The public missed the chance to get in on the ground floor, but Super Stock is offering up a dividend for the Asmussen family business after his upset victory in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park on April 10, punching his ticket for the Kentucky Derby in three weeks.
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. and the 3-year-old son of Dialed In pounced on the speed duel set by favorite Concert Tour and Caddo River to power to a 2 ½-length victory in the 1 1/8th-mile race before 17,000 fans and earned 100 points toward starting in the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 1.
Super Stock is co-owned by Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen, the father of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who won his fifth Arkansas Derby, the most in the 85 years of Oaklawn’s showcase event.
The winner paid $26.40, $6.80 and $2.80 and covered nine furlongs in 1:50.92. Caddo River ($4.20, $2.40) held second by a head over Concert Tour ($2.10) after the winners of two of the previous Oaklawn Derby preps pressed each other for a mile before giving way to Super Stock.
Super Stock earned 100 points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility and is now ranked third with 109 total points. Caddo River is now ranked 13th with 50 points and Concert Tour is ranked 9th with 70 points after earning 40 and 20 points, respectively for second and third. Fourth-place finisher Get Her Number is now on the Kentucky Derby bubble in 26th place with 20 points. Only the top 20 point earnings will start in the Kentucky Derby.
Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., Super Stock – “We got a beautiful trip. I was talking to Mr. Steve (Asmussen) for about two weeks about this race. The post was perfect. We both liked breaking from #1.We knew there was some speed and everything came out perfect. It was a really important win for Steve and his family. I’m really blessed to be the one they chose to ride this race.”
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen, Super Stock: “(Tactically it set up) perfectly. We wanted to use his post position. I thought he used his post position into the first turn extremely well. Those horses went :46 2/5 for a half-mile. Plenty solid factions, carried him nicely. He got up behind them a little quicker than he thought he would, obviously, in the stretch. My confidence level was he was going to run really good. I’ve been in races like that, that you have no control over how good or bad somebody else runs. But I felt like that he was going to represent extremely well.”
Trainer Brad Cox, second with Caddo River: “I thought we gave him the best opportunity to win. It’s kind of tough. Beat the four horses we thought we had to beat. Obviously, a very good horse won the race. I’m very proud of our horse’s effort. I thought we got a good trip. He did all the running and battled back to be second. He was passed and battled back to be second. Overall, I thought it was a very good effort.”
Trainer Bob Baffert, third with Concert Tour: “He’s there and just got tired there at the end. He’s a young horse. It was a good race, but I was more disappointed in my other horse in the race (Hozier). That other horse, he got tired early. Those things happen. You get beat and try to figure out – they’re still young and they’re still having these races. Sometimes, you learn more from a loss than a win. Right now, he got beat. I can make any excuses for him right now.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, third on Concert Tour: “Everything was going the right way. I was happy where I was, following the horse on the lead (Caddo River). I got to him. He kept going, but that horse (Super Stock) came strong on the outside. He tried hard. He was moving good, doing everything right. That horse that won came running today.”
C Z Rocket Gets Best of Whitmore in Count Fleet Sprint
The third round of the budding rivalry between the nation’s top sprinters ended the same as the second round as Madaket Stables, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele’s C Z Rocket shot past reigning champion male sprinter Whitmore to take the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park on April 10.
The 7-year-old gelding under jockey Florent Geroux built on his photo-finish decision in the Hot Springs Stakes last month over the fan-favorite and three-time defending race winner Whitmore in the six-furlong showdown on the Arkansas Derby undercard.
Whitmore and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. appeared poised to turn the tables after stalking the pace on the rail and finding a seam at the top of the stretch between horses, but C Z Rocket swept around the same wall of horses and carried the momentum to a two-length victory and pay $6.00, 2.60, and 2.20 as the second choice.
Whitmore ($2.60, 2.20) finished a clear second as the 11/10 favorite, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Empire of Gold, who paid $4.60 to show.
C Z Rocket, trained by Peter Miller, pushed his career earnings to $1,311,641 with his 11th victory from 22 starts. He finished second to Whitmore in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to cap the 2020 campaign, but has now taken the two match-ups in 2021.
Winning jockey Florent Geroux, C Z Rocket – “Great trip. All the speed was what it looked like on the pp’s. Tried to find a nice rhythm with him and when he was ready to go, I just tipped him out and tried to run everyone down.
“I got him (Whitmore) again. Two nice horses. My horse was a little bit unlucky with the trip in the Breeders’ Cup. Whitmore had a great trip that day. They are very similar. Looks like my horse was a little bit better today.”
Winning trainer Peter Miller, C Z Rocket: “Very similar race (to the Hot Springs). We were behind Whitmore again and we had to give up a lot of ground, but we didn’t get stopped, either. You trade one for the other. Whitmore’s a great horse and ran a great race, as always. He’s a champion. I think that race (Hot Springs) tightened him (C Z Rocket) up good. I think that definitely set him up good for this.”
Trainer Ron Moquett, Second with Whitmore: “Proud of his effort. Ricardo (Santana) rode a great race. Just the other horse’s day today. Congratulations.”
Jockey David Cabrera, third with Empire of Gold: “At the quarter pole, I felt like I could win. I had Whitmore on the inside of me and I said, ‘I got this, you know.’ He made a kick for a little bit and then he got tired. He just got tired.”
By My Standards Returns a Winner in Oaklawn Mile
Last year’s Oaklawn Handicap (G2) winner By My Standards, making his first start since two disappointing efforts last November, made a winning return to Hot Springs for owners Allied Racing Stable LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC when he got up in the final stride to win the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile by a nose over 9-5 favorite Rushie.
By My Standards was sitting fifth early as Pioneer Spirit set the early pace through an opening quarter mile in :23 1/5 and half mile in :47 4/5. The winner was four wide coming around the turn, while Rushie got the early jump from the inside and started to shake clear of the field entering the stretch, but By My Standards proved too good at the end, covering the one mile in 1:37 4/5 over a fast track. Wells Bayou came from last to get third.
“I was trying to get that one position I wanted on the first turn,” jockey Gabriel Saez said. “I got bounced around a little bit, but I relaxed and just tried to keep in that striking position. I was worried about the four (Rushie) inside of me a little bit, but when I saw him go through, I started to go after him. When we turned for home, my horse just left them and kicked in the extra gear I was expecting from him. Luckily we got there.”
By My Standards, a 5-year-old Goldencents horse, improved his career record to 7-4-1 in 15 starts and has now earned $2,069,203. He returned $6.80, $3.40 and $3 as the 2-1 second choice.