In what has to be the most wide-open race of the 3-year-old season, 11 horses from all across the country converge on Hawthorne Race Course for Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II).
With plenty of down time left before the flood of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps begin on April 3, this is a good opportunity to continue looking for new angles, new faces, and a new perspective on the Derby picture.
Ten additional 3-year-olds were nominated to the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) before late nominations for the April 3 race at Hawthorne closed Friday, March 19.
Lloyd Madison Farms' favored Silver Minister drew away from the field to post an impressive victory over a strong group of invaders in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial for 3-year-olds Saturday, his fourth consecutive victory at Turfway Park.
Three East Coast-based colts are scheduled to tackle the local contingent of 3-year-olds Feb. 28 in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes--final local prep for the March 20 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II)--at Turfway Park.
Is there any possibility that the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner can come out of the Miracle Wood, Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT), Southwest Stakes, John Battaglia Memorial or Borderland Derby? Not likely, but that doesn't mean there won't be any potential Derby contenders competing this weekend.
Michael Gill's White Mountain Boy won a three way thriller in the $75,000 Goss L. Stryker Stakes for Maryland-bred sophomores Saturday at Laurel Park.
So, Godolphin, which has been intent on winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) the past several years, has decided not to nominate a single horse this year. For a stable that focused each year on the first Saturday in May, this is a perplexing turn of events. Or is it?
White Mountain Boy got away to the lead and was never challenged in Wednesday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel Park, winning easily by six lengths.
The 2003 racing season ends at Laurel Park on Wednesday with a pair of $100,000 stakes races for Maryland-bred juveniles.
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