Denis of Cork was installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of seven in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5 at Hawthorne Race Course.
A son of Harlan's Holiday, Denis of Cork has not raced since improving his lifetime record to a perfect three-for-three after a convincing win Feb. 18 in the grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. His owners, Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, and trainer David Carroll opted to bypass Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes (gr. II) in favor of a single prep leading to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Atoned figures to offer Denis of Cork the most serious challenge in the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby. Atoned comes off a hard-fought neck loss to Big Truck in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), making it four consecutive second-place finishes, all in stakes competition. Todd Pletcher trains the son of Repent for Dogwood Stables.
Others who figure to factor strongly are Z Humor, who has suffered defeat in his last two outings; Golden Spikes, a speedy son of Seeking the Gold; and Instill, who will be one of only two entrants--the other is Recapturetheglory--who have won, let alone raced, on the Hawthorne surface.
Here's the field, in post-position order, with morning-line odds and jockeys:
1. Recapturetheglory (8-1, E.T. Baird)
2. Instill (15-1, Chris Emigh)
3. Z Humor (3-1, Rene Douglas)
4. Atoned (4-1, Joe Bravo)
5. Denis of Cork (2-1, Julien Leparoux)
6. Golden Spikes (5-1, Tim Thornton)
7. Real Appeal (8-1, James Graham)