• Prep-race news with latest ante-post odds from British bookmakers
By Nicholas Godfrey
6-1 (price for Kentucky Derby) Super Stock (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana)
Oaklawn Park (April 10): Arkansas Derby G1 $1m 1m1f, dirt
Sire: Dialed In
Owner: Erv Woolsey & Keith Asmussen
An upset in the final major trial as 12-1 chance Super Stock picks up the pieces following a battle between leading fancies Concert Tour and Caddo RIver.
Joint favourite for the Kentucky Derby before the race, Concert Tour was sent off 3-10 favourite for Bob Baffert before pressuring old rival Caddo River every step of the way, resulting in fractions of 22.62s, 46.51s and 1m11.25s.
Concert Tour finally got his head in front in the stretch, only for Super Stock – who sat a ground-saving trip in the second rank before moving out at the furlong pole – to run down the pace pair inside the final furlong.
As the principals folded, he went on to score by a decisive 2½ lengths to earn a place in the Churchill Downs starting gate; Concert Tour was unable even to hold second as Caddo River re-rallied a bit.
The winner had won only one of seven previous starts (a minor Black Type race at Lone Star as a two-year-old) and was well beaten by Concert Tour on his last outing in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.
He is co-owned by Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen, father of trainer Steve, who was winning the race for the fifth time.
However, the upshot of all this was that we have a clear favourite for the Kentucky Derby in the shape of Godolphin’s Essential Quality, still unbeaten after five starts.
Kentucky Derby betting (Bet365): 5-2 Essential Quality, 5 Rock Your World, 6 Super Stock, 7 Concert Tour, Hot Rod Charlie, 10 Highly Motivated, Known Agenda, 12 Bourbonic, 16 Caddo River, Dynamic One, Helium, Medina Spirit, Weyburn, 20 bar.
Shall we talk about it?
Steve Asmussen (Super Stock’s trainer): “The horse has just been touting himself, getting better and better. We wanted to use his post position. I thought he used his post position into the first turn extremely well. Those horses went 46⅖s for a half-mile. Plenty solid factions, carried him nicely.”
Ricardo Santana (Super Stock’s jockey): “We got a beautiful trip. I was talking to Mr. Steve for about two weeks about this race. The post was perfect – we both liked breaking from No. 1. We knew there was some speed and everything came out perfect.”
Brad Cox (Caddo River’s trainer): “He set a very fast pace and he got passed in the stretch by Concert Tour but then battled back to get second in a very good effort.”
Bob Baffert (Concert Tour’s jockey): “He’s there and just got tired there at the end. He’s a young horse. Those things happen. You get beat and try to figure it out. They’re still young and they’re still having these races. Sometimes, you learn more from a loss than a win. Right now, he got beat. I can’t make any excuses for him right now.”
Joel Rosario (Concert Tour’s jockey): “Everything was going the right way – I was happy where I was, following the horse on the lead. I got to him. He kept going, but that horse came strong on the outside. He tried hard. He was moving good, doing everything right. That horse that won came running today.”
Keeneland: King Fury still on the outside, looking in
no odds King Fury (Kenny McPeek/Brian Hernandez)
Keeneland (April 10): Lexington Stakes G3 $200,000, 1m½f, dirt
Owner: Fern Circle Stables & Three Chimneys Farm
With 20 qualifying points for the winner, this is the last-chance saloon in Kentucky Derby terms. Even so, King Fury remains on the bubble after a near-three-length victory at a sloppy Keeneland as he is still outside the Top 20 in points terms.
He may get there, of course – but the Preakness was mentioned as an alternative.
Kenny McPeek (trainer): “This has always been a really, really good horse. We were a little aggressive with him last fall. We tested him at the highest levels and he came back bigger and stronger (after a break). I think he’s going to handle a mile and a quarter without any trouble. Whether he gets in, it’s out of our control. We’ll see how he bounces out. We think a mile a quarter would be great. We’ll look at the opposition. The Preakness is a great race too. It could be either-or, but it would definitely one or the other.”