04/16/2014 2:39PM

Distance the biggest factor for Illinois Derby runners


Post position isn’t meaningless in the Illinois Derby, but the starting stalls assigned Wednesday to the eight horses entered in Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 race should not make or break a runner’s chances. More important is the race’s 1 1/8-mile distance. The nine-furlong trip affords jockeys ample time to find position before the first turn. It will be first race that far for six of the horses entered to run, and the distance just might push up against stamina limitations of the presumed favorite, the Bob Baffert-trained Midnight Hawk.