By Rick Francis —-
Malagacy the one to beat in G1 Arkansas Derby; Oaklawn/Coady Photography
A field of twelve 3-year-old colts head to the starting gate in the running of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, and for several a last chance at the “Run for the Roses”; let’s take a look at the starters.
Race 11), 1„ Mile. Arkansas Derby Grade I. Purse $1,000,000 THREE YEAR OLDS. Post Time: 7:18/( 6:18)/ 5:18/ 4:18
Rockin Rudy 1), O’Neill/Gutierrez; interesting start here for the Reddam/O’Neill team, as this Midshipman colt returns to the dirt following a pair of seconds coming down the Santa Anita hill; the blinkers come off today so that must be the angle.
Classic Empire 2), Casse/Leparoux; juvenile champ showed some rust last out, his first start of 2017, as he raced wide and was empty late to finish third in the G2 Holy Bull. He’s got the skills and connections say he’s ready to fire, but if he doesn’t bring his “A” game, he’ll be watching the “Run for the Roses” instead of participating.
Silver Dust 3), Morse/Lanerie; Tapit colt gets first blinkers following his second straight subpar effort here (4th in the Southwest and 5th in the Rebel). He shows a nice quick work tab, but he also showed a nice quick work tab before each of those subpar starts.
Petrov 4), Moquett/Santana; son of Flatter has factored here in three Oaklawn starts, placing in both the Smarty Jones and Southwest, and was part of the blanket finish last out in the Rebel, only to finish a long nose back fourth; don’t dismiss this one.
Grandpa’s Dream 5), Hartman/Canchari; broke from the maiden ranks last out; pass.
Lookin At Lee 6), Asmussen/Contreras; just hasn’t had the same fire he showed during his juvenile campaign; though he’s quite capable, Lookin At Lucky colt needs a lucky break here to move on.
Sonneteer 7), Desormeaux/Desormeaux; in his first trip outside of California, son of Midnight Lute shocked the Oaklawn tote-bard with a straight-up hard charging second in the Rebel, at odds no less than 112-1. He’s still a maiden but has anyone forgotten Irap????
Rowdy the Warrior 8), Von Hemel/Quinonez; a solid overnight stakes player, and he should go on to make a living at that class.
Untrapped 9), Asmussen/Smith; Trappe Shot colt has finished in the money in his last three, all graded Derby points contests. Just missed a place spot in the Rebel, and with the addition of Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the irons that just missed becomes even smaller.
One Dreamy Dude 10), Van Berg/Franco; maiden out of First Dude just hasn’t been competitive; if he beats me, he beats me.
Conquest Mo Money 11), Hernandez/Carreno; Sunland Park player won his first three there, however when he stepped up in the Sunland Derby he could only finish a game second to Hence; this field dwarf’s that contest.
Malagacy 12), Pletcher/Castellano; is there anyone on the Derby hunt that’s been hotter than Todd Pletcher? With a win today, this undefeated Shackleford colt will seek to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old since 1882, (Apollo). The plan today, as it’s been for his first three starts is go the front and let ‘em catch you; I say they don’t.
Selections: 12, 4, 2, 9