Meet the Contenders: 2023 Arkansas Derby

Profile Picture: TwinSpires Staff

TwinSpires Staff

March 29th, 2023

Meet the horses running in the 2023 Arkansas Derby (G1) over 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn on April 1. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well in the Arkansas Derby.

1. Bourbon Bash

Article Image

Bourbon Bash wins at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Outran expectations when fifth in the Rebel (G2) at 77-1.

Con: Only stakes placings have occurred in sprints.

2. Interlock Empire

Article Image

Interlock Empire wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Rallied from 13 lengths down to win one-mile maiden by five lengths last time.

Con: Late developer lacks experience facing winners.

3. Harlocap

Pro: Likely prominent from the start and exits race where closers had the edge.

Con: Might not be short of company early, and may lack sufficient staying power.

4. Two Eagles River

Article Image

Two Eagles River wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Dominated recent allowance over Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Disarm.

Con: Has generally benefited from ideal trips, could see more challenging circumstances.

5. Airtime

Article Image

Airtime wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Perfect in two starts over this track on both fast and wet surfaces.

Con: Class concerns remain for ex-claimer easily handled by Angel of Empire in the past.

6. Angel of Empire

Article Image

Angel of Empire winning the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds (Photo by Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)

Pro: Emerged from the pack to win Risen Star (G2), a race dominated by closers.

Con: Figures suggest he’ll need to improve by a few lengths.

7. Rocket Can

Article Image

Rocket Can wins maiden at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Took another step forward when solid second to Forte in Fountain of Youth (G2).

Con: Bill Mott runners have had to settle for minor checks so far this meet.

8. Reincarnate

Article Image

Reincarnate and jockey Juan Hernandez win the Grade III $100,000 Sham Stakes Sunday, January 8, 2023 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA Benoit Photo

Pro: Did not enjoy the best of trips in Rebel, more dangerous when able to show early foot.

Con: Might have to contend with other speed, namely ex-stablemate Harlocap.

9. King Russell

Article Image

King Russell wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Recent graduate enters in decent form, albeit against maidens.

Con: Hasn’t faced this kind of opposition before and might prefer it wet.

10. Red Route One

Article Image

Red Route One trains at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 19, 2023. (Photo by Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park)

Pro: Rallied well for second in Rebel, and blinkers might help him stay in closer attendance.

Con: Remains winless on dirt and seemingly pace dependent.

11. Kolomio

Pro: Barn won Rebel with longshot winner Confidence Game.

Con: Tough spot for gelding whose best has come against claimers on the turf.