No Kentucky Derby? No problem. Okay, I don’t really mean that. The first Saturday in May isn’t the same without a 20-horse field thundering around the dirt track at Churchill Downs. Luckily, the coronavirus didn’t cancel all of the racing action.
Officials at Oaklawn Park postponed the Arkansas Derby and expanded the field to 22, creating two divisions of the race. After a few scratches we are down to a pair of nine-horse fields. In between the races is a competitive field of four and five-year-olds in the Oaklawn Handicap.
I’ll be playing the Pick Three on the TVG app. If you have never signed up before, use this code to receive a free $25 bet. It’s just enough to cover the$1 Pick Three bet below.
Arkansas Derby Division I
I hate to say that this is a one-horse race but this is a one-horse race. Really the only move is to single Bob Baffert’s Charlatan, possibly the best three-year-old of his talented 2020 group. I really liked what Shooters Shoot brought to the table after winning back-to-back races in the 90s and moving up in class. Following its scratch I can’t in good conscience add any others to the ticket. Instead, I’ll throw in Basin and Gouverneur Morris in an exotic.
I’m pretty disappointed Improbable scratched. Not because it’s a good horse. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I would have thoroughly enjoyed watching fools drive the drive down to give me better value on others.
By My Standards was an absolute beast in its last outing. Tacitus, like most Tapit horses, loves the distance as a closer. Mr. Freeze has ran a 99 or better in its last five starts. Trophy Chaser has won back-to-back and was impressive the last time he went this distance. Since I singled Charlatan in the first, I can afford to add a big long shot in Bravazo.
Arkansas Derby Division II
Like the first division, you must include the Bob Baffert favorite in your ticket. Wells Bayou has enough speed to take down Nadal. The only question is whether or not the Brad Cox horse can do it from the outside 11-post. Not only does Storm the Court have a great name, the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner consistently post speed figures over 90.
Farmington Road will be added if the price get high enough. I have a love-hate relationship with Silver Prospector. The Steve Asmussen horse ridden by Ricardo Santana has a way of letting me down when I bet it, then killing it when I don’t. On what would have been Kentucky Derby Day, I couldn’t forgive myself if I left it off the ticket and it won the race.