Petrov, Silver Dust Breeze Toward Arkansas Derby; Dilettante Enters Consideration

Petrov and Silver Dust began more serious preparations for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn with half-mile workouts on a sunny Friday morning.

Petrov, the day's first officially timed worker, covered the distance over a fast track in :50.40 for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Clockers caught Petrov's last quarter-mile in :24 and galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:03. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles March 18, the final major local prep for the Arkansas Derby. The colt also ran second in Oaklawn's $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 and $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20.

Silver Dust, fourth in the Southwest and fifth in the Rebel, breezed in :48 after the renovation break for trainer Randy Morse. The Tapit colt, who worked in company, covered his last quarter-mile in :23.20 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12.40, according to clockers.

Other locally based horses pointing for the Arkansas Derby include Untrapped and Lookin At Lee, third and and sixth, respectively, in the Rebel.

Also scheduled to run in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby is Classic Empire, the country's champion 2-year-old male.

Blueridge Traveler, runner-up in Saturday's $500,000 Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park, is possible for the Arkansas Derby, trainer Kenny McPeek said Friday morning. He broke his maiden Feb. 20 at Oaklawn before making his stakes debut in the Spiral.

McPeek said Blueridge Traveler is scheduled to work April 8 at Keeneland.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Friday morning that Dilettante is under consideration for the Arkansas Derby. The colt ran sixth, beaten 16 ¼ lengths by Hence, in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) Sunday at Sunland Park under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.

Dilettante broke his maiden Jan. 29 at Oaklawn before finishing fifth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20. Hence finished seventh in the Southwest, Oaklawn's second of four major Kentucky Derby prep races.

“He didn't handle the track at all down there, and they say that's very typical,” Lukas said. “I'm not familiar with Sunland. I haven't been there for 40 years. Gary Stevens called me after the race and said that he struggled with it all day. He had beat Hence last out, so it was kind of freak thing. I don't know what to make of the race.”

Hence and Dilettante are owned by Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley).

Lukas said Dilettante is his only candidate for the Arkansas Derby. Warrior's Club, 11th in the Southwest, remains probable for the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 15, Lukas said.

Lukas said Silver Bullion, 11th in the Rebel, will resurface in a conditioned allowance race, possibly at Keeneland.

The Arkansas Derby offers 170 points (100-40-20-10) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Nominations to the Arkansas Derby close Friday.

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