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Blog - GAMBLING

Falling Sky held off Dynamic Sky to win the Sam F. Davis Stakes. (Tom Cooley Photography)

Falling Sky didn’t beat Verrazano. No one’s done that just yet.

But in finishing third to the unbeaten Kentucky Derby contender in the Tampa Bay Derby, Falling Sky turned in the kind of effort that could leave him second to none in the Arkansas Derby.

The seasoning he gained in the Tampa Bay Derby should only make Falling Sky a more formidable rival for his nine foes in Saturday’s Grade 1 stakes at Oaklawn Park. While Falling Sky will not be all by his lonesome on the front end in the Arkansas Derby, he – and those who will back him – can take comfort in knowing he will not be pressed and hounded by a runner as talented as Verrazano.

A speedy son of Lion Heart, Falling Sky should be able to control the early pace and just might hang on and assure himself of a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

The post position draw wasn’t kind to Oxbow as he landed post 10, but, aside from the prospect of losing considerable ground on the turns, there’s much to like in the D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt. He was second in the Rebel at Oaklawn, and his experience on the racetrack and overall consistency are reasons enough to believe he’ll be in the mix until the very end.

War Academy faces an acid test in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile race as he returns to stakes competition off a quick allowance win at Santa Anita. A top-two finish would earn him a trip to the Kentucky Derby, and with that last-chance opportunity hovering in the background he can definitely wind up in the exotics.

WAR ACADEMY

War -Academy Inside

Photo courtesy of Benoit & Associates

Overanalyze’s chances of racing in the “Run for the Roses” also hinge on the Arkansas Derby. A disappointing fifth in the Gotham Stakes in his 2013 debut, he should improve in Saturday’s race. How much is the question. He, too, will need a first- or second-place finish on Saturday to wrap up a Derby spot and deserves a close look as the days until the first Saturday in May continue to dwindle away.

Ehalt’s selections

1. Falling Sky

2. Oxbow 

3. War Academy

4. Overanalyze 

$1 Million Arkansas Derby

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, Race 10, 6:28 p.m. ET

3-year-olds, 1 1/8 Miles

PP

Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

Odds

1

Carve (KY)

R Santana Jr.

118

S M Asmussen

20-1

2

War Academy (KY)

M E Smith

118

B Baffert

2-1

3

Divine Ambition (KY)

J Graham

118

D Miller

20-1

4

Falling Sky (PA)

M Garcia

122

J P Terranova II

10-1

5

Den's Legacy (FL)

R Albarado

122

B Baffert

6-1

6

Heaven's Runway (KY)

I Ocampo

122

J R Martin

30-1

7

Texas Bling (TX)

C H Borel

122

D Durham

20-1

8

Frac Daddy (KY)

V Lebron

118

K G McPeek

15-1

9

Overanalyze (KY)

R Bejarano

122

T A Pletcher

4-1

10

Oxbow (KY)

G L Stevens

122

D W Lukas

5-2

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

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