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Departing says goodbye to Illinois Derby foes

Departing_Illinois Derby
There was no getting around the favorites in yesterdays features at Hawthorne. I could not find much of a way around Departing in the headliner and neither could the betting public. The lightly-raced War Front gelding was sent off at 19-10, bet down from his morning line odds of 7/2. Ground Transport was quickest from the Illinois Derby gate, but he would not have his way on the lead. Taken by the Storm disputed the pace early and prevailed after a half mile. He maintained a narrow lead after ¾, but after that it was all Departing, who said goodbye to the field in the stretch and drew off  to a 3 ¼ length victory under Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Departing advanced throughout the race, as he was nine lengths back after a speedy 23.10 opening quarter. The pace slowed through the next half mile, which went in 24.61 and 25.32. Departing cut his lengths back to 4 ¼, then 2 ½ before leaving the field behind. He came home the final eighth in 12.63 to finish the nine furlongs in 1:50.78 despite a relatively wide trip. Departing is not certain for the latter legs of the Triple Crown at this point, but the solid gelding is now four for five lifetime. Hopefully racing fans will be able to enjoy Departing for a long time, Preakness or no Preakness.

Discounted by certain handicappers, lowest-priced (24-1) local longshot Fordubai ran a good race to take place honors. Close to the pace throughout, Fordubai struck second after three quarters and held off Siete de Oros by a neck to hold place. He shifted out in the stretch impeding Abraham, who called for an inquiry. The stewards left the finish as it was, however, and Siete de Oros kept his third-place finish to the disappointment of those who used him underneath their exactas.

Siete de Oros raced wide near the back of the pack, but advanced steadily and ran his typically gritty race. While clearly a cut below the top three-year-olds, the A. P. Warrior gelding has only been outside of the superfecta once: his fifth place finish in his career debut. As with the winner, racing fans should look forward to many more solid efforts from Siete de Oros. I certainly will.

As for the rest of my picks, they were not much. Show Some Magic was going the wrong direction in the stretch after racing midpack. Narvaez got into it briefly but did not have the run to contend in the stretch either. I decided against using Dewey Square while at Hawthorne; he raced up close but suffered the same fate as the aforementioned.

Departing managed to get good position at the outset despite his wide post. He drifted out five-wide entering the clubhouse turn and stayed wide on the backstretch. That was where he started passing horses. A wide post and a wide trip are no problem when you have the best horse. Departing took a while to circle the field, but circle it he did, finally shifting inside in the stretch when he had dispatched all foes. While Fordubai was shifting about and Siete de Oros was pulling his head around in the stretch, Departing was all business. This was the fastest Illinois Derby since Musket Man's 2009 victory and I was quite impressed. Departing was marooned in the 13 hole, five-wide until the stretch and a commanding winner regardless. He lived up to his name and will surely be hear from again.

While Al Stall was coy about the path Departing will take, I would likely put Departing in my top five for the Kentucky Derby were he going there. While it is unfortunate that we will not get to see what may be one of the best three-year-olds on the first Saturday in May, we can hope that this casts the lack of qualifying points allotted to the Illinois Derby into a brighter light. It is highly unfortunate that a purely business decision is preventing the connections of a promising, 4-for-5 lifetime, graded-stakes-winning colt from choosing whether or not to run for the roses. As an Illinois racing fan, I will be rooting for Departing to come out near the top of this year's crop. It could be a hidden benefit down the road. 

In the Sixty Sails, morning line second choice Disposablepleasure simply outclassed a field of five rivals to notch her fourth career victory in thirteen starts. Only her second career stakes win, Disposablepleasure found the going easier outside of Grade 1 and 2 racing. Sitting in third through the first three quarters, Disposablepleasure bided her time through splits of 23.89, 24.62, and 25.07 set by Devious Intent. Javier Castellano asked for run at the top of the stretch and shifted Disposablepleasure inside, where she established command and held a 3 1/2 length lead to the wire.

I liked the look of second choice and morning line favorite Brushed by a Star, who raced midpack as well behind the winner. She was no match for Disposablepleasure in the stretch, where the grey Giacomo filly showed why Todd Pletcher sent her to Chicago. My upset choice, Maude S, had a shot to come up the rail but did not have the requisite run to tangle with these. She came up empty and finished last. 



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Older Comments about Departing says goodbye to Illinois Derby foes...

Hi Lisa and Rafirox how you guys doing with your Derby Analysis?
Lol, Lisa.
SWORD!! There he is!
Sword- DEAD ON. Y'all got logic.. :).
That is a bunch of BS. Why does one have to come on HRN to post there picks and bet?
I'm glad someone appreciates his insight... I've always been regrettful for urging him to join, but now I'm not.
I am flattered that I am held to the highest petistool to have MY criteria.... I'm just that good! Or, how does Nike say it? "DAMN, I'M GOOD." :), lol.
@Lisa111, I agree, absolutely loving getting Carlos' insights on the workouts, invaluable!
He has criteria to fill in order to post here? Is that reserved only for Rafi?
Great post, Lisa.
Sysonby. Your first post. I agree with you. I know I partly bring part of it to myself. It is not intentional, but rather it is my personality (brag when I win, cry when I lose) jk :). Your second post. I can't disagree with him either. It's not just him, but several people who get bullied. It is disgusting, to even a pro like himself, that he can find the community to be unwelcoming. You'd think if people actually cared about the sport, and learning, they'd love to have such a professional horsemen like him on the site. I urged him to join the site, and offer insight on the Derby training, but he spent two days and told me "i can't take it no more."... Also, for his sake, I encouraged him to get off the site. If people don't want or like his insight? Too bad for them. I still have it, as do others, over email. I agree about the several individuals present who are truly intriguied by the sport, are willing to learn more, and willing to distiributue what they know. I love reading Buckpasser, LAZ, Goblin, yourself, Lisa, Amino, Dressage, etc, etc. I love the insight, especially since some on here are much more knowledgable than me, and they teach me. If I were as knowledgable as Carlos, I would have gotten out by now. He knows enough to be able to get off, I need the info that Buckpasser, LAZ, et hand out on a daily basis. I fully support his dicision, but I would've liked him to stay longer- and his immediate departure shows how ugly we are as a community.
No one made him god, what they did was list criteria he had to fill for them to not call him a fraud... The way he was treated? Save the sob stories
Great comments Sysonby! I was thinking the same thing. Rafi MUST post his picks ans dollar amount or he will be BLASTED for not conforming to the rules set to him and only him. Pitiful. And as far as Railbird, I think his workout info is gold and anyone who gave him crap is just downright insane for not wanting that information 2 weeks before the big day. I am so grateful that he is taking the time to email this info out and thanx to Rafi for introducing him.
He did send me some of his thoughts and I can't disagree with him, particularly the way he was treated by some of the individuals on this site. I did point out to him that there were a lot of people here who were sincerely just interested in talking about all aspects of horse racing.
Really? Really? Rafi has to meet certain criteria? Rafi has to post his picks in a certain way? I am unbelievably curious as to who died and made you all god?
Good, sysonby. I got them too. I don't know about you, but aren't you laughing your behind off when people say "He was banned because he was a double acunter." LOL... Yeah. That's an accusation with not even the slightest claim or evidence. He reads here, and he's getting really annoyed about it. Also, Sysonby, the reason he said he left was very disturbing and says a lot of us as a community. I can send it to you, if you want. It was a disturbing paragrah about us as a community. I hate to admit it, but, it was 100% accurate.
yeah, I got a couple e-mails from Carlos today, Rafi.
I used Departing on top and didn't cash a single ticket...
wrong thread
Why does he keep mentioning my name?

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Meet Alex Fawell 

Unlike many, I did not grow up with horseracing. My first time at the races was the 2008 Kentucky Derby. I bet on Colonel John. That fall, I had the good fortune to go to England, where I visited Ascot and Kempton. When I returned to the U.S., I was hooked. I started reading handicapping books, studying historic sire lines, watching races and going to Portland Meadows regularly. While the purses there were small, I was able to be close to the action and see firsthand the day-to-day operations of an average American racetrack.


Last year I moved home to Chicago. I went to Arlington for the first time this year. In the interim, I have devoted my time to understanding all aspects of horseracing  I hope to provide unique isights on handicapping perspectives and multifaceted analyses on the state of horseracing today. I will strive to write with an open mind and a willingness to learn through the writing process. I will not claim to be an expert, but I will read thoroughly, write carefully, and be honest.


To me, the all-time greats are Kelso, John Henry, Round Table and Yeats. Horses I like because they have won me money include Raven's Pass, Alternation, and I'll Have Another. The greatest horse I have even seen live is Zenyatta. I also enjoy the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, Mexican food, good Bourbon, and old-time music - specifically that played on the 5-string banjo. Thanks for reading!

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