One of the primary reasons fitness instructor Bob Baffert was pleased that Oaklawn Park officials divided the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G1) into two divisions was that it removed the possibility of his 2 undefeated 3-year-olds, Nadal and Charlatan, slugging it out in the very same race.
After what occurred May 2 in the two divisions of the 1 1/8- mile stakes, a showdown in between the two appears inevitable– and it ought to be a classic match.
Charlatan and Nadal kept their perfect records intact by winning their respective divisions of the Arkansas Derby and giving the Hall of Fame fitness instructor an extremely powerful hand for the 3-year-old classics whenever they are held.
After Saturday’s sweep, not only does Baffert have two stars, he has a set of aces with the undefeated Genuine also residing in the two-time Triple Crown winner’s barn.
” I’m truly delighted about these 3,” stated Baffert, who appreciated both success from his renowned “Grade 1 Sofa” in California with three of his children beside him. “It’s tough to separate these three 3-year-olds. They are excellent horses, and I’m lucky to have them. I want the Kentucky Derby (G1) remained in June.”
While the Arkansas Derby triumphes supplied Nadal and Charlatan with sufficient certifying points, Baffert’s horses, and every other 3-year-old, will need to wait till Sept. 5 to race in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve since of the COVID-19 pandemic that kept Oaklawn closed to the public.
How anyone will prepare their horses for the very first Saturday in September at Churchill Downs is unclear, however Baffert stated he’ll likely run at least one of the trio in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), which has been rescheduled for June 6. Must the Belmont Stakes (G1), which stays arranged for June 6, be transferred to a date later on in June or early July, one of the trio will most likely head to New York.
Beyond that, it’s a thinking game.
” I’m waiting to hear what they are finishing with the other big races for 3-year-olds,” Baffert said. “We know the Kentucky Derby remains in September, and we’ll work back from there.”
Baffert credited the work of assistant trainer Jim Barnes, who has remained in Arkansas caring for the stable’s carriers, and the rest of his group for the twin triumphes that were commemorated in style.
“So he sent me a lot of steaks.
Ruby should have sent out some mint juleps, too, as both of Baffert’s winners appeared like top Kentucky Derby competitors on a remarkable afternoon when the first Saturday in May belonged to a derby in Arkansas instead of the one in Bluegrass country.
Flavoring Settles for Nadal
Nadal landed in the 2nd and tougher of the 2 departments, which was great with Baffert since the son of Blame is much more experienced than Charlatan, who made his stakes debut Saturday.
” Nadal was ready for this,” he said. “He was tested the last time.”
Owned by George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman, and Mark Mathiesen, Nadal was coming off an intense success in the March 14 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn where he set fast fractions and still handled to score by less than a length.
In Saturday’s race, which was initially scheduled for April 11, rapid Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Wells Bayou jumped out of the gate under Florent Geroux from the outside post in the field of 9 to open a fast early lead through a: 46.21 opening half-mile. Under Joel Rosario, Nadal broke nicely, then tracked in 2nd before forging to lead as Wells Bayou tired approaching the quarter pole.
From there, it was a straight-sets win for the 4-5 favorite ($ 3.
” We found out today that both Nadal and Charlatan are gifted horses and that Nadal can sit off horses. That’s excellent news,” said Baffert, who got his 3rd and 4th wins in the Arkansas Derby and initially since 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharaoh rolled to success. “I had a feeling Florent would do something like that (with Wells Bayou), so I told Joel, ‘When you get him running, ride him the method you desire.’ He kept him near the lead, and turning for home I knew Nadal had sufficient run in him to win.”
Nadal, who had 50 certifying points prior to Saturday, pushed his total to 150 with his fourth consecutive win as 100-40-20-10 points were awarded to the top 4 finishers in both departments.
Bred in Kentucky by Sierra Farm, Nadal is the very first stakes winner out of the Pulpit mare Rising Angel.
He has earned $1,053,000, all as a 3-year-old.
Sent off at 49 -1 when he won the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) for former significant leaguer Victor Martinez’s Victoria’s Ranch stable, King Guillermo was 2nd as the 9-2 second choice for trainer Juan Avila.
The son of Uncle Mo was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Arnaldo Monge and Rey Hernandez’s Finnick the Strong The one-eyed Called In gelding trained by Hernandez had 2 1/2 lengths on Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Chrysalis Stables, and Robert LaPenta’s Farmington Roadway, a child of Quality Roadway trained by Todd Pletcher.
Charlatan Makes an Impression
Though May 2 was not the very first Saturday of the month that everyone was expecting, there were a lot of familiar faces in the Oaklawn Park winner’s circle to make the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby a bit more manageable.
Running his competition off their feet in the first division of the Arkansas Derby was Charlatan, a son of Speightstown.
Guided by Martin Garcia, Charlatan broke completely and went straight to the front. Angled in towards the rail, the colt made it look simple along the backstretch as he posted portions of: 22.88,: 46.08, and 1: 09.68 for 6 furlongs while preserving a two-length lead.
Steve Asmussen trainee Basin, who won the Runhappy Hopeful Stakes (G1) at 2, broke sharp from post 9 under Ricardo Santana Jr. and corrected quickly to get up behind Charlatan. The pair pushed the leader in the 2 path, followed by Anneau d’Or in third.
Charlatan discovered another gear at the top of the stretch and increased his margin to 4 1/2 lengths. Santana asked Basin for more as the field stormed home, however the Liam’s Map colt didn’t have enough to posture any real risk to Charlatan, who crossed the wire 6 lengths in front.
” Charlatan just goes fast and faster,” Baffert said. “He’s a smaller sized variation of (2018 Triple Crown winner) Justify“
The final time was 1: 48.49 on a fast lane.
” I can state I am actually fortunate to ride him,” Garcia said. “Mr. Baffert and the owners had a lot of options.
Gouverneur Morris completed a neck behind runner-up Basin for 3rd. It was another 3 lengths back to Winning Impression in fourth. Anneau d’Or was fifth, followed by Crypto Cash, Mo Mosa, Jungle Runner, and My Friends Beer
” He was in hot pursuit the whole method,” Asmussen said of Basin. “He hung in there actually well.
Charlatan’s 100 points moved him to fourth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Owned in partnership by SF Racing, Madaket Stables, Starlight Racing, Stonestreet Stables, Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables, Charlatan made his debut for Baffert on Feb. 16 at Santa Anita Park, where he also wired the field to win by 5 3/4 lengths. He made his second start in a one-mile allowance optional claiming race March 14 at the Southern California track. He once again blew away his competitors in a lot more controling gate-to-wire efficiency, winning by 10 1/4 lengths.
Charlatan has actually earned $367,200 from his 3 triumphes.