California Derby winner <a target="_blank" href="">Cause to Believe</a> headed to Illinois.

California Derby winner Cause to Believe headed to Illinois.

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Cause to Believe Choice in Illinois Derby

A field of ten 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course. With some serious graded stakes earnings and a May 6 date at Churchill Downs on the line, El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Cause to Believe alights on the Cicero, Ill., track looking for a third straight added-money score.

The Illinois Derby will be shown live on NBC during the network's hour-long broadcast (5-6 p.m. CDT).

Partners Peter Redekop and Peter Abruzzo have a stellar colt on their hands in Cause to Believe, a five-time stakes winner who's run first (six times) or second in all nine career starts. After a three-quarters of a length win over Objective in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Bay Meadows Jan. 29, the gray or roan son of Maria's Mon barreled up his home strip at Golden Gate Fields to carry the March 11 California Derby by four lengths over Sinister Minister.

Bred in Kentucky by Overbrook Farm, Cause to Believe is out of the Storm Cat mare Imaginary Cat. A $50,000 Keeneland September yearling, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer purchased the colt for $30,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2-year-old in training sale last March. He worked his charge five furlongs in the mud at Golden Gate Saturday in 1:01.06 before shipping him to Hawthorne.

Russell Baze, aboard in the last two wins, gets the call from Hollendorfer for a likely stalking trip out of post seven.

Florida-bred Sweetnorthernsaint, a game third in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct in his last start March 18, will challenge Cause to Believe from post 10.

Owned by Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos, the son of Sweetsouthernsaint--Ice Beauty, by Waquoit won two straight by a total of nearly 18 lengths before his gutsy third-place effort (by three parts of a length) behind winner Like Now and Keyed Entry, including a 10-length romp in the sloppy one-mile Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park Feb. 4.

Bred by Eduardo Azpurua and trained by Mike Trombetta, Sweetnorthernsaint posted a fine work April 1, covering four furlongs over a fast track at his Laurel home in a handy 47:00, the best of 30 at the distance for the day.

The early-running dark bay or brown gelding caught the services of Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux in the Gotham and retains the rider for Saturday's contest.

Adding some intrigue to the affair is Mark Stanley's Malameeze, who will break from the rail.

The big chestnut son of Saint Ballado gained attention March 25 with a five-wide late-running bid for third in the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) over the Turfway Polytrack after a sluggish start left him near last early in the race eventually won by With a City.

Bred in Kentucky by Phillip McCarthy, Malameeze was a distant fourth, no match for Lawyer Ron in the Jan. 14 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Louisiana Downs, but placed in the one-mile WEBN Stakes at his Turfway home Feb. 4 and may have some fresh legs after training and racing over the synthetic surface.

Trained by Bobby Barnett, Malameeze put in a bullet work at Turfway prior to the Lane's End and lands the services of John McKee up in the Lane's End as well.

Unbridled's Song's son My Golden Song, third in the Holy Bull (gr. III) and Aventura Stakes; and Adena Springs/Stronach Stables homebred son of Awesome Again , Racketeer, will also look to make strong showings.

The full field--with post positions, jockeys, and odds:.

Illinois Derby (gr. II), Hawthorne Race Course, Saturday, April 8, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, $500,000, estimated post time 5:12 p.m. EDT.

PP -- Horse, jockey, odds
1 -- Malameeze, McKee, 8-1
2 -- Creative Force, Perez, 30-1
3 -- Itsallboutthechase, Emigh, 12-1
4 -- Lewis Michael, Alvarado, 20-1
5 -- Devilofarush, Baird, 30-1
6 -- Mister Triester, Blanc, 8-1
7 -- Cause to Believe, R. Baze, 5-2
8 -- Racketeer, Valenzuela, 5-1
9 -- My Golden Song, DeCarlo, 5-1
10 - Sweetnorthernsaint, Desormeaux, 4-1