Contact : Jim Miller - (708)
For Immediate Release
Midnight Hawk Headlines Illinois Derby Field
STICKNEY, IL – There’s a lot of local hopes for a Blackhawks
double on Saturday afternoon. Earlier in
the day, the Chicago Blackhawks will be facing off against the St. Louis Blues
in game 2 of their first round playoff series.
Later in the afternoon, a horse with Blackhawks ties will take to the
track as Graded Stakes winner Midnight Hawk is the morning line favorite in the
Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby, Presented by Xpressbet.
Illinois Derby will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on Hawthorne’s dirt main track
and go as race 9 of a 10 race card that will also include the Grade 3, $150,000
Sixty Sails Handicap for females, and a pair of $100,000 state-bred stakes, the
Robert S. Molaro Handicap and the Third Chance
Handicap. The Illinois Derby and Sixty
Sails are both parts of a live broadcast on WGN Television from 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Central time. Additionally, WGN Radio,
720 AM will be broadcasting from Hawthorne, along with
morning line favorite for the Illinois Derby is Midnight Hawk. Midnight Hawk is owned in partnership by Hill
‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc, Mike Pegram, Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville,
Blackhawks Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen, and Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line
Coach and past Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Mike Tice. Midnight Hawk is trained by Bob Baffert.
splash at first asking, Midnight Hawk won his debut by 6 ¼ lengths last
December at Betfair Hollywood Park. His following start was a win in the Grade 3
Sham at Santa Anita. In his third start,
he ran a close up third to Candy Boy and Chitu in the
Grade 2 Robert Lewis at Santa Anita before chasing likely Kentucky Derby
favorite California Chrome, running second in the Grade 2 San Felipe. His most recent race was a second place
effort behind Chitu in the Grade 3 Sunland
Derby. With a record of 5-2-2-1,
Midnight Hawk has earned $347,000. In
the Illinois Derby he will be ridden for the first time by Martin Garcia and is
4-5 in the morning line.
Todd Pletcher has had a lot of success in the
Illinois Derby and this year sends out a pair in King Cyrus, and supplemental
entry Global Strike for the Grade 3 event.
Owned by WinStar Farm, LLC King Cyrus broke
his maiden at first asking as a two-year-old last August at Saratoga. He ran eighth with a wide trip in the Grade 1
Hopeful in career start number two before running third against allowance-company
at Keeneland last fall. Given time off following that race, King
Cyrus returned to run second in the Smooth Air at Calder before most recently
running seventh in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in his most
recent start. King Cyrus will be ridden
by Rosie Napravnik and is 6-1 in the morning line.
Strike has faced Midnight Hawk already, as he was a part of the Sunland
Derby. Finishing sixth in that race,
Global Strike takes another chance at a Graded Stakes placing. He hit the board in his three starts prior,
breaking his maiden in his third career start at Gulfstream on February
22. Local jock Tim Thornton gets the
call as Global Strike is 15-1 in the morning line.
A winner of
two straight coming into the Illinois Derby is Class Leader. Owned by Lane’s End Racing and trained by
Neil Howard, Class leader finished sixth in his debut as a two-year-old at
Churchill last October. Stretching out
for his second start, Class Leader broke his maiden around two turns at Fair
Grounds and came back to win an optional claiming allowance race in his
following start. Class Leader will be ridden
by James Graham and is 5-1 in the morning line.
Coming from the barn of trainer
Robert Pincins is Emmett Park. Owned by Richard Emmett’s Gore Range Stable,
Emmett Park makes career start four in the Illinois Derby. A winner in his first start at Turfway last December, Emmett Park came right back to defeat
Optional claiming allowance-company in his first start as a
three-year-old. He drew the far outside
of the field of 14 in the Grade 2 Risen Star, never making an impact but has
been given some time off before coming to the Illinois Derby. Lori Wydick rides
Emmett Park as he is 20-1 in the morning line.
Impact runs for trainer Mark Casse as he also steps
up to take on Graded stakes company for the first time. Often times running close, Dynamic Impact
broke his maiden on March 1 at Oaklawn, stalking and
battling to a victory. Owned by John
Oxley and ridden by Miguel Mena, Dynamic Impact is 6-1 in the morning line.
in the Illinois Derby come from A Step Ahead and Irish You Well. A Step Ahead
runs for trainer Chris Block for owners Virginia H. Tarra
Trust. A winner over this Hawthorne
track, A Step Ahead is stakes placed and proven around two turns. Chris Emigh takes
the call as A Step Ahead is 20-1 in the morning line.
Still a maiden, but not to be overlooked is
Irish You Well. Owned by Donegal Racing
and trained by Wayne Catalano, Irish You Well has made six starts, posting a
second and three third-place efforts. In
the Illinois Derby, Irish You Well gets Channing Hill in the saddle and is 20-1
in the morning line.
The field for the Illinois Derby:
PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
Impact M. Mena M. Casse 6-1
2 A Step Ahead C. Emigh C. Block 20-1
3 Midnight Hawk M. Garcia B. Baffert 4-5
4 Irish You
Well C. Hill W. Catalano 20-1
5 King Cyrus R. Napravnik T. Pletcher 8-1
6 Emmett Park L. Wydick R. Pincins 20-1
Strike T. Thornton T. Pletcher 15-1
8 Class Leader J. Graham N. Howard 5-1