Updated on 04/16/2013 9:47AM

Arkansas Derby: Overanalyze pulls away for Pletcher

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Tom Keyser
Overanalyze wins the Arkansas Derby under jockey Rafael Bejarano.

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.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

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.

Pom De Terre More than 1 year ago
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.
pennyandy More than 1 year ago
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!
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
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.
Pom De Terre More than 1 year ago
and when you watch the head on- you can see the dirt he took really bothered him. totally agree. why take a rider like stevens and then tell him not to run the horse?
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
I doubt that Wayne Lukas told Gary Stevens to take Oxbow back - he was probably not overly thrilled with the ride.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Stevens, is probably one of the best jocks to sit on a horse. Oxbow's breeding, screams distance, and he could have negotiated that trip quite easily. The derby will be interesting this year, since it seems most of them seem to be front end runners. Should set up nicely for Orb.
Steve Brabant More than 1 year ago
Oxbow came out of the 10 hole. Several horses flew to the front....he could have run 22 and change for the quarter from way out there and gotten to the lead....would make no sense.....they played the hand they were dealt. He has a history of hanging down the lane anyway....turning for home he was stuck behind a wall and came running...bred for the Derby distance..... he doesnt like to battle down the lane but he still may be good enough for 3rd or 4th in the Derby.
Debbie More than 1 year ago
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.
matt More than 1 year ago
Well said, Debbie.
Chavarris More than 1 year ago
It amazes how people get on these sites to ... Overanalyze did come in some but it DID NOT HAVE ANY EFFECT on the outcome of the race. Just because you bet on the other horse does not mean he would've won. The rule is simple: did the interference cause the horse a position in the official order of finish? The answer is NO. He was not going to beat Overanalyze and it did not cost him 2nd place. End of argument and end of conversation. You lost, get over it!
Kevin Smith More than 1 year ago
i didn't bet the race todd gets away with everything,they just look the other way
Pom De Terre More than 1 year ago
you did not watch the head on chavarris
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Good point Chavarris.... The interference was very minor and did not cost anyone a position in the order of finish. If Frac Daddy runs 3rd by a nose, then they might have had a problem. Not too many people on this board know what they are talking about and they definately don't know the rules. Glad to see someone on here that has common sense.
Holdouts More than 1 year ago
I boxed Frac Daddy with them all. And Overanalyze did cut him off in the stretch.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
that was minor.... R.B. was hanging off the side of overanalyze to keep him off frac daddy and he did just that...stewards agreed...results were as they should have been....that being said , the best horse in the race will be proven on derby day when OXBO will beat anyone that was in this field for sure....including the winner.
matt More than 1 year ago
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........
Bob Welde More than 1 year ago
oh poor baby guess u did not bet him 2 win
matt More than 1 year ago
Actually Bob, I missed the race. Was too busy cashing my Keeneland R7-10 pick 4. The line at the IRS window was long. Oh, BTW, how did you do yesterday?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Lol. Winner winner winner ..... and the beat goes on dbag. Fool
maria More than 1 year ago
Winner of what? yeah short-term for those on top who wouldn't be around when this less than niche industry eventually goes away......it is just kept alive by their biggest competitor the casino.....winner winner winner.....shhhhhhhhshhhhhh
B More than 1 year ago
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.
Chavarris More than 1 year ago
Define fast ... and do you truly believe the "final time" is indicative of how fast the horses run? Orb, Verrazano, Revolutionary, Goldencents and even the european Lines of Battle will be super horses. Its amazes that every eyar the same "assessment" is made of the quality of 3-year old crop ... would you please let us know what qualifies you to assess how good or bad this group of colts is? I do agree with you that there won't be a triple crown winner, but not because they aren't great horses but because there are 5+ colts with great potential!!!
Nick Arden More than 1 year ago
Actually last year we had a very good crop of 3year-olds and many people were saying it. They just weren't on DRF since the good horses were all from California.
mikey More than 1 year ago
You MUST BE JOKING!! we breed mainly 6 furlongs to mile horses..
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
agreed...except the triple crown part
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
L.S. Heatherly More than 1 year ago
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
Bob Welde More than 1 year ago
overanalyze will hit the board n the KDerby
matt More than 1 year ago
Good luck with that!
Chavarris More than 1 year ago
Was I the only one watching the race???? Overanalyze was 5 wide on both turn and "took off" when he felt the whip!!! He beat this "weak" field by open lengths and gave them at least another 4-6 lengths because of how wide he traveled. Is he good enough to beat Orb, Verrazano, etc? I don't think so. I still think Orb will win the Derby with Rosario who's been riding incredibly well since the beginning of the year
Mark More than 1 year ago
Did he win the Arkansas derby grade 1 $1 million Arkansas derby ? Yep ! The derby is not an end all be all. Keep up the hate ! That is also great for the game . Lol . Give it up ...
Jim Pino More than 1 year ago
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?
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
The last 3 furlongs run in 39+ seconds. Won't cut it in the Derby.