The $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) on April 3 highlights stakes schedule during the National Jockey Club at Hawthorne 2004 meet. A total of $1.7-million in purses will be paid in stakes run during the 47-day spring meet at Hawthorne Racecourse in Illinois.
War Emblem won the Illinois Derby in 2002 before going on the win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, both grade I classics and this year Ten Most Wanted used the Illinois Derby as a starting point to a strong 3-year-old campaign.
In addition to the Illinois Derby, the April 3 card also includes the $100,000 Lost Code Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters going six furlongs.
The following weekend, Hawthorne will showcase local runners as six $100,000 added stakes events will be run, all for Illinois competitors. Just one week later, graded stakes action is back as older Handicap runners will compete in the $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III). On April 24, female runners will be the focus in the $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III).