A year ago, trainer Wayne Lukas left Oaklawn Park with the Arkansas Derby winner, a filly named Althea, and headed for Kentucky. Althea was installed as the Kentucky Derby favorite but ran next to last in a 20-horse field.
Lukas again is headed for Kentucky with the Arkansas Derby winner. This time it is Tank's Prospect, who won Saturday's $582,750 race at the Hot Springs, Ark., track by 6 1/2 lengths before a crowd of 67,103.
"The best part of this is that he's a colt instead of a filly," Lukas said.
Meanwhille, the Lukas-trained Pancho Villa was a disappointment in the Wood Memorial Saturday. After watching the race on television from Oaklawn, Lukas said Pancho Villas will pass the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
Tank's Prospect, healthy after minor throat surgery, came from off the pace and routed eight other 3-year-olds.
The colt is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Klein. Klein, former owner of the San Diego Chargers, paid $625,000 for Tank's Prospect as a yearling. The horse is named for former pro football player Tank Younger.
Tank's Prospect, ridden by Gary Stevens and carrying 123 pounds, earned $349,650 after completing the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 2/5.
Tank's Prospect, second choice of the crowd of 67,103, returned $8.20, $5.40 and $4.00. Encolure, a 50-1 shot, finished second and returned $31.60 and $13.20. He was a length in front of another longshot, Irish Fighter, who paid $10.40 to show.
Longshot Hajji's Treasure raced to a 2 1/2-length victory over favored Turkoman in the the $224,200 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif.
Hajji's Treasure, who is not nominated for the Kentucky Derby, stalked the pace-setting Cosmotron, with Bill Shoemaker aboard, to the stretch and then drew off under jockey Joe Judice in the 70th running of the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.
The winner, who carried 112 pounds, returned $52.60, $17 and $7.40. He received $134,200 of the purse to bring his lifetime earnings to $181,430.
Cosmotron finished last in the field of 10.
Turkoman, who was sent off the 8-5 choice by the crowd of 18,171, finished a nose in front of the fast-closing Nostalgia's Star for second. Hajji's Treasure, the first Northern California-based horse to win the annual event at the San Francisco Bay Area track, ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 3/5.
At Keeneland, Ky., Koluctoo's Jill upset heavy favorite Fran's Valentine to win the $139,590 Ashland Stakes by 1 lengths.
The winner, owned by Robert Levine's Brandy Hills Farm, led all the way under Randy Romero. Fran's Valentine, owned by Earl Scheib, finished fifth in a field of seven 3-year-olds.
Lucy Manette, winner of Gulfstream's Bonnie Miss Stakes and a recent arrival from New Jersey, finished second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Foxy Deen.
Koluctoo's Jill paid $13 to win.
Second-choice Selous Scout held off favored Flying Pidgeon to win the $186,700 Hialeah Turf Cup at Hialeah Park in Hialeah, Fla. Pass The Line edged Dictina for third in a field of 12 horses.