04/08/2012 4:39PM

Hawthorne: Done Talking may find himself on bubble for Kentucky Derby

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Done Talking, ridden by Sheldon Russell, earned an 86 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Illinois Derby.

STICKNEY, Ill. – Done Talking was en route by horse van Sunday from Illinois to Maryland after winning the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby on Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course, but the horse probably will hit the road again before too long, with his connections aiming for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Hamilton Smith, who scored the biggest win of his career on Saturday, said Sunday afternoon that Done Talking appeared to have come out of his three-quarter-length victory over Morgan’s Guerrilla in good physical condition. Done Talking had a spot of blood on a hind ankle when leaving the winner’s circle, but Smith said the injury was a minor nick over the coronet band and “was nothing to be worried about at all.”

Done Talking managed to win the 1 1/8-mile  race despite breaking from post 13. Jockey Sheldon Russell, the leading rider at the Laurel meet that ended in late March, managed to save ground on both turns before guiding Done Talking between Our Entourage and Morgan’s Guerrilla in the final furlong. Smith, who trains Done Talking for owner-breeder Skeedattle Stable, indicated that Russell would retain the mount in the Derby.

“He was breezing the horse all winter,” Smith said. “He knows him as well as anyone else.”

Winning time for Saturday’s race was 1:53.88, the slowest Illinois Derby in recent history. Done Talking was assigned a Beyer speed figure of 86, the highest of his career.

The $300,000 winner’s share of the Illinois Derby purse gave Done Talking $311,000 in graded stakes earnings, the means of determining the 20-horse field for the Derby, and as of Sunday, Done Talking stood at 18th on the graded earnings list. Two more major graded stakes, the Arkansas Derby and the Bluegrass Stakes, are to be run next weekend, with one final graded race for 3-year-olds, the Lexington, the week after that at Keeneland. When the dust has settled, Done Talking still could wind up on the bubble in terms of making the Derby field.

Hawthorne, meanwhile, bounced back nicely after a tough 2011 Illinois Derby Day. Attendance Saturday was 4,650 compared with  a reported 3,400 last year, while all-sources betting handle on the card rose to $4.9 million from $3.5 million in 2011.