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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Cal Shippers Help Make Nine in Illinois Derby


By Dick Downey

Nine were entered in the Illinois Derby, a race without Kentucky Derby points that's designed as a springboard to the Preakness Stakes.

Among the leading names is Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Cross the Line. The son of Line of David finished a determined second to Metaboss in the El Camino Real Derby before finishing off the board in the Santa Anita Derby. He contended with Dortmund early in the race but eventually fell back to finish fifth of six horses in the field. However, he was only a neck out of third place at the wire. Florent Geroux gets the call, and they'll exit post 3.

Whiskey Ticket is another of three entries shipping in from Southern California.The Bob Baffert trainee, a son of Ghostzapper, took a maiden special weight going a mile at Santa Anita on March 19 in his only start. He led at each call and hung on to finish in front by a head. Whiskey Ticket drew post 6 and will be ridden by Martin Pedroza.

Completing the California trio is the Jim Cassidy trainee Verraco. He has two wins in five starts, including an allowance victory in his most recent outing on Feb. 27 when he beat the well-regarded, odds-on Cyrus Alexander. Back in March, Verraco was mentioned for the Sunland Derby, but he wasn't entered. Verraco is by Old Fashioned. He drew post 2. Elvis Trujillo is up.

Other Entries

Private Prospect, once on the Kentucky Derby trail at Oaklawn Park, dropped out after finishing seventh in the Southwest Stakes. That was followed up with a sixth place finish in a March 20 allowance at Oaklawn. He's put in one workout since then for trainer Mike Campbell. Emmanuel Esquivel will be in the irons from post 9.

A. Rod Again is a Mike Maker trainee whose most recent start came in an optional claiming race at Fair Grounds in late February. He finished fourth as the 8-5 second choice, beaten seven lengths by Bubba Roan, the latter one going on to finish sixth in last Saturday's Northern Spur Stakes. A. Rod Again adds blinkers and will be ridden by Miguel Mena from post 4.

Conquest Curlinate, trained by Mark Casse, finished third in an Oaklawn allowance on Feb. 19 in his most recent start. He'll exit post 5 under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Kantune, also trained by Casse, finished 10th in the Southwest Stakes in his only graded appearance. Most recently he was third in an Oaklawn allowance race to Phenomenal Phoenix, also entered in the Illinois Derby. The latter one is trained by Donnie Von Hemel. Chris Emigh is aboard Kantune, and they'll break from the rail. Luis Quinonez will be on Phenomenal Phoenix in post 8.

Lewys Vaporizer, trained by Larry Rivelli, is an Illinois-bred that broke his maiden at Hawthorne and was a late nomination to the Illinois Derby. He was scratched from Wednesday's sixth race at the track. Santo Sanjur will be aboard in post 7.

The $400,000 Illinois Derby will be race 9 on Saturday's Hawthorne card with a post time of 6:50 ET.



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