Arkansas Derby Recap and a Look Ahead to the Kentucky Derby

by Trent Ledbetter (@23ledbetter on Twitter)

Arkansas Derby photos by @Rblifeisgood


As the clouds cleared on a racing packed Saturday we were left with a picture many had already drawn. Magnum Moon won the Arkansas Derby as the 4/5 favorite while My Boy Jack took care of business farther north in the Lexington Stakes at 6/5. With Quip and Solomini rounding out the trifecta they excluded Combatant from a guaranteed spot. He’ll be on the outside looking in and hoping for a scratch as he sits on the bubble with thirty-two points. The mark to hit this year was thirty-nine points as Firenze Fire off multiple consistent showings took the final spot based on points. Although Saturdays results were as expected, let’s take a quick look at how the Arkansas Derby played out and then take a peek at the full field.

Magnum Moon2

Luis Saez aboard Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon. Photo by Robin Buchanan (@Rblifeisgood) for

As the 4/5 favorite many expected Magnum Moon to handle this field of nine with ease. However, many weren’t expecting slow fractions with Magnum Moon leading them from start to finish. This horse took what was given to him and really didn’t show us anything extraordinary. He held off a competitive Quip who hung with him for the extent of the race and showed he can handle a lead when the pace is slow. But when you look at the facts you have to like this horse a little bit, he’s unbeaten, he’s looked great in workouts, and he shouldn’t bounce after how that race panned out. The main story coming out of this race is what Quip showed or frankly didn’t show in this race. Quip comes out of the stacked Kentucky Gold Cup race and besides that came into this one undefeated. He had an impressive win in the Tampa Bay Derby over Flameaway and second off the layoff I really expected a better run here. He sat right off Magnum Moon for nearly the entire race, but Magnum Moon put him home in the stretch. He was one I was hoping would show me something before the derby, unfortunately he didn’t and I’ll be hesitant to use after his outing today. One thing to note about Quip, he is one of FOUR horses WinStar Farm will have ownership on heading to the gate barring any scratches or withdrawals. Rounding out the trifecta was Solomini who came around the final turn four wide, but I thought he was in good striking distance. Unfortunately, he showed little but did fight with a few others and got the bob for third. This horse has good seconds to Good Magic and Bolt d’Oro, but I can’t see him taking the roses, maybe in the mix to round out the superfecta. With a fairly straight forward final prep we now turn our attention to who’s in as we monitor their every move towards that first Saturday in May. Here is the full list as well as their last race:

Horse Points Trainer Jockey Last Race
Magnum Moon 150 Todd Pletcher Luis Saez 1st Arkansas Derby
Good Magic 134 Chad Brown Jose Ortiz 1st Bluegrass Stakes
Audible 110 Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 1st Florida Derby
Noble Indy 110 Todd Pletcher TBD 1st Louisiana Derby
Vino Rosso 107 Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 1st Wood Memorial
Bolt d’Oro 104 Mick Ruis Victor Espinoza 2nd Santa Anita Derby
Enticed 103 Kiaran McLaughlin Junior Alvarado 2nd Wodd Memorial
Mendelssohn 100 Aidan O’Brien TBD 1st UAE Derby
Justify 100 Bob Baffert Mike Smith 1st Santa Anita Derby
Quip 90 Rodolphe Brisset Florent Geroux 2nd Arkansas Derby
Flameaway 70 Mark Casse Jose Lezcano 2nd Bluegrass Stakes
Solomini 54 Bob Baffert Flavien Prat 3rd Arkansas Derby
Bravazo 54 D. Wayne Lukas TBD 8th Louisiana Derby
My Boy Jack 52 Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux 1st Lexington Stakes
Promises Fulfilled 52 Dale Romans TBD 9th Florida Derby
Free Drop Billy 44 Dale Romans TBD 3rd Bluegrass Stakes
Lone Sailor 42 Tom Amoss James Graham 2nd Louisiana Derby
Hofburg 40 Bill Mott TBD 2nd Florida Derby
Firenze Fire 39 Jason Servis Manny Franco 4th Wood Memorial
Gronkowski EURO Jeremy Noseda Jamie Spencer 1st Burradon Stakes


Trent’s Tips

  • Keep an eye out for Ryan Moore’s announcement on whether he’ll ride Mendelssohn in the Derby, with a handful of jockey openings this could be the most important
  • Only 2/20 horses come into this one finishing outside the money
  • Todd Pletcher looks to make it back to back Derbys with four of the top five horses in points
  • Five horses that raced in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes are set to make the Derby field: Enticed, Quip, Bravazo, Lone Sailor, and Promises Fulfilled
  • Good Magic leads all horses with earnings of over $1.8 million
  • Bubble Horses: Combatant, Instilled Regard, Snapper Sinclair

Good luck to all as we build our way up to the fastest two minutes in sports and that first Saturday in May.

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