Virginia Tarra Trust’s homebred Giant Oak, successful in his seasonal turf debut while winning the Arlington Classic last out, will look for his first graded stakes win July 11 in the $300,000 American Derby (gr. II) at Arlington Park.
Giant Oak will face six 3-year-old rivals in the 1 3/16-mile American Derby, including California shipper Oil Man, the lone graded stakes winner in the field. Oil Man captured the Cinema Handicap (gr. IIIT) for John Sadler June 21 on Hollywood Park’s turf course. Also in contention is Glen Hill Farm’s homebred No Inflation, who was second to Giant Oak by a length in the Arlington Classic and was also beaten by that same margin last out when finishing a strong third in the June 13 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
Post time for the American Derby is set for 3:07 p.m. (CDT). It is the second of three graded stakes on Arlington’s Million Preview Day program that also features the $200,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) and $200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Illinois-bred Giant Oak was prominent on the Triple Crown trail, as he ran second in the April 4 Illinois Derby (gr. II) after finishing fifth and fourth to Friesan Fire, respectively, in the Risen Star (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds while having troubled trips. The son of Giant's Causeway—Crafty Oak, by Crafty Prospector, broke his maiden at first asking on Arlington's turf last August. In his only other start on grass he finished eighth in the Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) in October at Keeneland.
Eddie Razo Jr. will ride 8-5 favorite Giant Oak for trainer Chris Block. The chestnut colt will break from post 3 while carrying 121 pounds.
Also carrying 121 pounds will be Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and Michael Tala’s Oil Man (3-1). The Irish-bred son of Pyrus has won consecutive races in California, beginning with an allowance score on April 19 at Santa Anita when he came from well off the pace to get up by a nose. Two months later Oil Man also came with a late run in the nine-furlong Cinema to score by a length for his first graded stakes win. Alonso Quinonez will have the mount for the first time on the bay colt, who began career in England.
Other contenders of note are Proceed Bee, winner of the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park and Prairie Mile at Prairie Meadows this season; impressive allowance winners Reb and Dakota Gypsy; and Vaquero, who makes his 3-year-old debut after finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in his last start.
$300,000 American Derby (gr. IIT, Race 7, 3:07 p.m.), 3YO, 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Dakota Gypsy (KY), L J Sterling Jr., 119, R R Scherer
2. Reb (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, G R Arnold, II
3. Giant Oak (IL), E Razo Jr. 121, C M Block
4. Oil Man (IRE), A Quinonez, 121, J W Sadler
5. No Inflation (FL), R Albarado, 119, T F Proctor
6. Proceed Bee (KY), C A Emigh, 121, S Becker
7. Vaquero (KY), J Graham, 119, M P Leahy