INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 11, 2012)—Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has the first two morning line choices in the $1 million Arkansas Derby Saturday at Oaklawn Park.
A Grade I for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, the Arkansas Derby is the 11th of 12 races Saturday. Scheduled post time is 3:45 p.m. PDT. Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 10:15 a.m. for simulcasts.
The leading trainer at the 2011 Spring/Summer meet at Betfair Hollywood Park, Baffert will be represented by 9-5 favorite Bodemeister and 5-2 second choice Secret Circle, who is already a two-time stakes winner at Oaklawn Park.
Owned by Zayat Stables LLC, Bodemeister will be making his first start outside California. The son of Empire Maker and the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent was second, three-quarters of a length behind Creative Cause in the San Felipe Stakes March 10 at Santa Anita.
The Virginia bred has won once in three starts and earned $104,800. He will race without blinkers for the first time and has a new jockey – Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who earned his 5,000th career victory last weekend aboard Amazombie in the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes.
Rafael Bejarano remains with Secret Circle, the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner who has captured the Grade III Southwest and Grade II Rebel Stakes after suffering the first loss of his career to the now-sidelined Out of Bounds in the Sham Stakes Jan. 7 at Santa Anita.
A Kentucky bred son of Eddington and the Dixieland Band mare Ragtime Hope, Secret Circle has won five of six, earning $818,990 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
From inside out, the field for the Arkansas Derby: Cozzetti, Jose Lezcano rides, 118 pounds; Stat, John Velazquez, 118; Najjaar, Calvin Borel, 118; Jake Mo, Cliff Berry, 122; Secret Circle, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Isn’t He Clever, Robby Albarado, 122; Optimizer, Jon Court, 118; Atigun, Terry Thompson, 118; Sabercat, Corey Nakatani, 122; Raconteur, Chris DeCarlo, 122 and Bodemeister, Mike Smith, 118.
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