Oaklawn News

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Truth or Else Completes Final Arkansas Derby Work

The Truth Or Else had his final work for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), breezing a half-mile in :48.40 about 15 minutes after the track opened for training Tuesday morning. Trainer Kenny McPeek said the work was exactly what he was looking for heading into Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile race, which is expected to be headed by champion American Pharoah.

“He worked good,” McPeek said. “I asked my boy to go :48 and a couple and he went (:48.40). Nice routine.”

The Truth Or Else, who worked over a fast track, covered his final quarter-mile in :23.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. Tuesday’s breeze was the second-fastest of 10 recorded at the distance.

The Yes It’s True colt had his final major work for the Arkansas Derby April 1, when, in company, he went five furlongs in a bullet :58.80 under Calvin Borel, who will again ride the colt Saturday.

The Truth Or Else finished second in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22 and a distant fourth behind American Pharoah in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14. He will race in blinkers for the first time in the Arkansas Derby, McPeek said.

In addition to American Pharaoh and The Truth Or Else, six other horses are expected to be entered for the Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said late Tuesday morning. They are Bold Conquest, Bridget’s Big Luvy, Far Right, Madefromlucky, Mr. Z and Win the Space.

Post positions for the 79th Arkansas Derby, which anchors Oaklawn’s closing-day card, will be drawn Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in Oaklawn’s Grandstand. The post position draw is open to the public.

American Pharoah is scheduled to arrive Wednesday from his West Coast base, according to Oaklawn officials.
Bridget’s Big Test

New York-based trainer Jeremiah Englehart is scheduled to make his Oaklawn debut when he saddles Bridget’s Big Luvy in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Bridget’s Big Luvy is coming off a front-running 2 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes March 21 at Laurel.

The Tiz Wonderful colt, who raced in blinkers for the first time in the Private Terms, will again be ridden by Angel Cruz in the Arkansas Derby, Englehart said.

Englehart said he decided to run Bridget’s Big Luvy in the Arkansas Derby because it’s an opportunity to earn enough points – with a high finish – to guarantee a spot in the Kentucky Derby, and owner Tom O’Grady is from Louisville.

The Arkansas Derby - as a Kentucky Derby qualifying race - offers 100 points to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth. Points earned in designated races determine starting preference if more than the maximum 20 horses enter.

“I knew after the Private Terms, when he was at the eighth pole, he probably wanted to make a push for some points,” Englehart said after training hours Tuesday morning. “The horse came out of the race really well. I was really happy with that race and decided it would be a good idea to give him a shot here.”

Bridget’s Big Luvy arrived last week in Hot Springs and had his final major work for the Arkansas Derby Sunday, when the son of Tiz Wonderful recorded a half-mile bullet (:47.40). Englehart said he was happy with how Bridget’s Big Luvy handled his new surroundings.

“He seemed to really enjoy it,” Englehart said. “He’s a pretty easy horse to train, anyway. I was really pleased with the work.”

Englehart is best known for saddling Ria Antonia to a victory (via a race-related disqualification) in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in November 2013 at Santa Anita.

Untapable Leads Field Entered for Apple Blossom

Champion Untapable was among seven horses entered Tuesday for Friday’s $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). The 4-year-old Tapit filly will be looking to turn the tables on Azeri Stakes (G2) winner Gold Medal Dancer after finishing second to that rival in her seasonal debut March 14.

The complete field for the Apple Blossom:

1.)    Call Pat – Ramon Vazquez
2.)    Untapable – John Velazquez
3.)    Pearl Turn – Jesus Castanon
4.)    Diva’s Diamond – Cliff Berry
5.)    Gold Medal Dancer – Luis Quinonez
6.)  Glorys Last Chance – Terry Thompson
7.)  Sugar Shock – Channing Hill