The race offers 50-20-10-5 Road to the Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers. That 50-point bonanza to the winner means whoever crosses the wire first is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky […]
Willcox Inn by a Nose in Washington Park
Either way the photo came out, the finish in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park was going to be a tough miss for someone. When the official numbers went […]
Either way the photo came out, the finish in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park was going to be a tough miss for someone. When the official numbers went up, Willcox Inn had taken first over Gallant Eagle by a nose, thus avoiding his third just-miss runner-up finish of the year. For Gallant Eagle, whose last race was for an optional $5,000 claiming tag – where he finished second – it was a so-close-but-so far chance at an upset in his first graded-stakes try.
A fight from the top of the stretch to the wire
Allowed the lead at slow fractions right from the gate, Gallant Eagle was finally hooked by Willcox Inn at the top of the stretch, and on past form it should have been all over. After all, the Grade III Washington Park was Willcox Inn’s 16th graded-stakes event in 20 lifetime starts, and despite no wins in the past year, he had hit the board in half of those, including a recent second in the Grade II Dixie Stakes. But at 10-1 Gallant Eagle refused to give up and forced his 2-1 rival to fight it out right to the wire.
Favorite doesn't take to the polytrack
Just a neck back in third was 12-1 Hattaash, while race favorite Agent Di Nozzo, making his first start on a synthetic track, never seemed to find his footing, racing mostly at the back of the pack and finishing fifth in the six-horse field. For Willcox Inn, who has twice appeared in Breeders’ Cup events - finishing third in the 2010 Juvenile Turf, and ninth in the 2012 BC Mile – it was a satisfying step in the right direction in a career that has only seen six lifetime wins, but has put just shy of $1 million in the bank.
The field is set for the 2019 Preakness Stakes, and looking at the 13 rivals on paper is enough to make any serious handicapper's mouth water. There's simply a ton of betting value here.
Post positions have been drawn, and the oddsmakers have instilled Omaha Beach as the morning line favorite for the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby. The race goes Saturday, May 4th, with 20 runners set to battle 1 1/4 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt track, chasing a purse of $3 million and the first leg of the US Triple Crown.
The defending champ is back in the field for the 2016 Arlington Million on Saturday, but he's being overshadowed by a strong group of foreign invaders.