Illinois Derby 2015 at Hawthorne

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Illinois Derby comes our way this Saturday, April 18 from Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois. A purse of $400,000 will be on the line for a group of three year olds willing to go 1 1/8 miles in Hawthorne's dirt track.

A field of nine three year olds will give it a go in the Illinois Derby - race 9 on Hawthorne's Saturday card. Post time is 5:40 PM. Here is a peek into the credentials of all nine entries for this Grade 3 stakes.

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2015 Illinois Derby Race Favorite Entries

Cross the Line 3-1 - Jerry Hollendorfer trained colt placed in his first five career starts (all at Golden Gate) but enters off a career worst effort - a fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby April 4 - his dirt debut. Before that was a good second in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby February 14 and a nice two race win streak - in the minor California Derby January 17 after a maiden score December 26. Cross the Line has been competitive every time out and will be looking to bounce back after a career worst effort. Florent Geroux has the call on the morning line favorite from post 3.

Whiskey Ticket 7-2 - will make his second career start for trainer Bob Baffert - his first start was a good one. He broke maiden in impressive fashion after a terrific stretch duel on this track March 19. Martin Pedroza has been tabbed to ride this interesting prospect from gate 6.

Illinois Derby 2015 | Remaining Contenders

Verraco 5-1 - James Cassidy trained colt has five career starts with two wins and a second place finish. Last time out was one of those wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming score here February 27 which followed a second in a similar race here January 23 and a Maiden Claiming score on this track in December. After failing to place in his first two career starts, Verraco has improved dramatically with each race. He makes his stakes debut from post 2 with Elvis Trujillo aboard.

Kantune 6-1 - has nine career starts for trainer Mark Casse with a win, three seconds and two third place finishes. Last time out was a third in an Allowance March 26 after a tenth in is only graded stakes action to date February 22 and a maiden score in January in his seventh career start. Christopher Emigh has the mount from the rail as Kantune attempts for to place in stakes company for the first time.

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Phenomenal Phoenix 6-1 - finished ninth in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes two starts back in his only graded stakes action to date and followed that with an Allowance score last time out at Oaklawn Park March 26. Before those results were a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming in January and a fourth in the minor Remington Springboard Mile in December. Phenomenal Phoenix is one of the more experienced entries in the field and departs from gate 8 with Luis Quinonez guiding him.

Conquest Curlinate 8-1 - Mark Casse trained colt has just three career starts with a win and a third place finish. He broke maiden January 31 in his second career start and was third last time out in an Allowance race - both of those results at Oaklawn Park. Conquest Curlinate make his stakes debut Saturday from post 5 with Shaun Bridgmohan guiding him.

A Rod Again 10-1 - Michael Maker trained colt makes his stakes debut Saturday off a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming and a second in a similar race in January - both results at Fair Grounds. Before that was a seventh in his only stakes start - the minor Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream January 3 and a maiden score in his second career start. A Rod Again has been OK but looks for a breakthrough performance Saturday from gate 4 with Miguel Mena in the irons.

Private Prospect 12-1 - Michael Campbell trained colt has eight career starts with three wins and a second place finish. He hasn't been great lately - he is coming off a sixth in an Allowance March 20, a seventh in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes February 22, a fourth in the minor Smarty Jones Stakes in January and a ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Before that was a good second in his grade stakes debut - the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity September 6 after three straight wins - including the minor Prairie Meadow Juvenile Mile in August, the Prairie Gold Juvenile in July and a maiden score at first asking in June. He hopes to get back to his early career form when he leaves from the outside post 9 with Emmanuel Esquivel in the reins.

Lewys Vaporizer 15-1 - broke maiden last time out in his second career start March 27 on this very track for trainer Larry Rivelli after a fifth in his debut. He is the only entry with experience at Hawthorne and will line up in gate 7 with Santo Sanjur aboard.

2015 Illinois Derby Entries & Odds

Race 9 on Hawthorne's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:40 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Kantune C. Emigh M. Casse
2 Verraco E. Trujillo J. Cassidy
3 Cross the Line F. Geroux J. Hollendorfer
4 A. Rod Again M. Mena M. Maker
5 Conquest Curlinate S. Bridgmohan M. Casse
6 Whiskey Ticket M. Pedroza B. Baffert
7 Lewys Vaporizer S. Sanjur L. Rivelli
8 Phenomenal Phoenix L. Quinonez D. Von Hemel
9 Private Prospect E. Esquivel M. Campbell

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