Hot Springs, AR (SportsNetwork.com) – American Pharoah, last year’s champion
2-year-old, overcame a poor start to run away with Saturday’s $750,000 Rebel
Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
The Rebel is the final local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April
American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, went off as the 2-5 favorite in
the seven-horse field going 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy track. Trained by Bob
Baffert, American Pharoah broke awkwardly from the gate but quickly recovered
to take the lead.
The champion set the pace the entire race and began to increase his advantage
coming off the final turn. American Pharoah, in his first start of the year,
rolled to a 6 1/4-length win on the way to the Kentucky Derby.
Finishing second was 5-1 second choice Madefromlucky followed by Bold
Conquest, The Truth Or Else, Paid Admission, Sakima and Tizwonderfulcreek.
The time for the Rebel was 1:45.78.
American Pharoah recorded 50 points with the victory as part of the Kentucky
Derby point system. The 3-year-old colt now has 60 points toward securing a
place in the 20-horse starting field for this year’s Run for the Roses.
The Eclipse Award winning colt, owned by Zayat Stables, earned $450,000 with
Saturday’s victory. He has banked $811,500 with three wins in four starts.
American Pharoah had not started since winning the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa
Anita last Sept. 27. He missed the last three months of 2014 with a
suspensory-related injury. American Pharoah won the Del Mar Futurity on Sept.
3 after finishing fifth in his debut race last August.
Baffert picked up his second straight Rebel win and fifth overall. The Hall of
Fame trainer won last year with Hoppertunity and previously won with Secret
Circle (2012), The Factor (2011) and Lookin At Lucky (2010).
American Pharoah returned $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10. Madefromlucky paid $3.40
and $2.80, Bold Conquest paid $2.80 to show.