The 54th running of Saturday's $300,000 TVG Illinois Derby at Hawthorne looks to be a wide-open affair.
All the better for the bettors.
The headliner of the full field of 12 is Watch Me Go, winner of the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at whopping odds of 43-1. Despite that victory and a third-place finish in the Grade III Sam F. Davis also at Tampa, Watch Me Go, trained by Kathleen O'Connell and ridden by Luis Garcia, is only the lukewarm 7-2 morning-line favorite.
None of the other entrants in the Illinois Derby has won a stakes race, including Todd Pletcher's Joe Vann (6-1), who comes into Saturday's affair off an impressive 5½-lengths victory at 1 1/16 miles in a $40,000 optional claiming allowance race at Laurel Park. Florent Geroux picks up the ride on Joe Vann.
The 1-miles Illinois Derby is scheduled to go to post at 4:37 p.m.