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Arkansas Derby: Falling Sky, Frac Daddy shipping to Oaklawn
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The field for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby was starting to grow Monday, with Falling Sky and Frac Daddy committing to the 1 1/8-mile race and Demonic’s connections debating a start in the Saturday stakes, which closes out the Oaklawn meet.
The horses are part of a working list of 11 potential starters that also includes Overanalyze, who arrived Monday morning from Florida; Den’s Legacy and War Academy from the barn of trainer Bob Baffert; Oxbow and Texas Bling, who finished a respective second and fourth in last month’s Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel at Oaklawn; and Heaven’s Runway, who was third in the Grade 3, $300,000 Southwest at Oaklawn. Carve and Looking Cool are possibles, according to their respective trainers, as they also are under consideration for the $100,000 Northern Spur on Saturday’s undercard at Oaklawn.
Falling Sky, winner of the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, is scheduled to arrive early Thursday morning at Oaklawn, trainer John Terranova said. The horse is coming in from Kentucky.
“We were debating the Blue Grass,” Terranova said. “But we felt that Arkansas seemed to make a lot of sense for this colt.”
Terranova noted Falling Sky will be able to remain on dirt in the Arkansas Derby, whereas he would be trying a synthetic surface for the first time in the Blue Grass, which is run on Polytrack.
Terranova said Martin Garcia has the mount on Falling Sky.
Frac Daddy arrived aboard the same flight as Overanalyze on Monday, a day after his ownership group, Magic City Thoroughbred Partners, and his trainer, Ken McPeek, made a decision to target the Arkansas Derby.
“We originally were leaning towards the Illinois Derby, and after discussing it, decided to run” at Oaklawn, McPeek said. “He worked well this weekend in company with Java’s War.”
McPeek said Victor Lebron has the mount on Frac Daddy, runner-up in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last fall and most recently seventh in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
Demonic was an impressive debut winner at Santa Anita in his last start Jan. 13. Trainer John Sadler said Monday that the horse was possible for the Arkansas Derby.
“We’re talking about it,” he said. “It’s not a definite, but we’re still looking at it.”
Sadler won the 2010 Arkansas Derby with Line of David.
Overanalyze is to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, trainer Todd Pletcher said. John Velazquez had been scheduled to ride the horse but was injured over the weekend. Gary Stevens has the mount on Oxbow, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
The field for the Arkansas Derby will be drawn Wednesday. The race is one of four stakes to be run on the closing-day card as part of the weeklong Racing Festival of the South.
Bejarano gets mount on Atigun
Bejarano also will ride Atigun here Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap, according to trainer Ken McPeek. Velazquez had been scheduled to ride the horse, who was third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon and in his most recent start was third in the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn.
McPeek said last weekend that Atigun will add blinkers for the Oaklawn Handicap after a strong work in the equipment. The horse breezed five furlongs in company in 1:01.40 last Saturday. He tracked his workmate from the outside and then forged past him nearing the wire.
“We need to try something different,” McPeek said of the addition of blinkers. “We need to figure out how to get him to finish up. In quite a few races, he’s hung the last part of it.”
Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned arrived for the Oaklawn Handicap on Monday, aboard the flight from Florida. Others expected for the race include Alternation, Cyber Secret, Taptowne, Unstoppable U, and possibly Sabercat.
Win Willy, who is less than $20,000 shy of $1 million in earnings, will start in the race, trainer Mac Robertson said. Win Willy won the Oaklawn Handicap in 2011 under jockey Cliff Berry, who worked the horse last weekend and will have the mount Saturday.
Bryan’s Jewel to Apple Blossom
Bryan’s Jewel, a recent allowance winner at Oaklawn, has been cross-entered here in the $100,000 Carousel on Thursday and the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom on Friday, but she is probable to start in the Apple Blossom, Robertson said Monday.
“I think she’s ready to run a big race,” Robertson said. “She’s doing very well right now.”
Grace Hall and Summer Applause arrived for the Apple Blossom on Monday on the flight from Florida. The Apple Blossom field was drawn Sunday and the cast from the rail, with riders and weights is: Tiz Miz Sue, Joe Rocco Jr., 117 pounds; Grace Hall, Joel Rosario, 118; Don’t Tell Sophia, Robby Albarado, 116; Summer Applause, Rajiv Maragh, 117; She’s All In, Luis Quinonez, 114; On Fire Baby, Joe Johnson, 115; Bryan’s Jewel, Derek Bell, 112.
◗ Manuka Honey will be trainer John Terranova’s first starter at Oaklawn when she runs Wednesday in the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy.
◗ Oaklawn will conduct its morning works and barn tour program, called Dawn at Oaklawn, each race day this week, beginning Wednesday.
– additional reporting by Jay Privman
Has anyone heard anything further with regards to Line of Battle? Where he is, what he's been doing, is he OK?
what is mcpeek thiinking--- ill derby equals no points----quess it was $$$
Baffert is down to 2nd & 3rd stringers, Govenor Charlie was better than Flashback anyway, Den's Legacy has the look of a Real Quiet, if gets in must at least place at Oaklawn, be 30-1 in Yum Brands...........Todd & Bob super box ?
this texas bling horse is still hanging around
Got a bit of a thing for Oxbow, but War Academy is one to watch. The breeding lines are fantastic.
You got that right roger
I am kind of thankful Velasquez is not on Overanalyze here. No sense for him to ride him in this race Also i wasn't too happy with his ride in the Gotham. The horse needs to be hard ridden around the 1 mile mark to re-engage like Dominguez did in the Remsen and JV I thought gave up on him at that point. Bejarano is a better fit for him and he is inheriting a good one here. One that might take him to a KD victory.