Tuesday, March 31, 2009
52nd Illinois Derby Draws Eleven
Stickney, IL---While only one graded-stakes winner is entered for Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby, that doesn’t mean a superstar won’t emerge, either this Saturday or the first Saturday in May.
Musket Man, mild upset winner of the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, will face ten challengers, including the highly touted Illinois-bred Giant Oak, as eleven 3-year-olds try to punch their ticket to the Kentucky Derby.
Todd Pletcher brings three horses to the party, among them the highly touted Al Khali and Lord Justice; Ken McPeek has entered Free Country; and Nick Zito supplemented Nowhere to Hide at a cost of $10,000 as he continues to seek a 2009 Kentucky Derby contender.
The horse getting the most attention, locally, is the Illinois-bred Giant Oak. Though still looking for his first career win on the dirt, he did run second on the conventional surface in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club and has been hampered by racing circumstances in his two starts as a 3-year-old, in both the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby.
The morning line favorite is the aforementioned Musket Man, winner of four of five lifetime starts and a neck winner of the Tampa Bay Derby.
The Illinois Derby will go as the 7th race on an 11-race card and will be televised live by NBC. Scheduled post time is 4:15 central standard time.
The field in post position order with jockeys and morning line odds:
1. Nowhere To Hide, Lopez, 5-1; 2. Giant Oak, Bridgmohan, 9-2; 3. Lord Justice, DeCarlo, 8-1; 4. Toccet Rocket, Riggs, 20-1; 5. His Greatness, Sterling Jr., 20-1; 6. Perfect Song, Rose, 6-1; 7. Free Country, Razo Jr., 6-1; 8. Musket Man, Coa, 7-2; 9. Al Khali, Velasquez, 6-1; 10. Il Postino, Campbell, 20-1; 11. Knight Shot, Karlsson, 30-1.
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