Big Weekend on Tap Around Region | Midwest Paddock Report
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Big Weekend on Tap Around Region

Nationally the Thoroughbred world is catching its breath after a grueling Derby Trail and prior to the hype starts cranking up for this year’s Run for the Roses.  Racing in the Heartland is poised to fill the gap a bit this weekend with racing action all over the region.

Leading the way are the first graded stakes of the season in the area at Hawthorne Race Course.  The Grade 3 $400,000 Illinois Derby features a trio of West Coast runners.  Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Cross the Line is the 3-1 morning line favorite after a win in the California Derby and a second in the El Camino Real Derby.  Whiskey Ticket and Verraco complete the left coast contingent for Saturday’s Derby.  The Grade 3 $150,000 Sixty Sails Handicap featuring 2014 Lady Canterbury winner Awesome Flower will grace the Illinois Derby undercard.

The lady sprinters step up at Fonner Park on Saturday with a pair of $25,000 stakes.  The Fonner Park Special Stakes for 3-year olds at 6 furlongs and the Al Swihart Memorial Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year olds and up will anchor the day’s races at Grand Island.

Finally, Prairie Meadows is stepping out on stage this weekend on Saturday with a card under the lights with a 6:30 post time.  Entries will be drawn later today for the opener, while a Sunday afternoon card will round out opening weekend as racing starts to emerge from its winter slumber in our area.

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