It’s been a long time since Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas had a legitimate contender for the Kentucky Derby but Lukas is hoping to end that Saturday when he sends the 7-2 morning line third-choice Dublin to the starting gate of the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
A win by Dublin would suit me fine. I remember when Lukas was the hottest trainer on the Kentucky Derby trail and it would be good to see him back in race for the roses.
Actually, it appears that the Arkansas Derby is shaping up to a three-horse race between Dublin, Super Saver (9-5) and Noble’s Promise (2-1). A win by either of those horses would be okay too, because all of them have been on my watch list since before the beginning of the year and my Derby favorite is Eskendereya.
After recovering from throat surgery last fall, Dublin is a new horse and he’s been working out great since January.
In February, Dublin narrowly lost his 3-year-old debut by three-quarters of a length to Conveyance in the Southwest Stakes (G3). In March, an early move in the Rebel Stakes (G2) eventually took Dublin out of contention late in the race and he finished third to Lookin At Lucky - beaten by three lengths.
I look for Dublin to improve in his third start for the year and an exceptional bullet workout March 27 shows me that he may be ready to run his best race yet.
I love the pedigree of Super Saver with its multiple influences of La Troienne but, so far, Super Saver has not lived up to expectations. Super Saver picks up Calvin Borel for the mount who guided him to a brilliant victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs last November.
Super Saver’s 3-year-old debut in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) was disappointing but he has since followed that up with a bullet workout March 28 and I look for him to be competitive.
Noble’s Promise was my long shot pick to win the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last November at Keeneland and since then I’ve backed him in all of my Derby Trail Stakes Racing Roundups he competed in. It’s easy to love a horse like Noble’s Promise who gives his all for each race to the very end.
I do have some questions about Noble’s Promise to get 10-furlongs but I’ll be anxiously watching to see how he runs Saturday to see if I can use him in my Derby exotics.
Overall, the Arkansas Derby should be an exciting race.