A full field of 14 runners, highlighted by Lawyer Ron and Private Vow, are set to square off in Saturday's $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
Lawyer Ron, campaigned by the estate of James T. Hines Jr. and trained by Bob Holthus, enters the 1 1/8-mile race off five consecutive wins, dating back to December 2005. Included on his resume are three consecutive stakes scores, most recently a three-length win over fellow Arkansas Derby foes Red Raymond, Steppenwolfer, and Private Vow.
The chestnut son of Langfuhr
drew post five and will be ridden by regular rider John McKee. The pair will break from post five as the 7-5 morning-line favorite.
"I'm delighted with the draw," Holthus said. "If Lawyer Ron wins, he'll be one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and that's a lifelong dream."
Lawyer Ron turned in a five-furlong work in :59.00 April 8 at Oaklawn.
Holthus will also saddle Red Raymond, who finished second to stablemate Lawyer Ron in the Rebel Stakes. Red Raymond gets the services of Luis Quinonez and will break from post nine.
While Lawyer Ron is riding a wave of success into the race, the Steve Asmussen-trained Private Vow will attempt to regain his juvenile form, which saw him win two grade II stakes, including the Kentucky Jockey Club Juvenile (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Private Vow, who will break from post eight under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, is the 5-1 morning-line second choice.
Private Vow worked four furlongs in :48.29 April 11 at Oaklawn Park.
A dark bay or brown son of Broken Vow
, Private Vow races for Mike McCarty.
The field for Saturday's $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) includes:
1-- New Joysey Jeff (Jose Valdivia Jr., 118)
2-- Steppenwolfer (Robby Albarado, 118)
3-- High Cotton (Christopher De Carlo, 122)
4-- With a City (Brice Blanc, 122)
5-- Lawyer Ron (John McKee, 122)
6-- (SCRATCHED) Well Said (James Graham, 118)
7-- Jealous Profit (Aaron Gryder, 118)
8-- Private Vow (Shaun Bridgmohan, 122)
9-- Red Raymond (Luis Quinonez, 122)
10-- Simon Pure (Jon Court, 118)
11-- Nob Hill Deelite (Corey Lanerie, 122)
12-- Superfly (Willie Martinez, 122)
13-- Film Fortune (Terry Thompson, 118)
14-- Sayhellotolarry (Calvin Borel, 118).