04/18/2016 3:13PM

The week that was in racing, April 11-17, 2016

Email
Coady Photography
Creator Wins the Arkansas Derby

Here's a collection of some of the biggest stories in horse racing, all in one place. Unless noted, all of the links here are to free stories on DRF.com.

Creator wins Arkansas Derby, targets Kentucky Derby

Creator rallied from last in the 12-horse field under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., took the lead a furlong out, and held safe Suddenbreakingnews to win the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. Those two, along with third-place finisher Whitmore, will start next in the Kentucky Derby. Cupid, who finished 10th as the 4-5 favorite in the Arkansas Derby, exited the race with an entrapped epiglottis and will bypass the Kentucky Derby in favor of the Preakness, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

The Arkansas Derby represented the final meaningful prep race for the Kentucky Derby, so barring any further defections, the top 20 in points will make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. It was yet another of the major Derby preps where the pace was fast early slow late, and as speed figures go, this may not be the strongest Derby field in recent years.

Songbird spikes fever, will miss Kentucky Oaks

A fever will prevent the champion Songbird from starting in the Kentucky Oaks on May 6 at Churchill Downs. She was diagnosed with a fever in the days after her win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 9. Her condition did not improve over the weekend, owner Rick Porter and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Sunday evening. Considering she was poised to be a strong favorite, her defection gives the Oaks a dramatically different look [DRF+ link].

Fillies and mares dominate Keeneland turf

Champion turfer Tepin drew away down the stretch in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes on Saturday, setting a stakes record while displaying the same brilliance that led to victories in the Grade 1 First Lady and Breeders’ Cup Mile on the Keeneland course last fall. On Friday, Graham Motion chose to enter Miss Temple City versus males in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile, largely to avoid Tepin. Motion’s gamble paid off, as the 4-year-old filly stalked the pacesetters and kicked clear late.

Forever Unbridled joins mom and sister as Grade 1 winner

Forever Unbridled became the Grade 1 winner her connections thought she had the potential to become Friday, when she finished with a flourish for a 2 1/4-length win in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park. Forever Unbridled races for her breeder, Charles Fipke, and is out of the Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, who was trained by Dallas Stewart. Forever Unbridled is a full sister to Unbridled Forever, a Grade 1 winner and earner of $805,257 for Fipke and Stewart.

Graded stakes action around the country

Saturday’s Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap played out like a rematch of last month’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. This time, though, Effinex turned the tables on his rival Melatonin. At Keeneland, Eagle finally got some racing luck – not to mention a terrific ride from Brian Hernandez Jr. – after some tough beats over the winter in overtaking Noble Bird to post his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Ben Ali.

To see all recent stakes results, click here.

Breeding news

The War Front colt delivered by champion Zenyatta has died due to complications from meconium aspiration syndrome, just three days after his birth.

Horses to watch

Aqueduct:
AIMED
Trainer: Alan Goldberg
Last race: April 16, 6th
Finish: 3rd by 7 3/4
Beyer: 67
Trappe Shot homebred was pinched back at the start and offered a belated bid for a minor award when returned from a layoff of more than four months in a maiden special weight sprint; might prefer more ground.

DRF Plus subscribers can see the rest of Dave Litfin’s horses to watch from last week by clicking here.

reporting by Mike Hogan, Byron King, Dave Litfin, Marty McGee, Jay Privman, Mary Rampellini, Nicole Russo, and Mike Watchmaker