2 Hall Of Fame Handicap in his prior race.
The entire field, in alphabetical order, is:
A Nice Splash, Irish Acres Farm, P Noel Hickey