Charlatan, Nadal give Bob Baffert an Arkansas Derby sweep

NADAL WINS 2ND DIVISION OF ARKANSAS DERBY
CHARLATAN WINS 1ST DIV OF THE ARKANSAS DERBY

Bob Baffert once again ruled the first Saturday in May, this time in Arkansas.

The Baffert-trained Charlatan and Nadal — both heavy favorites — won their respective divisions in the $500,000, Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and established themselves as top early contenders for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Charlatan took the lead out of the gate and didn’t look back in romping to victory in Division One.

The 2-5 favorite, Charlatan improved to 3 for 3 in his career. Ridden by Martin Garcia, Charlatan covered the 1⅛ miles in 1:48.49 and paid $2.80. Basin, who chased Charlatan in second place much of the race, finished six lengths back. Gouverneur Morris was third.

A son of Speightstown, Charlatan set fractions of 22.88 seconds for the quarter-mile, 46.08 seconds for the half-mile and 1:09.68 for three-quarters and never was seriously threatened.

Charlatan was making his stakes debut after winning his first two races at Santa Anita Park by a combined 16 lengths. He earned 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby.

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“I can say I am really lucky to ride him,” Garcia said. “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 it all within himself. I felt someone coming at the (three-eighths pole), and I let him go. He just took off. That’s a sign of a really good horse.”

In Division Two, Nadal and jockey Joel Rosario set off pacesetter Wells Bayou, took the lead in the second turn and held off late charges by runner-up King Guillermo and third-place Finnick the Fierce to win with a time of 1:48.34.

The 4-5 favorite, Nadal paid $3.80 and earned 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby.

A son of Blame, Nadal improved to 4 for 4 in his career. He previously won the Grade 2 Rebel on March 14 at Oaklawn.

 

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