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Updated on 04/16/2013 9:47AM
Arkansas Derby: Overanalyze pulls away for Pletcher
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Overanalyze gave his trainer, Todd Pletcher, a third major contender for next month’s Kentucky Derby after he cruised to a 4 1/4-length win in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on Saturday. Pletcher also trains Verrazano, the undefeated winner of the Wood Memorial, and Revolutionary, the winner of the Louisiana Derby.
With the wins, horses trained by Pletcher ended up accounting for three of the seven Kentucky Derby preps that were worth 100 points to the winner on the new system governing preference into the May 4 race. He just missed missed winning a fourth when Palace Malice was caught in deep stretch of the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday and finished second by a neck to Java’s War.
The Arkansas Derby closed out the Oaklawn meet, and a sunny afternoon in the low 70s helped the track draw a crowd of 66,158. There were four major stakes on the program, with Cyber Secret winning the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap, Justin Phillip capturing the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, and Get Happy Mister winning the $100,000 Northern Spur.
Overanalyze ($9.40) was the most accomplished member of the Arkansas Derby field as the winner of last year’s Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park and Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct. He settled in seventh behind leader Divine Ambition, with Rafael Bejarano aboard Overanalyze for the first time after John Velazquez, who was to be ride, was injured last weekend. Divine Ambition took the field through an opening quarter in 23.32 seconds, and was joined by Falling Sky through a half-mile in 47.64.
Overanalyze began to advance outside of horses on the turn, while Falling Sky took the field through six furlongs in 1:12.57. The eventual winner came four wide into the stretch, and worked his way past the leaders to cover 1 1/8 miles on a track rated fast in 1:51.94.
“I had a beautiful trip,” said Bejarano.
“I didn’t use my horse too much in this race, tried to save a little bit,” he said. “I knew if he won the race he would be able to go in the Kentucky Derby. In the end, the last sixteenth, I saved a little bit for the next time, so I’m pretty sure he’s going to be ready for the Kentucky Derby.”
“I was shocked by how easy he won, and by how many lengths,” said Mike Repole, who owns Overanalyze.
Following the race a claim of foul against the winner was made by Phil Bauer, assistant to Ken McPeek, who trains Frac Daddy, for interference in the stretch. But it was not allowed by the stewards and no change was made to the order of finish. Frac Daddy was second, a half-length in front of third-place finisher Carve. Falling Sky was another neck back in fourth, with the top four finishers earning Kentucky Derby eligibility points on a scale of 100-40-20-10.
The remaining order of finish was Oxbow in fifth, followed by Den’s Legacy, Divine Ambition, Texas Bling, Heaven’s Runway, and War Academy, the favorite who was pulled up on the final turn and walked off.
Overanalyze’s win came one start after he finished fifth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct in his 3-year-old debut March 2.
“In six weeks, he took a lot of steps forward,” said Repole.
Repole said he is excited about next month, with Overanalyze in the Kentucky Derby and his Unlimited Budget to run in the Kentucky Oaks.
“I’ve been in the game 30 years, since I was 13, 14, and I’m 44 now,” he said. “This is why I got in the game. To have horses in both of those races. What a special weekend that’s going to be.”
Overanalyze earned $600,000 for his win in the Arkansas Derby, to improve his career record to 4 for 7 for earnings of $956,381. He is a son of Dixie Union.
Overanalyze gave Pletcher his third win in the Arkansas Derby behind Graeme Hall in 2000 and Balto Star in 2001. Pletcher was second in the race in 2010 with Super Saver, who returned in his next start to win the Kentucky Derby.
Oaklawn handled $12,777,316 on its 12-race card from all sources Saturday. Of that amount, $9.2 million was bet offtrack and $3.5 million ontrack.
oh i just cannot wait to see the derby now. come may 4th repole will have pletchedr handcuffed to his side, how is that possibly fair to the owners of the THREE other horse he has in the top 20 currently? cannot stand either of them, but repole in particulr makes my stomach upchuck.
Looks like lukas and Baffet's respective bubbles burst a bit after this race; will have to rely on their top point getters to get them to the promised land this year!
Why did Lukas change Oxbows running style. He always ran on the front end. Yesterday, they held him back, and made him a closer. Ran a terrible race. A little too late to mess with a horse's running style.
Overanalyze did cut him off and should have been set to last but since he is a Todd Pletcher horse nothing happened. He always gets special preference - look at what he got away with with Life At Ten in the Breeders Cup - he knew she was sick and ran her anyway- the Jockey paid a fine, the stewart got fired and Todd Pletcher got a away with it as always. When will people open their eyes. He is not for the horse- he is for himself . How many of his horses will drop out before the Derby with injuries - it happens every year and yet he gets away with it. No wonder we have not had a triple crown winner.
I boxed Frac Daddy with them all. And Overanalyze did cut him off in the stretch.
The slowest Arkansas Derby since Swift Ruler, way back in 1965. And fools like Mark trash the time of the Florida Derby, then have the gull to praise this horse. Take your lips off of TP's balls and go find me a decent stallion prospect TP has contributed to the industry. I hear the crickets........
I am seriously wondering about the overall quality of this year's three year old males. This race was a joke and the Blue Grass wasn't much better. The Wood was slow, the Florida Derby was slow. Even the horse I am rooting for (Orb) can't run all that fast. I guess if they are all equally mediocre, it could still make for an exciting race, but I have stopped looking for greatness and everyone can forget about a Triple Crown winner this year.
Bejarano saying he SAVED something is pure BS! He said that because he knows he used up this horse toooooo bad for Mike Repole ( a good man in American horse racing) and his Derby dreams. I'll bet him big time in the Travers though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1.The SLOWEST Arkansas derby since 1978 2nd Slowest Ark Derby since 1965 2. Overanalyze felt the whip in the home stretch and was under a full drive. Nothing saved. He very likely will bounce in the K Derby-- will not hit the board. L.S. Heatherly
an 88 beyer for a Grade I win...wow...is this the lowest grade I winning beyer in the last 10 years?? guess that is why a maiden claimer ran 3rd?