Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SPORTS >> Archarcharch takes place in muddled field

Leader sports editor

Dialed In appears to be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but the picture is far from clear heading into the May 7 race.

Dialed In, the winner of this month’s Florida Derby, remains No. 1 on The Associated Press’ final list of Top 10 Derby contenders and leads in almost all other polls.

With upsets and injuries to several Derby hopefuls, Dialed In moved to the head of the 3-year-old class last week. The Top 10 is unchanged after two Derby prep races over the weekend failed to produce new contenders.

Risen Star winner Mucho Macho Man is No. 2, followed by Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner, former No. 1 Uncle Mo and Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch, owned by Jacksonville’s Bob and Val Yagos.

The most recent noteworthy Derby dropout is Jaycito, who will sit out with a bruised foot.

When Uncle Mo suffered his upset loss in the Grade I Wood Memorial on April 9, the field lost what was expected to be the clear leader, and entering its 137th running, the Kentucky Derby looks like it could be anybody’s race.

Dialed In hasn’t done much to upset his status as Derby favorite. He is explosive but his late-closing style could put him reach of the other horses at Churchill Downs on May 7.

He will have his final work at Palm Meadows Training Center before shipping to Churchill Downs on Saturday

Uncle Mo lost supporters and momentum following his Wood Memorial loss and subsequent diagnosis of a GI tract infection, but trainer Todd Pletcher said he has been encouraged with the way the reigning juvenile champion has responded to treatment.

Uncle Mo was to have his first serious work since his third-place run in the Wood Memorial on Tuesday at Churchill Downs, with jockey John Velazquez flying in for the 5-furlong work.

Barring injury or illness, Archarcharch will represent the first Kentucky Derby start for jockey Jon Court and his father-in-law, trainer Jinks Fires. Archarcharch was most effective off the pace to make one big run to win the Grade I Arkansas Derby, but his past form shows he has tactical ability and as good a chance as any Kentucky Derby entrant right now.

Archarcharch is in Kentucky with Fires prepping for the Derby.

Keep an eye also on Nehro, who only has a maiden victory to his credit but closed to take second in both the Louisiana Derby and Arkansas Derby, with Archarcharch beating him by a neck at Hot Springs’ Oaklawn Park.

Information for this report was obtained from the Associated Press.