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Hawthorne: Kid Dreams handles boggy conditions in Hawthorne Derby
By Marcus Hersh
STICKNEY, Ill. -- Trainer Neil Drysdale last sent a horse to Hawthorne from his base in Southern California in 2002, when Flying Dash splashed through a boggy turf course and won the Hawthorne Derby by three lengths, his winning time of 1:58.88 for 1 1/8 miles the slowest in stakes history. Eleven years later, the story was weirdly similar – only slower.
Kid Dreams, Drysdale’s first runner here in 11 years, caught a softer course than did Flying Dash and won by farther, scoring a 7 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Hawthorne Derby on Saturday night. Kid Dreams’s winning time for the nine furlongs on very soft going was 2:01.49, almost 17 seconds off the course record.
“Most tracks would have taken this race off turf,” said assistant trainer John O’Donaghue, who saddled the winner. “Credit to Hawthorne for keeping it on.”
From here, Team Drysdale hopes Kid Dreams’s story diverges from Flying Dash’s: Flying Dash was disqualified from his Hawthorne Derby win for a positive drug test and made only one more start in his career.
Kid Dreams, whose best win before Saturday night had come in a first-level allowance race, was making his first start on soft turf. He raced on a good course at Woodbine in July, finishing fourth in the Charley Barley Stakes, but had never encountered anything like the soft going Saturday night.
“They run on a road out there,” O’Donoghue said of California turf racing. “We didn’t know what to expect.”
Cisco Torres, riding a Drysdale horse for the first time in his career, gave Kid Dreams a perfect trip, sticking to the fence just behind leaders Mongolian Saturday and Five Iron until the far turn, when Torres tipped out to play his hand. Kid Dreams quickly collared the pacesetters and drew clear while his opponents labored home.
“Up the backside I had so much horse,” Torres said. “He was comfortable, and he was handling the soft course. It was just a matter of when I was going to push the button.”
Charming Kitten finished a distant second, followed by favored Five Iron, who stayed on for show despite tiring over the soft going.
“It was like they were sinking in a foot,” said Five Iron’s rider, Chris Emigh. “At the quarter-pole, he was exhausted.”
Kid Dreams, who paid $11.20 to win, is an Ontario-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid bred and owned by Robert Evans. He won for the third time in 11 starts – and may never again encounter conditions like those he overcame Saturday night.
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