Category: Illinois Derby

MULTIPLIER Takes the Illinois Derby; RECOUNT, MY MERTIE Conquer Illinois-Breds

Spring is the season of rebirth.  On a crisp, sunny April day, a local tradition came back to life: the Illinois Derby (G3) returned after a year’s absence, with a well-matched field of three-year-olds seeking to become the next breakout star. Two other stakes races, both Illinois-bred sprints that were also absent from the 2016... Read more »

2017 Illinois Derby Day Stakes Preview

All spring, Picks and Ponderings wandered around the country for three-year-old races.  This weekend, there’s no need: after all, the Illinois Derby returns to our backyard.  Once again, the race offers no Kentucky Derby points, so do not expect any of the Illinois Derby runners to progress to Louisville.  However, it would be no surprise to... Read more »

Scott Becker Trainee Stand and Cheer, Six Others Probable for Illinois Derby

After a one-year absence, the Grade 3 Illinois Derby returns to Hawthorne this spring.  Official entries will be drawn for the race on Wednesday, April 19.  The race, a mile and an eighth on the dirt for three-year-olds, will be run on Saturday, April 22.  First post that day will remain at its regular time,... Read more »
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A Tangible Reminder of Tough Times

News broke Wednesday that Hawthorne will probably cut stakes races from their spring schedule. I have spent the last few days trying to find a way to talk about this.  I’m still not sure I have the right words, so much as I have sadness.  Frustration.  Anger. I have a litany of feelings that I... Read more »

Conquest Stables: From Chicago to the Pinnacle of Horse Racing

“When you do something well, and with passion, people are going to notice.  That’s just the way it is.” After Conquest Curlinate finished second in the Illinois Derby on April 18 at Hawthorne, the time has come for Chicago to take notice of Conquest Stables, based in Highland Park.  Though they have only owned horses... Read more »

California Runners Conquer Hawthorne's Graded Stakes

STICKNEY/CICERO — The sun shone, the band played, and far more people in spring suits and Derby hats graced the Hawthorne apron than on any day all year.  Today’s ten-race card featured the only two graded stakes of the spring meet at Hawthorne, the Illinois Derby (GIII) for three-year-olds and the Sixty Sails Handicap (GIII)... Read more »
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2015 Illinois Derby Day Picks and Analysis

Saturday, April 18 is the highest-profile day of the fall Hawthorne meet: Illinois Derby day.  The only graded stakes races of the meet take place on this card, but the card consists of eight other races as well.  It drew some solid fields, particularly in the three turf races on the card.  Though Hawthorne took... Read more »

2015 Illinois Derby Day Stakes Preview

Picks & Ponderings this week stays true to its roots with a look at the first graded stakes of the year in Chicago.  Paired together once again, the Grade Three Illinois Derby and Grade Three Sixty Sails serve as the focus of this week’s analysis.  Both races are set for nine furlongs on the Hawthorne... Read more »

Wide Ranging Group Aim for Hawthorne's Stakes

STICKNEY/CICERO — There are only two graded stakes in the Spring at Hawthorne Race Course, the Grade Three $400,000 Illinois Derby and the Grade Three $150,000 Sixty Sails Handicap. Yet, according to Hawthorne’s Stakes Coordinator Debby Lindsay, the equine cast will be one from all corners.  From locals to the East Coast to the West... Read more »
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2014 Illinois Derby Day Recap

STICKNEY/CICERO — Spring came to Chicago with the year’s first turf race and the year’s first stakes at Hawthorne Race Course.  Four stakes, two for Illinois-breds sprinting and two Grade Three stakes, were contested on a picture-perfect Spring afternoon. Third Chance Handicap: C’MON FEET Steps Up in Stakes Triumph Early tote action saw G3 winner... Read more »