American Pharoah heavy favorite for Arkansas Derby

Publish date:

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) American Pharoah is ready for his return to Oaklawn Park, as the heavy favorite for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby.

One of trainer Bob Baffert's two top Kentucky Derby contenders, American Pharoah was made the 1-2 morning-line choice and drew the No. 6 post in a field of eight 3-year-olds entered on Wednesday for the 1 1/8-mile race.

The Kentucky Derby-qualifying race is worth 100 points to the winner, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth. American Pharoah already has a spot in the Derby field with 60 points, but could join Baffert's other big horse Dortmund as the favorites for the Run for the Roses on May 2.

American Pharoah, who will be ridden by Victor Espionoza, won the Rebel Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths during his last visit despite losing a shoe on a sloppy track. Last year's 2-year-old champion has won four of five careers starts.

Far Right, winner of the Smarty Jones and the Southwest, is the 9-2 second choice with Mike Smith aboard and drew the No. 7 post for the final major prep race before the Derby on May 2.

The Rebel was American Pharoah's first this year. It was one to remember, too. He bobbled to the left out of the gate, causing a shoe to come loose, before recovering and immediately taking the lead under Espinoza.

Madefromlucky, runner-up in the Rebel, is the third choice at 6-1.


The field, from the rail out, with riders and odds: The Truth Or Else (Calvin Borel, 15-1), Mr. Z (Ramon Vazquez, 10-1), Bridget's Big Luvy (Angel Cruz, 20-1), Madefromlucky (John Velazquez, 6-1), Bold Conquest (Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1), American Pharoah (Espinoza, 1-2), Far Right (Smith, 9-2), and Win The Space (Kent Desormeaux, 30-1).