HOT SPRINGS, AR – Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran’s Taishan will try to make his fourth stakes start a winning one in Saturday’s 2nd division of the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
Taishan faced several future Kentucky Derby Trail rivals in his first two starts, breaking his maiden at second asking while going two turns at Santa Anita Park. He was well-beaten in his next two starts, however, finishing fourth there in the Sham Stakes (G3) and fifth here in the Southwest Stakes (G3).
Trainer Richard Baltas kept Taishan in Hot Springs following the Southwest, a move that resulted in a resounding 4 3/4-length score in the slop against allowance/optional claiming rivals. Most recently, he was third in a sloppy edition of the Oaklawn Stakes and has attracted David Cohen, near the top of the meet’s jockey standings, to ride here.
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The Arkansas Derby is a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race awarding a total of 170 points to the top four finishers. The winner will receive 100 points, with 40 going to second, 20 to third, and 10 to fourth.
Here is the full field for the 1st division of the Arkansas Derby (click on each horse’s name to read an exclusive preview):
|Post||Horse||Jockey||Trainer||Morning Line Odds|
|1||Finnick the Fierce||Martin Garcia||Rey Hernandez||15/1|
|2||Saratogian||Joe Talamo||Rodolphe Brisset||50/1|
|3||Storm the Court||Flavien Prat||Peter Eurton||6/1|
|4||King Guillermo||Samy Camacho||Juan Avila||3/1|
|5||Nadal||Joel Rosario||Bob Baffert||5/2|
|6||Code Runner||Stewart Elliott||Steve Asmussen||50/1|
|7||Silver Prospector||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steve Asmussen||10/1|
|9||Taishan||David Cohen||Richard Baltas||15/1|
|10||Farmington Road||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||12/1|
|11||Wells Bayou||Florent Geroux||Brad Cox||7/2|