Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Archarcharch Could Be Goodgoodgood

Today’s Smarty Jones Stakes kicks off the Kentucky Derby trail at Oaklawn Park, and with recent horses like Afleet Alex, Lawyer Ron, Curlin, Lookin at Lucky, and of course, Smarty Jones, passing through Arkansas on their way to Louisville, it seems prudent to pay close attention to the preps run at the Hot Springs oval.  Today’s race features a field of seven three-year-old colts going a flat mile in hopes of taking down the lion’s share of the $100,000 purse.  Favoritism should boil down to three recent stakes winners, Archarcharch, Caleb’s Posse, and Grant Jack.  Of the three, I see Archarcharch as the most interesting, and the one with the best chance to make some noise on the First Saturday of May.
A son of Arch, out of the Woodman mare, Woodman‘s Dancer, Archarcharch has only made two starts to date.  The first came in a maiden race at Churchill Downs where he  rallied strongly to finish second.  Running greenly that day, the big dark bay had trouble switching leads, and tossed his head around as if not quite sure what the game was all about.  Despite the troubles, his physicality and powerful strides were apparent.  His trainer, Jinks Fires, certainly did not lack confidence, and brought back the maiden in a stakes race for his next start.
That came in Fair Ground’s Sugar Bowl Stakes on December 18.  Ridden by the son-in-law of the trainer, Jon Court, Archarcharch showed much more speed than he did in his first start.  Collaring the speedy Joe Hollywood early in the lane, he methodically wore down his rival to win going away.  Even in the winning of a stakes races in his second start, the colt showed signs of immaturity, and had to be kept to task by Court.  Clearly Archarcharch is still learning.
The Sugar Bowl win aside, it is the future that most interests me for the distance bred colt.  If he is good enough to win a sprint stakes in only his second start, think what the future might hold for him as he matures and runs distances more suited to his abilities.  Today he will have his first opportunity to run around two-turns.  The Smarty Jones thus should be a good gauge to see his improvement and his affinity for more distance, that his breeding suggests.  Things will only get tougher after today, and he will need to keep improving, but going into today’s race, Archarcharch is on my short list of sophomores with a ton of potential to keep a close eye on with the Kentucky Derby in mind.


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but he wasn't.
he could of been Goodgoodgood
Quality horses, a good dirt track, solid purses, and a well planned schedule of preps ... If I had a potential derby horse, Oaklawn would be the place for me.
From ESPN's Countdown to the Crown - The Oaklawn Park sophomore series has had the most impact on the Triple Crown trail since 2004. Of the 21 Triple Crown races held during that 7-year span, NINE of them were won by horses who prepped at Oaklawn at some point during the spring. Amazingly, Oaklawn alumni won TWO-thirds of the Triple Crown races held in 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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