John Murphy's Dream Run, fourth in last month's Florida Derby (gr. I), has been installed the 2-1 morning-line favorite after drawing post 5 for Saturday's Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Sportsman's Park.
Trained by Paul McGee, Dream Run finished second behind Hero's Tribute in a Gulfstream Park allowance race prior to running in the Florida Derby. Randall Meier, Sportsman's Park's leading rider, has been named to ride the son of Cherokee Run for the first time. Dream Run tuned up for the $500,000 race with a 1:13 4/5 six-furlong work at Churchill Downs on March 30.
A field of 10 was entered for the 1 1/8 miles Illinois Derby. Previously run the week following the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the race has been repositioned for 2001 as a Derby prep, run four weeks before the Run for the Roses.
Dogwood Stable's Distilled, a strong allowance winner at Gulfstream Park on March 14, has been made the 5-2 second choice and will break from post 3. The son of Hennessy, second to Monarchos in an allowance in South Florida in February, will be making his stakes debut. Regular rider Mike Smith will be aboard. Distilled last worked March 26 at Hialeah, getting five furlongs in 1:01 3/5.
A Tony Reinstedler-trained entry is listed as the 9-2 third choice. Percy Hope, owned by the Waterfall Stable of Peter and Thomas Willmott, is the stronger half the entry and will break from post nine. Percy Hope is fresh off a victory in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24. Jon Court has the call. Weston Field, owned by Willmott Stables, completes the entry. The son of Gulch, with just a maiden win to his credit, will be ridden by Brian Peck and will break from post 6.
Trainer Ken McPeek will also send out a pair in the Illinois Derby, but they will run uncoupled. Saint Damien, winner of the OBS Champions Stakes restricted to OBS sales graduates, will break from the rail under Lonnie Meche. He is listed at 6-1 in the morning line. Private Son, an allowance winner on turf, is McPeek's other runner. Breaking from post 4, Private Son will be ridden by Chris Emigh.
Post Horse Jockey Morning Line
1 Saint Damien Lonnie Meche 6-1
2 Big Will James Lopez 10-1
3 Distilled Mike Smith 5-2
4 Private Son Chris Emigh 12-1
5 Dream Run Randall Meier 2-1
6 Weston Field Brian Peck 9-2(e)
7 Fan Club's Mister Alfredo Juarez Jr. 20-1
8 What's Up Dog E.T. Baird 30-1
9 Percy Hope Jon Court 9-2(e)
10 Me and Thee Curt Bourque 8-1