Illinois Derby 2014 Contenders & Odds

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Illinois Derby comes our way this Saturday, April 19 from Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois. A purse of $500,000 will be on the line for three year olds willing to go 1 1/8 miles on Hawthorne's main track.

Eight three year olds will take to the track Saturday in the Illinois Derby - race 9 on Hawthorne's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:42 PM. Let's take a glimpse into the past performances of all eight entries for this lucrative Grade 3 stakes.

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2014 Illinois Derby Race Favorite Entries

Midnight Hawk - constantly improving Bob Baffert trained colt most recently finished second behind Chitu in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby March 23 after another second behind California Chrome in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita March 8 and a good third behind Candy Boy and Chitu in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes on that same track February 8. Before that were two wins in two career starts - by 1 3/4 lengths as 2-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes January 11 and a 6 1/4 length MSW score in his debut at Hollywood Park January 13. He is the only Illinois Derby contender currently in the mix for the Kentucky Derby and is the overwhelming 4-5 favorite to prevail Saturday. Martin Garcia rides from post 3 Saturday.

Class Leader - has just three career starts for trainer Neil Howard and enters on a two race win streak - both at Fair Grounds. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score March 13 after breaking maiden February 17. He starts from the outside post in his stakes debut looking to continue the momentum and looking like Midnight Hawk's biggest threat. James Graham has the mount aboard the 5-1 second choice.

Illinois Derby 2014 | Remaining Contenders

Dynamic Impact - Mark Casse pupil makes his stakes debut Saturday after five MSW races produces a win and two second place finishes - the win coming last time out March 1 at Oaklawn Park. He takes a huge step up in competition with Miguel Mena in the reins from the rail. He is also entered in the Lexington Stakes at Hawthorne on the same day but is listed as the 6-1 third choice in the Illinois Derby.

Illinois Derby betting at Hawthorne Race Course with

King Cyrus - has a win, a second and a third place finish in five career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher but is coming off a career-worst effort - a seventh in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 29. Before that was a second in the minor Smooth Air Stakes at Calder March 2, a third in an Allowance and an eighth in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga in September. His win came at first asking at Saratoga in August. King Cyrus starts from post 5 at 6-1 odds with Rosie Napravnik guiding him.

Global Strike - Todd Pletcher trained colt raced in stakes company for the first time and finished sixth in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby March 23 after breaking maiden February 22 and , finishing second in his second start and a third in his debut. Irad Ortiz rides from the post 7 at 15-1 odds. Global Strike is also entered in the Lexington Stakes at Hawthorne Saturday.

A Step Ahead will race in graded stakes company for the first time for trainer Chris Block after seven career starts produced just one win, one second and two third place finishes. His best career result came December 14 - a second in the minor Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity. He has two third place finishes in his last three starts as well - both Allowance races at Oaklawn Park. A Step Ahead takes A Step Up in competition with Christopher Emigh in the saddle from post 2. He goes off at 20-1 odds.

Irish You Well - Wayne Catalano pupil has yet to record a win in six career starts but has a second and three third place finishes. He has two thirds and a second in his last three starts overall - all MSW races at Fair Grounds but takes an enormous leap in competition Saturday. Channing Hill gets the call from post 4 at 20-1 odds.

Emmett Park - won his first two career starts at Turfway Park - a MSW in his debut and an Allowance Optional Claiming January 17 but didn't look great in his stakes debut last time out - a twelfth in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds February 22. Lori Wydick will try to guide Emmett Park back into the winner's circle Saturday as he leaves from gate 6 at 20-1 odds.

2014 Illinois Derby Entries & Odds

Race 9 on Hawthorne Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:42 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Dynamic Impact M. Mena M. Casse
2 A Step Ahead C. Emigh C. Block
3 Midnight Hawk M. Garcia B. Baffert
4 Irish You Well C. Hill W. Catalano
5 King Cyrus R. Napravnik T. Pletcher
6 Emmett Park L. Wydick R. Pincins
7 Global Strike T. Thornton T. Pletcher
8 Class Leader J. Graham N. Howard