Famed Horse Racing Trainer Bob Baffert Eyes Another Big Win This Saturday at Oaklawn

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 2:24 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2019 2:24 PM UTC

The final major prep race leading up to this year’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4 takes place this Saturday at Oaklawn Park with the running of the $1 million Arkansas Derby.

On the heels of Roadster’s victory in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Stakes with Game Winner placing second, Baffert is looking to stack the field for this year’s Kentucky Derby with another strong contender in place to win this Saturday’s main event on the card at Oaklawn Park. In a field that is shaping up to be deep in talent, there are few other three-year old’s primed to win this year’s Arkansas Derby as well.

The Arkansas Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race open to three-year old thoroughbreds with a total prize purse of $1 million along with Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the top four finishers. This event will be contested on the dirt track at Oaklawn over a distance a 1 1/8 miles.

Join SBR's Horse Racing Forum

Tracking the Top Contenders

A highly anticipated showdown between Baffert’s Game Winner and Improbable in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes never materialized due to track issues at Santa Anita. Both Kentucky-bred colts were shipped to Oaklawn to headline duel divisions of the expanded Grade 2 Rebel Stakes on March 16. Game Winner placed second in his division and Improbable ended up in the place position in the other 1 1/16-mile run on dirt behind Long Range Toddy. This was the three-year old debut for each of these highly rated Kentucky Derby contenders.

As a sire of City Zip, Improbable posted a limited but highly successful run as a juvenile with three victories in three events. His most notable win came in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 8. He covered the 1 1/16 miles on dirt in 1:41.18 past Mucho Gusto and Extra Hope. He comes into Saturday’s race with the third-highest Horse Racing Nation rating in the projected 13-horse field at 8.01.

The entry with the highest HRN rating in the probable Arkansas Derby field at 8.28 is trainer Richard Mandella’s Omaha Beach. He outran Game Runner to win the other half of this season’s duel Rebel Stakes. This Kentucky-bred three-year old covered the 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Oaklawn in 1:42.42. Market King was the show horse in that race. The pressure will be dialed up to live up to his lofty expectations this Saturday at Oaklawn, but with five runs in the money in five previous races, he appears to be the real deal.

The son of War Front started the year with a second-place finish in a one-mile Maiden Special Weight event at Santa Anita on Jan. 4 ahead of a victory in a seven-furlong MSW race at that same track on Feb. 2.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

You like history?
Then use it to your advantage to make $$ Betting the 2019 Arkansas Derby @OaklawnRacing via @ABRLive https://t.co/041L44Kdjb

— Stephen Panus (@Man_o_PR) April 8, 2019
\n\n"}[/]

One to Watch

Another probable entry in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby with previous success at Oaklawn is Long Range Toddy after his recent victory in the Rebel. Trained by Steve Asmussen, this Kentucky-bred colt should probably be listed in the top contender category as the second-highest HRN rated horse on the list (8.14). After placing second in the ungraded Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn in his three-year old debut on Jan. 25, he finished third behind Super Steed and Sueno in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes on Feb. 18 at this park over a distance of 1 1/16 miles.

This pedigree of Take Charge Indy is another colt that knows how to stay near the front of the pack with five finishes in the money in five career events. A victory on Saturday would seal his position as a legitimate contender to win this year’s Kentucky Derby.

comment here