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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Grade 1-winning colt Improbable completed his first work toward the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on Tuesday, covering 4 furlongs in :49.60 over the fast main track.
Improbable’s time was not comparatively fast among the other workers (tied for 16th-best of 33), but Baffert will likely ramp up the speed next week. Improbable was a game second last time out in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes, leading until the betting favorite Tom’s d’Etat collared him in the final strides.
Improbable ended 2019 with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), completing a season in which he was favored five times (including the Kentucky Derby [G1]) but was victorious only once. Overall, the 4-year-old son of City Zip has a record of 11-4-3-0 with $949,250 earned for co-owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing.
The Oaklawn Handicap is scheduled for May 2 on a card that will include the $750,000 Arkansas Derby (G1), which awards the top four finishers with a total of 170 points toward the Kentucky Derby starting gate. 100 points will go to the winner, 40 to the horse in second, 20 to third, and 10 to fourth.
Other potential starters for the Oaklawn Handicap include the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Combatant, the Razorback Handicap (G3) champion Warrior’s Charge, and the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) victor By My Standards. Connections for Tom’s d’Etat said following the Oaklawn Mile that he would skip the Oaklawn Handicap and train toward summer races on the Kentucky circuit.
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