Illinois Derby As Preakness Prep?

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Nuccio DiNuzzo/Tribune Photo

Action during the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course in April 2012. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Tribune Photo) (January 29, 2013)

By Neil Milbert, Special to the Tribune

Now that Churchill Downs has turned the Illinois Derby into a dead end street on its new Road to the Kentucky Derby series, Hawthorne Race Course is trying to remake it into a superhighway to the Preakness.

Hawthorne has increased the purse of the Chicago circuit’s premier main track race for 3-year-olds from $500,000 to $750,000 and will run it April 20, two weeks before the Kentucky Derby and four weeks before the Preakness.

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