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.
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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.