Champion American Pharoah tops field for 79th Arkansas Derby

Hot Springs, AR ( – Eclipse Award winner American Pharoah
heads a field of eight for Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn

The 1 1/8-mile race offers 100 points to the winning 3-year-old as part of
the Kentucky Derby points system and a place in the 20-horse Run for the Roses
field on May 2.

American Pharoah, last year’s champion 2-year-old colt, will start from post 6
with jockey Victor Espinoza again in the saddle. The pair are undefeated in
three races since uniting after the colt lost his career debut.

Trained by Bob Baffert, American Pharoah won Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes four weeks
ago as the 2-5 favorite in his 2015 debut. The colt, owned by Zayat Stables,
cruised to a 6 1/4-length win over Madefromlucky and Bold Conquest.

The 3-year-old colt currently has 60 points toward securing a place in the 20-
horse starting field for this year’s Run for the Roses.

“This is the time of the year where we take nothing for granted, we work hard,
we have a great team and American Pharoah is doing fantastic,” said Baffert,
who also trains Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund. “We want to get there in
top form and healthy. That’s the battle right there. We have good horses. I
can’t believe I’m so fortunate to be in this position with two outstanding 3-
year-olds like I have.”

American Pharoah won the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3 after finishing fifth in
his debut race last August. He then won the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita
on Sept. 27, but missed the last three months of 2014 with a suspensory-
related injury. He has banked $811,500 with three wins in four starts.

Baffert won the 2012 Arkansas Derby with Bodemeister.

Rebel Stakes runner-up Madefromlucky and third-place finisher Bold Conquest
will break from posts 4 and 5, respectively. Madefromlucky will be ridden by
John Velazquez with Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard Bold Conquest.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will saddle Mr. Z off the the chestnut
colt’s last place finish in the Lousiana Derby on March 28. Mr. Z will be
ridden by Ramon Vazquez from post 2.

“I think he’s still on the radar for the Derby,” Lukas said, referring to the
Kentucky Derby. “If he were to run in the first three, or something like that,
he would earn a spot. That’s the other side of the coin.”

Here is the field for the Arkansas Derby in post position order: The Truth Or
Else, Calvin Borel; Mr. Z, Ramon Vazquez; Bridget’s Big Luvy, Angel Cruz;
Madefromlucky, John Velazquez; Bold Conquest, Ricardo Santana Jr.;
American Pharoah, Victor Espinoza; Far Right, Mike Smith and Win the Space,
Kent Desormeaux.

Post time for the Arkansas Derby will be approximately 7:18 p.m. ET.