The second of two recaps on today's Illinois Derby Day stakes action.
STICKNEY/CICERO -- Never had fourteen horses entered the gate for the Illinois Derby, the seminal Derby prep in Chicago. Never had the Illinois Derby been televised on WGN. The large field and television coverage gave an element of sizzle to today's Illinois Derby. The on-track crowd of 4,650 was treated to an exciting renewal with DONE TALKING having the last word.
DONE TALKING (right) winning the Illinois Derby. Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
DONE TALKING, by Broken Vow, was geared to make one run by trainer Hamilton Smith and executed the plan successful despite a scrum to the first turn that compromised the chances of many runners, including 3-1 favorite CURRENCY SWAP. Both trainer T. Pompay and rider S. Bridgmohan commented post-race on the trouble in the first turn of the nine furlong event.
Trainer Hamilton Smith seems very receptive to taking the winning sophomore to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby in four weeks. DONE TALKING will take the $300,000 Illinois Derby graded stakes purse back to Maryland for his victory. Said Smith:
"It's on to Louisville from here. The mile and a quarter should suit him with his late run. When the speed is backing up, hopefully he'll be kicking on."
Winning rider Sheldon Russell on DONE TALKING:
"We wanted to take back early. I tried moving at about the 5/8 pole. I was very surprised turning for home that we were in fourth place. "
MORGAN'S GUERILLA checked in second. He was in the first flight for most of the race, had a brief lead at the top of the stretch, and was worn down by the winner. HAKAMA, another Maryland shipper, broke slow and "saved ground", according to rider Julian Pimentel. He ended up running credibly well and beat out SATURDAY LAUNCH to complete the trifecta.
Winning time was a historically slow 1:53.88 (1:53 4/5).
The $2 13-12 exacta paid $185.20, the $2 13-12-2 trifecta paid $2011.00 and the $1 superfecta of 13-12-2-7 paid over sixteen thousand dollars to those lucky to have it.
Hawthorne had an excellent day at the gate, recording a 38% increase in Illinois Derby Day handle over last year. Attendance was up 36% as well.
Special thanks to Chicago Barn To Wire for quotes and to Hawthorne Assistant GM Jim Miller for considerations.