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Jockey Jon Court celebrates aboard Line of David after the Arkansas Derby
The highlight race of the Oaklawn Park spring meeting is the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, contested at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds on closing day. The crowd of 61,531 enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. Noble's Promise was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 9, off two straight second place finishes in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood in December followed by the Rebel at Oaklawn. In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Dublin, third in the Rebel last out after finishing second in the Southwest, and 9-2 third choice Super Saver, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill but a close third last out in the Tampa Bay Derby.
Super Saver tries to catch Line of David (inside) in the stretch
17-1 shot Line of David was quickest out of the gate and was sent to the front and over to the rail by jockey Jon Court. He set quick early fractions of 22.65, 46.26, and 1:10.75 while loose on the lead, as many as 3 1/2 lengths in front of Super Saver stalking him in second, who in turn was 2 1/2 lengths in front of the rest of the field led by Dublin. Entering the stretch, Line of David continued to lead, as Super Saver moved up to challenge at the 3/16 pole through 1 mile in 1:36.52. Dublin also put in a rally of his own on the outside, but Line of David dug in late to hold off Super Saver by a neck in 1:49.37 over the fast track. It was just a neck back to Dublin third, completing the 3-horse blanket finish.
Also check out and other races during the Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn, including the Count Fleet Handicap, the Bayakoa Stakes, and the Fifth Season Stakes.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 Line of David Court 36.60 14.80 6.80 1 Super Saver Borel 6.20 4.00 2 Dublin Thompson 3.60 Winning Time: 1:49:37 $2 Exacta 8-1 252.40 $1 Trifecta 8-1-2 452 70 $1 Superfecta 8-1-2-5 3,433.90
Left: Line of David in the winner's circle. His trainer John Sadler said, "We're really happy, the horse ran great. We're setting up camp on Monday and Tuesday at Churchill we have Sidney's Candy and Crisp and a few others so we'll add this one to the list. He's been doing beautiful all this week. He settled in great and ate up every night. The guy I had getting on him this week said he was perfect on the dirt. You never know until they do it and we as trainers tend to be so conservative we always get surprised when they do succeed."
Right: Line of David in the post parade. His jockey Jon Court said, "With John, one thing you can always count on is his horses are fit and ready, and a horse like that you can ride with confidence. We put him on the front end and rolled into that first turn and he was rolling along pretty good but he came back to me. I was a little concerned because we were clipping along pretty good but we weren't losing any ground either. I was just right there in the one path tight against the fence around that first turn so I knew it went pretty quick but then again when you have horses of this caliber at this time of year with the targets everybody has a dream that's in front of them in this prestigious race, you expect them to run those kind of fractions and carry them as well. When I called on him he was full of run through the bridle and he fought very valiantly for the photo."
Left: Line of David leads first time by. Asked about the front-running style, Sadler added, "At Santa Anita he was going in front and it just seemed to build confidence. When he breezes on the synthetic he breezes really well so he wasn't a horse that was going bad on the synthetic and really improved on the turf, he was going really well on the main track so when we switched him we did three things different; we added the blinkers, we changed his running style, and we changed surface. So we were hoping when we came here it was things one and two and not three. It was very good."
Right: Line of David in the walking ring before the race. His owner Ike Thrash said, "I was telling Jon in the infield (paddock) this one was kind of late to the party but he ran really well in his last couple races and even though we got around to it late we knew he could run and he showed up today. This was kind of an ambitious spot to try but it worked."
Left: Second place finisher Super Saver returns with fifth place finisher Noble's Promise as their jockeys look over at Line of David on the other side of the track. Elliott Walden, racing manager for owner-breeder WinStar Farm said, "I thought he ran great. He's only had one race this year and the thing you hope for is to move forward in a race like this. He did that and we just hope he puts it all together in the Kentucky Derby."
Right: Third place finisher Dublin heads back to the barn after the race. His trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "He had dead aim and he might have gotten a nose in front at some point, but you've got to be impressed with how the speed held pretty good. I've got no complaints. We will look at this as a prep and see where we are. We're disappointed not to win, but I was pleased with the effort. I've always tried not to have my best race three weeks out. I've always felt like I needed to leave something. Having said that, I'd like to not have left that neck."
Left: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Noble's Promise in the post parade. His trainer Ken McPeek said, "We got stopped at the start. We lost all chance. He put himself in a bad position when he hopped at the start. We will look at him and see how he's doing. We didn't get beat by much, but we never really had a chance because of the start."
Right: Noble's Promise threw a bit of a fit in the walking ring which may have contributed to his loss.
Left: The horses break from the gate for the Arkansas Derby
Right: The post parade for the Arkansas Derby
Jockey Terry Thompson sent Decelerator to the lead early and she opened up a 1 1/2 length advantage through a quarter in 23.61 before being joined to her outside by Best Reward through a half in 47.91 and 3/4 in 1:13.14. Entering the stretch, Best Reward tired allowing Decelerator to continue to lead at the 1/8 pole. 14-1 Vertical Vision, 6th early, came out 4 wide into the lane and closed with a rush but Decelerator held her off late to win by a neck in 1:38.20. It was another length back to Bell's Shoes third.
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Decelerator in the winner's circle.
Right: Decelerator in the post parade. The 7-10 favorite got clear early, rated down the backstretch by regular rider Terry Thompson, and had enough left for the stretch run to hold off the late challenger. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 0 thirds in 11 starts, earning $258,527 for owner Westrock Stables LLC.
Left: Second place finisher Vertical Vision in the walking ring before the race. The 14-1 shot raced 4 lengths off the pace in 6th under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, then rallied late coming up short. The Steve Asmussen trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 0 thirds in 10 starts, earning $109,473 for owner Heiligbrodt Racing Stable.
Right: Third place finisher Bell's Shoes in the walking ring before the race. The 9-2 second choice stalked the pace in 3rd under jockey Calvin Borel and did not improve position late, finishing 3rd beaten 1 1/4 lengths. The William Fires trainee improved her record to 1 win, 1 second, and 5 thirds in 9 starts, earning $59,165 for owner-breeder Patricia B. Blass.
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