Last year, Steve Asmussen and Robby Albarado teamed up with eventual Horse of the Year Curlin to clobber eight other contenders in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I). On April 12 at Oaklawn Park the trainer/jockey duo will collaborate again with Zayat Stables' Z Fortune, but this time their starter has a lot to prove.
Dogwood Stable's Blackberry Road, runner-up in the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II), and WinStar Derby winner Liberty Bull prepped for scheduled runs in next week's $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) with workouts in the mud April 5 at Churchill Downs.
Liberty Bull, third behind Denis of Cork and Sierra Sunset in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) last time out, made that race look even better with a sharp two-length victory in the rich $600,000 WinStar Derby at New Mexico's Sunland Park March 16.
These days, much of Steve Asmussen's focus is on his pair of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, Pyro and Z Fortune. But on March 16, Asmussen has an opportunity to score some serious earnings with another pair of 3-year-olds, as he will enter Poni Colada and Ablaze With Spirit in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park.
Denis of Cork came with a three-wide move into the stretch and ran away with the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) to score a 2 1/4 length win Feb. 18 at Oaklawn. The $250,000 mile race for 3-year-olds was run in 1:37.59.
Coming off his Delta Jackpot win, the Dixie Union colt looks to solidify Derby position Feb. 18 at Oaklawn Park.
There's plenty of bull, Holy Bull that is, represented among the dozen 3-year-olds entered for the $50,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, which kicks off the 3-year-old racing season at Oaklawn Park Jan. 21.
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