HOT SPRINGS — Repole Stable’s Overanalyze, a top 2-year-old last year, who had fallen off the radar, jumped back into the Kentucky Derby picture with a dominating 4 ¼ length victory in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby before a crowd of 66,158 at Oaklawn Park.
The victory earned him 100 points based on Churchill Downs’ criteria for making the 20-horse field and ranks him fifth among the hopefuls for the first Saturday in May.
With jockey Rafael Bejarano subbing for the injured John Velazquez, Overanalzye was unhurried early and settled near the back of the pack as Divine Ambition lead the charge for an opening quarter mile in 23 1/5. Falling Sky took over before a half mile in 47 3/5, but could not sustain the bid. The winner stayed within striking distance down the backstretch and began his five-wide move late in the second turn before drawing away from runner-up Frac Daddy in the stretch. He completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 4/5 over fast track. Carve, who was racing from the one hole, encountered traffic but once clear, got up for third.
Overanalyze drifted slightly in the lane and trainer Kenny McPeek’s assistant, Phil Bauer, filed an objection on behalf of Frac Daddy, but it was not allowed by the stewards.
Falling Sky, Oxbow, Den’s Legacy, Divine Ambition, Texas Bling, and Heaven’s Runway completed the order of finish. War Academy, the 9-5 favorite, was pulled just after a half mile, but walked off -the track on his own.
With the Arkansas Derby win, trainer Todd Pletcher’s record-breaking third in Oaklawn’s signature race, Overanalzye brought his record to four wins from seven starts and has now earned $908,381. The Dixie Union colt is now among the four horses Pletcher has qualified for the Kentucky Derby. He also won the Louisiana Derby (G2) with Revolutionary, the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) with Verranzo and earlier on Saturday he finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) with Palace Malice.
In the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap, Cyber Secret remained undefeated during the current meet by scoring a mild upset in front of 66,158 hometown fans in Saturday. With the win, he gave owner and track president Charles J. Cella and his long-time trainer Lynn Whiting their first victories in one of the track’s signature events.
Cella’s Cyber Secret has now won four consecutive races and two straight stakes in four outings this year. Dispatched at 6-1, he bested a field of nine other top handicap horses which included defending Breeders’ Cup Classic champion and 1-9 favorite Fort Larned.