Final races prior to Derby to take place today
The Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May, and the final points prep races are being conducted today. Oaklawn Park will host the G1 Arkansas Derby with 170 total points on the line. Keeneland has the G3 Lexington Stakes with only 34 total points available. The Lexington will be run at a distance of 1 1/16th miles, whereas the Arkansas Derby will be at 1 1/8th miles, which is 110 yards longer.
Only Proxy (34 points) and Hockey Dad (20 points) have a legitimate chance of qualifying for the Run for the Roses in the Lexington. That race has 10 total entries, but none of the other eight horses have enough points to benefit. First place is only worth 20 points, eight points for second, four for third and just two for fourth. Hockey Dad would need to win, whereas a first or second would be enough for Proxy to get into the Kentucky Derby in three weeks.
That race is scheduled to go to the post at 5:30 pm. Foxsports 2 should carry both races.
The big race of the day is the Arkansas Derby, which is not only a Grade One, but also has a $ 1 million total purse. Although the casual fan recognizes the importance of winning the Kentucky Derby, thoroughbred breeders recognize the importance of winning any G1, which is the highest level of racing. Breeders also recognize that winning or placing in any Graded Stakes is a feather in that horse’s pedigree.
Only six horses have entered the Arkansas Derby. scheduled to start at 7:41 p.m. NBCSN will cover this race, starting at 7 p.m. Super Stock drew post No. 1. He only has one win in seven career starts, with two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes. This will only be his second start in 2021, so he could improve if he is still maturing. Look for him to pass tiring horses at the end.
With only nine qualifying points earned thus far, Super Stock will need to finish at least second to get into the Kentucky Derby, as the Arkansas Derby offers 100 points for first, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for finishing fourth.
Caddo River exits post No. 2 and has only 10 points in his Derby points bank. . He won the non-graded Smarty Jones Stakes earlier this year, and would greatly benefit in both qualifying points and pedigree prestige by either winning or finishing second in a G1.
Hozier drew hole No. 3. This Bob Baffert trained 3 yr old closer was last seen finishing second in the G2 Rebel, earning him 20 points in the process. A top three finish would likely put him in the Run for the Roses. He only has three career starts, with one win and the aforementioned second-place finish.
Get Her Number has earned 10 Derby points thus far, with two wins in four starts, including a G1 score in September. He has started only once in 2021, finishing a disappointing seventh in the Rebel. He will need to improve significantly with his typical stalking type running style this time out. At least he is cleverly named, as his sire’s name is Dialed In, and his dam is Fancier.
Heavy favorite, Concert Tour, will leave post No. 5. This time he may receive more pressure for that early lead from Caddo River, which may play a big factor in how both horses ultimately finish. He was able to set a moderate pace in the Rebel, carving out the initial quarter mile fraction in 23.4 seconds, the half in 47.5 seconds and three quarters in 1:12. I expect the earlier fractions to be quicker this time around, perhaps under 23 seconds
And down the stretch they come!