04/15/2011 12:48PM

Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park


2011 Arkansas Derby

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DRF Coverage: Contender Profiles:
The Factor likely to face more early pressure The Factor
Oaklawn's Instant Racing first meeting for graded winners Nehro
The Wizard's free Arkansas Derby pick Elite Alex
Race 1 Sat: 4/16 POST: 1:05 ET Get PP entries »
Race 2 Sat: 4/16 POST: 1:40 ET Get PP entries »
Race 3 Sat: 4/16 POST: 2:15 ET Get PP entries »
Race 4 Sat: 4/16 POST: 2:49 ET Get PP entries »
Race 5 Sat: 4/16 POST: 3:23 ET Get PP entries »
Race 6 Sat: 4/16 POST: 3:56 ET Get PP entries »
Race 7 Sat: 4/16 POST: 4:30 ET Get PP entries »
Instant Racing Stakes Sat: 4/16 POST: 5:05 ET Get PP entries »
Northern Spur Stakes Sat: 4/16 POST: 5:41 ET Get PP entries »
Race 10 Sat: 4/16 POST: 6:14 ET Get PP entries »
Arkansas Derby Sat: 4/16 POST: 6:58 ET Get PP entries »
Race 12 Sat: 4/16 POST: 7:31 ET Get PP entries »

Race-by-Race Analysis
By Mary Rampellini

BEST BET: Prime Objective (2nd race)

First Race
(1) Primorye (2) Divine Retribution (3) Lost Account

The Factor is in town for this afternoon's Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby, which is the centerpiece of the meet. There are also two other 3-year-old stakes on the card, the $100K Northern Spur and the $100K Instant Racing. In the first, PRIMORYE makes her two-turn debut and like that she draws a better post position than chief rival DIVINE RETRIBUTION. PRIMORYE figures to be prominent on the stretch out to two turns, and could take these a long way on the lead. DIVINE RETRIBUTION just missed at this level last time, making her a logical choice back. The concern is that she could find herself hung quite wide from the outside post. LOST ACCOUNT is well-versed at the two-turn trip, and was favored against similar last out.

Second Race
(1) Prime Objective (2) Expecting Cash (3) Saracen

PRIME OBJECTIVE indicated his readiness to get his 3-year-old season started the other morning, when he turned a bullet half-mile from the gate in 46.80 seconds. He is bred to be a nice one as a half-brother to Prime Directive, a Grade 2 winner of $429K. PRIME OBJECTIVE might also get a nice tracking trip behind such rivals as the rail-drawn SARACEN and the quick ANTHONY. EXPECTING CASH cuts back to one turn after being edged last out by Commander, who is to run back later on the card in the $100K Northern Spur. As for the turnback in distance, note EXPECTING CASH won his maiden at this trip back in October. SARACEN was entered in the $75K Bachelor here Friday, but is expected to go in this first-level allowance sprint. He has the speed to hold his position from the rail, and note in his debut he was third to a future stakes winner, Ghost Is Clear.

Third Race
(1) Chef Eric (2) Sunset Stroll (3) Rehoboth

CHEF ERIC was a close third last time to a tough old campaigner, Good and Lucky. He also might get a decent pace to close into on account of the presence of sprint-to-route prospect MIDVAIL, as well as front-running routers SUNSET STROLL and MINER BIRD. SUNSET STROLL has turned in a series of competitive efforts this season and owns what ranks as this field's best last-race Beyer Figure. REHOBOTH, like top choice, would benefit from an honest pace.

Fourth Race
(1) Trojan War (2) Berlioz (3) Drumblare

TROJAN WAR draws a much improved post over his last start, when he broke from the 10-hole going a mile. He did well to come within a neck of winning, and for the effort earned what ranks as this field's best last-race Beyer Figure. BERLIOZ would seem to offer some hidden value, as he has hooked some tough rivals in his recent races, among them future Grade 3 Razorback H., winner It Happened Again. These would seem easier. DRUMBLARE gets back to racing around two turns and the distance move should be meaningful for him as his last three wins on form came in route races.

Fifth Race
(1) Electric Alphabet (2) To the Moon (3) Almighty Adversary

ELECTRIC ALPHABET gets a shot at a conditioned claiming sprint after meeting more experienced rivals last time, and note that race has become a key one. The third-place finisher came back to take a $25K conditioned claimer at OP with a Beyer Figure of 82, and the eighth-place finisher, All in Slew, an $18K claimer at Haw, with a Beyer of 80. TO THE MOON lands a tough post, but he has been competitive from such gates in his recent starts. He also might be sitting on a peak effort in what will be his third start off the layoff. ALMIGHTY ADVERSARY, like top choice, gets a chance at a conditiond claiming spot after facing more experienced rivals last out at OP.

Sixth Race
(1) Pulpit's Secret (2) Sun Bear (3) Bonaroo

PULPIT'S SECRET is one who can be closer to the pace than he found himself last time, when he had significant trouble at the start. Like that he was favored in that race, and that he has an age edge on some of these as he is 4. PULPIT'S SECRET is also a well-bred sort. His dam was a Grade 1 winner of $604K, and she has produced Forest Command, who was placed in the Grade 2 Super Derby. SUN BEAR made the move to old-school dirt this meet at OP and has been competitive in each of his starts. He also finished in front of top choice last time. BONAROO moves back to two turns after runing second last out to Saracen, who was expected to run in an allowance earlier on the card. As for BONAROO, he has stakes experience and owns the field's best last-race Beyer Figure.

Seventh Race
(1) Front Row Yo (2) Jilly From Philly (3) Hero's Empire

FRONT ROW YO must overcome the wide post, but like that he moves back to the distance of his last win. He also faced a quality sort in hist most recent start in Commander, who is to make his stakes debut later on the program in the $100K Northern Spur. JILLY FROM PHILLY has more racing experience than top choice, while HERO'S EMPIRE owns the field's best last-race Beyer Figure. The latter is also a half-brother to Andromeda's Hero, a multiple stakes winner who earned $836K.

Eighth Race
(1) Dixie City (2) May Day Rose (3) Hearts On Fire

DIXIE CITY seems like a runner who fits the OP surface like a glove, given the strong series of works she shows over the local strip. She also could get a perfect tracking trip here behind the quick MAY DAY ROSE. The two fillies are the class of this afternoon's $100K Instant Racing. Both are graded stakes winners, with DIXIE CITY finding that kind of success at Aqu, and MAY DAY ROSE achieving the status at SA. HEARTS ON FIRE is a determined kind of runner who defeated older rivals last time, including the Grade 2-placed Mambo Fever. She, too, might get a nice kind of trip behind MAY DAY ROSE.

Ninth Race
(1) The Ole Gen (2) Commander (3) Uncle Brent

THE OLE GEN returns to old-school dirt for the $100K Northern Spur, and the move should be meaningful for him as both of his wins have come over such a surface. However, he did quite well to place in the $100K Rushaway last out as his trainer, Larry Jones, felt he did not handle the synthetic track at Turfway. THE OLE GEN has some natural speed, and might get a stalking trip behind probable pacesetter ALBERGATTI and the sprint-to-route prospect DERIVATIVE. COMMANDER is a talented sort who has held his own against some quality company. Back in January, for instance, he was third by a neck to Alternation and Elite Alex, both of whom are set to start later on the card in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. UNCLE BRENT found himself farther back than expected last time, when, in his two-turn debut, he closed from last to just miss to an older rival. One start earlier, UNCLE BRENT had made all the pace while winning a six-furlong maiden special weight in a quick 1:09.40.

Tenth Race
(1) Sky's the Limit (2) Just a Coincidence (3) Mac Dehere

SKY'S THE LIMIT might get an ideal stalking trip behind a few of these. He's also appealing for his consistent nature. Dominguez teams with JUST A COINCIDENCE, who has been flattered since his win last out, with the third-place finisher coming back to take a $25K conditioned claimer at OP with a Beyer Figure of 82, and the seventh-place finisher, Lemon Custard, an $18K claimer at Haw, with a Beyer of 80. MAC DEHERE also exits a key race, with the winner returning to take a $25K optional claiming allowance at OP with a Beyer Figure of 90, and the fifth-place finisher, the Grade 2-placed Northern Giant, an N2X allowance over SKY'S THE LIMIT.

Eleventh Race
(1) The Factor (2) J P's Gusto (3) Elite Alex

THE FACTOR has brilliant speed and a fluent stride, and those are assets that should serve him well this afternoon as he heads into the biggest test of his career, the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. It appears he will face more pace in this race than he did last month in the Grade 2, $300K Rebel at Oaklawn, but he's equipped to tolerate a certain level of pressure because of his natural speed, his efficient stride and the professionalism he's displayed thus far in his career. THE FACTOR was resilient in the Rebel. The competition moved to him at the top of the stretch and he rebroke, winning off by more than six lengths. The performance makes him the one to beat. J P'S GUSTO has the tracking speed to keep the pace honest. He's also proven class as a Grade 1 winner, and he has worked sharply up to the Arkansas Derby. ELITE ALEX can be closer to the pace than he found himself last out in the Louisiana Derby, when he lagged some 15 lengths off the pace. He has the benefit of a mile and an eighth race under his belt now, which is something just a handful of these can claim. BRETHREN is a half-brother to Super Saver, who was edged in this race a year ago then came back and won the Kentucky Derby. NEHRO is a half-brother to Grade 3 Discovery winner Saint Marden, and Sunshine Millions Distaff winner Sweet Lips.

Twelfth Race
(1) General Partner (2) Tiz a Scholar (3) Toby the Coal Man

The final race of the 2011 Oaklawn season is a marathon, with these to go a mile and three-quarters. It will be run around three turns. Siding with GENERAL PARTNER for his consistent nature at this $7,500 starter allowance level. He also is from a Broad Brush mare, which is a nice source of stamina. TIZ A SCHOLAR, who is a two-time winner at the meet, has long been pointed for this race by Garroutte. TOBY THE COAL MAN has some pedigree influences that support him at longer distances. Goodnight, Oaklawn.