Then there was one.
The final 170 point Kentucky Derby prep race this year will be run Saturday when the Arkansas Derby takes place at Oaklawn Park.
The race is the 12th on the Oaklawn card and is set for a 4:41 p.m. post PDT.
Only six horses will going to post in the race that has a point structure of 100-40-20-10.
If the Derby field were set today there would only be one horse in the Arkansas Derby field with a berth in Kentucky – Concert Tour.
The cut off is 34 points as of now. Hozier (20) and Caddo River (10) both could earn derby spots with strong performances Saturday.
Finish in the top three spots would likely earn Hozier a spot, while Caddo River would need to finish first or second. Of course, if any of the other horses entered run first or second, they would grab a spot in the gate on the first Saturday in May.
Let us run through the field.
Concert Tour (Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario/1-1) has been perfect through all three career starts, including back-to-back stakes wins, taking the San Vicente in February and the Rebel at Oaklawn in March.
The Baffert late bloomer has gone further in each start and run better than the previous start. With Life is Good and Greatest Honour off the Derby trail, Concert Tour becomes one of the favorites in the Run for the Roses.
Hozier (Baffert/Martin Garcia/3-1) came out of pair of maiden races before running second to Concert Tour in the Rebel. He came from well back to get the second spot. He followed the Rebel with a maintenance work, then had a blowout bullet work on April 3 to get ready for this spot.
The two Baffert runners have six career starts between them making it look like they will get better and better.
Caddo River (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux/7-2) looked like a world beater in January when he took the Smarty Jones prep race at Oaklawn by 10 lengths as the big favorite. He went to the bench for two months following the win and he looked off and suffered a big bump in the Rebel before finishing a well-back fifth. I said after the Rebel I was willing to forgive that race and that stands true today. I expect a much better effort, something closer to what we saw in January.
Super Stock (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana/6-1) is the horse with the most experience here, recording seven career starts (or one more than the two favorites combined). Was the fourth place in the Rebel coming from the back of the pack. While only having to negotiate only five other horses will make things easier, an eight-horse field shouldn’t be as tough as he made it look.
Get Her Number (Peter Miller/Francisco Arrieta/6-1) was a disappointing seventh in the Rebel after entering the race off a win in the American Pharoah, beating Rombauer and Spielberg in the process. He did suffer a bad bump in the race but looks to have a way to go against these.
Last Samurai (Dallas Stewart/Jon Court/15-1) was last seen in the Southwest where he was fifth, beaten by 15 lengths by Essential Quality. There is nothing in the works or past performances that lead me to believe an upset could be the works here. Then again, I can’t blame the connections for entering the horse in this six-horse field.
By Dennis Miller