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Giant Oak Heads Field for Grade II American Derby

| Churchill Downs Communications | 07/08/2009 #

Virginia Tarra Trust's Giant Oak, winner of the $150,000 Arlington Classic here in May, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $300,000 American Derby at Arlington Park.

The Grade II race, at a mile and three-sixteenths on the turf, is the second leg of the Mid-America Triple that began with the Arlington Classic at a mile and a sixteenth on May 23 and concludes with the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 8.  Should Giant Oak go on to capture the American Derby and Secretariat Stakes, his owners would earn a $500,000 bonus for becoming the first horse sweep Arlington's Triple since Honor Glide completed the feat in 1997.

The American Derby is one of four major stakes that comprise the track's Million Preview Day program.  In addition to the American Derby, the 12-race card includes the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap, the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap, the $200,000 Arlington Sprint and two overnight stakes races - the $50,000 Diamond Ring Stakes and the $50,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes.

Saturday's card includes a $100,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool covering races nine through 12 and the guarantee is only valid should all carded turf races included in the Late Pick 4 sequence remain on the turf.

A son of Giant's Causeway, Giant Oak was on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year but returned to his homebase to compete in Arlington's sophomore grass series, with a dramatic one-length win in the 75th anniversary of the Arlington Classic.  The Chris Block pupil broke his maiden over the Arlington turf course last year before spending the first part of this season racing on dirt, including a runner-up finish in the Grade II Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course.  Regular rider Eusebio Razo Jr. gets a return call Saturday.

Second choice in the wagering at odds of 3-1 is Michael Tala's Oil Man, winner of the Grade III Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park last month.  In that mile and an eighth turf race, the son of Pyrus rallied four-wide into the stretch before drifting in a bit en route to a one-length score.  Trainer John Sadler has given the mount on Oil Man to Alonso Quinonez.

Glen Hill Farm's No Inflation enters the American Derby off a third-place finish in the Grade II Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs on June 13 after finishing second to Giant Oak in the Arlington Classic.  Robby Albarado will ride the Tom Proctor-trained son of Repriced.

Completing the field for the American Derby (with riders listed) are: Kari Craddock's Dakota Gypsy (Larry Sterling Jr.); Ashbrook Farm's Reb (Julien Leparoux); William Stiritz's Proceed Bee (Chris Emigh); and Roger Braugh Jr.'s Vaquero (James Graham).