Pop a Cork for the Illinois Derby?


Pop a Cork for the Illinois Derby?

The list will change 15 times between now and draw day Monday, but Hawthorne stakes coordinator Debbie Lindsay offered up a list of potential starters for the Grade II Illinois Derby.

Leading the list of probables is Denis of Cork, the David Carroll-trained winner of the Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. He's also being heavily courted to compete in the Grade I Wood Memorial run on the same day, but difficulties in securing travel to New York make it more likely that Midwest-based colt will run at Hawthorne.

Other sophomores Lindsay considers likely to compete in the Illinois Derby are (with trainer): Grade III Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Atoned (Pletcher); Golden Spikes (Wolfson), who set the pace in the Grade II Fountain of Youth before fading to fifth; Illinois-bred stakes winner Instill (Wainwright); Kentucky Bear (R. Baker), seventh last out in the Fountain of Youth; Recapturetheglory (Roussel), third last out in a first-level allowance over the Fair Grounds turf; and Grade III Delta Jackpot dead-heat winner Z Humor (Mott).

Pletcher won last year's Illinois Derby with Cowtown Cat, and he also took down the race in '04 with Pollard's Vision and '01 with Distilled.
Horses on the fence include: Texas Heritage winner Real Appeal (Amoss); Spurrier (Pletcher), a recent first-level allowance winner at Aqueduct; Grade III Gotham victor Visionaire (Matz) and Yankee Bravo (P. Gallagher), who was last seen finishing a good third behind divisional leader Pyro in the Grade II Louisiana Derby.

Lindsay indicated that Turf Paradise Derby champ Nikki'sgoldensteed has been withdrawn from Illinois Derby consideration due to a setback.

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