The race’s smallest field since 1992 will be race for 100-40-20-10 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, meaning the top two finishers will advance to Churchill Downs.
With his usual rider Joel Rosario, Concert Tour tries to run his record to 4-for-4 against a field that includes his Bob Baffert stablemate Hozier (post 3), who would get to Churchill Downs next month with a top-three finish Saturday. Grade 1 winner Get Her Number (post 4), stakes victors Caddo River (post 2) and Super Stock (post 1) and maiden winner Last Samurai (post 6) completed the field.
Trainer Simon Callaghan decided not to send Roman Centurian, who was scratched from last week’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) because of a low-energy workout the day before. “Just going a different direction,” he said in a text message Tuesday morning.
A Street Sense colt bred and owned by Gary and Mary West, Concert Tour could be the first horse since American Pharoah in 2015 to sweep the two graded-stakes preps at Oaklawn and the Kentucky Derby. The horses’ most important common denominator is Baffert, who has won the $1 million race at Hot Springs, Ark., three times. It has become a second proving ground for his deep stable based in California.
“I can separate them so I don’t have to run them all together, and it’s an easy ship,” Baffert told Horse Racing Nation. “It’s only a 2 1/2-hour plane ride, and it’s so easy on them. Their track is a lot like Churchill Downs. It’s going to be quick. I just hope we don’t get any rain.”
The early forecast from the National Weather Service offered a 50 percent chance of an early-morning thunderstorm Saturday before a sunny 74-degree afternoon.
In last month’s Rebel Stakes (G2) over the same track, Concert Tour defeated Hozier (distant second), Super Stock (fourth), Caddo River (fifth) and Get Her Number (seventh). This time, though, they will be asked to go 110 yards farther to get to 1 1/8 miles.
Post time is scheduled for 7:41 p.m. EDT.
With each starter carrying 122 pounds, this is the field Saturday for the 85th Arkansas Derby (trainers and expected jockeys in parentheses):
|#||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rank||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start||HRN|
Pioneerof the Nile