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Done Talking Upsets in TVG Illinois Derby

Done Talking Upsets $500,000 TVG Illinois Derby (Gr

Done Talking Upsets $500,000 TVG Illinois Derby (Gr. III) At 13-1
On-track, Overall Handle Post Dramatic Increases on Chicago Racing’s Biggest Day

By Claire Novak
Special to Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL – Done Talking punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby – or any other Triple Crown race his connections choose – Saturday afternoon at Hawthorne Race Course when he upset the 55th running of the Illinois Derby (gr. III) at odds of 13-1.

It was a first-time visit to Hawthorne for the 3-year-old son of Broken Vow and his owners, Willie White (58), Lou Rehak (67), and Robert Omdolf (55), who make up the Maryland-based Skeedattle Stable. Trained by 67-year-old Hamilton Smith and ridden by Sheldon Russell, Done Talking came off a disappointing 10th-place effort in the March 3 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct to pick up a $300,000 winner’s share of the $500,000 purse.

“Hopefully it’s on to Louisville from here,” Smith said. “We came here with the intent of running in the (Kentucky) Derby if he did well; you don’t get many chances to run in a race like that. The mile and a quarter should suit him with his late run, which is what you want. When the speed is backing up, hopefully he’ll be kicking on.”

Done Talking broke 11th in a full field of 14 and was 12th as a flight of horses headed by Frankie Is Rock, Our Entourage, Z Rockstar, and Slamit contested the lead through a quarter-mile in 23.94. Russell kept the bay colt well-reserved near the back of the pack and was able to avoid congestion on the first turn when 5-2 favorite Currency Swap was pinched back and forced to check multiple times. Frankie Is Rock held the lead through a half in 48.64 before Our Entourage took over to run three-quarters in 1:13.14 while Done Talking was still back in ninth.

The Smith trainee made his move heading off the far turn into the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile event and had one horse to pass – second choice Morgan’s Guerrilla, who had steadily progressed to take the lead turning for home. He closed gamely to wear down the tiring contender and edged to a ¾-length victory in a final time of 1:53.88 on the fast track.

“I was happy with him going into the (first) turn and down the backside,” Smith remarked. “The only problem we had was in the far turn when he was making a little run and the 14 (Slamit) came back to him and he had to take up a little bit. I thought that was going to cost us the race but he finally got through and weaved his way through. The kid (jockey Sheldon Russell) did a great job of riding him.”

“We wanted to take the horse back early,” Russell said. “He’s kind of a one-run horse and we weren’t too keen on using him early going into the first turn. The trainer did tell me to look to make that early move. I tried moving at about the five eighths pole, people told me that this is one of the longest stretches in the country and I just wanted to get my horse close enough so that when he did kick in he was going to be close enough to get there. I was very surprised turning for home that we were in about fourth place. I just knew then that I still had some horse. He’s the type that you have to keep at him but if you do he will give you everything that he has.”

With the Illinois Derby score, Done Talking extended his career record to three wins, two thirds from seven starts with overall earnings of $381,200. He returned $27.20, $10.80, and $6.60, while Morgan’s Guerrilla brought $5.80 and $4.40 for a $185.20 exacta. The late-closing Hakama got up from sixth in the stretch to round out a $2,011.00 tri.

“I didn’t have the trip I thought I’d have in the first turn,” jockey Rosie Napravnik said of her run on Morgan’s Guerrilla. “We didn’t break super sharp and the outside horse did. I thought I’d let him go and then there was a whole fiasco inside of us, which I’m glad we weren’t involved in. He had a wide trip and he was totally green down the lane but he’s a very talented horse. When he gets his focus, he’ll be even better.”

Saturday Launch, Our Entourage, Ring It Up, Skyring, Frankie Is Rock, Pretension, Z Rockstar, Currency Swap, Fastestwhogetspaid, Romancing the Gold, and Slamit completed the order of finish.

“I haven't seen the replay yet, but from what the jock (Shaun Bridgmohan) told me, he really got in a lot of trouble on the first turn,” trainer Terri Pompay said of Currency Swap’s effort. “It was big, he said he almost got knocked off the horse. Then down the backside they were pinning him in, he really had no place to go. The horse didn't get a good shot. When he did get him out he made a run and he basically got tired. Whether it was just tired or tired from all the trouble on the first turn, it's hard to tell."

Overall handle wagered on the Illinois Derby Day card rose more than $1.3 million to $4,924,763 over last year’s $3,552,625 – while the on-track handle of $365,452 wagered by 4,650 attendees compared to 3,400 in 2011 was up significantly from last year’s $322,750.

Also on the day, Clovertowne Farm’s Taptowne took the $62,250 Cryptoclearance Stakes, giving trainer Michael Reavis his second winner of the day (Reavis trainee Time Goes On won the first race on the card). Jockey Orlando Mojica kept Taptowne off a pace set by Shadowbdancing in the 1 1/16-mile event for older horses before closing to a 1 ¼-length victory in 1:45.55.



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