Favored Ten Most Wanted and jockey Pat Day overcame traffic trouble at the top of the stretch and got to the lead inside the eighth pole, putting away from Fund Of Funds to win Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Park.
The inexperienced son of Deputy Commander defeated Fund of Funds and Shaun Bridgmohan by four lengths. Foufa's Warrior, ridden by Harry Vega, was a distant third, 12 lengths behind Ten Most Wanted. The winning time for the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds was 1:51 2/5.
Wally Dollase trains Ten Most Wanted for owners James Chisholm, Michael Jarvis and Horizon Stable.
``He's off for Kentucky,'' trainer Wallace Dollase said. ``I know the owners will want to head to the Kentucky Derby and this horse is bred to go a mile and a quarter.''
Last year's Illinois Derby winner, War Emblem, took the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before stumbling at the gate and finishing eighth in the Belmont Stakes.
After a slow break, Ten Most Wanted was reserved for Day toward the rear of the 10-horse field while saving ground into the first turn and down the backstretch. They moved into contention as they reached the quarter pole. Day found tight quarters as Ten Most Wanted came up the heals of front-running Alysweep, Lx Commander and Fund Of Funds near the top of the stretch, but Day was able to angle out and split horses as Fund of Funds took command and the others fell back.
Dollase spent the last month trying to persuade Ten Most Wanted to be patient and not jump out to an early lead.
``We've been trying to teach him to come from behind by putting other horses in front of him,'' Dollase said. ``And maybe it's paying off.''
Alysweep, with Richard Migliore aboard as the third choice at 3-1, broke on top and dueled with Lx Commander for control of the lead through fractions of :23, :46 3/5 and 1:11 3/5. Fund of Funds was a close third before assuming command briefly in the stretch. Foufa's Warrior closed well to get third, 3/4-length in front of 5-2 second choice Lone Star Sky. Alysweep faded to seventh.
Runnin' On Nitro, sent off at 9-2, never recovered after shuffling back and stumbling following the break and finished eighth.
Ten Most Wanted was third to Ocean Terrace in the El Camino Real Derby (gr.III) at Golden Gate Fields in his most recent start on March 8, losing by 1 1/2 lengths. That was his first effort in graded stakes company. He won for the second time in five career outings while earning $300,000.
Sent off at 2-1, Ten Most Wanted paid $6.60, $4 and $3.20. Fund of Funds returned $15.40 and $10.80. Foufa's Warrior paid $8.20 to show. The $2 exacta was worth $108.60.