a quiet and sleepy Sunday at Oaklawn, the top three finishers in the $1
million Arkansas Derby (G1) were just that the morning after they each
secured their place in
the Kentucky Derby (G1) in three weeks in Louisville.
8 am, a quartet of dynamite performers for Hall of Fame trainer Bob
Baffert were lazily munching breakfast as super impressive Arkansas
Derby-winner Bodemeister and
runner-up Secret Circle, himself a dual stakes winner this season, will
join Wednesday’s $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2)-winner Mamma Kimbo and
third-place finisher Jemima’s Pearl on a flight to Churchill Downs
tomorrow morning. The latter have dates in the Kentucky
Oaks on Friday, May 4.
trainer Jim Barnes returned to California early Sunday morning with
$500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap winner Plum Pretty and $100,000 Northern
Spur Stakes runner-up
Drill. Baffert shipped six horses to this year’s Racing Festival of the
South and came away with three Graded stakes victories (including two
Grade 1s), two runner-up finishes and a third-place result.
“We took some really nice horses there,” said Baffert Saturday. “They all ran well and had been training well.”
that same flight will be Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Sabercat, who bounced
back from a disappointing seasonal debut in the Rebel Stakes (G2) last
month to finish third
for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Corey Nakatani. As the winner of
the lucrative Delta Jackpot (G3) late last year, Sabercat already had
secured enough Graded stakes earnings to make the Kentucky Derby field,
but the son of Discreet Cat was under pressure
Saturday to prove that spot was deserved.
was very pleased with it. It was encouraging,” said Asmussen on
Saturday on an otherwise spectacular day for him and Nakatani where they
combined to win five times
and secure a fourth career Oaklawn training title. “It was the step in
the right direction we were expecting and looking for – the move forward
we needed. It looked like a very good experience for him. We needed to
see improvement and at this time of year,
that’s the important thing in each start.”
Saturday was closing day at Oaklawn. Live racing resumes Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 for a 56-day meet.