Classic Empire took home a title at Saturday's Arkansas Derby on the famed track at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to punch a ticket to the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
Conquest Mo Money and Lookin At Lee rounded out the top three finishers on a day when 170 total Kentucky Derby qualifying points were up for grabs. One hundred points were awarded to Classic Empire, while the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers received a 40-20-10 split of the share.
You can find a breakdown of the payouts from Saturday's race below:
|2017 Arkansas Derby Payouts|
|Conquest Mo Money||-----||$12.00||$7.80|
|Lookin At Lee||-----||-----||$5.40|
|Source: Aaron Nolan on Twitter|
Classic Empire would have qualified for the Kentucky Derby with a finish anywhere in the top four, but the three-year-old colt put on a show down the stretch and burst through traffic to take home a win that will assuredly turn heads.
Although the Mark E. Casse-trained horse had previously battled a foot injury and took home third place at his only prior race (Holy Bull Stakes) this year, the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Champion flashed form that has his Kentucky Derby hopes looking up, as the New York Times' Melissa Hoppert opined:
Melissa Hoppert @MHoppertNYT
Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire will win the Kentucky Derby. You heard it here first, folks.2017-4-15 23:33:10
Elsewhere, Lookin At Lee—who entered the day with 15-1 odds, according to the Courier-Journal's Jason Frakes—put forth a strong showing despite failing to find a path past Classic Empire at the end.
Dating back to July 2016, the Steve Asmussen trainee has now recorded six top-three finishes in eight attempts. As a result, Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh sees him as a potential sleeper in a few weeks:
Marcus Hersh @DRFHersh
Lookin at Lee apparently needs MORE than 1 1/8 miles. I don't think he's hopeless for a top 4 Derby finish.2017-4-15 23:36:02
And now that the curtain has drawn on the Arkansas Derby, prep races for the year's first Triple Crown race have officially concluded.
That means all attention should shift to the impending action at Churchill Downs as preparations get underway for the May 6 Run for the Roses.