HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — The Arkansas Derby should offer something for everybody.
There are front-runners, one-run thoroughbreds, even a couple of trouble horses. And big-time jockeys galore.
Saturday's race at 1 1/8 miles is one of the final prep races for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. By 4:50 p.m., some owners and trainers of 3-year-olds will be making plans for Louisville; others will be looking elsewhere.
At this point, it looks as if the Arkansas Derby will have a field of about 10.
If you like speed, there's Bright Again, Real Cash and Wicked Destiny.
* Bright Again set the early pace in the Hawthorne Juvenile last November but finished second. In his first start of the year March 3, he led almost all the way and won an allowance race in Florida. On March 31 in the Jim Beam Stakes, Bright Again led most of the way and got run down in the stretch by Summer Squall, one of the Kentucky Derby favorites. Pat Day picks up the mount.
* Real Cash wired the field in the San Felipe Handicap at Santa Anita on March 18 and then was the pacesetter in the Santa Anita Derby. He eventually surrendered the lead to the other Derby favorite, unbeaten Mister Frisky. Alex Solis is to ride.
* Wicked Destiny has won all three of his starts, and in two of his races he shows nothing but ones--first, first, first, first. He won a maiden race at Oaklawn, showed courage to capture a small stakes and then shipped to Remington Park and led every step in the Remington Park Derby. John Lively is to ride Wicked Destiny.
Tarascon and Hawaiian Pass fit in the next category.
* Tarascon lost by a length to Mister Frisky in California and then came from slightly off the pace to win the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn by 12 lengths. In the March 31 Rebel--Oaklawn's final Arkansas Derby prep--Tarascon pushed the pace, was kept down on a slow rail by Dotsero and eventually made the lead before finishing third. Larry Snyder was aboard that day but may not get another opportunity.
* Hawaiian Pass beat Rebel winner Nuits St. Georges in California but was fourth in the Rebel. Fernando Toro looked like he had lots of horse in the turn, but he had no place to go. Down the stretch, Hawaiian Pass bulled between horses and got beat less than five lengths. Laffit Pincay Jr. is to ride Hawaiian Pass.
For a thrill, Nuits St. Georges and Silver Ending are possibilities.