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updated: 4/8/2011 12:29 PM

Watch Me Go heads Illinois Derby

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  • Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has had success in recent years running at Hawthorne, has another horse saddled for the TVG Illinois Derby on Saturday, a promising sophomore named Joe Vann. The favorite in the $300,000 race is Watch Me Go in a field of 12.

      Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has had success in recent years running at Hawthorne, has another horse saddled for the TVG Illinois Derby on Saturday, a promising sophomore named Joe Vann. The favorite in the $300,000 race is Watch Me Go in a field of 12.
    Associated Press/2006 file

 
 

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 5-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.

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