Dynamic Arkansas Derby Sets Reincarnate as Slight Fav

March 31, 2023

Reincarnate and Newgate fiercely battle to the finish with the former the victor by a neck in the Sham at Santa Anita. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Derby Dispatch

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – California-based 3-year-old Reincarnate will invade Hot Springs, Ark. in hopes of qualifying for the “Run for the Roses” but will have to face 10 rivals in Saturday’s $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (Grade I). 

The Arkansas Derby will go as the Race 12 on Oaklawn’s program with a post time of 7:50 p.m. ET. The 1 1/8-mile contest will award points to the top five finishers on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI). 

Reincarnate, now under the care of Tim Yakteen, shipped to Oaklawn four weeks ago for the Rebel (GII) and finished third over sloppy going. Previously, Reincarnate was under the care of Bob Baffert and won the Sham (GIII) at Santa Anita. 

“We got in all sorts of trouble in the stretch from (Bourbon Bash),” jockey John Velazquez said following the Rebel. “He was making a run.” 

Velazquez will be back in the irons from post No. 8 and was tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite 

Another talented 3-year-old entered in the Arkansas Derby is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Red Route One. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Red Route One was the runner-up in the Rebel behind front-running Confidence Game. The son of Gun Runner will add blinkers for the Arkansas Derby and get a change of jockey from Cristian Torres to Tyler Gaffalione. Red Route One was slated as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line and drew post 10. 

Frank Fletcher’s Holy Bull (GIII) winner Rocket Can will ship from South Florida for the Arkansas Derby. Trained by Bill Mott, Rocket Can previously finished second behind Forte in the Fountain of Youth (GII). The well-bred son of Into Mischief has yet to finish worse than second since stretching out to two-turns on Oct. 31. Junior Alvarado will have the mount from post 7. 

Another top entrant in the Arkansas Derby field is Albaugh Family Stables’ Risen Star (GII) winner Angel of Empire. The Brad Cox trainee was the one-length winner of the Feb. 18 Risen Star at odds of 13-1. The son of Classic Empire will be ridden by Flavien Prat from post 6 at odds of 9-2. 

Note: Airtime is not nominated to the Triple Crown. 

Arkansas Derby Quotes 

Keith Desormeaux, trainer, Kolomio: “I got lucky enough to get him. It was a two-way shake, and the horse has just been training out of his mind over the last five or six weeks. We’ve got a bad case of Derby fever with Confidence Game and Single Ruler stoking the coals. We’re going to give it a shot. This is what Derby fever does to you. Man, I better check my temperature now that I’m saying all this stuff out in the open. It seems like real wackiness but it’s a lot of fun. And Big Chief Racing claimed the horse and we’re old friends. That’s Exaggerator’s owner and it would be a great story and a lot of fun to get back to the Derby.” 

Chris Hartman, trainer, Two Eagles River: “He’s been working up a storm. The horse is coming into hand pretty good right now. The decision to go here – I’m a little bit of a homer on that aspect. I would rather run him out of his stall than to haul him anywhere.” 

Kenny McPeek, trainer, Interlock Empire: “Interlock Empire’s race the other day was a pleasant step forward for him. He was shot out of a cannon the last part there and I like that David Cabrera was able to get him to relax and finish like he did. It’s a little ambitious but it seems to me the Arkansas Derby is pretty well wide open at this point. You only get so many shots. I think there’s 1.25 million reasons to try.” 

Bill Mott, trainer, Rocket Can: “The owner of Rocket Can (Frank Fletcher) is from Arkansas, and he lets me run his horses all winter in Florida. If he wants to run in Arkansas, that’s more than fair with me.” 

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