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The Arkansas Derby could reward Kentucky Derby hopefuls with their final chance of getting enough points to register for the greatest two-ish minutes in sports. A field of six — sigh, yes only six — will be vying for a golden ticket to the starting gate in Kentucky on May 1st. Although the field for the Arkansas Derby is small, Oaklawn Park Racecourse did put together a decent undercard which could prove to be profitable, even if the main event turns out to simply be a paid workout for the heavy favorite, (5) Concert Tour.
Arkansas Derby: Race 12. Distance: 1 1/8 Miles on the Main Dirt Track
(5) Concert Tour is the lone standout in the field and was presumptively made the odds-on favorite at even money (1/1). He will surely go off at shorter odds than even that. Owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by — you guessed it — Bob Baffert, this horse is perfect in three starts and seems to get better with each performance. Gary and Mary West owned the 2019 Kentucky Derby disqualified winner, Maximum Security, and are vying for redemption by securing the most coveted prize in horse racing. Baffert, who has won the Derby six times, seems to be giving this horse the right oats and grains, and because of winning the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn in March, Concert Tour already has enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby. This last tune up is likely a lock for this extremely fast and consistent horse. Concert Tour is ridden by Joel Rosario, leading money jockey winner in the US so far this year with over $6 million won in purses. That, to say the least, is hard to do as the big money races don’t really start until May. There won’t be any value in betting Concert Tour to win but playing him in exotics and multi-race wagers can still make you some decent money on Saturday.
I’ll be playing trifectas (top 3 finishers) and superfectas (top 4 finishers) with (5) Concert Tour on top (winning). The horses I’ll be using for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th will be (1) Super Stock, (2) Caddo River, and (3) Hozier. (1) Super Stock seems to at least hold his own against graded stakes company and has enough speed and patience to close into what I assume to be a decently fast pace. (2) Caddo River was actually favored over Concert Tour in the Rebel Stakes, but when he didn’t get the lead under Florent Geroux in the saddle, he faded in the stretch and couldn’t finish running straight. (3) Hozier is lightly raced and took second to Concert Tour in the Rebel. Seems history may repeat itself this race.
Trifecta- 5 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3
Superfecta- 5 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3
Count Fleet Sprint Handicap: Race 11. Distance: 6 furlongs on the Main Dirt Track
The fastest sprinters come to showcase their skills in the race leading up to the Arkansas Derby. In this field are two of the winningest six-furlong specialty horses this sport has seen in some time, and the best part about them both is that they love coming from the clouds to snatch wins at the last moment. I’m talking about (2) Whitmore and (6) CZ Rocket. Both have earned over a million dollars racing and look prompt to run 1-2 on Saturday. Why so sure, you may ask? Both have competed against each other in the last two races. The $2 million dollar Breeder’s Cup had Whitmore best CZ Rocket, only for CZ to get revenge and best Whitmore in the Hot Springs Stakes in March. The only horse, and I mean ONLY horse, that could ruin this exacta is (4) Strike Power, who if he sets a slow early pace, could hold on and out-finish one of these horses. You may get Strike Power at 5-1 to win or better if you want to have the horse on the lead going into the final turn.
Exacta: 2,6 with 2,4,6