‘Willing And Game’: Champion Storm The Court Confirmed For Arkansas Derby

Southern California-based trainer Peter Eurton said Tuesday afternoon that he plans to have two entrants in the $750,000 Arkansas Derby (G1) May 2 at Oaklawn, including juvenile champion Storm the Court.

Storm the Court worked 6 furlongs in 1:13.60 Monday morning at Santa Anita in advance of the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby, which will mark his first start outside California. Storm the Court, at odds of 45-1, secured an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old male with a front-running victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

Eurton said he also plans to enter Shooters Shoot, a first-level allowance winner at a mile April 11 at Oaklawn, in the Arkansas Derby.

“Very pleased with his work,” Eurton said of Storm the Court. “Very pleased with Shooters Shoot. I know it’s going to be tough on both ends with Bob’s two horses, but we’re willing and game.”

Eurton was referring to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is pointing unbeaten Nadal (3 for 3) and unbeaten Charlatan (2 for 2) for the Arkansas Derby. Nadal won the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn in his last start. Charlatan, who has never run in a stakes race, has won his two starts by a combined 16 lengths.

Storm the Court, in his 3-year-old debut, finished fourth behind Nadal in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2) Feb. 9 at Santa Anita and third behind another unbeaten Baffert trainee, Authentic, in the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) March 7 at Santa Anita in his last start

Eurton said he had the Arkansas Derby in the “back of his mind,” but the decision became straightforward after other major traditional April Kentucky Derby preps like the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood Memorial were shelved because of the Covid-19 crisis.

“We didn’t have many other choices, to be honest with you,” Eurton said. “We had so many different options that we were going to go with, but unfortunately they’re all gone the other direction.”

The Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 Oaklawn responded by shifting the Arkansas Derby from April 11 to May 2.

“It kind of worked out good for me,” Eurton said. “It got the needed weight I wanted to get back on him. He’s trained by himself the whole time and that really helped because he’s so competitive. It keeps his metabolism a little bit lower. His weight looks really good. Is he good enough? Hey, we’re going to find out. He’s got the style. I think he’ll like the racetrack, I really do. Seems like a speed-favoring racetrack, so looking forward to it.”

Eurton, who has a string at Oaklawn for the first time this year, said he will not attend the race.

Storm the Court, a son of Court Vision, races for Exline-Border Racing LLC, David Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Dan Hudock. Storm the Court has a 2-0-2 record from six lifetime starts and earnings of $1,232,951.

Post positions for the Arkansas Derby will be drawn Sunday. A plane carrying Southern California-based horses to Arkansas is scheduled to arrive Tuesday.

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

The post ‘Willing And Game’: Champion Storm The Court Confirmed For Arkansas Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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