Top Contenders Tough to Split in Arkansas Derby

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography The tricky part of handicapping the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park isn’t identifying the top contenders. That part is easy. The challenging aspect is splitting them, so your wagers will yield a reasonable return on investment. #1 Improbable, #3 Omaha Beach and #11 Long Range Toddy are the obvious favorites in this 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep [...]

Gray Attempt Successfully Stretches His Speed in Smarty Jones Stakes

Gray Attempt winning the Smarty Jones Stakes - Coady Photography Sprint to the lead. Run everyone off their feet. Hang on to secure the victory. Rinse and repeat. That’s been the magic formula for the up-and-coming three-year-old Gray Attempt, who secured his third straight front-running triumph when forging to a hard-fought win in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on January 25 at Oaklawn Park. Never mind that he was stretching out to a mile for the first time—he [...]

Sorting the Contenders in the Smarty Jones Stakes

Gray Attempt winning the Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds - Photo by Hodges Photography The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Friday with the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, a one-mile race that strikes me as considerably easier to interpret than last week’s Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. Whether that indeed proves to be the case is another question entirely, but here’s how I break down the main contenders: The Deserving Favorite #8 Gray [...]