The $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park is the final major points-qualifier for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1. A field of six has been entered for the 1 1/8-mile race that offers qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 the first four finishers. usracing.com is publishing profiles on the contenders in the days leading up to the race.
By Ed McNamara
His runner-up performance in the Rebel wasn’t anything special. It looked like a case of “Well, somebody had to be second.” Hozier came up an open rail in the stretch and finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Concert Tour, who was being “throttled down late,” according to the Equibase chart’s footnotes.
That was the second time he couldn’t get close to Concert Tour, who beat him by 13 lengths when each debuted on Feb. 15. So, it’s hard to imagine Hozier making a huge leap forward and contending in the Arkansas Derby. Then again, he’s a lightly raced 3-year-old trained by Bob Baffert, so you could argue that anything is possible.
Originally, Baffert didn’t plan to run Hozier in the Rebel.
“I would have preferred an allowance race [at Santa Anita] for him, but we just couldn’t them to fill,” he said last month. “So, I thought, ‘Well, he’s doing good and maybe he’ll get a little piece of it or something.’”
Hozier earned 20 Derby qualifying points and $200,000, so it all worked out well, even if he still has to prove he can compete with the top 3-year-olds.
Post position: 3
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Martin Garcia
Owners: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Golconda Stable, Siena Farm, and Robert Masterson
Derby qualifying points: 20 (26th)
Career record: 3-1-1-0
Career earnings: $240,260
Best Equibase speed figure: 99
Pedigree: Pioneerof the Nile-Merry Meadow, by Henny Hughes
Running style: Stalker/closer
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.