In 2012, the Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes was won by a horse named Devil and a Half (trained by Mac Robertson and owned by Jeff Ryan). In 2013, the Devil doubled down and won again with young jockey Alex Canchari on his back. Can the Devil get a triple? We shall see on Friday when the Devil is let loose in the Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes at Oaklawn.
The Devil’s double in 2013 gave Canchari his first stakes win. He has since gone on to win a multitude of stakes races. However, this is the only stakes race Devil and Half has ever been entered in and he has won it the past two consecutive years. His first time entered in this race, he finished second to The Mallard Man in 2011, ridden by Calvin Borel, but has since never relinquished his dominance of this race.
This seven year old gelding by Storm and a Half – Rainbows Are Due, by Devil His Due, will meet familiar foes again this year. The Devil came from fourth to defeat Humble Smarty and Presidental Colors last year on a nice ride by Canchari. Humble Smarty and Presidental Colors both show up again to run with the Devil, but they’ll have to do better than last year when the Devil smoked them by 6 lengths to defend his title.
The biggest threat this year will come from the Al Cates’ coupled entries The Mallard Man (Borel) and Mallard’s Bro (Ricardo Santana, Jr.), as well as the Pistolpackinpenny with Jon Court in the irons. Watch for the push to come from Humble Smarty as Devil and a Half lays back and waits for the seam. My longest shot in this race is, in fact, Presidental Colors at 15-1.
David Mello is riding well at Oaklawn this meet. He’s on the Ken McPeek horse Trace Creek at 9/2. The remaining entries are listed below. Good luck!