Charlatan Takes First Division Of Arkansas Derby In A Romp

From the moment the starting gate opened, the issue was never in doubt. Charlatan, the 2-5 favorite breaking from the inside post position under jockey Martin Garcia, went straight to the front, controlled the pace, and ran off with the easiest kind of six-length win in the first division of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on Saturday.

The Speightstown colt, trained by Bob Baffert and now 3-for-3 in his brief career, covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.49 on a fast track after setting fractions of :22.88, :46.08, 1:09.68, and 1:35.33. It was the fastest Arkansas Derby since Sir Cherokee won the 2003 renewal.

Basin chased Charlatan throughout and held second, with Gouverneur Morris third and Winning Impression fourth in the field of nine 3-year-olds. They were followed across the finish by Anneau d’Or, Crypto Cash, Mo Mosa, Jungle Runner and My Friends Beer.

Shooters Shoot and Wrecking Crew were scratched.

Charlatan, racing for SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich III, John D. Fielding and Golconda Stables, earned $300,000 from the Derby’s $500,000 purse.

This was the third Arkansas Derby victory for Baffert, who first won in 2012 with Bodemeister and again in 2015 with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Produced from the Quiet American mare, Authenticity, Charlatan was bred in Kentucky by Stronestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC and sold for $700,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

The top four finishers in each division of the Arkansas Derby received a total of 170 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (100-40-20-10).

Charlatan came into the Arkansas Derby unbeaten in two starts and drawing comparisons with Justify, the undefeated Baffert-trained Triple Crown winner of 2018 who didn’t make his racing debut until Feb.18 of his 3-year-old season. Justify followed up his maiden win with an allowance victory – just as Charlatan did – but then prepped for the Kentucky Derby by winning the Santa Anita Derby. That race, like many other Derby preps, has not been conducted yet this year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and is tentatively rescheduled for June 6 at the Arcadia, Calif., track.

Charlatan debuted at Santa Anita on Feb. 16, winning by 5 3/4 over three other maidens, then came back to win a March 14 allowance race by 10 1/4 lengths. The runner-up in the five-horse field that day was Rushie, who won Saturday’s 10th race at Oaklawn 30 minutes before the first division of the Arkansas Derby.

No one was able to challenge Charlatan on the lead and Garcia kept the colt to his task down the stretch, giving him four reminders with the riding crop before wrapping up nearing the wire.

“I can say I am really lucky to ride him,” said Garcia, who for several years rode many of Baffert’s top horses. “Mr. Baffert and the owners had a lot of choices. They pick me. I just did my job. He just took me to the winner’s circle. They told me we were smoking. I went in 1:09 and he was just galloping. He did in all within himself. I felt someone coming at the 3/8ths and I let him go. He just took off. That’s a sign of a really good horse.”

The Arkansas Derby was moved to Saturday’s closing-day program at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack after the Kentucky Derby was rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Oaklawn officials completed their meeting (extended to the first Saturday in May in 2019) by conducting races without on-site attendance and under protocols designed to combat the spread of the virus.

The post Charlatan Takes First Division Of Arkansas Derby In A Romp appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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