Arkansas Derby

Keepmeinmind Likely for Arkansas Derby

Though he has an option for the $800,000 GII Toyota Blue Grass S. Apr. 3, Keepmeinmind (Laoban) is more likely to remain at trainer Robertino Didoro's Oaklawn base and await the $1-million GI Arkansas Derby Apr. 10, the conditioner told the Oaklawn notes team Thursday. "It could change, but right now I'm pointing towards the Arkansas Derby," Diodoro said. "Just being here, not having to ship." Second in the GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity last October and third in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile as a maiden, Keepmeinmind rallied from last...

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Essential Quality to Blue Grass, Arkansas Derby Next for Caddo River

Defending juvenile champion Essential Quality (Tapit) is expected to make his next start in the Apr. 3 GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland, according to trainer Brad Cox Tuesday. The Godolphin homebred, who is slated to post his final major work this Saturday, most recently won the GIII Southwest S. at Oaklawn Feb. 27. "The Blue Grass is what we have zeroed in on," confirmed Cox. "He's done extremely well [since the Southwest]. We breezed him last Saturday [Mar. 13], and we clocked him at a half in :48.20,...

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Prevalence on Target for Derby Prep

Godolphin's Prevalence (Medaglia d'Oro), who followed a 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy debut going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Jan. 23 with a one-mile allowance tally in Hallandale last Thursday, could make his next start in a GI Kentucky Derby prep, with the Apr. 3 GII Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland the same day, and the Apr. 10 GI Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park all in play. "His maiden win told us something, his allowance win told us even more and his next race will decide where...

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Oaklawn Raises Purses 15%, Top Allowances Now Worth $110K

Over the final eight weeks of its 2021 season, Oaklawn will boost purses by 15%, a total of $2.5 million, into overnight races, including increasing top allowance races to $110,000. The across the board increase also takes maiden special weights to $93,000 and raises the bottom purse to $27,000, and represents the largest in-season purse hike in the track's history. "It's been an interesting year to say the least, but it is very gratifying to announce this purse increase nearly a year after shutting the race meet and casino down...

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Caddo River Works Towards Rebel

'TDN Rising Star' Caddo River (Hard Spun), currently sitting at number two on the TDN Top Kentucky Derby contenders sponsored by Fasig-Tipton, went an easy half-mile in :50.60 at Oaklawn Park Friday morning as he prepares for his next start in the $1-million GII Rebel S. in Hot Springs Mar. 13. It was the Shortleaf Stable homebred's first serious piece of work since a 10 1/4-length thrashing of his rivals in the Smarty Jones S. Jan. 22. Breezing prior to the first renovation break beneath exercise rider Gustavo Abrego, Caddo...

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Oaklawn Releases New Proposed Integrity Initiatives for '21

Working in partnership with the Arkansas Racing Commission and the Arkansas HBPA (Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association), Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has announced, subject to legislative approval, a series of significant proposed safety and integrity enhancements planned for the 2021 racing season. Key provisions include the prohibition of Clenbuterol within 60 days of a race, reduction in the maximum amount of Lasix without specific approval, and the mandatory use of safety whips in races. "We began working on these measures last spring," said Oaklawn President Louis Cella. "We hosted a...

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Undefeated Nadal to Stand at Shadai in Japan

'TDN Rising Star' Nadal (Blame--Ascending Angel, by Pulpit), whose four wins from as many trips to the races included the faster of two divisions of the GI Arkansas Derby, will enter stud in 2021 at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan, the organization confirmed in a release Wednesday upon the 3-year-old's arrival in the country. Bred in Kentucky by Sierra Farm, Nadal was purchased by Randy Bradshaw, agent, for $65,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale and was successfully resold for $700,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale after breezing an...

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Charlatan Nears Return to Training

TDN Rising Star Charlatan (Speightstown), a Triple Crown candidate earlier in the season before being sidelined by injury, is expected to return to training soon, according to Starlight Racing's Jack Wolf, who campaigns the sophomore in partnership with SF Racing, Madaket Stables and Stonestreet Stables. After detecting some filling to the front ankle following a June 1 workout [five furlongs in 1:00.80] at Santa Anita, Bob Baffert confirmed that the colt would get 45 days off after an MRI revealed chips which required minor surgery. "He's doing really well," said...

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Oaklawn Planning 57-Day Meet with Four $1-Million Stakes Races in 2021

Pending approval from the Arkansas Racing Commission, Oaklawn plans to conduct its regular 57-day meet highlighted by four $1-million stakes races--$1-million GII Rebel S., $1-million GI Arkansas Derby, $1-million GII Oaklawn H. and $1-million GI Apple Blossom H.--and the richest purse structure in its 117-year history. The 2021 season, which will be accentuated by the opening of a multi-purpose event center and a luxury 200-room hotel overlooking the track, is scheduled to run Friday, Jan. 22--Saturday, May 1. In addition, 21 stakes will have their purses raised by at least...

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King Guillermo Fires Bullet Ahead of Kentucky Derby

Victoria Ranch's King Guillermo (Uncle Mo) tuned up for the $3-million GI Kentucky Derby with a five-furlong drill that was clocked in :58.20 (see below), the quickest of 40 works at the distance. It was the second consecutive Churchill bullet for the strapping bay, who went the same distance in :59.40 (1/46) Aug. 15. With Miguel Mena in the irons, the GII Tampa Bay Derby upsetter broke off in :11.40 for the opening eighth of a mile, then was timed in subsequent splits of :23 (flat) (:11.60 interval), :34.80 (:11.80)...

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Letter to the Editor: Davant Latham

Until horses live in a laboratory environment, environmental contamination will occur...hich means zero tolerance is impossible. "Zero Tolerance" is a great soundbite, but unrealistic. The recent final disqualifications of Charlatan and Gamine from their Oaklawn victories for minute levels of lidocaine are ridiculous. A lidocaine backpatch could easily be the source of such a tiny amount, as could a simple caslick procedure on a filly or a "no itch" topical ointment. Let's also consider the amount of the banned substance in their systems. Charlatan tested positive with 46 picograms of...

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New York Times Report: Split Sample Positive for Baffert Runners

Split samples taken from Charlatan (Speightstown) and Gamine (Into Mischief) after wins on the Arkansas Derby Day card at Oaklawn Park May 2 confirmed positive results for the local numbing agent Lidocaine, according to a report in New York Times Monday evening. Both horses are trained by Bob Baffert. Charlatan was a six-length victor in a division of the GI Arkansas Derby, while Gamine won an allowance race on the card and has since gone on to a romping victory in the GI Acorn S. A statement released by attorney...

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