Top Three Automatic for Arkansas Derby
By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
The Oaklawn Stakes, which made its inaugural run on Kentucky Derby day in 2019, is drawing a lot of interest this year as a prep for the Arkansas Derby.
This year, Oaklawn officials flipped the dates of the Oaklawn Stakes and Arkansas Derby, citing the COVID-19 crisis. Post positions are scheduled to be drawn Wednesday for Saturday’s 1 1/18-mile Oaklawn Stakes.
The top three finishers in the Oaklawn Stakes, known last year as the Oaklawn Invitational, will receive an automatic berth in the Arkansas Derby on May 2. That could be a crucial result with the Arkansas Derby looking to attract more entries than it can handle, perhaps even if split in two divisions.
Early Oaklawn Stakes probables include Basin (for trainer Steve Asmussen), Mr. Big News (Bret Calhoun), Shared Sense (Brad Cox) and Sir Rick (Robertino Diodoro).
Digital is possible for trainer Calhoun. Trainer Richard Baltas said last week that Taishan is under consideration for the Oaklawn Stakes and the Arkansas Derby. Mischevious Alex's participation could depend on travel arrangements, according to trainer John Servis.