Edited Press Release
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass, current Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Pyro, and filly sensation Eight Belles head a list of 110 nominations for the 72nd running for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
A nine-furlong fixture for 3-year-olds, the Arkansas Derby will be run April 12, the final day of the Oaklawn meeting.
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pyro is one of seven Arkansas Derby nominees from trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the 2007 Arkansas Derby with reigning Horse of the Year Curlin, and in 2002 with Private Emblem.
Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who won back-to-back Arkansas Derbys with Graeme Hall in 2000 and Balto Star in 2001, nominated eight horses to this year's renewal.
The last four winners of the Arkansas Derby were Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex (who went on to win four of the six Triple Crown events), Lawyer Ron, and Curlin.
The roster of Arkansas Derby winners also includes such superstars as Victory Gallop, Concern, Proper Reality, Demon's Begone, Sunny's Halo, Temperence Hill and Nodouble. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Althea (1984) is the only filly to win the Arkansas Derby.
Lukas, who also won the 1985 renewal with Tank's Prospect, nominated three to this year's running; Marylou Whitney's Stone Bird, John Ed Anthony's Red Sandy, and Thomas F. Van Meter and Phillip Maloof's Silver Edition.
Fox Hill Farm’s Eight Belles and Pure Clan, co-owned by IEAH Stables, Lewis Lakin and the Pegasus Holding Group, the one-two finishers in the recent Honeybee Stakes (gr. III), are cross-nominated to the $250,000 Fantasy (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies to be run April 6.