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.
Arkansas Derby 2021 Entries
By Ed McNamara
This colt emerged as a serious 3-year-old by leading throughout a 4 1/4-length runaway in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes, which Bob Baffert won for the eighth time.
Heading into Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, Concert Tour could be his best chance for a record seventh Kentucky Derby win. Yet you never know with the amazing Baffert, who remains a threat despite losing the brilliant, undefeated Life Is Good to a minor injury. His other possibilities are Rebel runner-up Hozier, also entered in the Arkansas Derby, and Medina Spirit, second in the Santa Anita Derby.
Baffert finished first last year with Nadal and Charlatan in both divisions of the Arkansas Derby, although Charlatan was subsequently disqualified because of a drug positive. He also won it with 2015 Triple Crown hero American Pharoah and Bodemeister (2012). American Pharoah was the first to hit the Arkansas Derby-Kentucky Derby double since Smarty Jones in 2004.
Like Baffert’s 2018 Triple Crown winner, Justify, Concert Tour didn’t run as a 2-year-old, so he’s short on experience after not debuting until Jan. 15. The Arkansas Derby will be his third stakes. He stalked from third in his second start, the 7-furlong San Vicente, so he doesn’t need the lead.
Baffert on Concert Tour’s Rebel: “To me, it was an American Pharoah-type run. He was doing it with ease, with plenty left.”
Rider Joel Rosario agreed, saying, “I just looked at his ears and knew he was very happy with what he was doing.”
Arkansas Derby 2021 Entries: Concert Tour
Post position: 5
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Owner: Gary and Mary West
Derby qualifying points: 50 (11th)
Career record: 3-3-0-0
Career earnings: $756,600
Best Equibase speed rating: 106
Pedigree: Street Sense-Purse Strings, by Tapit
Running style: Front-runner
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.