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Departing wins Illinois Derby

CICERO, Ill. (AP) - Race favorite Departing came on strong at the head of the stretch to win the Grade III $750,000 Illinois Derby by 31/4 lengths Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.

Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Departing ran 1 1/8 miles race in 1:50.78 on the fast track.

Fordubai edged Siete de Oros by a neck for second place, and Abraham finished fourth.

"Once he got down the backside, I thought I was on the best horse," Hernandez said. "He was just kind of cruising and going really easy today. He looks like he's getting better with distance."

Departing, the Son of War Front, won his first three races before a wide run in the Louisiana Derby on March 30 relegated the 3-year-old to a third-place finish.

Trained by Albert M. Stall, Jr., and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, Departing looms as a possible entrant for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

"There's no use talking about the Preakness until we see what happens in the Kentucky Derby," Stall said. "There are some good horses there. If they do their thing and scare everybody off, we might do something differently."

Fordubai went off at 23-1 odds and stayed near the front throughout the entire race.

"He was looking a little at the signs and he went a little crooked," jockey Diego Sanchez said. "He is still a little green."

The 56th running of the Illinois Derby featured a capacity 14-horse field. Departing paid $5.80, $3.60 and $3, Fordubai returned $16.60 and $9.40, and Siete de Oros paid $5.80 to show.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

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Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
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In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

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