04/07/2005 11:00PM

Arkansas Derby next for Cat Shaker

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Cat Shaker, winning the Rushaway at 38-1, was scheduled to arrive at Oaklawn on Saturday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Cat Shaker, who was up for a half-length win in the $100,000 Rushway at 38-1 last month at Turfway Park, will be a $50,000 supplement to the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby, said trainer Craig Callis on Friday.

Cat Shaker joins a growing field for the 1 1/8-mile race, which will close out the Oaklawn Park meet on Saturday. Rush Bay also is pointing for the race, according to his trainer, Tom Amoss, and track officials are also expecting Grade 3 Holy Bull winner Closing Argument.

Cat Shaker was scheduled to van out of his base at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky., on Friday night and was to have arrived at Oaklawn on Saturday morning, said Callis. Along with being a supplement to the Arkansas Derby, Cat Shaker was a late nominee to the Triple Crown.

"When he won the Rushaway, it's one of the later stakes and we thought maybe we have a chance of possibly making it to the [Kentucky] Derby," said Callis.

Callis had considered the Grade 2, $325,000 Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on April 23 for Cat Shaker's next start, but said the timing was better for the Arkansas Derby.

"He's just training wonderfully right now, and I wouldn't want to wait until the 23rd," said Callis.

Joe Bravo, who rode Cat Shaker in the Rushaway, has the mount in the Arkansas Derby.

Callis, who trains Cat Shaker for his father, William Callis, said the colt has thrived since the Rushaway, which was another reason to nominate to the Triple Crown.

"He's put on muscle," he said. "He's really blossomed."

Cat Shaker, a son of Catienus, won his maiden in his second two-turn start in November. He ran third to Snack in the WEBN at Turfway Park in February, before finishing fifth to Magna Graduate in the $100,000 Battaglia Memorial, then winning the Rushaway.

Rush Bay gets ready for Ark. Derby

Rush Bay was scheduled to work Saturday in preparation for the Arkansas Derby.

"We plan to breeze him at Churchill Downs, and if everything goes well, we'll be on the Tuesday flight," said Amoss. "The decision to come was based upon [wanting to] find out where we stand with the elite 3-year-olds."

Amoss said Rush Bay will be ridden by Eddie Razo Jr. In his last start, Rush Bay won an optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on March 14. Last year at 2, he was second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Greater Good won that race and has captured the first two Oaklawn preps for the Arkansas Derby. He won the $100,000 Southwest in February and the Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel Stakes on March 19.

John McKee has the mount for trainer Bob Holthus.

Others considered probable for the Arkansas Derby are Afleet Alex, Baston Challenge, Wild Desert, Andromeda's Hero, Canteen, Flower Alley, and Real Dandy.

Still possible for the race is Rockport Harbor, winner of the Grade 2 Remsen and runner-up in the Rebel.

Elliott to work Rockport Harbor

Trainer John Servis said Friday that New York-based jockey Stewart Elliott is scheduled to fly into Hot Springs to work Rockport Harbor. A seven-furlong workout is scheduled for Sunday, and Rockport Harbor is to work in company with the allowance mare Pilfer. Both horses are owned by Fox Hill Farms.

Rockport Harbor missed four days of training last week after he was found to have a blood clot in a vein on the right side of his neck. He galloped 1 1/2 miles Friday, and Servis said depending on how the work goes, Rockport Harbor could go in the Arkansas Derby or race a week later in the Lexington.

The work "will give me an idea of where he is as far as fitness and sharpness," said Servis.

Elliott, the regular rider on Rockport Harbor, won the Kentucky Derby last year with the Servis-trained Smarty Jones.

Purse increase for Oaklawn

Overnight purses at Oaklawn have been increased $1,000 a race, a policy that was to start Saturday and continue through the close of the meet April 16, Pat Pope, racing secretary at Oaklawn, announced Friday.

Pope said the increase was made possible by a 5-percent increase in live and simulcast handle, as well as a dramatic growth in betting on Instant Racing, a parimutuel game that plays like a slot machine.

* Western Acres, an impressive entry-level allowance winner last year at Lone Star Park, makes his comeback in the ninth race Sunday.