Fusao Sekiguchi's Flying Dash was installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's $250,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT), but the German-bred will face stiff competition from Sam-Son Farm's homebred Portcullis in the 1 1/8-mile turf feature.
Neil Drysdale-trained Flying Dash won the $100,000 Transylvania Stakes in his only North American start, beating second-place Back Packer by 2 ½ lengths in that one-mile race. Kentucky Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza will be in the irons in an attempt to win two derbies in as many weekends.
Portcullis won a maiden race in his first start of the year in January at Fair Grounds and recently added two allowance victories at Keeneland. The gelded son of Smart Strike will be making his stakes debut Saturday.
Mansell Stables' Quest Star has stakes experience – he finished second to Mountain Forum in the restricted OBS Championship Stakes – but the son of Broad Brush has yet to race on turf. The Elliott Walden trainee has finished on the board in four of five starts this year but enters the Hawthorne Derby with one win in six career starts.
The field for the Hawthorne Derby -- in post position order with jockeys, weights, and morning-line odds -- will consist of:
1--Quest Star, Larry Sterling Jr., 111, 3-1
2--Scooter Roach, Jesse Campbell, 115, 15-1
3--Flying Dash, Victor Espinoza, 119, 2-1
4--Portcullis, Frank Lovato Jr., 115, 7-2
5--Robin Zee, Alfredo Juarez Jr., 111, 8-1
6--Colorful Tour, Earlie Fires, 117, 8-1
7--Mystic Salse, Christopher Emigh, 111, 5-1