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With win, Pioneerof the Nile makes Derby

The Baltimore Sun

Pioneerof the Nile has won the Santa Anita Derby, holding off Chocolate Candy by one length.

Saturday's victory sends Pioneerof the Nile into next month's Kentucky Derby for trainer Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner who hasn't had a starter in the Run for the Roses since 2006.

Pioneerof the Nile ran 1 1/8 miles on the artificial surface in 1:49.17. He was sent off as the 4-5 wagering favorite after main rival The Pamplemousse was scratched because of a soft-tissue injury in one of his legs.

Chocolate Candy was second, followed by Mr. Hot Stuff and Take the Points.

Illinois Derby: : Musket Man went past four competitors after the final turn and used a big stretch run for a 2-length victory in the $500,000 race at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero. The Kentucky-bred 3-year-old colt finished the 1 1/8 -mile course in 1:49.91. Giant Oak and His Greatness took second and third, respectively. Musket Man won a $285,000 first-place purse and burnished credentials as a top entry in the Kentucky Derby. Perfect Song, trained by Maryland-based Mike Trombetta, finished seventh. Perfect Song was ridden by Mario Pino, whose career has been based in Maryland.

Wood Memorial: : I Want Revenge won at New York's Aqueduct after making a great recovery from a poor start. The victory solidified I Want Revenge's status as one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby. When the starting gate opened, I Want Revenge was last to leave and fell way behind his seven rivals. But under a cool ride from Joe Talamo, the dark bay colt made a stirring run down the stretch, finding a clear path between horses at the eighth pole and pulling away for his second straight stakes win. I Want Revenge finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of West Side Bernie, with Just a Coincidence third in the 1 1/8 -mile Wood, New York's major prep for the Derby on May 2. The winning time for the race was 1:49.49 over the Big A's main track.

Ashland Stakes: : Hooh Why pulled a huge upset at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., foiling Stardom Bound's attempt at a sixth consecutive Grade I win. With substitute jockey Corey Lanerie aboard, Hooh Why took the lead at the quarter pole and never relinquished it. Gozzip Girl was a neck behind. Stardom Bound, better than an even-money favorite, had to settle for third. Hooh Why was the second longest shot on the board at 24-1. She won for the third time in 10 lifetime starts but for the first time in a Grade I race. Next up is likely an appearance in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Primonetta Stakes: : Cammy's Choice and Access Fee completed the six-furlong, $50,000 race at Laurel Park in a dead heat. Under the finish line in 1:09.70, with Cammy's Choice fully extended along the fence and Access Fee surging down the middle of the racetrack, the decision had to be determined by the photo-finish camera. "I thought I won it," said Julian Pimentel, riding Cammy's Choice for trainer Ed Lehman. "I saw the opening and went for it. I saw the horse to beat outside of me so I wanted to get the jump." Said Luis Garcia, riding Access Fee for Larry Murray: "I have never been involved in a dead heat for the win ever. I thought I won, but you have to leave it up to the placing judges." Cammy's Choice paid $3. Access Fee, the 6-5 favorite, returned $2.40.

Grand National: : Mon Mome, a 100-1 shot, won at Aintree in Liverpool, England, by 12 lengths, with the world's most famous steeplechase again marred by a horse death. Mon Mome was ridden by Liam Treadwell over the grueling 4 1/2 miles. The 9-year-old matched Foinavon in 1967 as the biggest long shot to win this race. Hear The Echo collapsed and died a few hundred yards from the finish. He was the fifth horse to die this year in the three-day meet. Butler's Cabin, a pre-race favorite, collapsed and had to be given oxygen.

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