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    American Pharoah gave Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his fifth Rebel Stakes win in the last six years when the Pioneerof the Nile colt romped home to victory in Saturday’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. It was the Zayat Stables-owned colt’s first start since winning the Frontrunner Stakes (G1) Sept. 27.

    Over a track downgraded to sloppy by post time, champion 2-year-old American Pharoah bobbled at the start, but jumped to the early lead in a field of seven and never let another horse get a head in front. Setting a leisurely pace of 24:41 for the first quarter mile, American Pharoah toyed with longshot Paid Admission through much of the first mile, allowing him within a head by the first call and a half-length by the second. Waiting patiently behind the two, Madefromlucky and Bold Conquest began to move as the group came around the final turn, but that was at the same time American Pharoah got the call from jockey Victor Espinoza to make his way home.

    American Pharoah, under a hand-ride, began to open up on the field and splashed through to the finish, 6 ¼ lengths in front of his rivals. Madefromlucky held second by 2 ½ lengths over Bold Conquest, who was 1 ¼ lengths in front of fourth-place finisher The Truth Or Else.

    “He’s an amazing horse,” said Espinoza. “The first time I rode him, (trainer) Bob (Baffert) said he’s the real deal. Bob’s a Hall of Famer, so he knows. Bob was confident, so that made me confident. He is a tremendous horse. He has a lot of talent and he loves to run. This is an amazing horse.”

    American Pharoah earned 50 points for the victory and moved into fifth place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 60 points and earnings of $810,000. Madefromlucky, who picked up 20 points, debuted in 10th place, while Bold Conquest added 10 points and moved into 13th place with 17 points. The Truth Or Else earned 5 points and garnered 19th place with a total of 11 points.

    American Pharoah returned $2.80, $2.20, and $2.10. Madefromlucky paid $3.40 and $2.80 and completed the $2 exacta for $8.60. Bold Conquest paid $2.80 and completed the $1 trifecta for $14.40. The Truth Or Else completed the $1 superfecta for $24.50. The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race over a sloppy track was 1:45.78.

     

    Photo: Courtesy Oaklawn Park

    Jessie Oswald's picture

    About Jessie Oswald

    I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as a paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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