After a one-year hiatus, the Hawthorne Derby returned on Saturday, the 51st running of the mile-and-an-eighth event was contested over a soft turf course. A solid field of 11 lined up, with Voodoo Song sent off as the favorite for trainer Linda Rice.
Voodoo Song made the lead as he cruised away through an opening quarter in 25.1 seconds and the half in 51.03 seconds over the soft going. Phat Man and Adonis Creed tracked the lead as the field turned onto the backside. After three quarters in one minute and 16.22 seconds, Voodoo Song maintained his lead into the turn, while Adonis Creed moved up to challenge. Into the lane the field began to bunch up while Voodoo Song held his position along the inside. Mid-stretch, Adonis Creed ranged up to challenge, and Blue Sky Kowboy was also on the move. With a sixteenth to go, Blue Sky Kowboy took over, but Santo Sanjur and My Bariley weaved through horses. At the wire it was My Bariley getting up by three-quarters of a length over Blue Sky Kowboy. Adonis Creed held third, and Bronson finished fourth. The final time was one minute and 56.07 seconds.
John Loven's Captain Jack Racing Stable LLC owns My Bariley, who is trained by Anthony Granitz. My Bariley earned $60,000 with the victory, pushing his career earnings to $159,119. My Bariley returned $29, $11.60, and $6.40. Blue Sky Kowboy paid $10.40 and $5.40, while Adonis Creed returned $4.40 to show.
Jockey Santo Sanjur was short for words: “I tried to ride the horse the best I could. I knew he liked wet turf. I got him to relax behind horses early. The last part, he rocked and rolled.”
“I thought Santo rode a great race," said Granitz, who is familiar with Hawthorne Derby victories. "Hawthorne had the turf in great shape, considering all the rain that has fallen here lately. It was so exciting. We wanted to get the mile and an eighth into this horse. When Hawthorne put this race back up, it brought back old memories. I won the Hawthorne Derby years ago with a horse named False Promises in the same kind of finish (in 2003). It was a great job by Juan and my crew and a great job by John Loven, the owner, who also bred this horse. I was watching the weather back in Indiana and hoping that there wouldn’t be any more rain, but Juan said the course was good and that we were good to go. The pace of the race was good, and we were able to save ground. That was especially important around the turns.”