2014 Arkansas Derby





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Published on Apr 23, 2014

Danza sent shock waves through the crowd of 63,186 at Oaklawn Park when he took command in upper stretch at odds of 41-1 and rolled to a 4 3/4-length victory in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) on closing day April 12.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent the unheralded son of Street Boss to victory from Florida in just the colt's fourth lifetime start for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. The victory qualifies Danza for a slot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 3 at Churchill Downs; he ranks sixth on the leaderboard with 100 points.

Jockey Joe Bravo had Danza prominently placed while saving ground throughout the 1 1/8-mile test, and the winner responded when asked to exploit an opening along the inside at the top of the lane. Danza drew clear through the long Oaklawn stretch drive, and neither of the favorites, 8-5 Bayern nor 2-1 Tapiture, could raise a challenge.

"That was a pretty great effort," Bravo said. "Todd was pretty high on the horse and he told me this morning that he was going to be fresh so don't take anything away from him. Try to save as much (ground) as you can and let him run his race. It was textbook, just textbook. Everything unfolded like a dream."


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