Over 100 Early-Bird Nominees Still Eligible for Oaklawn Bonus

Over 100 Early-Bird Nominees Still Eligible for Oaklawn Bonus
Photo: Associated Press
Read the Footnotes among Early Bird nominees to rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.
Read the Footnotes, Minister Eric, and Tapit top a record roster of 140 Early Bird nominees for the Rebel and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel and Arkansas Derby are the first two legs of Oaklawn's $5-million three race bonus, with the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) being the final leg.

Todd Pletcher, who trained back-to-back winners of the Arkansas Derby -- Graeme Hall and Balto Star -- in 2000 and 2001 -- nominated 27 horses to Oaklawn's marquee races for 3-year-olds -- the $200,000 Rebel, to be run March 20 and the $1-million Arkansas Derby, to be run on closing day, April 10, at nine furlongs.

Pletcher's nominees include Limestone and Deputy Storm, one-two in the Hutcheson (gr. II) on Feb. 14 at Gulfstream; Chapel Royal, Value Plus, Pollard's Vision, and Ashado, the lone filly among the 140 nominees.

The 140 nominees, and Pletcher's 27 nominees, are records for Oaklawn Park. Oaklawn can accommodate only 14 starters. If the Rebel field is overdrawn, the eligible runners will be decided by unrestricted (total) earnings.

The major West Coast stables are represented with big numbers as well. D. Wayne Lukas nominated 13; Bob Baffert named nine, and Bobby Frankel named five to the Rebel and Derby.

In addition to Mr. Jester, other Oaklawn-based nominees include Smarty Jones; the Bob Holthus-trained pair of Pro Prado and Proper Prado; Tiger Hunt Cryptograph, and Gran Prospect and Shadowland.

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