Moving into Chicago from the East Coast to make his stakes debut, Joe Vann took over in the turn for home and drew away in the stretch to complete a dominating win in the $300,000 TVG Illinois Derby (Replay). Racing in 2nd behind Lagoon of Diamonds and dormant fractions of :23.81 and :48.37, it wasn’t until the 6 Furlong mark in 1:13.65 that Jockey Florent Geroux asked and his colt gamely responded. At the top of the stretch The Fed Eased rallied from 3rd to challenge on the outside but as soon as he pulled alongside, Joe Vann pulled away to win by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:51.91.
It was a big win for 24 yr old jockey Florent Geroux, who rode Joe Vann for the first time, trainer Todd Pletcher, and Zayat Stables, picking up $167,400 in graded stakes earnings. Since their colt wasn’t able to break his maiden until his previous race prior to the Illinois Derby there was never any reason to nominate him for the Triple Crown. Since he’s showing signs of a late bloomer after back to back wins and a stakes win under his belt, it’ll be interesting to see where Joe Vann heads to next outside the triple crown races. As for the horse looking to pad his graded stakes earnings and assure qualification for the Kentucky Derby, Watch Me Go and his connections find themselves in tough spot after a disappointing 6th place finish.
After an impressive long shot victory in the Tampa Bay Derby, Watch Me Go failed to fire when asked and leaves Illinois with little to no additional earnings. For the time being, however, the colt is still ranked inside the top 2o. Trained by Kathleen O’Connell and ridden by Luis Garcia, Watch Me Go entered the starting gate as the 2-1 favorite. Stalking in 4th, rounding the final turn the colt was given a clear lane to make a bid on the far outside but was unable to keep pace, tiring down the stretch. Making a strong move down the stretch was Zoebear who mustered enough effort to out duel The Fed Eased for 2nd place.
3. Joe Vann $12.60 $6.80 $5.20 8. Zoebear $8.80 $6.20 7, The Fed Eased $6.20
$2.00 Exacta (3-8) $108.80 – $2.00 Trifecta (3-8-7) $767.20
Overall, it was a great day of racing at Hawthorne Race Course and a pleasure to be there. Thank you to all racing fans that made it to the track on Saturday. Congratulations to yesterday’s winning connections and to all fans who left with more cash than when they arrived. We hope to see you again at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington Park this summer for more good times and great thoroughbred racing.
Written by: Little Brink
Special thanks to Dean Opper, Photographer, who supplied us with an awesome assortment of pictures from the Illinois Derby. The picture above was our pick of many great ones, thanks again.