Betting the Illinois Derby on a Budget

Gambling

Cross the Line is one of the favorites in the Illinois Derby. (Photo by Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography)

This Saturday, Hawthorne Race Course hosts the $400,000 Illinois Derby, a true Midwest tradition. While the race isn’t part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby trail, it is still a viable prep for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.

The 1 1/8-mile race will be run in front of a raucous crowd celebrating Hawthorne’s biggest day of the year.

The chalk, Cross the Line, is a West Coast shipper who comes off a strong fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee had impressive showings in the El Camino Real Derby and the California Derby, winning the latter. Hot jockey Florent Geroux hops aboard and all signs point toward this colt being a worthy favorite.

The second favorite will catch the public’s attention. That tends to happen when you read the name Bob Baffert in the program under a horse’s name.

The Baffert entry’s name is Whiskey Ticket, and he’s not coming to town just for fun. He broke his maiden at a mile his first time out and has trained well in the company of one of the Derby trail’s rock stars, American Pharoah.

My two picks that have a little more potential to make some money are Phenomenal Phoenix and Conquest Curlinate.

Phenomenal Phoneix has shown a nice ability to close from off the pace, which could come in handy if Whiskey Ticket jumps right to the front as he did in his debut.

Conquest Curlinate is an intriguing horse because he has displayed talent at this distance.  Mark Casse should also have him poised to strike here, following his steady improvement this winter at Oaklawn Park.

Budget Betting Strategy

Option A: High Risk/Reward

$20 win: Conquest Curlinate ($20)

Option B: Medium Risk/Reward

$2 exacta box: Conquest Curlinate, Phenomenal Phoenix, Whiskey Ticket, Cross the Line ($24)

 

$400,000 Illinois Derby,
Saturday, Hawthorne, Race 9, Post time 6:40 p.m. ET
1 1/8 miles, dirt, 3-year-olds

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

Owner

M/L

1

Kantune

Chris Emigh

Mark Casse

Gary Barber

6/1

2

Verraco

Elvis Trujillo

James Cassidy

D.P. Racing

5/1

3

Cross the Line           

Florent Geroux

Jerry Hollendorfer

Hollendorfer, Todaro,ect

3/1

4

A. Rod Again

Miguel Mena

Mike Maker

J. Armando Rodriguez Racing Stable

10/1

5

Conquest Curlinate

Shaun Bridgmohan

Mark Casse

Conquest Stables

8/1

6

Whiskey Ticket

Martin Pedroza

Bob Baffert

Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman

7/2

7

Lewys Vaporizer

Santo Sanjur

Larry Rivelli

Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope

15/1

8

Phenomenal Phoenix         

Luis Quinonez

Donnie Von Hemel

Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch

6/1

9

Private Prospect

Emmanuel Esquivel

Michael Campbell

Mellon Patch Inc

12/1

All entries carry 123 pounds

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