Free Selections / Hawthorne / 4-20-2013

Nothing like heading to sweet-home-Chicago for some exciting racing action. The Illinois Derby was home to Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem in 2002. Could there be another runner who will make an impact down the road? Only time will tell, and post time is slated for 6:15 p.m. ET.


Hawthorne Race Course


The weather forecast calls for partly sunny, and a high of 55 degrees.


Race #7 – The (G-3) Sixty Sails Handicap – 1 1/8 – 5:35 p.m. ET

#4 – Little Ms. Protocol (6-1) = Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons for trainer Patrick Devereux. They make a rider change from Billy Patin, and exit a race where she was a beaten favorite. Devereux comes back with a 45% ITM clip to get some payback for his heavily backed runners. She is a game runner with a  (55+) “Last Race Rating,” and a (56) “Composite Rating.” Both numbers are the best in the field, and the (+) symbol notes that a  strong effort is coming. She sports the “Should Improve,” and “Moving Up in Class” icons. Both are important reminders as we begin the handicapping process. Stretches out from a flat mile to 1 1/8. – I would look for an up close stalking effort, and a well timed ride from Bridgmohan.


Race #8 – The (G-3) Illinois Derby – 1 1/8 – 6:15 p.m. ET

#10 – Fordubai (20-1) = Diego Sanchez gets the nod from trainer Gregory Geier. During the Hawthorne meet, they have teamed together for a win. The “Last Race Rating” is a smoking-hot 60 ++, and the “Composite Rating” is a solid 57. Both are the tops in the field, and must be respected at a handsome price.  When you see the double (++) symbols, there is high emphasis that a huge effort is coming his way. A lightly raced colt by E Dubai has been working a regular schedule, and owns the “Monster Workout” and “Moving Up in Class” icons. Also, the “Layoff 45 days” symbol alerts us that a fresh and rested colt is coming back to the races. There has been some rain/light snow in the Chicago area, and if the track comes up soft. Go back three races and you will see a perfect stalking trip on a yielding turf trip as a two-year-old. This is his second race as a three-year-old, and the O.C. $50,000 sprint was a perfect tune-up for a big effort.


The weekend has some solid wagering opportunities, and Winning Ponies is always locked and loaded for a winning day. Pay close attention to all of the tier levels, as there is mega-value to round out your exotics. If the weather changes quickly, don’t forget you can change your weather tab with one click. This is a handy tool as springtime weather can be dicey at times. All information is in real time, and Winning Ponies is your one-stop for all of your racing needs.