Oaklawn

Arkansas Derby Boosted to $1.25M, Date Changed for '22

The purse for the 2022 GI Arkansas Derby will be increased to $1.25 million--up from $1 million in 2021--and the race will be contested Saturday, Apr. 2, Oaklawn Park announced Tuesday. The date shift is a departure from the traditional three weeks before the Kentucky Derby and the increased purse makes the race the richest event among Derby preps. In 2022, Oaklawn will offer a record 36 stakes worth $12.3 million. In addition to the Arkansas Derby, three stakes will carry million dollar purses and 15 other stakes will offer...

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Letruska Denies Monomoy Girl in Apple Blossom; Swiss Skydiver Third

St George Stables' Letruska (Super Saver) completed an ascent from the humblest of humble beginnings to the highest of highs in the Thoroughbred game, fighting back willingly inside of multiple Eclipse Award winner and two-time GI Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) to take Saturday's $1-million GI Apple Blossom H. by half a head. Reigning 3-year-old champion Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) couldn't go with the top two late and settled for third. The contrarians were out in force all across social media since the Apple Blossom was drawn Tuesday, reasoning...

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Champions Battle in Apple Blossom

Saturday's GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn Park features a clash between champions Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) and Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil). Named champion 3-year-old filly off a sparkling 2018 campaign, Monomoy Girl returned from a year and a half on the sidelines to win all four starts in 2020, including Churchill's GI La Troienne S. followed by a successful title defense in the Nov. 7 GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland. After realizing $9.5 million from Spendthrift Farm at Fasig-Tipton in November, the 6-year-old mare marked her debut sporting the MyRacehorse...

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Homebred 'Stars' in the Making for Spendthrift

A pair of Spendthrift Farm homebreds stamped themselves as 3-year-olds to watch for the second half of the season with recent jaw-dropping 'TDN Rising Star' performances. Following Sea (c, 3, Runhappy--Quick Flip, by Speightstown) earned his 'Rising Star' badge with a flashy maiden win at second asking for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on the GI Arkansas Derby undercard, good for a gaudy 97 Beyer Speed Figure. The bay was hustled to the front by Joel Rosario in the six-furlong affair and was pressed on his inside through an...

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Runhappy Colt Runs to Rising Stardom in Hot Springs

Following Sea (Runhappy) took the trip down to Hot Springs with his GI Arkansas Derby-bound stablemates for this lucrative maiden test and proved more than up for the task with a dominant debut victory, earning 'TDN Rising Star' honors. A $230,000 in utero purchase by Spendthrift Farm at the 2017 KEENOV sale, the bay crossed the line second behind stablemate and subsequent GI Runhappy Santa Anita fourth Defunded (Dialed In) on debut at Santa Anita Mar. 6, but he was demoted to third by the stewards for interference. Receiving Lasix...

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Baffert Looking for 'Concert' Encore in Arkansas Derby

After losing presumptive GI Kentucky Derby favorite Life Is Good (Into Mischief) to injury for several months, Bob Baffert may still have the Derby chalk in his barn if his undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' Concert Tour (Street Sense) can follow up his dominant GII Rebel S. score with a similar performance against just five rivals in Saturday's $1-million GI Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. Unveiled as an even-money favorite going six furlongs Jan. 15 at Santa Anita, the Gary and Mary West homebred scored a good-looking wire-to-wire victory and repeated with...

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Seven Fillies Hope to Make Oaks Fantasy a Reality

Regally bred Pauline's Pearl (Tapit) is among seven fillies hoping to stamp their tickets to the GI Kentucky Oaks in Saturday's GIII Honeybee S. at Oaklawn. A daughter of Grade I winner Hot Dixie Chick (Dixie Union), the gray earned her diploma at third asking in a sloppy two-turn test at Fair Grounds Feb. 12 and rallied to be a close second next out in this venue's GIII Honeybee S. Mar. 6. Honeybee third-place finisher Sun Path (Munnings) looks to break through at the black-type level here. A second-out graduation...

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Concert Tour, Caddo River Head 3yo Worktab Saturday

Heading the likely cast of contenders in the Apr. 10 GI Arkansas Derby, undefeated Concert Tour (Street Sense) worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 under Juan Ochoa at Santa Anita Saturday morning. "He went great; he looked fantastic," said trainer Bob Baffert. "He couldn't have looked any better. He just cruised around there in a minute and change." Taking over as top dog in the Baffert barn following the injury of Life Is Good (Into Mischief), Concert Tour a perfect three-for-three this season, including wins in the GII San Vicente S....

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Baffert Seeks Eighth Rebel Win

Bob Baffert is dangerous at any track he runs at, but he seems to have a special affinity for Oaklawn, especially in the GII Rebel S. The Hall of Famer has won that event seven times, saddling the likes of Lookin at Lucky (2010), The Factor (2011), Secret Circle (2012), Hoppertunity (2014), Triple Crown hero American Pharoah (2015), Cupid (2016) and Nadal (2020). All of those horses went on to be Grade I winners and stallions and undefeated Concert Tour (Street Sense) looks to add his name to that illustrious...

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Shedaresthedevil Makes Seasonal Bow in Azeri

GI Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) makes her first start of 2021 Saturday in the GII Azeri S. at Oaklawn. Victress of the GIII Honeybee S. at this oval last season, the bay rallied to be third behind champion Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in Oaklawn's GIII Fantasy S. in May. She wired a Churchill optional claimer by six lengths a month later and romped in the GIII Indiana Oaks in July. Overlooked at 15-1 in the Oaks due to the presence of future champions Swiss Skydiver and Gamine (Into Mischief), Shedaresthedevil...

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Sun Path Seeks Redemption in Honeybee

'TDN Rising Star' Sun Path (Munnings) looks to rebound from an off-the-board finish as the favorite in the Silverbulletday S. last time out in Saturday's GIII Honeybee S. at Oaklawn. Graduating at second asking at Churchill Downs Nov. 8, the chestnut dominated by 12 3/4 lengths next out in a two-turn allowance at Fair Grounds Dec. 18. The Juddmonte homebred was heavily favored next out in that venue's Silverbulletday Jan. 16, but tired to fourth. Will's Secret (Will Take Charge) took some time to come around, but may be hitting...

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Champion Essential Quality Takes the Southwest

Mother Nature did her level best over the last couple of weeks to try to wreak havoc with the seasonal debut of Godolphin's undefeated Eclipse Award winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Essential Quality (Tapit). An atypically cold and snowy stretch of weather in and around Hot Springs left the track closed for several days and set maintenance crews the monumental task of first clearing the better part of a foot of snow, then caring for the strip which bore a resemblance more to a construction site than it did Thoroughbred...

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