First Saturday in May is set usually aside for the Kentucky Derby. Not this year due to coronavirus -19. This year the year Derby will occur on September 5. This year the first Saturday in May features top-level three-year-old racing at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
Race 11. Arkansas Derby Division 1 (G1). For three -year-old at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Purse $500,000.
|1||Charlatan||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||1/1|
|2||My Friends Beer||Declan Cannon||Jeremiah O’Dwyer||20/1|
|3||Mo Mosa||Kendrick Carmouche||Michael Maker||30/1|
|4||Gouverneur Morris||John R. Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||9/2|
|5||Jungle Runner||Tyler Baze||Steven Asmussen||30/1|
|8||Anneau d’Or||Juan J. Hernandez||Blaine Wright||6/1|
|9||Winning Impression||Julien R. Leparoux||Dallas Stewart||15/1|
|10||Crypto Cash||Corey J. Lanerie||Kenneth McPeek||20/1|
|11||Basin||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steven Asmussen||8/1|
Charlatan won easily in a six-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita on February 16, then wired a N1X mile there a month later. The Arkansas Derby field is a better field than his prior races. He is going nine furlongs for the first time and faces stakes company for the first time plus ride the rail. If he can reproduce either of his previous two races, he go gate -to-wire. He has won both his races in clear, wire-to-wire fashion. He should be the pace setter and the one to outrun.
My Friends Beer has steadily improved in his last four starts, since breaking his maiden in a $40,000 claiming dirt mile at Laurel on New Year’s Day. He has not finished strong in his last few starts. His earlier races showed he likes to stalk the pace, something he will need to do going a mile and an eighth for the first time. He is outclassed in this race. He should not be a factor.
Mo Mosa started his career with three races over the Polytrack at Turfway Park, and finding the winners circle in his third outing. He finished last when he switched to dirt for the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in March, though April 11 he made better account when a late-running third behind Shooters Shoot in an allowance at Oaklawn. He is outclassed in this race. He should not be a factor.
Gouverneur Morris won the Florida Derby (G1) last month. He sat near the front due to a very slow pace in that race. He will need to press the leader and sit behind the pace more like he did breaking his maiden and in allowance wins. He is a lightly race horse that may improve over the next few races. He should finish in the top three.
Jungle Runner won at Remington last year. He broke his maiden on the dirt going one mile and also won the seven-furlong Clever Trevor Stakes. He was beaten in both the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn earlier in the meet and the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland. He was laid up for two months. He only has two workouts in the last month. He is outclassed in this race. He should not be a factor.
Anneau d’Or was a highly regarded two-year-old last year. However his three-year-old debut was a ninth place finish in the Risen Star Stakes. He will be racing with blinkers off, he wore them for the first time in the Risen Star. He should be able to handle the distance his pedigree appeals for the distance, and on his best day he has tactical speed and the ability to stay close to the leaders. He will need to improve against this field to be a factor at the wire.
Winning Impression is facing stakes company for the first time. He likes to run near the lead or from the middle of the pack. The field only has a couple horses showing speed so he most likely will be near the front. He pressed the pace in a mile and an eighth race and was able to hold on for third. He is outclassed in this race. He should not be a factor at the wire.
Crypto Cash is making his second start of the year. He finished fourth in his first in the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway. He may be able to get his more typical tracking to midpack and waiting on the pace to come to him. He needs a huge improvement to have a chance of finishing in the top six.
Basin was a Grade 1 winner last year. He has yet to return that form. He should show improvement in his third start off a lay. He showed early speed last year. He will need to show some speed braking from post position 11 to find clear a good racing position down the backstretch. If he can improve and find a little racing luck the he should be able to find on the board.
J’s Top Three Picks:
- Gouverneur Morris