Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Arkansas Derby (G2)

Oaklawn Park
Arkansas Derby (G2)
1-1/8 3 Year Olds $1,000,000

According to Brisnet early speed types have won 43% at the 9f distance at Oaklawn Park this meet .The 9-5 morning line on Old Fashioned seems to be an acknowledgement that the suicidal fractions he ran in the Rebel S. (G2) were his undoing and that a repeat performance of that effort is not expected. I have to concur with that assessment. However, he will undoubtedly be on or close to the lead as always. The fly in the ointment may be Papa Clem. He likes to create the pace and will be the colt Old Fashioned tracks. He can’t ignore him but he can’t let him get away either. The race these two horses run will determine the outcome.

Danger to Society has displayed an interest in being forwardly placed but I don’t believe he can run the early fractions these two are capable of and still finish. Flying Private has also shown a proclivity to run up close in the past but more recently has taken back and that style has resulted in his best performances, so I don’t expect a change in this race.

After the Louisiana Derby (G2) rather than returning to California, Gary Stute decided to train Papa Clem at Oaklawn Park. I think that decision may turn out to make all the difference. While training on a track is not the same as racing over it, the familiarity and comfort it creates is sometimes invaluable. Following the La. Derby Papa Clem has continued to work very well and on schedule at Oaklawn.

The same can be said about Old Fashioned except that it was 17 days after the Rebel before he worked again. I am always concerned when I see a delay of that duration after a race. Did the race take too much out of him? Or is the trainer just trying to keep his horse fresh? After a race Larry Jones does have a tendency to wait longer than many trainers before his horses return to the work tab so in this case I’m going to presume the latter.

If Papa Clem goes to the front and Old Fashioned relaxes behind him, as I expect they will, we should be in store for a classic finish between the two. If they hook each other perhaps neither hits the board. I am betting on the former scenario. I don’t think the race will go fast enough to allow the field to close on the front two. While perhaps a bit boring I have to put this duo one, two.

To finish off the trifecta I’m going to take a stab at some value and pick the 30-1 morning line, Summer Bird. He is by Birdstone who is developing into a very nice sire and with his dam sire being Summer Squall, distance will never be an issue with this colt. The only question is ability and that question should be answered in this race. The light seemed to go on for this colt halfway through his first race, a 6f sprint, when he rallied from 8 lengths back to finish 4th by only a length. He broke his maiden next out going two turns. He earned a high speed figure in that race as he ran the 1- 1/16 at Oaklawn only one tick slower than the time of the Rebel S. four days earlier. He returned with a 5f bullet on 4/4. I like to see that kind of work after a horse runs a presumably hard race. To me it says the horse likes the competition and he’s ready for more. This is a pretty nice group of colts but a three year old can emerge quickly this time of year. At the price I think he’s worth risking a few dollars on.

The Picks:
Win: Papa Clem -- Papa finally gets a Black type win.
Place: Old Fashioned -- His last race leaves him a length short.
Show: Summer Bird -- He has to wait until the summer to fly


Amateurcapper said...

I have been waiting to play PAPA CLEM on fast's the day. My pace figures have him superior to OLD FASHIONED and feel CLEM defeats OF on the front or pressing. His 4 lb. weight break makes him even more compelling. Look for DANGER TO SOCIETY to put a little spice into the pace which could set things up for WIN WILLY to be CLEM's exacta partner. His fast second 1/4 (:22.93) gave him momentum to close the gap on progressively tiring OF.

I love your show pick! Could be worth a win flyer as his maiden win, first route, suggests there's further improvement in the 3rd race of the cycle. This guy could be the value of the race.

G. C. said...

Great job nailing the exacta cold.

G. C. said...

You actually posted a cold $543 trifecta. Take a bow as that is an amazing feat.

C-Stars Sports Picks said...

was wondering how to contact you? I like your work. Would be interested in putting you up as a writer on my site. email me at