Friday, April 2, 2010

Illinois Derby Racing Roundup

There’s a lot of the contagion going around this time of year, and if he has not already been bitten by the bug, trainer Rick Dutrow may contract a severe case of Kentucky Derby fever Saturday if his Yonaguska colt Yawanna Twist (4-1) wins the $500,000 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne Racetrack.

Yawanna Twist is a descendent of the Cherokee Run sire line and the Illinois Derby has proven to be a very good springboard the past couple of years to catapult runners from that line into the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

In 2009, Musket Man won the Illinois Derby en route to a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Recapturetheglory won the Derby in 2008 and finished a respectable fifth in the Kentucky Derby.

If Dutrow does not have Derby fever, evidently the owners, Steel Your Face Stables, do as they recently paid the $6,000 late nomination fee to nominate Yawanna Twist to the Triple Crown Trail.

As I was preparing to write about the Illinois Derby, I noticed that a friend of mine, vicstu, at the Daily Racing Form FormBlog, hosted by Dan Illman, made a post about the race and his thoughts were similar to mine. So, I asked vicstu if I could share his race analysis and he said that would be okay:

“I agree with Steve T that American Lion [7-2] should be pretty tough in the Illinois Derby, and should give Cal. good representation, I have to wonder why Backtalk [3-1] is the favorite.

“He is a nice horse, certainly speedy with heart, but his Brisnet speed figs have gone from 103 downwards ever since he broke his maiden at 6f and began to slowly stretch out. His last out was 89, and while I am not exactly a speed figs guy, but is that a good trend?

“I like Yawanna Twist here to win, and not exactly sure what to make of Turf Melody [6-1].

“A nice longshot is the 8 horse Game Ball [12-1]. He won his first two races back on off turf sloppy dirt track at TBD [Tampa Bay Downs]. Made up about 12 lengths in the last 2-furlongs and won by over 8. His next time out against last out winners in an allowance he won again, on a dry track, with a powerful late move around the 2nd turn and stretch. He absolutely flies late despite no pace in his two races.

“[Game Ball] has been doing this on that deep track, and with absolutely ZERO pace to close into. Given the longer stretch at Hawthorne, the tighter track surface, as long as the jockey does not lose touch with the field, the son of Sky Mesa out of a Saint Ballado mare should be coming hard, late.

“Do NOT dismiss this lightly run colt trained by Mark Casse. …You will get at least 10-1 to 12-1 at post (IMHO).”

Posted by: vicstu on March 31, 2010 at 09:09 AM

vicstu, I agree 100 percent.

I like Yawanna Twist and long shot Game Ball for my win, place and exacta wagers. I also like Backtalk and American Lion to round out the exotics.


  1. Hi Calvin, I think Dave and Dixie makes it to the Kentucky Derby with his first try on dry land.

    Sadler blues, because Sydney is the better of the two, and faces the BUBBLE CUT by finishing second or third.

    Bitter and Sweet

  2. The surface switch just may be what is needed Barry.

  3. American Lion finally does not have to eat SYNTHETIC during the race. Stretches his lungs on the lead and finishes strong. Win Star adds another.