10/09/2007 11:00PM

Distinct Delaware flavor to Hawthorne Derby

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - If you enjoyed the Sept. 1 Kent Breeders' Cup at Delaware Park, you may well like the Hawthorne Derby here on Saturday.

Four of the nine horses that raced in the Kent also were entered Wednesday in the Hawthorne Derby, the final graded stakes of the year in Chicago. The Hawthorne Derby is a Grade 3 with a $250,000 purse contested at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The Kent generally is a solid 3-year-old turf stakes, and this year's edition got a boost last weekend when Nobiz Like Shobiz, who won the Kent by a nose, romped to a four-length victory in the Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park. The horse who was a nose behind him, Twilight Meteor, is one of the quartet coming back in the Hawthorne Derby, and with Todd Pletcher as trainer, Twilight Meteor is all but certain to be favored over his 10 rivals here on Saturday.

Also coming out of the Kent are fourth-place Summer Doldrums - who won the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup early this summer - sixth-place Wheels Up at Noon, and seventh-place Starvinsky. Summer Doldrums drew somewhat poorly in post 10, with Twilight Meteor drawn directly to his inside, though with a long run into the first turn, post position is not of the utmost importance in this race.

The Hawthorne Derby marks the turf debut of three horses, longshots Ghazi Up, All I can Get, and James the Greater, while Western Prize has failed to win in six turf tries. New York-based trainer Jimmy Toner is bringing in Bold Hawk, an improving, long-winded type with only four starts, while Love Dubai makes his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Aug. 11 Secretariat Stakes.

And before the second race here Wednesday, the only real Chicago horse in the Hawthorne Derby, Voy Por Uno Mas, was schooling in the paddock, with trainer Moises Yanez looking on. Voy Por Uno Mas - once a runoff who was getting drummed by 20 lengths or more every time he raced - came to hand quickly over the summer, and has won 3 of his last 4 starts, a nose loss sandwiched between the victories.

Voy Por Uno Mas still is "tough to gallop," Yanez said, but he has settled down from his wildest times in 2006 and early this year. Yanez has given Voy Por Uno Mas a steady diet of recent schooling sessions, and said that Hawthorne's underground paddock wouldn't be an issue come race day.

"He'll be okay with that," Yanez said. "The only thing is, the race came up a little tougher than I hoped. But we're here, and we'll give it a try."

Jennie R. may get one more race

Jennie R., who set a turf course record easily winning the Indian Maid Stakes here late last month, remains on target to be sold at auction next month at Keeneland. The question is whether she will start again before going on the block.

If trainer Michele Boyce can find a race for her, Jennie R. is likely to run.

"She's so good right now, better than she's been in her entire life," Boyce said. "She came out of that last race bucking and kicking."

The Cardinal Handicap at Churchill would be an ideal spot, but that race comes up a couple days after Jennie R. is cataloged. Boyce doesn't want to go on any sort of shipping adventure with a mare who can be nervous, and therefore will consider another Hawthorne start in a $45,000 overnight stakes that comes up Oct. 21.

Sandburr preps for winter campaign

The old war horse Sandburr is back in business.

Rested up at the Cobra Farm in Kentucky after a subpar sixth-place finish on June 2 at Prairie Meadows, Sandburr is back at the track, and on Tuesday posted his second three-furlong breeze since shipping into trainer Mike Stidham's string at Hawthorne.

Sandburr was claimed for $20,000 in April 2006, and has proved a prudent purchase. He won higher-priced claiming races after being haltered, but took his game to a new level last winter, capturing a Texas-bred stakes at Sam Houston, then winning the Louisiana Breeders' Cup over open company at the Fair Grounds meet. Sandburr won the opening-night Premier Stakes at Lone Star, but the effects of a long, steady campaign started showing.

"It was the first R and R he had in a long time," Stidham said. "He looked great when he came back in."

Sandburr is being pointed to a winter campaign in Louisiana and Texas, Stidham said.

Turf allowance appears wide open

Looking for a sure thing in the featured ninth race on Friday at Hawthorne? Keep looking.

A full field of second-level grass horses comes down squarely on the impenetrable side of things, with Finance Minister - trained by Chris Richard - and Handsome Fee - trained by Richard's old boss, Tom Amoss - perhaps the two favorites. Finance Minister, however, drew poorly in post 10, while Handsome Fee scored his only grass win by just a neck in an entry-level Arlington allowance race.

Drawn on the rail is Who Let the Cat In, who makes his grass debut for trainer Richie Scherer. Who Let the Cat In has some appeal as the potential controlling speed, and he showed some quality finishing second in the June 9 Prairie Mile Stakes in Iowa.