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Sportsman's Park Illinois Derby Advance

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310


CICERO, Ill. (April 2, 2002) -- Select Stable's Repent headlines a talented group of ten 3-year-olds, many of whom have classic aspirations, for Saturday's 45th running of the Grade II Illinois Derby, the signature event of the season at Sportsman's Park near Chicago. The mile and an eighth race carries a purse of $500,000, and for the first time offers a $1 million bonus to the connections of the winning horse if that horse goes on to capture any of the Visa Triple Crown races -- the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes.

The Illinois Derby is the first half of a national $1 Derby Double with the Grade I Santa Anita Derby serving as the second half of the wager. Both races will be televised live on ESPN during a one-hour "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" broadcast that airs from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Central time.

A son of Louis Quatorze, Repent rolls into the Windy City off successive scores in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs last November, the Grade III Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds and the Grade II Louisiana Derby at the New Orleans oval. The Ken McPeek charge also captured the Grade III Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes at Turfway Park last September before running second to 2-year-old champion Johannesburg in the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park. Hall-of-Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, a three-time Illinois Derby winner, has the mount aboard Repent.

Set to face Repent in the Illinois Derby are: Pin Oak Stable's Changeintheweather, Anderson & Meadowbrook Farm's Fonz's, Italo-Erin Stables' One Tuff Fox, Diane & Guy B. Snowden's Peekskill, Mercedes Stables' Publication, Stiritz & Zander's Robin Zee, Russell L. Reineman Stable's War Emblem, Rick Englander's Boston Common, and Mancari & Trifler's Secret Command.

Of these, Fonz's is likely to merit considerable support at the betting windows off a second-place finish last December to Siphonic in the Grade I Hollywood Futurity in southern California. Last time out, the David LaCroix-trained son of Out of Place finished fifth to likely Santa Anita Derby favorite Came Home in the Grade II San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Local reinsman Alfredo Juarez Jr. has the riding assignment for Fonz's.

Topping the local contingent is War Emblem. The speedy son of Our Emblem cruised to an easy 10-length victory in the $45,000 Illinois Derby prep over this oval on March 17. The Frank Springer pupil, who broke his maiden at Arlington Park last summer, finished a close-up fifth in the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds in January and sixth to Repent in the Risen Star three weeks later. Larry Sterling Jr., the meet's leading rider, has the call on War Emblem.

Publication will need to regain his form from last year to contend in the Illinois Derby. During his 2-year-old campaign, the son of Petionville won the Grade II Arlington-Washington Futurity in just his second lifetime start and followed with a fourth at triple-digit odds in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. In two starts since, the Terry Knight charge failed to hit the board in both the Grade I Hollywood Futurity last December and the Grade II Louisiana Derby in his sophomore debut. Randall Meier, who was aboard Publication in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, will have the mount Saturday.

Changeintheweather invades from Gulfstream Park where the son of Gone West was victorious in a second-level allowance race at the south Florida racetrack. As a 2-year-old, the David Bell trainee won the Grade I Grey Breeders' Cup at Woodbine by four lengths. Mickey Walls, who rode Changeintheweather in Canada last year, reunites with the horse for the first time in his 3-year-old campaign for the Illinois Derby.

One Tuff Fox faces his toughest task to date in the Illinois Derby. The lightly raced son of Foxhound is two for three in his short career. Trained by Richard Dutrow, One Tuff Fox made his sophomore debut with a winning effort in a first-level allowance race at the Fair Grounds under jockey Eddie Martin Jr., who will again be in the saddle for Saturday's feature.

Peekskill comes into the Illinois Derby after finishing third at odds of nearly 100-1 in the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream. The Meadowlake colt, trained by Tony Reinstedler, has just one victory on his ledger, breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs last July. Jose Santos, who rode Peekskill for the first time in the Florida Derby, has a return call.

Completing the field for the Illinois Derby are: the Mike Reavis-trained Boston Common (Chris Emigh), third in the Illinois Derby prep, and Secret Command (Shane Laviolette), third in a local allowance race; and Robin Zee (Jeremy Beasley), winner of a second-level allowance race over this oval.




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