04/10/2013 2:52PM

Hawthorne notes: Departing expected to be part of full field for Illinois Derby

Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Departing, who finished third in the Louisiana Derby last out, is being pointed toward the $750,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 20.

STICKNEY, Ill. – The snub of the Illinois Derby from Churchill Downs’s new series of Kentucky Derby qualifying races means the race no longer is a viable option for the established or rising elite in the 3-year-old crop. But with a purse raised from $500,000 to $750,000 this year, the Illinois Derby retains plenty of appeal for horsemen with 3-year-olds who have shown even a glimmer of stakes ability.

Draw day for the April 20 race, the highlight of Hawthorne Race Course’s spring season, is next Wednesday, and stakes coordinator Debbie Lindsay believes the racing office will be swamped with Illinois Derby entries.

“I have a lot of people who are wanting to run,” Lindsay said Wednesday.

The field size will be capped at 14 for the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby, and Lindsay said she expects a full gate. Entry into the race is determined first by graded-stakes wins and placings, then by earnings, with purse money from unrestricted races counted before any restricted-race earnings. The eligibility conditions mean a talented maiden, or even a first-level allowance winner, is unlikely to make the starting gate.

Atop Lindsay’s list of 10 probable entrants is Departing, who finished a mildly troubled third last out in the $1 million Louisiana Derby, his graded-stakes debut. Al Stall Jr., who trains Departing for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, confirmed Wednesday that Departing is being pointed to the Illinois Derby. Departing, a late nominee to the Triple Crown, earned 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for his show finish at Fair Grounds, placing him in a tie for 17th with six other horses in the Kentucky Derby points standings. Among the four races remaining that award Derby qualifying points are the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes, offering 170 points apiece.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Other probable runners at Hawthorne include Abraham, Carried Interest, Dewey Square, Narvaez, Show Some Magic, Siete de Oros, Stormin Monarcho, and Taken by the Storm.

I’ll Show Them in Friday allowance

Friday’s featured sixth race, a second-level sprint allowance also open to $40,000 claimers, is quite good, with a field of six containing several plausible winners.

But only one of them, I’ll Show Them, is trained by Clay Brinson, whose runners have almost all been worth a long look since he showed up at Hawthorne for the first time in the autumn of 2011. Since then, Brinson has won with 33 of 109 Hawthorne runners, including a 15-6-3-0 mark at the current meet, a record I’ll Show Them could easily enhance.

Claimed for $14,000 in December 2011, I’ll Show Them has subsequently won 4 of 7 starts, including a Canterbury stakes last summer, and he is entered Friday for the $40,000 claiming option, nearly three times the claim price paid 16 months ago. He has the right stalking style to take advantage of what figures to be a lively pace, and Brinson has won with seven of his last 15 starters returning from midterm layoffs.

Should I’ll Show Them misfire, Calmer Than You, Northscape, and Catfeinated all look capable of winning.