Saturday will be a great day for racing and a great day to watch many Kentucky Derby contenders. In the course of two hours, three major Derby preps will have run--the Illinois Derby, the Wood Memorial, and the Santa Anita Derby.
The first of the three is the Grade 3 $300,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois. The race is the 7th on the card and is scheduled to run at 5:37 PM EST. Headlining the field of twelve is Watch Me Go, the longshot who upset Brethren in the Tampa Bay Derby last month. Likely his toughest competition in Saturday's race will be The Fed Eased who finished fifth in the Gotham Stakes. The remainder of the field includes mostly unknowns--Lagoon of Diamonds, Smarter Than Ever, Joe Vann, Vouch For Victory, Sour, Zoebear, Roman Flame, El Grayling, Southern Sculptor, and Future Empire. Watch Me Go is currently 18 on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list, so a win will likely guarantee his spot in the Derby.
The Grade 1 $1,000,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack is next on the day, with a scheduled post of 5:48 PM EST. It is the 10th race on the Aqueduct card. Uncle Mo tops the field of ten and is listed as the 1-5 morning line favorite. This will be the second start of the year for the undefeated Uncle Mo. His likely competition will come from Toby's Corner, Norman Asbjornson, or Preachintothedevil. Uncle Mo should dominate this field just as he did in his last race, the ungraded Timely Writer Stakes. Rounding out the field is Starship Caesar, Full of Scoundrels, Arthur's Tale, Duca, Isn't He Perfect, and Son Of Posse.
Concluding the evening is the Grade 1 $1,000,0000 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park. It is the 10th on the card and scheduled to run at 7:37 PM EST. After the 8-5 morning line favorite, Premier Pegasus, was scratched Thursday due to a hairline fracture in the cannon bone of his left foreleg, the remaining field of ten is wide open. Bob Baffert's Jaycito will make his second start off the layoff and will put the blinkers back on. Anthony's Cross has not raced since winning the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes two months ago, but he has turned in a string of sharp works and looks dangerous with jockey Joel Rosario aboard. Silver Medallion, the Steve Asmussen runner, won the Grade 3 El Camino Real in his last start and will be switching from synthetic to dirt for the first time. Comma To The Top, who looked so impressive as a two-year-old, has not been able to do better than fourth in his two starts this year. Completing the field are Offlee Wild Boys, Indian Winter, Mr. Commons, Midnight Interlude, Quail Hill, and Bench Points.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby