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Apr 14, 2006

Lawyer Ron one to beat in Arkansas Derby


Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Rebel Stakes winner Lawyer Ron is the 7-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Fourteen Kentucky Derby contenders have been entered in the 1 1/8 mile race.

The Arkansas Derby winner has won four of the last six Triple Crown races over the past two years. In 2004 Smarty Jones took the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and last year Afleet Alex captured the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Both horses were then voted three-year-old champions.

Lawyer Ron has won all three starts this year, including the two Oaklawn Park prep races leading to the Arkansas Derby. Owned by the estate of James Hines Jr., the colt has won six of 13 career starts for $620,008. He captured his last five starts, all with John McKee in the saddle.

McKee will again be riding Lawyer Ron on Saturday, starting from post five. Lawyer Ron is trained by Ron Holthus, who also trains rival Red Raymond.

Red Raymond has been chasing Lawyer Ron since the two arrived at Oaklawn Park. He was second in the Rebel Stakes and third to Lawyer Ron in the Southwest Stakes.

Red Raymond has just two wins for owner Thomas Franks in eight lifetime starts and $194,735. The chestnut colt is 12-1 for the Arkansas Derby and will break from post nine with jockey Luis Quinonez.

Coming in off a third-place finish in the Rebel Stakes is Steppenwolfer and jockey Robby Albarado. Steppenwolfer is 10-1 in the morning line and will start from post two. Dan Pietz trains for owners Lawana and Robert Low.

Steppenwolfer was second in the Southwest Stakes, less than a length behind Lawyer Ron. The gray colt has earned $161,520 with two wins in seven starts.

The 5-1 second choice is the lightly raced Private Vow. Finishing seventh in the Rebel Stakes in his only start this year, Private Vow will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan from the eight post.

Owned by Mike McCarty and trained by Steve Asmussen, the colt has four career wins in seven starts for $382,508. He was 14th in the 2005 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Also expected to garner attention is Lane's End Stakes winner With a City. The colt took the Turfway Park race as a 48-1 longshot and is 15-1 in Saturday's program.

He has career earnings of $359,680 off of four wins in 12 starts. With a City will be ridden by Brice Blanc from post four. Michael Maker trains for owner

Awarding winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle High Cotton in the Arkansas Derby. About a half-hour later Pletcher's Bluegrass Cat will run in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

High Cotton won the Rushaway Stakes last time out at Turfway Park. Owned by Peachtree Venture, the colt is 8-1 in the morning line and will start from post three with Chris De Carlo riding.

High Cotton has a record of two wins in seven career starts for $160,450.

Completing the field for the 70th running of the Arkansas Derby are New Joysey Jeff, Well Said, Jealous Profit, Simon Pure, Nob Hill Deelite, Super Fly, Film Fortune and Sayhellotolarry.

The mutuel field will consist of New Joysey Jeff, Nob Hill Deelite and Film Fortune.


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