Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM
A11 - Arkansas Derby
Welcome to “Anthony’s Eleven,” your source for anything and everything leading up to Kentucky Derby 144 on May 5th at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In the coming weeks, Anthony Stabile, best known for picking 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide at odds of over 12-1, will break down the top contenders for this years’ Run for the Roses on VegasInsider.com, culminating on Friday, May 4th with an extensive analysis of every runner that steps into the gate for the most exciting two minutes in sports. On both May 4th and May 5th, Kentucky Oaks and Derby Day, you’ll be able to purchase Stabile’s Pick Packs, full of selections and plays for two of racings’ most exciting days of the year.
Anthony's Eleven (4/14/18)
|Anthony's Eleven (4/14/18)|
The last button on Murphy’s coat, when it comes to Kentucky Derby points preps anyway, comes you way from Oaklawn Park this Saturday when a field of nine go nine furlongs in the G1 Arkansas Derby on closing day of the Jot Springs oval.
Magnum Moon looks to run his undefeated streak to four when he ships back in for trainer Todd Pletcher off of a convincing tally in the G2 Rebel last out under regular rider Luis Saez.
After breaking his maiden in a sprint at Gulfstream Park, Magnum Moon went to Tampa Bay Downs to take down an entry level allowance/optional claimer going two-turns by a couple of lengths.
In the Rebel, Saez placed Magnum Moon in his usual mid-pack position before making the lead off of the far turn and drawing away to win by over three lengths. He’ll break from post six and will look to give Pletcher his fifth victory in the event while solidifying his status as one of the top choices in the Derby.
Solomini was rerouted back to Oaklawn after his barnmate McKinzie fell off the Trail a couple of weeks back for trainer Bob Baffert, who looks for his second win in the race. Baffert used the Rebel and Arkansas Derby as the only preps for American Pharoah when he won the Triple Crown back in 2015.
After missing some time with a couple of minor issues, including a fever, earlier this winter, Solomini was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the Rebel, his first start in over three months.
Under regular pilot Flavien Prat, Solomini sat a dream trip along the inside before being forced to steady briefly behind the tiring speed. He eventually got around that runner but Magnum Moon was long gone. Solomini actually fell back to third before re-rallying to get the place money.
Originally pointed to the G2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Solomini wound up back at Oaklawn after Baffert shuffled his runners, keeping Justify home to win the G1 Santa Anita Derby instead of coming to this for a showdown of the undefeated Apollo Cursers. He’ll break from post 5.
Speaking of Justify, the connections of Quip huddled and came up with a new plan once he was announced to be skipping this and shipped here last week despite being entered in the G2 Blue Grass. According to his trainer Rodolphe Brisset, the forecasted weather was not the reason for him scratching to run here.
Two for three as a juvenile, Quip returned from an almost four-month layoff to upset the G2 Tampa Bay Derby five weeks ago under Florent Geroux.
Never far from the lead, Quip stalked a stretching out sprinter then battled with him through the stretch before holding off the durable Flameaway through the stretch. He’ll break from post 8.
Trainer Steve Asmussen is set to send out three runners in this, led by Combatant. Since his fourth-place finish on turf in his debut, he’s hit the board in all five tries. A maiden win at Churchill was followed by a second-place finish in the Springboard Mile, Smarty Jones, G3 Southwest and a third-place run last out in the Rebel. In fact, his last three starts have come over this oval. Ricardo Santana, Jr. rides from outside post 9.
Tenfold is two-for-two for Asmussen with a couple of victories over this course going 1 1/16 miles. He figures to be forwardly placed in race the appears to lack a ton of speed on paper. Victor Espinoza replaces Santana in the boot for post 3.
Dream Baby Dream made up a ton of ground in the G3 Sunland Derby in New Mexico to grab the place money most recently when Asmussen equipped him with a set of blinkers. Just one for eight overall, he’ll break from post 4 with Luis Contreras.
Machismo ships in having beaten just two runners in the Blue Grass a week ago for trainer Anthony Quartarolo and Scott Spieth. He’ll break from post 2. Beautiful Shot breaks from the rail for Keith Desormeaux having beaten just one home in the G3 Gotham last out. Richard Eramia will be aboard for his two-turn debut. Plainsman is one for five in his career and makes his stakes debut after finishing third to Tenfold. CJ McMahon rides form William Van Meter from post 7.
Before the Arkansas Derby wraps up the Derby points races for this year, they’ll run the G3 Lexington at Keeneland going 1 1/16 miles. While there are only 20 points up for grabs to the winner, two of the dozen runners COULD actually punch their tickets to Louisville by grabbing some points.
Southwest winner My Boy Jack will break from post 12 for the Desormeaux brothers and would likely need to just hit the board to get to the Derby. Last out, he looked like he was going to roll home in the G2 Louisiana Derby but hung on the first two finishers like a chandelier and settled for the show-dough.
Grevitos makes his seasonal bow off of a two-race win streak since trainer Adam Kitchingham added blinkers. He broke his maiden in his third start against G3 foes in the Bob Hope at Del Mar before stretching out to eight furlongs in the Springboard Mile last out some four months ago at Remington. Joel Rosario will be aboard from post 6.
Prep Play of the Day
I think the Arkansas Derby is wide open so I’m going to take a shot with a price in Tenfold who should be on or close to the lead. Play $40 to win on him and make a $5 exacta key box using Tenfold over Solomini, Magnum Moon, Quip and Combatant. Total cost is $80. Good luck!!!!
Bankroll: plus $518
Anthony “the Big A” Stabile can be heard regularly on the Horse Racing Radio Network from 3-6PM ET on Wednesday and 3-7PM ET Thursday and Friday. Tune in on Sirius 219, XM 201 or streaming live at horseracingradio.net. He also is a contributor on NYRA-TV as a guest on Talking Horses. Follow him on Twitter @thebigastabile