If you are a fan of horse racing, you are quite familiar with the new system that has been implemented in the 2013 road to the Kentucky Derby. Gone are the days where horses can simply run in assorted Grade 1 and Grade 2 races, sneaking in through the back door to earn a trip to the most prestigious race in all of horse racing.
If you want to race against the best, you now have to beat the best.
The system has been criticized and applauded depending on who you talk to, but by looking at the 2013 Arkansas Derby, you can see that it is working.
Although a slightly smaller field than usual, the Arkansas Derby has a field of horses from across the country, ones that would not have shipped in if not for the need of points. With the conclusion of the Santa Anita Derby last Saturday at Santa Anita, the last two Derby points races are the Bluegrass Stakes and the Arkansas Derby.
With the existence of the polytrack at Keeneland Racecourse, many trainers would like to avoid that route and have instead decided to send their horses to Oaklawn Park. A few of the notable entries include War Academy, the Bob Baffert-trained horse who impressed last time out in an Allowance Race at Santa Anita. It will be a big class jump, but Bob will surely have him ready to run his best.
Another notable entrant in the field of 10 is D. Wayne Lukas‘ Oxbow. Oxbow, being ridden by legendary jockey Gary Stevens after regular rider Jon Court chose the mount on Will Take Charge, a fellow Lukas horse, has had an interesting career thus far.
Oxbow ran second last time out to the aforementioned Will Take Charge, a horse that looked impressive in his victory in the Rebel Stakes. Oxbow has the sort of running style needed to win at a 1 1/8, possessing tactical speed with an impressive late kick.
Regardless of who wins one thing is certain, the race will prove to be an exciting one as 10 entrants will be partaking in their last chance to make a run for the roses.
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