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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Perhaps no horse in trainer Steve Asmussen’s massive collection means more to his family than Super Stock, the upset winner of Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
Co-owned by Steve’s father Keith with Erv Woolsey, Super Stock had Steve’s son (also named Keith) in the saddle for his maiden-breaking score in last August’s Texas Thoroughbred Futurity at Lone Star.
“It was a really important win for Steve and his family,” said Ricardo Santana Jr., Asmussen’s top-call rider. “I’m really blessed to be the one they chose to ride this race.
Super Stock broke from the rail as the 12/1 fourth choice in the field of six 3-year-old colts and saved ground inside of three rivals heading into the clubhouse turn.
Just ahead of them, the 1/5 favorite Concert Tour pressed the pacesetting Caddo River through opening fractions of :22.62, :46.51, and 1:11.25, but Super Stock remained within relative striking range down the backstretch.
Concert Tour advanced toward the front midway through the far turn and took command near the 1/4 pole, but Caddo River fought back inside and refused to yield.
Santana Jr. tipped Super Stock out while cornering and set him down for a three-wide push in the stretch. Taking command as he approached the 1/16 pole, Super Stock ultimately crossed 2 1/2 lengths clear while completing the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:50.92.
“We got a beautiful trip,” said Santana Jr. “I was talking to Mr. Steve for about two weeks about this race. The post was perfect. We both liked breaking from #1. We knew there was some speed and everything came out perfect.”
The Brad Cox-trained Caddo River outkicked Concert Tour for second by a head.
“I thought we gave him the best opportunity to win,” Cox said. “I’m very proud of our horse’s effort. I thought we got a good trip. He did all the running and battled back to be second. He was passed and battled back to be second. Overall, I thought it was a very good effort.”
Get Her Number was another 1/2-length behind in fourth. Last Samurai and Hozier completed the order of finish.
“(Concert Tour) just got tired there at the end,” said Bob Baffert, who trains Concert Tour and Hozier. “He’s a young horse. It was a good race, but I was more disappointed in (Hozier). That other horse, he got tired early. Those things happen. You get beat and try to figure out – they’re still young and they’re still having these races. Sometimes, you learn more from a loss than a win. Right now, (Concert Tour) got beat. I can’t make any excuses for him right now.”
The Arkansas Derby is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Super Stock earned 100 points for the win, with Caddo River receiving 40 for second, Concert Tour 20 for third, and Get Her Number 10 for fourth.
Super Stock’s win was the second of his career and came in his second start of the year, following a fourth-place finish in the local Rebel Stakes (G2) that Concert Tour won. The Dialed In colt’s record now stands at 8-2-2-2 with $804,762 earned.
“I thought he used his post position into the first turn extremely well,” Asmussen said. “Those horses went :46 2/5 for a 12-mile. Plenty solid factions, carried him nicely. He got up behind them a little quicker than he thought he would, obviously, in the stretch. My confidence level was he was going to run really good. I’ve been in races like that, that you have no control over how good or bad somebody else runs, but I felt like that he was going to represent extremely well.”
Super Stock returned $26.40 to win, $6.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. Caddo River brought back $4.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Concert Tour paid $2.10 to show.
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