Horse racing fans will be fixated on Oaklawn Park on Saturday in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Arkansas Derby is scheduled for this weekend, with a pretty impressive field. The Arkansas Derby will feature Kentucky Derby hopeful, Charlatan, who has gotten plenty of attention over the last two months. He’s flown up the board and has been a hot pick to win the Derby.
Baffert is expected to have three very strong horses in the Kentucky Derby in September. Charlatan is one, while Nadal, and Authentic are going to be dangerous as well. If Charlatan dominates in the Arkansas Derby, look for him to leapfrog Tiz the Law for the favorite to win. Todd Pletcher’s Gouverneur Morris will be in the Arkansas Derby, too.
Before we get to Derby day in Arkansas, Oaklawn Park will have a couple of race days on Thursday and Friday. If your heart was set on the Kentucky Derby this weekend, you’re going to have to wait until Labor Day. Organizers have their eyes set on being allowed to have spectators then, but no one really knows at this point. The Kentucky Derby will run in virtual form on Saturday, which will include Triple Crown winners battling it out in an AI race. Oaklawn Park will put on a nine-race event on Thursday. Head below for our free Oaklawn Park selections for April 30, 2020.
Post Time: 3:36 p.m. CST
Distance: 6 Furlongs
We’ll get started with Race 6 at Oaklawn Park. 11 horses are entered, as they will battle it out for the top prize in a $28,000 purse. Ike and Cowboy Cool are a couple of big underdogs that will be looking for the upset. Who has the better chance of winning out of the two?
I’d side with Ike. Cowboy Cool has been really cool for four straight races and has failed to show in 8 out of his last 10 outings. He has won 5 of 34 races in his career, but his form has been well off recently. His last win was on April 7, 2018 so it’s been a long minute.
Ike has won 2 of 11 races and has at least placed relatively recently. He finished 2nd on November 20, 2019 in an adequate performance to finish near the front. However, his most recent win was on July 12, 2018. He’s probably a better option than Cowboy Cool, but not much beyond that. C Z Rocket at +600 might be your best bet for an upset.
He’s won 4 of 16 races in his career, but kind of went sideways after he was put into action at a higher class. Since placing on November 2, 2019. C Z Rocket has gone 7th, 6th, 6th. Maybe he gets back on track Thursday afternoon. Gordy Florida has won 4 of 17 races and has shown in 10 of his last 13 outings. Definitely could have enough in him to get past this field on Thursday at Oaklawn Park.
Between Gordy Florida, Aggressivity, and The Red Dude, Race 6 at Oaklawn Park is going to be a good one. The Red Dude was on a roll from July 22, 2018 to March 3, 2019, but he’ll need to regain that form to be taken seriously in the rest of 2020. The Red Dude placed in five straight outings, with three 2nd place finishes and two 1st. However, he has gone 6th, 6th, 5th in his most recent outings. The Red Dude was a no-factor in his most recent effort on February 8, falling back to 5th and staying there.
Aggressivity enters Thursday with some confidence following two wins in her previous three entries. He won his most recent race by 2 ¾ lengths on April 16. Aggressivity turned on the jets on the homestretch, as he went from 5th to 1st at the drop of a hat. In his other recent win. Aggressivity was a winner on March 8 by 1 ¾ lengths over Johnny Tiznow. It was a similar win, as Aggressivity was 5th at the ½ pole and then exploded. He has shown in six of his last seven outings. I think we’re getting some good value on Aggressivity in Race 6.
Post Time: 4:38 p.m. CST
Nine mares mares are scheduled to run a mile at Oaklawn Park in the feature race on Thursday. A sizable purse of $62,000 will be offered. Blessed Again is likely to close as the biggest underdog in the race. She has a recent win on March 6, but has failed to show in six of her last seven entries.
Blessed Again has notched 3 wins in 13 career races. However, the wins were against weak competition. When she goes up a class versus tougher opponents, we saw what happened on April 5 where she finished 6th. Miss Bigly is the better upset wager, though sees a huge uptick in class today.
Miss Bigly is coming off two wins on January 31 and February 27. She has been on the sideline since and waiting to pounce on an opportunity for a hat-trick. This will be her opportunity, but it’s going to be a big ask of her. This isn’t an easy event and it will likely show. Having said that, Miss Bigly might be worth a sprinkle at +1200.
The attention down the stretch is likely going to be on the No. 1 horse, Valut, and Fighting Mad at post No. 7. Letruska could have a nice bid in this one as well. Anytime a Bob Baffert trained pony steps into the gate there is going to be some attention. Fighting Mad will be running for Baffert in this event, as she searches for the 4th win in her career. She’s been terrific with 3 wins in 5 entries.
Her legs are going to be fresh for this one, as the most recent appearance she’s had was on August 17, 2019 in the Torrey Pines Stakes (Gr. 3). That was a winning run for Fighting Mad, as she blew out the field by 8 lengths. It was a wire-to-wire win for Fighting Mad in a laugher for Baffert. If she returns to the track in that form, Fighting Mad will most likely notch back-to-back wins. I’m going to bank on Baffert having Fighting Mad ready to rock n roll on Thursday at Oaklawn Park.