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Sweetnorthernsaint, Cause to Believe Prepare for the Big Dance

If Sweetnorthernsaint, Cause to Believe, or any other horse that participated in the Illinois Derby hit the board in the Kentucky Derby, all Club Hawthorne members who play the races at Hawthorne on Saturday, May 6 will receive Bonus Points on their card!

1st – 250 points, 2nd – 150 points, 3rd – 100 points

The first 1,000 Club Hawthorne members to come to Hawthorne on Kentucky Derby Day will also receive a FREE commemorative Illinois Derby t-shirt!

Illinois Derby Horses in the Kentucky Derby


Courtesy of Churchill Downs

SWEETNORTHERNSAINT (Illinois Derby Winner) - Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos’ Sweetnorthernsaint had his running shoes on early Saturday morning, working six furlongs in 1:11.60 before the renovation break and before light showers hit Churchill Downs. Calvin Borel was in the saddle for the move that was the fastest of 11 at the distance for the morning and accomplished in company with another Michael Trombetta trainee, Fleet Valid.

“The work went well,” Trombetta said. “I was pleased with how the horse worked. The fractional times were good. I asked the riders (Willie Martinez was aboard Fleet Valid) to go the first three-eighths in 36 and change, which they hit right on the mark, and then build a little bit from there and they came home a little bit quicker.

“I think they finished the last quarter in 23 and change and they galloped out well.”
Sweetnorthernsaint worked in blinkers.

“If I want to get something a little more serious done, we can do either/or, but on a work like this, obviously I want to try to put everything in place and not make any changes,” Trombetta said.

Trombetta was happy to get the work in without any complications.
“Anytime you do something like this … there are so many factors that you just don’t know how everything is going to go. I’m very happy it went very well,” Trombetta said. “You can’t do it again. That’s the problem. If it doesn’t go well, you are out of time.

“If it had been two weeks ago, you could kind of alter your schedule a little bit if it didn’t go well. We’re a week out. If for some reason they work three-quarters in 1:15 and there is a loose horse running around on the track or something like that, you’re out.”

Kent Desormeaux will ride the gelding on May 6.

CAUSE TO BELIEVE (Third in the Illinois Derby) - Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was on hand from California to watch his charge breeze five furlongs in 1:00.80 Saturday morning with exercise rider DaRon Long in the boot.

“It was just a maintenance breeze,” Hollendorfer said. “And it was just what I expected from him. He’s not a good work horse, but he gets something out of his breezes.”

The trainer said that will be the colt’s last major work before the Derby. Hollendorfer is returning to his base in Northern California and will be back the middle of next week for the Derby draw.

Cause to Believe, a gray son of Maria’s Mon, is one of the winningest horses in this Derby. He comes into the race with six victories (the same as Brother Derek and one fewer than Lawyer Ron) for co-owners Peter Redekop and Peter Abruzzo.

Last out, the Kentucky-bred was a distant third behind the runaway Sweetnorthernsaint in the Illinois Derby, but in his previous start he won the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Hollendorfer, the winningest trainer in the history of Northern California racing, has given the mount to Russell Baze, currently second only to Laffit Pincay Jr. in career winners with more than 9,200 victories.

This will be the second Derby starter for the trainer, who saddled Eye of the Tiger to finish fifth in 2003, and the second Derby mount for Baze, who finished 14th aboard Semoran in 1996.


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