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Joel Quenneville's Horse Just May Make It To The Kentucky Derby After All

UPDATE 4/20: Dynamic Impact Catches Midnight Hawk.

"Running in Saturday's Illinois Derby means Midnight Hawk will be a no-show for the Kentucky Derby but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice agree that the likelihood of winning one of the Chicago circuit's premier races beats taking what might be a losing ego trip to Louisville," Neil Milbert writes for the Tribune.

"Along with Hawks assistant Mike Kitchen, accomplished thoroughbred owner Mike Pegram and prominent Kentucky breeder John Sikura, Quenneville and Tice are co-owners of the 4-5 morning favorite in Hawthorne Race Course's Grade III $500,000 prep for the May 17 Preakness."

But Midnight Hawk coulda been a contender!


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But maybe there's hope.

"Saturday's $500,000, Grade III Illinois Derby wasn't designated a points race by Churchill Downs - much to the ire of Hawthorne Race Course - but it attracted a marquee horse who could run back in the Kentucky Derby in Midnight Hawk," Jennie Rees writes for USA Today.

"Midnight Hawk has never been worse than third in five starts, winning the Grade III Sham in his second start, then finishing third in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis and second in both the San Felipe and Sunland Derby. His 52 points easily put him in the Kentucky Derby. And while it's not trainer Bob Baffert's style to wheel back a horse in two weeks, he has not ruled the colt out of consideration."

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In the meantime, the Sun-Times says Midnight Hawk is today's favorite.

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"Midnight Hawk's most serious rival on Saturday might be Class Leader," ESPN reports.

"The late-blooming Smart Strike colt, from the barn of Neil Howard, makes his stakes debut after back-to-back wins at Fair Grounds, the latter a one-length allowance score on March 13.

"Trainer Todd Pletcher, whose barn has racked up wins in the Florida Derby and Arkansas Derby in recent weeks, has entered King Cyrus and Global Strike. Second in a minor stakes at Calder two back, King Cyrus will add blinkers for the Illinois Derby after a nondescript seventh-place effort in the Louisiana Derby. Global Strike, who is also cross-entered in Saturday's Lexington at Keeneland, is probably better than his last-out sixth in the Sunland Derby would indicate.

"Like Global Strike, the Mark Casse-trained Dynamic Impact was cross-entered in the Lexington. The Tiznow colt needed five starts to break his maiden, but did so over a mile at Oaklawn last time in an effort which garnered a solid 96 BRIS Speed rating.

"The Illinois Derby field is completed by longshots A Step Ahead, Irish You Well, and Emmett Park."

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