Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM
A11 - Arkansas, Lexington
Welcome to “Anthony’s Eleven,” your source for anything and everything leading up to Kentucky Derby 145 on May 4th 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 3 with an extensive analysis of every runner that steps into the gate for the most exciting two minutes in sports. On both May 3 and May 4, 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. Click here!
Anthony's Eleven (4/12/19)
|Anthony's Eleven (4/12/19)|
The last stops on the Kentucky Derby Trail take us to Hot Springs, Arkansas and Lexington, Kentucky, with over 200 points up for grabs, combined, in the G1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and G3 Lexington at Keeneland. And quite a few runners still need some points to assure themselves a spot in the Derby starting gate on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs.
When Santa Anita was forced to cancel the G2 San Felipe, Oaklawn decided to split the G2 Rebel, ordinarily worth 50 points to the winner, when 19 horses were entered. It resulted in each winner receiving 37.5 points, enough to lock up a stall in Louisville in any of the prior six seasons the points system has been in place. While one division winner, Long Range Toddy, has plenty of points, Omaha Beach and his 37.5 are on the bubble. The two will mix it-up against nine rivals in this nine-furlong contest.
Omaha Beach comes in off of a pair of wins, one in a seven-furlong maiden event over a sloppy Santa Anita course and last out in the second division of the Rebel where he beat the previously undefeated juvenile Eclipse champ Game Winner.
Trained by Richard Mandella who is looking for his first Derby score, and ridden by Mike Smith for the first time in that Rebel, Omaha Beach went right to the top and after an honest opening six panels was able to get some separation from the rest on the turn before Game Winner came charging.
Omaha Beach proved tough and won the head bob by a nose before refusing to let his rival by him after the wire while galloping out. It figures to be tougher on the front end for him this time around but they are supposed to get a ton of rain at Oaklawn on Saturday and his sloppy track experience could come in very handy. He’ll break from post 3.
Long Range Toddy will break from the outside post 11 under Jon Court who gave him a sensational ride to topple Improbable, the likely favorite in here, in the first division last out for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Long Range Toddy began collecting his 53.5 Derby points back in December when he battled his way to a narrow victory in the Springboard Mile at Remington before shipping to Oaklawn for their run-up to the Derby. He was beaten just a neck when a tough-luck second in the Smarty Jones then wound up third in a strangely run renewal of the G3 Southwest.
With Court riding for the first time in the Rebel, Long Range Toddy actually broke on the lead before being allowed to ease back and alter course to the outside to get Improbable late in the game in a ride reminiscent of the one Chris McCarron gave Touch Gold in the 1997 Belmont Stakes to upset Silver Charm’s Triple Crown bid.
Speaking of Improbable, he tasted defeat for the first time in the Rebel, his first start in over three months for five-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert. Last season, after breaking his maiden by a neck, he won the Street Sense at Churchill by over seven lengths and the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity by five lengths.
In his Rebel, Improbable raced widest of all, near the five or six path in the early going and on the far turn and actually made the lead in deep stretch before Long Range Toddy beat him by a neck. Baffert has added blinkers and switches riders to Jose Ortiz for this. They’ll break from the rail and it is worth noting that this will be the first time ever that Baffert and Ortiz have teamed up.
Jerry Hollendorfer has opted to take the blinkers off Galilean for the first time since he broke his maiden without them in a restricted stakes at Los Alamitos last September. He won a couple of California-bred stakes going two turns by daylight before settling for third in the first division of the Rebel in his first start against open company. Flavien Prat rides from post 7.
Gray Attempt stretches back out for trainer “Jinks” Fires off of a powerful front-running score in the Gazebo going six furlongs most recently. He began the season with a determined gate-to-wire win in the Smarty Jones before bearing out while on the lead in the Southwest where he eventually finished last of 11. Stewart Elliott rides for the first time from post 6.
Country House ships in looking for some more points after falling a bit short in a couple of bids at the Fair Grounds for Bill Mott. Always away a bit slow from the gate, he finished a solid second in the G2 Risen Star before racing wide when fourth in the G2 Louisiana Derby when it was apparent that his mind was on the fillies in the recently concluded Fair Grounds as opposed to running that day. Joel Rosario rides from post 8.
Along with Long Range Toddy, Asmussen will saddle three longshots in here. Laughing Fox had his two-race win stream snapped in the second division of the Rebel when he encountered some trouble at the start but failed to threaten thereafter. Ricardo Santana, Jr. rides from post 5. Jersey Agenda break from post 10 under Ramon Vazquez off of a pair of subpar efforts in the Southwest and Rebel. Tikhvin Flew finished third in the Jimmy Winkfield then far back in the G3 Gotha, both at Aqueduct. Tyler Baze rides from post 4.
Six Shooter won the Big Drama at Delta Downs before fourth place finishes in the Smarty Jones and Southwest and third money in the Gazebo last out. David Cohen rides for Paul Hothus from post 2.
One Flew South adds blinkers and Calvin Borel with just a debut maiden win and fifth place finish in a minor stakes at Sunland Park under his belt for Doug O’Neill. He’ll break from post 9.
There are 20-8-4-2 points on the line in the Lexington at Keeneland and a few have entered the 1 1/16 miles as a bit of a last-ditch effort to get enough points for a Derby berth, led by Anothertwistafate (30 pts).
Anothertwistafate earned 10 points when he took them gate-to-wire in the El Camino Real Derby over the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields before he fell just a neck short in the G3 Sunland Derby in New Mexico last out to Cutting Humor in course-record time. Trainer Blaine Wright makes a big rider change to Javier Castellano. He’ll break from post 4 as the 2-1 morning line choice. He’ll get in the Derby with a win and likely fall on the bubble with a second-place finish.
Trained by Keith Desormeaux, if Sueno (28 pts) wins he’s in while a second-place finish makes him a bubble horse at best. He’s earned points with runner-up performances where he fell just short with late rallies in both the G3 Sham and Southwest and a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby most recently when he was chasing the early pace. He’ll break from post 3 under Corey Lanerie.
Things have gone terribly wrong for Knicks Go (18 pts) since he led the G1 Breeders’ Futurity over this course from start-to-finish at 70-1 then ran second in the Juvenile at 40-1 last fall. He’s failed to threaten in the KJC, Sam F Davis or most recently in the G3 Gotham and was beaten over a combined 80 lengths in those three starts. Albin Jimenez rides for Ben Colebrook from post 7. Another who is a bubble horse with a win.
Harvey Wallbanger (10 pts) wheels back in just two weeks having failed to fire in the G1 Florida Derby where he finished eighth for trainer Ken McPeek. He took advantage of a pace meltdown when he closed nicely to take the G2 Holy Bull under his rider Brian Hernandez, Jr. at close to 30-1. He’ll break from post 5.
Roiland (10 pts) is winless in his four starts against graded stakes foes with a third-place finish in the Risen Star his lone points-grab to date. Jimmy Graham rides from post 10 for Tom Amoss. Both Roiland and Harvey Wallbanger would need to win this and have a few defections to get in.
Shang, Hawaiian Noises, Chase the Ghost, Owendale and Zenden complete the field of 10.
Prep Play of the Day
I’ve chased Country House all winter long. Why stop now? Plus, I don’t really care for either favorite. So, $30 win on Country House and a $5 exacta box Country House, Gray Attempt and Long Range Toddy. Total bets are $60. Good luck!!!!!
Bankroll: Plus $111
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 the co-host of Talking Horses and a backup racetrack announcer. Follow him on Twitter @thebigastabile