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HAWTHORNE NOTES

Hawthorne Racecourse daily notes (3/8/03)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Another War Emblem?

Kirby Tosses One in the Mix

Last year it was War Emblem using a spring allowance race as his prep for the Illinois Derby. At the time of the allowance win, very few could see the future that lay ahead for the eventual Kentucky Derby winner. But War Emblem was nominated to the Grade 2 Illinois Derby at the time of his allowance victory, and now we may have another supposed outsider in the Derby mix.

In Friday's fifth race, not much was expected out of Priceless Fact. He appeared to be the number two horse of a Frank Kirby entry for the race that included heavily favored Keys to Astro. At post time, Keys to Astro was 3-5 on the board while Priceless Fact slipped off at 8-1.

Springing sharply from the gate, Priceless Fact battled for the early lead through an opening quarter-mile of 22.08. Into the turn, he was still in company on the front-end, running the half in 46.07. When he hit the stretch though, Priceless Fact took off, lengthening to an easy five-and-a-half length triumph, gliding under the wire in 1:12.95. While posting an impressive effort, an interesting fact arose, the Illinois-bred Priceless Fact is the only horse from the Kirby barn nominated for the Illinois Derby.

"The owners nominated this horse," stated Kirby. "We liked this horse last year, but after his first start he spiked a high temperature. We had to wait with him until this point. He came out of yesterday's race perfectly and he cleaned up his feed this morning." Priceless Fact notably was the very first horse nominated for the Illinois Derby.

"The possibility of running in the Illinois Derby is doubtful right now," Kirby continued, "but by having the horse nominated for the race, it is always an option. Right now we're pointing towards the Land Of Lincoln Stakes on April 12, but that can change. We're keeping our options open."

Good Riding, Good Training

On Friday, a pair of riders and a pair of trainers each had doubles on the card. Jockey E.T. Baird won race three aboard Dashhound ($8.00) and race four on WW Conquistador ($11.40), both for trainer Jim Zook. Jockey Curt Bourque won race 6 aboard Storm Chronicle ($34.00) and race 9 on Add A Moment ($4.40) for his double. Trainer Frank Kirby completed his double that started with Priceless Fact ($19.40) in the fifth with K C's Sunshine Bay ($6.20) in the seventh.

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