April 14, 2012

Arkansas Derby Day hunches

Oaklawn has a big day in store for the Arkansas fans (who need a distraction after this Petrino mess), with three graded stakes races on the final card of the meet. In the Count Fleet sprint, Izzy Rules looks to tower over the field, but former $4,000 claimer (that's only four thousand!!) Outta Tune will try to play the spoiler role in this one. Sometimes, speed knows no class boundaries, like on yesterday's program where a $6,250 claiming race went several ticks faster for 6 furlongs than an allowance!

The Oaklawn Handicap has perhaps the deepest field since Cigar won the 1994 edition, with the likes of Nehro (looking for his first graded victory after playing seconditis in last year's Derby trail), Win Willy, Hymn Book, Alternation and Ron the Greek. Look for Alternation and perhaps longer priced Yawanna Twist to take advantage of the lack of pace over the speed favoring Oaklawn strip.

And finally the 76th running of the Arkansas Derby, where I am predicting an upset of a monumental proportion -- just not sure which longshots will get to the wire first. I like Cozzetti and Najjaar both at 15-1 on the morning line, but the unheralded shipper, Isn't He Clever, probably has the perfect running style to sit just off of the powerful Baffert one-two punch in Secret Circle and Bodemeister and take down the $1 million purse. Sabercat and/or Raconteur could also hit the board at obscene odds. So in closing, I am hoping today's Arkansas Derby goes the way of the Louisiana and Florida Derbies that will light up the tote board and load up my pockets. Happy racing to you all and may all your bets be winning ones.

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