HOT SPRINGS, AR – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Charlatan cruised home to a lengthy score in Saturday’s 1st division of the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking briskly from the rail as the 2/5 heavy favorite under Martin Garcia, Charlatan immediately put himself on the front end and raced into the clubhouse turn with a multiple length lead. Still racing unpressured as he hit the top of the backstretch, Charlatan posted opening fractions of :22.88, :46.08, and 1:09.68 while Basin tracked closest of all.
Garcia let out a notch in the reins as Charlatan rounded the far turn, but near the top of the stretch, the colt seemed to wait on his competition to join him, but Garcia corrected the action and Charlatan immediately re-bid with 3/16 of a mile to go. Drawing off in hand late, the bettors’ choice crossed 6 lengths the best in a final time of 1:48.49 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast main track.
“They told me we were smoking,” Garcia said. “I went in 1:09 and he was just galloping. He did it all within himself. I felt someone coming at the 3/8 (pole) and I let him go. He just took off. That’s a sign of a really good horse.”
After chasing the runaway winner all the way around the track, Basin was all-out late to neck out Gouverneur Morris for second, while Winning Impression necked out Anneau d’Or for fourth. Crypto Cash, Mo Mosa, Jungle Runner, and My Friends Beer completed the order of finish.
Shooters Shoot and Wrecking Crew were scratched.
The Arkansas Derby is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Charlatan earned 100 points for the win, with Basin receiving 40 for second, Gouverneur Morris 20 for third, and Winning Impression 10 for fourth.
Charlatan’s win was his third in as many starts, including a paid gallop against allowance foes last time out, and came in his stakes debut. The 3-year-old son of Speightstown has now earned $367,200 for co-owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables.
“Charlatan, what a talent he is and how fast he is,” Baffert said. “I just loved the way, third out, to ship and to do that, what he did today – only the really good ones can do that. “
Charlatan returned $2.80 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Basin brought back $5.20 to place and $3 to show, while Gouverneur Morris paid $2.40 to show.