Saturday was the biggest day of racing all spring at Hawthorne: the Grade 3 Illinois Derby was back, as were two stakes for older state-bred sprinters, the Third Chance Handicap and the Robert S. Molaro Handicap! The Illinois Derby marked the stakes debut of a promising — yet later-developing — three-year-old runner. The Molaro proved the exact opposite, the local return of a horse who has been a dependable stakes-quality sprinter for four seasons now. And, in the Third Chance, a mare who had been knocking on the door for a while finally annexed her first stakes.
Over at Picks and Ponderings, I look back at all three of these races.