Two candidates for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 10 recorded workouts over a fast track Saturday morning at Oaklawn.
Caddo River, in company, breezed a half-mile in :48 after the first surface renovation break under Fernando De La Cruz. Caddo River, on the outside, worked with stablemate Joe Frazier, who finished sixth in the $200,000 Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds Dec. 18 at Remington Park. Joe Frazier also was credited with a half-mile in :48. Clockers had the Brad Cox-trained duo galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:00, 6 furlongs in 1:13 and 7 furlongs in 1:27.60.
A homebred for John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, Caddo River was a record-setting 10 ¼-length winner of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 22 before finishing a disappointing fifth in the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) March 13. The Smarty Jones and Rebel are among two major local preps leading up to the Arkansas Derby, which Anthony has won a record three times (1980, 1987 and 1992).
Rebel sixth Keepmeinmind breezed after the second renovation break under regular rider David Cohen. Keepmeinmind went 5 furlongs in 1:00 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:13.60, according to clockers.
Trainer Robertino Diodoro said Keepmeinmind is under consideration for the Arkansas Derby and the $800,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) April 3 at Keeneland and a decision on the colt’s next start should be made by Monday.
“If it’s the Blue Grass, he’s going to miss a little bit of serious training, shipping over there and stuff,” Diodoro said. “Gave him a stiff work today. If we run him next weekend, he’s not going to be doing a whole bunch from now until then. We’ll jog him, little easy gallop. If he stays here for the Arkansas Derby, then we’ll probably come back next weekend with a real easy half.”
Post positions for the Blue Grass will be drawn Tuesday. Unbeaten champion Essential Quality is expected to headline the field. Essential Quality, who is also trained by Cox, won the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 27 at Oaklawn in his last start.
Unbeaten Rebel winner Concert Tour worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 Saturday morning at Santa Anita for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Other noteworthy workers Saturday at Oaklawn included champion Whitmore for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs and Shedaresthedevil for Cox and co-owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs.
Whitmore, who breezed with stablemate Galilee, went a half-mile in :49.40 in advance of the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older sprinters April 10 at Oaklawn. Whitmore has won the Count Fleet three times.
Shedaresthedevil went a half-mile in :49.20 in preparation for the $500,000 La Troienne Stakes (G1) April 30 at Churchill Downs. Shedaresthedevil began her 2021 campaign with a front-running victory in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares March 13 at Oaklawn. She was a finalist for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old filly last year after winning four races, including the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Oaklawn’s $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3).
Watch the previous matchup, the 2021 Rebel here:
Oaklawn Park Press Release
Photo: Caddo River, Coady Photography