10/17/2011 3:14PM

Hawthorne: Willcox Inn will target Hollywood Derby

Four-Footed Fotos
Hawthorne Derby winner Willcox Inn is likely to make the final start of his 3-year-old campaign in the Hollywood Derby.

Willcox Inn is back in Kentucky after his blowout win here Saturday in the Hawthorne Derby, one of three victories on the day for trainer Mike Stidham. Monday, Stidham confirmed that Willcox Inn is being pointed to the Nov. 27 Hollywood Derby for his 2011 finale provided the colt continues giving his connections positive signs in coming weeks.

“He’s back at Keeneland, happy,” Stidham said. “We’re looking at the Hollywood Derby. After that he’ll go to Mill Ridge farm for a little ‘R and R.’ ”

Willcox Inn, who beat Suntracer by more than four lengths, won his third turf stakes of the 2010 season. And for Stidham, Saturday’s results broke an unusual long dry spell. Stidham, who typically posts an annual win rate of close to 20 percent, had been shut out for 42 starts dating to Sept. 3 before breaking through with three winners and a runner-up finish here.

“That was a major relief,” he said.

Santana takes a break from riding

Jockey Jozbin Santana, who tied for second in the Arlington Park 2011 standings with 79 wins, took off all his mounts here Saturday and has left town for Florida, his agent, Penny Fftich-Heyes confirmed.

Santana, Ffitch-Heyes said, was having trouble with his weight because of the asthma medication he’s forced to rely upon when Chicago racing shifts from Arlington to Hawthorne. Arlington is located in the residential far northwest suburbs, while Hawthorne is surrounded by heavy industry and thick traffic, reducing air quality. Ffitch-Heyes said Santana’s asthma had gotten so bad this past spring when he was riding at Hawthorne that he once had to visit an emergency room.

Santana, Ffitch-Heyes said, wants to take some time off to restore his health, but plans to start galloping horses in Florida later in the year, and hopes to resume race-riding there sometime this winter. A return to Arlington in 2012 is possible.