Probable post time for the Downthedustyroad, the seventh of nine races, is 4:09 p.m. (Central). Doors open Saturday at 11 a.m., with first post 1:05 p.m.
Ministry, who is trained by Jaime Gonzalez, has developed into a dominant Arkansas-bred, winning her last three starts at Oaklawn by more than 10 lengths.
After breaking her maiden last March, Ministry won the $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes by 6 ¾ lengths and was a 2 ¾-length winner of her 4-year-old debut, a Jan. 21 sprint that was a prep for the Downthedustyroad.
“This is the one, we hope,” Hot Springs owner Linda Robbins said. “But you know how things can happen. Did you see how many were nominated? It’s like every filly born in Arkansas. Jaime, who does all the training and all the work on her, he pretty much lives what the horse. The rest of the stable kind of revolves around Ministry.”
The Downthedustyroad field from the rail out: Easter Indy, Terry Thompson to ride, 117 pounds, 10-1 on the morning line; Aunt Gayle, Gary Stevens, 117, 20-1; Fastanista, David Cabrera, 117, 12-1; Avisionofchocolate, Joe Johnson, 114; 10-1; Fetch’s Mon, Jon Court, 123, 8-1; Miss Shelby, Luis Quinonez, 117, 15-1; Ministry, Tommy Pompell, 123, 9-5; Jeri Bella, Jareth Loveberry, 114, 6-1; Ms Fifty First St., Ricardo Santana Jr., 123, 4-1; and I Be Jeannie B, Ramon Vazquez, 114, 8-1.
Easter Indy is the two-time defending Downthedustyroad champion, but finished fifth in the Jan. 21 prep. Jeri Bella, Avisionofchocolate and Fastanista were 2-3-4, respectively, behind Ministry last month.
Ms Fifty First St. exits a three-length first-level allowance score against state-breds Feb. 8 for high-percentage trainer Al Stall.