by Tim Holland
Maidens going one mile on grass include #10 Hero d’Oro (9-2), a $1.2 Million purchase last year, who was never a factor when unplaced in his debut on the main track at this distance in late-February. Dark bay should take to the surface being by Medaglia d’Oro and being a half-brother to three winners on turf. Colt has been working well for trainer Brown, who wins with 27% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and with 29% of his second-time starters. 4-year-old can show more here with Irad Ortiz up.
A competitive field for the Honey Rider S. includes #9 Astoria Kitten (12-1), who has not been seen since weakening to finish fourth in the Chelsea Flower S, at Aqueduct in November. Daughter of Kitten’s Joy has been working forwardly for trainer Gargan who, who wins with 27% of his runners that have not raced for 90 days or more. Filly can be in good early position with Jaramillo in the irons.
Another runner coming off a layoff for trainer Gargan is #9 Don Juan Kitten (15-1), who was last seen when flattening out to finish third after making a bid for the lead in the Awad S. at Belmont in October in her second outing. Gray is also by Kitten’s Joy and has also been working well for Gargan, who has won with 33% of his runners at this meet. 3-year-old can be forwardly placed early and another in here with tactical speed is #10 Island Commish (8-1). Son of promising young sire Commissioner was last seen when closing from just off the pace to win the Kitten’s Joy (G3) in early-January. Dark bay has posted a string of good 4-furlong works since his latest for trainer Joseph, who wins with 22% of his starters that have not raced for 90 days or more. Colt may a touch overlooked in a competitive English Channel S.
Trainer Gerald Bennett wins with 22% of his claimers and saddles #4 Malio’s (3-1), who comes off a third-place finish in an even effort facing better last month. Gelding has a record of 9-4-2-1 on this oval and Bennett has won with 23% of his starters at this meet. Son of Data Link can get a good trip closing into a solid pace under Centeno, who has won with three of his last six rides for this barn.
#4 Field Letters (4-1) showed a new dimension when closing from off the pace to defeat easier over the track and distance last month in her first start for trainer Granitz. 5-year-old has won two of three career starts on dirt and Granitz wins with a high 32% of his claimers that won last time out. Bay should find another fast tempo to close into with Wales remaining aboard.
Maidens going 6-furlongs include #10 Bonus Baby (6-1), a debuting daughter of decent first out sire Flatter, who is out of a mare by Giant’s Causeway. Chestnut’s works include a sharp 4-furlong move in :48 from the gate a week ago for trainer Englehart, who wins with a solid 20% of his first-time starters. Filly drew a good post and can win at first asking under Cohen, who has won with 11% of his rides for the barn in the past 60 days.
#8 J Z My Man (5-1) makes his first start for trainer Sharp off an unplaced effort after being steadied early on grass in his debut at Santa Anita in March. Son of excellent young sire American Pharoah is out of a stake-winning mare and has posted four good works on this oval for Sharp, who has won with 21% of his starters this meet. 3-year-old can show more here with Garcia in the irons.
Last year’s winner of the Essex H. over the track and distance, #3 Rated R Superstar (8-1) showed improvement when second in his latest here in this fourth outing after a seven-month absence. Trainer Contreras has won with 20% of his runners since the beginning of last year and chestnut has a record of 13-2-4-1 on this oval. Deep closer should find a solid pace to run at and appears to be rounding back into his best form with Garcia retaining the mount.
Trainer Catalano wins with 13% of his runners going a route distance for the first time and saddles #7 Ring of Fire (10-1), who comes off a weakening third place finish after pressing the early pace in his debut at Fair Grounds in mid-March. Recent works include a sharp 5-furlong move in :59 1/5 here and son of Speightstown is out of Brushed by a Star, winner of the Molly Pitcher (G2). Dark bay figures to be on or near the early lead with Geroux riding.
In the first division of the Arkansas Derby (G1), #8 Anneau d’Or (6/1) gets blinkers removed off a fading unplaced effort as the favorite in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in mid-February. Son of Medaglia d’Oro finished a close second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) three back and has been working well for trainer Wright, who wins with 24% of runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. 3-year-old should be able to sit a good trip just off the pace with Juan Hernandez here to regain the mount.
A competitive field in the Oaklawn H (G2) includes #2 Trophy Chaser (12-1), who rallied from just off the pace to win the Challenger (G3) at Tampa in his latest in early-March. Trainer Avila wins with 12% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and son of Twirling Candy has won four of 11 career starts. Dark bay has been training well at Gulfstream and can be in good early position with Camacho in the irons.
#10 Farmington Road (12-1) comes into the second division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) off a closing second-place finish in the Oaklawn Stakes with blinkers on for the first time over the track and distance last month. Son of Quality Road finished well while wide when fourth in the Risen Star (G2) two back for trainer Pletcher, who wins with 12% of his runners in graded stakes. Colt has little early speed but should find a fast pace to run at with Castellano in the irons.