2015 Arkansas Derby Preview
The final Road to the Kentucky Derby race will be the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park on Saturday. The other Derby Prep on Saturday will be the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes from Keeneland.
The Grade 1 Arkansas Derby will be run at one mile and one eighth on the main track with a purse of $1,000,000.
The Arkansas Derby will also offer 100 points to the winner of the race towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Second place will receive 40 points, third place will receive 20 points, and the fourth place finisher will receive 10 points.
Post time for the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby is 7:18 PM Eastern time is carded as the 11th of 12 races on Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Free past performances can be found here.
1. The Truth Or Else (15-1 Morning Line) – He broke his start in his fourth start and then finished third in back-to-back graded stakes races (the Grade 1 Champagne and the Grade 2 Nashua). He then hit a bump in the road when he finished a well beaten sixth by 16 lengths in the Grade 2 Remsen. After almost three months off, he came back in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes to finish second by 3/4 of a length after holding the lead in the stretch. He then raced in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, but was no match for American Pharoah while finishing fourth by 10 lengths. He puts the blinkers on for the first time, but he is up against it here from a top two perspective.
2. Mr. Z (10-1 ML) – Mr. Z has been a constant participant in the Kentucky Derby prep races. After finishing third by a neck to Dortmund in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity, he came to Oaklawn for the Smarty Jones Stakes in which he finished 3rd by 2 1/4 lengths after veering out badly in the stretch. In the Grade 3 Southwest he finished third by 3/4 of a length after setting the pace. He then moved south to Louisiana for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, but stopped badly after prompting the pace early. The blinkers go back on for this race, but he still seems like an underneath horse at best.
3. Bridget’s Big Luvy (20-1 ML) – It took until his third start to win, but he got it done in the slop by 3/4 of a length at Belmont last October. A three month break between races did not provide any help as he was crushed in the Grade 3 Hutcheson by 25 lengths (finished fifth of 6 horses). After another short break, he reappeared in the Private Terms Stakes and went gate-to-wire by 2 1/2 lengths in the slop again. His best races have been over a muddy track, but he will need a lot more than that to help him here.
4. Madefromlucky (6-1 ML) – He began his career at Monmouth where he went from fifth, to third, to second in his first three races. After four months off, he showed up at Gulfstream Park to win by 4 3/4 lengths. He made it two wins in a row with a length and a half score in an optional claiming $75,000. Last race, he entered the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and ran into American Pharoah, but still finished second. He once again is a prime candidate to fill out the exacta.
5. Bold Conquest (20-1 ML) – He had a solid 2 year old campaign with a win, two seconds, and a third from four starts including second place in the Grade 3 Iroquois by a neck and third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He resurfaced here at Oaklawn after the Breeders’ Futurity and finished in fourth in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes after a solid closing kick. His second start off the layoff was the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, but he was a well beaten third behind American Pharoah and Madefromlucky. Nevertheless, at 20-1 on the morning line he still boasts a solid chance to add value to the underneath exotics.
6. American Pharoah (1-2 ML) – The heavy morning line favorite has been excellent since breaking his maiden. He did that in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity by 4 3/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion. He then entered the Grade 1 Front Runner at Santa Anita and won by 3 1/4 lengths. After an injury sidelined him, he came back in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and dusted the field there as well by 6 1/4 lengths. He is the deserving favorite here and should not have much trouble in this race.
7. Far Right (9-2 ML) – He started his career early in 2014 with a races at Keeneland and Churchill in April and May respectively. He was then switched to trainer Ron Moquett from William Helmbrecht and won his first race in September. He finished his two year old season with a fourth place finish in the Grade 2 Futurity, third in the Street Sense Stakes, and third in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot. He came back this year and has won two straight in similar fashion. First, he won the Smarty Jones Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths with a rail ride. Then, he came with another strong run in the Grade 3 Southwest to win once more by 3/4 of a length. He is one of the top threats to finish in the exacta.
8. Win The Space (30-1 ML) – He has raced twice, but has yet to break his maiden. His first race was at Santa Anita on February 22 and he was wide on the turn. He finished third by 4 1/4 lengths and then was entered in another maiden race at Santa Anita March 8. He tried to go up the rail in the stretch but could not make a rally. Trainer George Papaprodromou decided to send him to Oaklawn anyway and has taken the blinkers off. This is an interesting spot for this horse, but one that does not lend to him pulling the shocking upset.
This race runs through #6 American Pharoah. He should have little trouble with this field, but there are some interesting horses that can finish second and third. #4 Madefromlucky should sit in a perfect spot behind the leaders and could pull the upset if Pharoah falters. #5 Bold Conquest is a big price on the morning line at 20-1, but he can easily spice up the exotics with a late run. #7 Far Right should not be discounted either as he can make a wicked run to finish in the exacta.
1. American Pharoah
3. Bold Conquest
4. Far Right
A recap of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby will be posted on Saturday night.