04/22/2013 2:39PM

Preakness could be target for Departing after Illinois Derby win

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Four-Footed Fotos
Departing, who won the Grade 3 Illinois Derby on Saturday, might run next in the Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Pimlico.

STICKNEY, Ill. – Departing was back in his stall on the Churchill Downs backstretch Monday morning after sharply winning the Grade 3, $750,000 Illinois Derby on Saturday at Hawthorne, and that is exactly where Departing will remain during the running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Departing’s connections, co-breeders and owners Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider and trainer Al Stall, have not wavered in their position on the Derby. The 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points Departing earned by finishing third in the March 30 Louisiana Derby might be enough to earn him a spot in the Derby starting gate, but Stall said in the days leading up to the Illinois Derby that regardless of the outcome in Chicago, there was no chance that Departing, a gelding, would wheel back in two weeks for the Derby.

Dell Hancock of Claiborne reiterated that stance while going to the winner’s circle after Departing’s victory, and on Monday, Stall said again that Departing was not being considered for the race.

The Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Pimlico, however, might be a different story. Stall said again Monday, as he did immediately after Saturday’s win, that Departing’s connections would wait to see what happens in the Derby before announcing concrete plans, but Departing came out of his 3 1/4-length victory in good shape, Stall said, and could be good to go another round in a month’s time.

“The Preakness is a definite possibility,” Stall said. “We’ll watch the Derby and see what’s what.”

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

Departing, breaking from post 13, raced wide around both turns on his way to a convincing victory over Fordubai and Siete de Oros on Saturday. His winning time of 1:50.78 for 1 1/8 miles produced a Beyer Speed Figure of 93, but while that figure is lower than Departing’s career best, a 97 in winning the Texas Heritage Stakes, Stall deemed Saturday’s performance Departing’s best.

“He got a lot out of the Louisiana Derby, and he didn’t get a lot out of the race in Texas or his one-other-than in New Orleans,” Stall said. “That’s what 3-year-olds do: They either go backward or forward.”

Fordubai, the Illinois Derby runner-up, also appears to be a forward-moving horse. Fordubai was lucky not to be disqualified to fourth after swerving sharply outward in the race’s final half-furlong – shying from signs in the inner rail, according to jockey Diego Sanchez – but appeared to be going better than third-place Siete de Oros and fourth-place Abraham when the incident occurred and ran quite well in his stakes debut and his second start at age 3.

Fordubai emerged from his race in good shape, trainer Greg Geier said, and also is under consideration for the Preakness. Fordubai, a Jim Tafel homebred, has run well on turf and synthetic and will have options at Arlington, Geier’s summer base.

The news was less positive from Ramon Preciado, trainer and owner of Siete de Oros. Preciado said Siete de Oros, who has returned to Parx Racing in Pennsylvania, came out of the race lame and with an as-yet undiagnosed injury. Preciado said Siete de Oros’s legs looked all right, and he speculated that he might have hurt his shoulder.

“I don’t mind the time off; I just want to find out what it is,” Preciado said.

John Pisiona More than 1 year ago
Brilliant decision. Fresh and fit for Pimlico
russell More than 1 year ago
Hes a gelding so why rush ANY race. Just keep him sound. Its probably a good idea to avoid the TC carnage and pick up the summer pots like the Haskell, PA Derby, WV Derby, Super Derby, etc...
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Fordubai should have been taken down for sure...
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
wait for Belmont
B More than 1 year ago
I think they are making the right decision. The Derby is only two weeks away. He doesn't look as good as some of the other three year olds. He's a gelding who could have a long racing future if handled correctly and running a young horse two weeks before one of the toughest races to win in America is not the way to help his longevity.
jttf More than 1 year ago
he was further off of the pace. further off of the rail. his breeding suggest that he will not like dirt in the face. his jockey said he did not like it first. but relaxed shortly after. that is a good sign of improvement. this owner/ trainer combo was very patient with blame and it paid off. not running this horse on lasix through his most important growing period is big. since the point system is weeding out the speed/sprinter types. are there frontrunning horses waiting for the preakness?
Black More than 1 year ago
They have breeding that suggests a horse will or will not like dirt in the face ? Get a clue.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Black, Isn't it amaZing how some of these people say things about breeding ? Like they actually know what they're talking about. Sounds like this guy went to the same school as Perl. Perl has had every winner since the beginning of horse racing. & He has it all documented too. Lmao..He only likes the Slewsters when he likes them. Departing by Pulpit..From the Seattle Slew Line. Does that make him a BSB 1 ? IMLD shows them what the backside of horse looks like.
jttf More than 1 year ago
the consultant is always at least one step ahead of the minor leaguers.
Justin Mato More than 1 year ago
Horse has plenty of points for the derby, owners decision not to run him. No idea why, he's plenty good enough to hit the board
Steve Lonberger More than 1 year ago
These connections think of about well being of their hrses first and big picture. AKA Blame couple years ago. Pretty good 3 yr. old but even better older horse;pulled huge uset of Zenyatta in BC Classic. Also this horse is a gelding so no breeding in future.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Agree with Steve. Plus he's a gelding. Claiborne's are breeders. With a gelding, it's just about cashing a check for them. Heck, it's possible that they might get to stand the Derby winner. Why take a chance that your horse upsets the winner and wins. You can't stand him at stud. They'd be better off not to run and try to sign the winner to stand at their farm. On the other hand, the Preakness doesn't do nearly as much to the stud value of a horse, so they're not missing a trick on the stallion end.
darrellp More than 1 year ago
Departing has 20 points and that would place him tied for 20th with 5 other horses. Not enough points and he needed to run in more qualifying races. Good horse and the Preakness will be the test I'm looking forward to.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
this horse has nowhere near enough points to enter the derby. i think your missing something
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
my mistake he has 20 points but hes not even nominated. im guessing he would have been nominated if he had enough points earlier maybe. i guess the owners were to cheap to pay the fees
Steve Lonberger More than 1 year ago
He was late nomination. They paid the $6000 before La. derby
Kenny More than 1 year ago
Figs coming in on low side from a number of these preps....93....who knows...seems low
phil bailey More than 1 year ago
I have said all along that the fillies needed to qualify for the Kentucky Derby via the normal open preps such as the Wood Memorial, FL Derby or the SA Derby to name a few. Now The Preakness is a different story. If the KD results come in weak and many drop out then maybe the winner of the Kentucky Oaks might take a shot. Just like Rachel did. This of course is all determined after the Derby and Oaks has run. If the Preakness doesn't oversubscribe (which is based on open-stakes earnings) then you might see a filly. Looks like we will see the winner of the Illinois Derby.
brian More than 1 year ago
How is this horse not possibly running in the Derby??
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
CDI is working on screwing themselves out of a spring Classic.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
im pretty sure its because he doesnt have enough points. maybe he should have been racing in the point races insted of in the barn 3 months ago