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  • The Arkansas Derby

    Here is the field in post position order. Distance is 1 1/8 miles and all entrants carry 118 lbs except Afternoon Affair, Ronton, Elite Mercedes, Snuck In, and Scottish Halo who carry 122 lbs. The purse is $500,000.
    # / PPHorseJockeyTrainerM/L Odds
    1 / 1Afternoon Affair Judice Holthus 20-1
    1A / 3Here Comes Rocket Quinonez Holthus 20-1
    2 / 2Ronton Gomez Cerin 10-1
    3 / 4Fan The Flame Court Morse 20-1
    4 / 5Country Coast Borel Amoss20-1
    5 / 6Elite Mercedes Bailey Walden 4-1
    6 / 7Impeachment Perret Pletcher 20-1
    7 / 9Snuck In Asmussen Asmussen 2-1
    8 / 10Graeme Hall Albarado Pletcher 10-1
    9 / 11Polish Miner Smith McGaughey 5-1
    10 / 12Scottish Halo Turner Rizzo 12-1
    11 / 13True Confidence Nakatani Lukas 6-1
    12 / 8Timber Wolf Doocy Von Hemel 30-1
    12 / 14Crystal Gulch Whitney Jayaraman 30-1

    Elite Mercedes
    at the Spiral Stakes
    Horses from all over have converged on Hot Springs to take one last shot at a chance to go to the Kentucky Derby making it one of the largest fields in years. First run in 1936, the Arkansas Derby has produced some nice horses in recent years like Victory Gallop, Grindstone, Concern, and Lil E. Tee. This year it looks like late bloomer and local hero Snuck In is the logical choice, having won more races and money than anyone else. Although Elite Mercedes was unable to hold off Globalize in the Spiral Stakes, he could move forward off that start and be a contender. There are a few others who are trying to get back on the Triple Crown track after some setbacks like Polish Miner and Scottish Halo and a whole herd of long shots. I suspect one of those will get in there and make the exotics pay big but which one is a good question!

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    The Wood Memorial

    Here is the field in post position order. Distance is 1 1/8 miles and all entrants carry 123 lbs. The purse is $750,000 plus a $250,000 bonus if the winner also wins the Kentucky Derby.
    PPHorseJockeyTrainerM/L Odds
    1Cat's at Home Davis Hennig 50-1
    2Red Bullet Solis Orseno 4-1
    3Postponed Santos Schulhofer 15-1
    4Aptitude Blanc Frankel 5-1
    5Fusaichi Pegasus Desormeaux Drysdale 4-5
    6Appearing Now Luzzi Ortiz 20-1
    7Exchange Rate Chavez Lukas 5-1
    8Traditionally Prado McGaughey 20-1
    9Country Only CastilloBinn 12-1
    10Fight for Ally Gryder Everett 30-1
    11Painted Pistol Bridgmohan Campo 50-1
    12Connect Velasquez Saunders 50-1

    Fusaichi Pegasus
    courtesy of Patty Yount
    First run in 1925, 11 Wood Memorial winners have won the Kentucky Derby. This year the current Derby favorite, Fusaichi Pegasus, is making his first East coast start in the Wood. He has won impressively in California and if he is all people are making him out to be, he should easily win here. The rest of the field is mostly horses with potential that hasn't been realized yet so if he doesn't like the deeper track in New York, there could be an upset. Of course this is not the race they really want to win with him so all they may want here is a good showing for him that will put him along the right track for Kentucky and not take too much out of him. Aptitude, Exchange Rate, Red Bullet, and even Postponed could jump up here and win given luck and an off day for FuPeg.

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    Photos by author except where noted.

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