Danza surprises in Arkansas Derby, but may not run in Kentucky

Danza and Jockey Joe Bravo cross the finish line to win the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Danny Johnston/AP

Todd Pletcher continued to show everyone who’s the boss in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday, but his surprise winner in the $1 million Kentucky Derby prep isn’t necessarily headed to the starting gate for the Run for the Roses.

Danza — yes, named after actor Tony Danza — won as a 40-1 long shot in the 1 1/8-mile race at Oaklawn Park. It was Pletcher’s record fourth victory in the event. And though Danza beat a field of bigger names by 4 3/4 lengths, the trainer didn’t commit to running him in Louisville in three weeks.

Pletcher said he’ll be flying Danza and Commissioner — a disappointing sixth in the Arkansas Derby — to Louisville and then figure it out.

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”We’re not quite sure if both are going to run, but the plane is headed to Kentucky,” he said.

In the day’s other big prep, the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Dance With Fate overtook Pablo De Monte in the final furlong for a 1 3/4-length victory. It was Dance With Fate’s first win in a graded stakes.

Dance With Fate sits third and Danza sixth in the Kentucky Derby standings.

 

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