‘Second Home’: Low Hoping For Arkansas Derby Win At Oaklawn

Robert and Lawana Low’s unbeaten Magnum Moon is the 8-5 program favorite for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Saturday at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby, the 11th of 12 races on the closing-day card, is 6:18 p.m. (Central). Doors open Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with a special first post of 12:35 p.m. and the infield will be open.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Magnum Moon was a 3 ½-length winner of the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 17. The Rebel, the final major local prep for the Arkansas Derby, marked the stakes debut for the son of Malibu Moon, a $380,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate.

Robert Low, best known for campaigning Grade 1 winner Capote Belle in the late 1990s, said winning the Arkansas Derby would be the high point of his career. The Lows, who live on the outskirts of Springfield, Mo., consider Oaklawn their “home track.”

“We’ve been going there for 40 years, plus,” said Robert Low, 68, founder of Prime Inc., the Springfield-based refrigerated, flatbed, tanker and intermodal carrier. “We love that place. It’s like a second home.”

Low said he and his wife would “dearly love” to win the Arkansas Derby, which offers 170 qualifying points to the top four finishers (100-40-20-10) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Magnum Moon has already secured a berth in the Run for the Roses with the 50 points for his Rebel victory.

“It’s maybe just a bit behind the Kentucky Derby,” Low said. “We’d love to win the Arkansas Derby.”

Magnum Moon is scheduled to face eight rivals Saturday, including Rebel runner-up Solomini, Rebel third Combatant, Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip and unbeaten Tenfold.

The Arkansas Derby field from the rail out: Beautiful Shot, Richard Eramia to ride, 122 pounds, 30-1 on the morning line; Machismo, Scott Spieth, 118, 20-1; Tenfold, Victor Espinoza, 118, 10-1; Dream Baby Dream, Luis Contreras, 118, 15-1; Solomini, Flavien Prat, 118, 2-1; Magnum Moon, Luis Saez, 122, 8-5; Plainsman, C.J. McMahon, 118, 30-1; Quip, Florent Geroux, 122, 9-2; and Combatant, Ricardo Santana Jr., 118, 6-1.

Quip will represent the first Oaklawn starter for Rodolphe Brisset, a former assistant under Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Quip has won 3 of 4 career races, including the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 10 at Tampa Bay Downs in his last start.

A son of Distorted Humor, Quip arrived last Saturday in Hot Springs after being rerouted from the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.

“He settled very good,” Brisset said. “It seems like he’s been here for the whole meet. We had schooling sessions at the gate and a schooling session in the paddock. He’s done everything very well.”

Quip led at every point of call in his 1 1/16-mile maiden victory Oct. 19 at Keeneland and was a forward factor in the Tampa Bay Derby.

“I think we have some good tactical speed,” Brisset said. “Watching a couple of replays of the Arkansas Derby the past couple of years, it looks like we have a pretty decent run before the first turn. He won on the lead, he won stalking. I don’t think we need to overanalyze anything. If we have a clean break, don’t be surprised to see us on the lead.”

Solomini was a troubled second in the Rebel, encountering traffic trouble at the top of the stretch.

“Just need a clean trip,” said Justin Zayat, whose family owns Solomini.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is scheduled to be represented by three starters in Combatant, Tenfold and Dream Baby Dream.

The consistent Combatant had finished second in three previous starts (all stakes races) before the Rebel. He has drawn outside for the third consecutive race.

“At a mile and an eighth, we’ve got a little longer run into the first turn, so hopefully he won’t be jeopardized as much as he was in his last two races,” Asmussen said.

Tenfold, a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, will be making his stakes debut after winning two 1 1/16-mile races earlier in the meeting. Dream Baby Dream exits a runner-up finish in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) March 25 at Sunland Park.

The post ‘Second Home’: Low Hoping For Arkansas Derby Win At Oaklawn appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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