HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
|Hawthorne Racecourse (4/3/04)
Contact: Jim Miller
Pollard's Vision Impressive In Illinois Derby
STICKNEY, IL -- The Illinois Derby has become a coming out party for top runners over the past two years with War Emblem winning in 2002 and Ten Most Wanted in 2003. The same could have occurred once again as Edgewood Farm's Pollard's Vision looked impressive in victory in the 2004 edition of the Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby.
Breaking sharply from the gate, Pollard's Vision and jockey Eibar Coa were able to save ground along the inside as they set the fractions the entire way around. Passing the quarter in :23.99 and the half in :47.94, Pollard's Vision fended off challenges from Chrome Soldier, Skipaslew and Pure American as the field headed into the far turn.
Passing three-quarters in 1:12.73, the next challenge to Pollard's Vision would come from undefeated Song of the Sword and jockey Richard Migliore as the two turned into the stretch. Song of the Sword was able to get within a length of Pollard's Vision but that was all as Pollard's Vision pulled away to win by 2¾ lengths, stopping the clock for the 1 1/8 miles at 1:50.80. Song of the Sword finished second while Suave closed well for third and longshot O.K. Mikie came from the back of the pack to finish fourth in the race.
With the win, Pollard's Vision earned $300,000, boosting his record to three wins from 10 career starts and his earnings to $445,811.
Pollard's Vision returned $5.40, $3.60 and $2.80. Song of the Sword came back $3.80 and $3.20 while Suave returned $3.60 to show.
Jockey Eibar Coa had a big day at Hawthorne as he posted three wins on the card, winning an allowance race early and also winning the $100,000 Lost Code Breeders' Cup aboard Wildcat Shoes later in the day. Pollard's Vision was the big one though as Coa was overjoyed with the victory. "Everything worked out with the plan that we had. We wanted to be close to the pace and that was the way we broke. By the first turn we had the lead to ourselves and we were running very easy. By the quarter pole I was a little concerned, I saw the horses coming. But I knew I had plenty of horse left and he gave it to me when I asked."
Trainer Todd Pletcher's assistant Ginny DePasquale was confident with Pollard's Vision as well. "We're really proud of him. He's such a game little horse. He tries every time. I was never worried when Song of the Sword came at him. He can sense the horses running at him, whether he can see them or not, we don't know, and he always tries a little harder. But he doesn't really have to see the horse. He just has to know they are there. He's been maturing with every race. He was obviously very green when he broke his maiden but he really came around the last couple of months. He's got a little bit of an attitude which is good, especially developing at this time of the year. We could be heading to Kentucky for the Derby. We'll have to wait and see."
Jockey Richard Migliore was pleased with Song of the Sword's effort. "We got to the 3/8 pole and it looked like the eventual winner was going pretty easy and I thought it was time to apply some pressure to take him. My horse ran hard; we just couldn't beat him. The other horse just kept finding an answer for us. We ran well considering it was only the fourth start of his life."
Don't count out the possibility of Suave making a start in Kentucky the first Saturday in May as well. "I feel like he ran a good race. We got into a little trouble going into the first turn and ran a very credible race considering the trouble we got in early," stated Suave's trainer Paul McGee. "I thought we would be a little closer to the pace. He came with a little bit of run turning for home but we couldn't catch the winner. We thought he got an easier lead than we had expected. We are not sure where we are going next. The Derby is a possibility but the earnings are a factor, we have to see if we have enough to get in."