Arkansas Derby Profile: Caddo River
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
He was a major disappointment in the Rebel, fading to fifth, beaten by 6 1/2 lengths, as the 6-5 favorite behind front-running winner Concert Tour.
It was Caddo River’s first time out of the exacta in five career races and came after a 10-length romp in Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones Stakes. Caddo River looked so good in the Smarty Jones that there was premature gushing that he might be better than Cox’s undefeated 3-year-old Essential Quality. Incorrect.
“Hopefully, we can make some adjustments and be back on track for the Arkansas Derby,” Cox said. “He just didn’t fire like we expected, and we’re hoping he can rebound. We’re going to be more aggressive and try to be closer to the lead than we were last time, and hopefully he can be a Kentucky Derby horse.”
Caddo River has only 10 qualifying points, so he needs to be at least second [40 points] Saturday to have a decent chance of getting into the gate on May 1.
Owner John Ed Anthony, 82, won the 1980 Belmont Stakes with Temperence Hill, who, like Caddo River, was named for a place in his native Arkansas. Caddo River is a tributary of the Razorback State’s Ouachita River. Anthony also won the Preakness two years in a row, with Pine Bluff in 1992 and Prairie Bayou in 1993.
Post position: 2
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Owner: Shortleaf Stable
Derby qualifying points: 10 (36th)
Career record: 5-2-2-0
Career earnings: $196,092
Best Equibase speed rating: 101
Pedigree: Hard Spun-Pangburn, by Congrats
Color: Dark bay
Running style: Front-runner/stalker
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.