By Emily Shields
The second division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday is much deeper than the first, with several major winners making up a strong field. Favored Nadal, who is unbeaten in three starts, drew post 5.
A $700,000 son of Blame, Nadal broke his maiden on January 19 with a strong speed figure sprinting. He then stretched to seven furlongs to win the San Vicente (G2) in just his second start before shipping to Arkansas to take the local prep, the Grade 2 Rebel here over 1 1/16-miles. Trainer Bob Baffert, who starts Charlatan in the first division of the Derby, took Nadal back to California for two bullet workouts before returning.
Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner King Guillermo is here after a nearly five length score in that Tampa Bay race. Juan Avila trains the son of Uncle Mo, who broke his maiden on the grass last year and ran third in the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park before his signature win.
Wells Bayou, winner of the Louisiana Derby (G2), has drawn outside. The son of Lookin At Lucky was second here in the Southwest after winning an allowance in the mud January 26 in his two Oaklawn tries. Brad Cox trains the bay colt, who has won three of five starst and will have Florent Geroux back aboard.
Storm the Court is seeking to make amends after running fourth in the San Vicente (G2) behind Nadal, and third in the San Felipe (G2). The son of Court Vision hasn’t won since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in November, where he scored a 45-1 upset. Flavien Prat will be reunited with the Peter Eurton trainee.
Silver Prospector is 10-1 on the morning line, but the Steve Asmussen trainee won the Southwest (G3) here in February with a good speed figure. A Grade 2 winner as a juvenile, Silver Prospector is a son of Declaration of War and will be ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr. There are six stakes races at Oaklawn Park this weekend, and all will be available to watch and wager live with TVG.
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