|Grade III race|
|Location||Hawthorne Race Course
Stickney/Cicero, Illinois, USA
|Race type||Thoroughbred - Flat racing|
|Distance||1 1⁄8 miles (9 furlongs)|
|Weight||122 lbs (55.3 kg)|
The Illinois Derby is a race for Thoroughbred horses held in early April each year. First run in 1923, the Derby takes place at Hawthorne Race Course located in Stickney/Cicero, Illinois, just west of Chicago. It is open to horses, age three, willing to race one and one-eighth miles (9 furlongs) on the dirt.
It had been a Grade II race with an offering a purse of $500,000, however it was reduced to a Grade III race for 2010 by the American Graded Stakes Committee. Since that time the purse has been reduced to $250,000. For 2012, the purse has been reinstated to $500,000, but reduced to $400,000 in 2015.
The race was named in honor of the home state in which it was run, the state of Illinois. The inaugural running of the race took place at Hawthorne in 1923 and was won by In Memoriam, the 3 year-old champion with Zev that year. The race was then run at Sportsman's Park from 1924 through 1931. It moved to Aurora Downs racetrack in 1932 and was run there until 1938. In 1939 the race went on hiatus until through 1962. Then the race was revived at Sportsman's Park Racetrack again in 1963 where it remained through its 2002 running. The race was not run 1939-1962 and 1970-1971.
The race was first graded in 1973 when the grading system started as a grade three stakes race and in 1997 was elevated to a grade two stakes race. The inaugural running of the race in 1923 was run at 1 1⁄4 miles.
Prior to 2000 the race was run between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes thus competing with the second leg of the Triple Crown for good runners. Beginning in 2001, the Illinois Derby was moved to four weeks pior to the Kentucky Derby and instantly become a major Triple Crown prep race to the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
The 2002 Illinois Derby won by War Emblem was the last Derby run at Sportsman's Park Racetrack. War Emblem went on to become a "Dual Classic Winner" by winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. War Emblem helped elevate the prestige of the Illinois Derby by displaying that a race winner could go on to even bigger glory.
In 2004 Pollard's Vision also helped increase the stature of the race when he won it. Pollard's Vision was a colt who was blind in his right eye, he was named in honor of Seabiscuit's jockey Red Pollard, who also lost sight in his right eye. In that same year Seabiscuit the movie was the second highest grossing film of the year at over $180,000,000 and was nominated for Best Picture of the Year.
In 2006 Sweetnorthernsaint, the Illinois Derby winner that year, helped the stature of the race after recording the highest beyer speed figure of the year in the race and was installed as the morning line favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Sweetnorthernsait went on to become the Preakness Stakes runner up to Bernardini in the race that Barbaro was fatally injured.
In 1997, at Sportsman's Park, Wild Rush set the record for the fastest time in the Illinois Derby at 1:47.51.
Winners of the Illinois Derby since 1968
|2015||Whiskey Ticket||3||Martin A. Pedroza||Bob Baffert||Watson/Pegram/Weitman||1:50.82||$400,000||III|
|2014||Dynamic Impact||3||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||John C. Oxley||1:49.07||$750,000||III|
|2013||Departing||3||Brian J. Hernandez, Jr.||Albert M. Stall, Jr.||Claiborne Farm||1:50.78||$750,000||III|
|2012||Done Talking||3||Sheldon Russell||Hamilton Smith||Skeedattle Stable||1:53.88||$500,000||III|
|2011||Joe Vann||3||Florent Geroux||Todd Pletcher||Zayat Stable||1:51.91||$300,000||III|
|2010||American Lion||3||David Flores||Eoin G. Harty||WinStar Farm||1:51.31||$500,000||III|
|2009||Musket Man||3||Eibar Coa||Derek S. Ryan||Eric Fein/Vic Carlson||1:49.91||$500,000||II|
|2008||Recapturetheglory||3||E. T. Baird||Louie Roussel III||L. Roussel III/Ronald Lamarque||1:49.01||$500,000||II|
|2007||Cowtown Cat||3||Fernando Jara||Todd A. Pletcher||WinStar Farm||1:51.21||$500,000||II|
|2006||Sweetnorthernsaint||3||Kent Desormeaux||Michael Trombetta||Joseph J. Balsamo/Ted Theos||1:49.82||$500,000||II|
|2005||Greeley's Galaxy||3||Kent Desormeaux||Glen Stute||B. Wayne Hughes||1:49.62||$500,000||II|
|2004||Pollard's Vision||3||Eibar Coa||Todd A. Pletcher||Edgewood Farm||1:50.80||$500,000||II|
|2003||Ten Most Wanted||3||Pat Day||Wallace Dollase||J. Chisholm/J. P. Reddam et al.||1:51.47||$500,000||II|
|2002||War Emblem||3||Larry Sterling, Jr.||Frank R. Springer||Russell Reineman Stable||1:49.42||$500,000||II|
|2001||Distilled||3||Mike E. Smith||Todd A. Pletcher||Dogwood Stable||1:51.37||$500,000||II|
|2000||Performing Magic||3||Shane Sellers||Alex L. Hassinger, Jr.||The Thoroughbred Corp.||1:50.86||$500,000||II|
|1999||Vision and Verse||3||Herbert Castillo||William I. Mott||W. Bruce Lunsford||1:48.47||$500,000||II|
|1998||Yarrow Brae||3||Willie Martinez||D. Wayne Lukas||M. Tabor / S. Magnier||1:51.21||$500,000||II|
|1997||Wild Rush||3||Kent Desormeaux||Richard Mandella||Frank Stronach||1:47.51||$500,000||II|
|1996||Natural Selection||3||Randy Romero||Mohamed Moubarak||Buckram Oaks Farm||1:48.60||$500,000||III|
|1995||Peaks and Valleys||3||Julie Krone||James E. Day||Pin Oak Stable||1:48.99||$500,000||III|
|1994||Rustic Light||3||Earlie Fires||Robert Hale||Phillip Brooks & Robert Hale||1:51.89||$500,000||III|
|1993||Antrim Rd.||3||Aaron Gryder||Glenn Wismer||Alyce & Joseph Novogratz||1:48.68||$500,000||III|
|1992||Dignitas||3||Jerry D. Bailey||George R. Arnold II||John Peace||1:49.09||$533,500||III|
|1991||Richman||3||Jerry D. Bailey||William I. Mott||William F. Lucas||1:49.36||$530,000||III|
|1990||Dotsero||3||Aaron Gryder||Tim Muckler||J. Malkin, B. Glazov, et al.||1:50.60||$315,000||III|
|1989||Music Merci||3||Gary L. Stevens||Craig C. Lewis||Harvey & Thea Cohen||1:50.20||$515,000||III|
|1988||Proper Reality||3||Jerry D. Bailey||Robert E. Holthus||Mrs. James A. Winn||1:50.20||$535,000||III|
|1987||Lost Code||3||Gene St. Leon||L. William Donovan||Wendover Stable||1:49.60||$313,550||III|
|1986||Bolshoi Boy||3||Richard Migliore||Howard M. Tesher||Art Belford/John Greathouse||1:52.20||$315,000||III|
|1985||Important Business||3||Juvenal L. Diaz||LeRoy Jolley||Ilene & Skip Taylor||1:51.60||$320,000||III|
|1984||Delta Trace||3||Keith K. Allen||Robert J. Frankel||Ann & Jerry Moss||1:51.80||$210,000||III|
|1983||Gen'l Practitioner||3||Jose A. Santiago||Leo Sierra||William Blair||1:50.40||$210,000||III|
|1982||Star Gallant||3||Ray Sibille||Lenny Imperio||Mahmoud Fustok||1:52.60||$210,000||III|
|1981||Paristo||3||David Ashcroft||George R. Handy||Robert & Ruth Feinberg||1:49.60||$155,000||III|
|1980||Ray's Word||3||Richard DePass||Smiley Adams||Not found||1:52.00||$155,000||III|
|1979||Smarten||3||Sam Maple||Woody Stephens||Ryehill Farm||1:49.40||$150,000||III|
|1978||Batonnier||3||Ronald Hirdes, Jr.||Harry Trotsek||Edward Seltzer||1:51.60||$105,000||III|
|1977||Flag Officer||3||Leslie Ahrens||George J. Getz||C. Schmidt & P. Teinowitz||1:52.20||$105,000||III|
|1976||Life's Hope||3||Sandy Hawley||Laz Barrera||Harbor View Farm||1:51.40||$125,000||III|
|1975||Colonel Power||3||Phil Rubbicco||John O. Meaux||Harvey Peltier||1:50.20||$105,000||III|
|1974||Sharp Gary||3||Gerland Gallitano||Joseph DiAngelo||Edward R. Scharps||1:50.00||$105,000||III|
|1973||Big Whippendeal||3||Larry Adams||John Fulton||Kinship Stables||1:50.20||$75,000||III|
|1972||Fame And Power||3||Gerland Gallitano||John O. Meaux||Harvey Peltier||1:50.00||$70,000|
|1971||No Race||3||No Race||No Race||No Race||0:00.00||no race|
|1970||No Race||3||No Race||No Race||No Race||0:00.00||no race|
|1969||King of the Castle||3||Braulio Baeza||Edward A. Neloy||Ogden Phipps||1:51.40||$80,000|
|1968||Bold Favorite||3||Robert Nono||Del W. Carroll||Michael G. Phipps||1:50.20||$75,000|