'Working Up A Storm': Two Eagles River Headed To Arkansas Derby For Trainer Chris Hartman - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Working Up A Storm’: Two Eagles River Headed To Arkansas Derby For Trainer Chris Hartman

Two Eagles River wins at Oaklawn on Feb. 19, 2023

Two Eagles River will make his next start in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles April 1 at Oaklawn, the gelding's trainer, Chris Hartman, said Wednesday afternoon.

From the first crop of 2017 Preakness winner Cloud Computing, Two Eagles River will be returning to stakes company after a front-running four-length entry-level allowance victory over Disarm Feb. 19 at Oaklawn. Two Eagles River covered a mile in 1:37.10, just off the meet-best 1:36.86 set the previous day by Call Me Fast in an allowance race for older horses. Call Me Fast is entered in the $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Oaklawn.

“He's been working up a storm,” said Hartman, who was Oaklawn's leading trainer in 2015. “Horse is coming into hand pretty good right now. The decision to go here – I'm a little bit of a homer on that aspect. I would rather run him out of his stall than to haul him anywhere and do anything, so that's what we're going to do.”

Two Eagles River has a 2-2-1 record from five lifetime starts and earnings of $195,700 for Hartman and co-owners Mach 1 Racing and Scattered Acres LLC. The gelding was purchased for $220,000 at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training.

After winning his Oct. 30 career debut at Churchill Downs, Two Eagles River returned to finish second, beaten a neck by Victory Formation, in an entry-level allowance sprint Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. Victory Formation won the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 1 at Oaklawn in his next start. The 1-mile Smarty Jones was Oaklawn's first of four Kentucky Derby points races.

Two Eagles River has made three starts at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting. He finished a troubled second in the inaugural $150,000 Renaissance Stakes for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs Dec. 31 and third in his two-turn debut, a Jan. 14 entry-level allowance, before his sharp Feb. 19 victory.

Two Eagles River has recorded two swift workouts since his victory, including a 5-furlong bullet (:59) Tuesday morning.

“He's working good, so we're heading to the Arkansas Derby and see what happens,” Hartman said.

The Arkansas Derby will offer 200 points to the top five finishers (100-40-30-20-10, respectively) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Post positions for the Arkansas Derby will be drawn March 27.

The Arkansas Derby is Oaklawn's final Kentucky Derby points race.

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