The 2013 Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park is one of the biggest events in horse racing, and the 10-horse field promises to make this one of the most interesting races fans will see all year.
The push toward the Kentucky Derby begins this weekend, and the anticipation over which serious contenders will succeed and which will falter will have the horse-racing community focused on Hot Springs, Arkansas.
With the post positions settled and the anticipation building, the excitement over one of the first major races of the season has even the most casual horse racing fans getting ready for Saturday’s action.
There is no better way to kick spring into gear than with the return of horse racing.
Where: Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, Ark.
When: Saturday, April 13 at 6:28 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Channel
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Distance: 1.125 miles (Dirt)
|1.||Carve||R. Santana, Jr.||S. M. Asmussen||20/1|
|2.||War Academy||M. E. Smith||B. Baffert||2/1|
|3.||Divine Ambition||B. J. Hernandez, Jr.||D. Miller||20/1|
|4.||Falling Sky||M. Garcia||J. P. Terranova, II||10/1|
|5.||Den’s Legacy||R. Albarado||B. Baffert||6/1|
|6.||Heaven’s Runway||I. Ocampo||J. R. Martin||20/1|
|7.||Texas Bling||C. H. Borel||D. Durham||20/1|
|8.||Frac Daddy||V. Lebron||K. G. McPeek||15/1|
|9.||Overanalyze||R. Bejarano||T. A. Pletcher||4/1|
|10.||Oxbow||G. L. Stevens||D. W. Lukas||5/1|
Stats and info courtesy of Horse Racing Nation and Bovada.
Saturday's Top Contenders
Over the months leading into the Arkansas Derby, Oxbow has been running well, winning twice and finishing top five in each of the colt's last seven races.
While the distance of the Arkansas Derby may be longer than many horses are accustomed to, Oxbow has raced three times on 1 1/16-length courses and has finished well in each.
With the extra 1/16 of a mile at Oaklawn Park, the hope is that Oxbow will be able to make the late run on the outside (10th post position) and steal the show with the biggest win of the colt's life.
My personal favorite in the Arkansas Derby is Todd Pletcher-trained Overanalyze. While the ninth post position isn’t ideal, the length of the course plays right into the hands of a horse this strong.
Overanalyze has three career wins, but the biggest of the colt's life came at the Remsen-G2 race—the only time Pletcher’s horse ever ran on a 1 1/8 mile-course—and they will look to carry that momentum into Saturday’s contest.
Besides starting toward the outside, Overanalyze will also have to deal with the fact the the colt has raced only one time in 2013. Overanalyze finished fifth in early March and will have to run much better this weekend if Pletcher and the team want to steal a win.
Another serious contender will be War Academy. Not only does this colt have the No. 2 post position on Saturday, the contending horse is trained by the legendary Bob Baffert.
Baffert is notorious for having the strongest horses in the field, and War Academy is no different.
War Academy is coming off a victory and has won two of his last three races, leading the colt to become one of the odds-on favorites for Saturday’s race.
While the Baffert-trained colt doesn’t have the experience as the others in the field, the raw talent and speed makes War Academy a legitimate contender.