Nadal, Charlatan Put In Final Works For Arkansas Derby

Nadal and Charlatan, who give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a strong hand in the two divisions of Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, worked Sunday morning at Santa Anita Park in California and will depart Tuesday for Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark.

Charlatan was the first of the pair to work, going out at 6:30 a.m. under Juan Ochoa and breezing six furlongs in 1:12.40 in company with Midnight Mystery. ( video) Nadal worked later, also under Ochoa, breezing five furlongs in company with Dark Prince in :59.20. ( video)

“Both worked good, galloped out strong and are doing very well,” Baffert said. “I asked Juan which one he thought was doing better, and he said, ‘I don’t know. They’re both really good.’”

Charlatan, sensational while unbeaten in both starts at Santa Anita this winter before racing was temporarily suspended in late March, drew what appears to be the easier spot of the Arkansas Derby’s two divisions. Each division will carry $500,000 purses rather than one division offering $1 million. Despite the reduced purse, Oaklawn and Churchill Downs officials announced on Sunday both divisions will be awarded 170 Kentucky Derby points on a 100-40-20-10 basis for the top four finishers. (Current Kentucky Derby points leaderboard)

The first division of the Arkansas Derby goes as race 11 on a 14-race card that gets under way at noon CT. The second division is race 13, with the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap between those two as the 12th race.

If the race was not split, Charlatan – a Speightstown colt who will be making his stakes debut – was not expected to have enough earnings to get into the field. He drew the rail post and will be ridden by Martin Garcia.

Primary opposition may come from Todd Pletcher-trained Gouverneur Morris, fourth to Tiz the Law in the G1 Florida Derby. He’ll be ridden by John Velazquez and break from the No. 4 post.

Basin, who drew the outside 11 post, is the only graded stakes winner in the field for the first division. The son of Liam’s Map won the G1 Hopeful last year. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides Basin for Steve Asmussen.

Nadal, a son of Blame who has won all three of his starts, including the G2 San Vicente and G2 Rebel at Oaklawn, will start from post five under Joel Rosario in the second division of the Arkansas Derby. Nadal won the Rebel wire to wire on a sloppy sealed track under pressure throughout, prevailing by three-quarters of a length.

Primary opposition may come from 2019 Eclipse Award-winning Storm the Court, the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner exiting a third-place finish in the G2 San Felipe Stakes to Authentic, another top Kentucky Derby prospect for Baffert.  Flavien Prat was named on Storm the Court, who starts from the three post.

King Guillermo won the G2 Tampa Bay Derby at odds of 49-1 last out for Juan Carlos Avila. The Uncle Mo colt will be ridden by Samy Camacho and start from post four.

Brad Cox saddles Wells Bayou, who starts from the outside 11 post under Florent Geroux. The Lookin At Lucky colt won the G2 Louisiana Derby last out on the front end after finishing second in the G3 Southwest Stakes to Silver Prospector – who also drew in this division. Silver Prospector starts from post seven for the powerful Asmussen-Santana tandem. By Declaration of War, Silver Prospector finished sixth on a sloppy sealed track behind Nadal in the Rebel.

Pletcher, who with five Arkansas Derby victories is the race’s winningest trainer, has Farmington Road in the second division. The Quality Road colt comes off a second to Mr. Big News in the Oaklawn Stakes on April 11 after starting from the outside 13 post that day. He drew the 10 post in the Arkansas Derby and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.


The post Nadal, Charlatan Put In Final Works For Arkansas Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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