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Added on: March 17, 2015
American Pharaoh proved too much for his adversaries after strolling to victory in the Grade II, $750,000 Rebel Stakes which took place on Saturday 14th March at Oaklawn Park. In his first race since September, the two-year-old winner was ridden by delighted jockey Victor Espinoza. The bay colt made an emphatic return and won the race by a 6 ¼ length lead, also earning himself 50 points towards the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said “I was a little bit concerned at the break because Victor said he moved right before they broke … he stumbled and he grabbed himself.” He then went on to say, “Once he got to the first turn and he was just in his groove, galloping, I just thought 'Well, if he's the horse we hope he is, he's in good shape.' When you run on a track like that you're always concerned about something coming up, but so far everything looks good. It was pretty exciting.” These comments came from the official ESPN website.
American Pharaoh (Zayat Stables) is now sitting pretty in fifth place on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with a total of 60 points. In fourth place is Carpe Diem (WinStar Farm LLC & Stonestreet Stables LLC) with 64 points. Dortmund (Kaleem Shah, Inc.) has 70 points. International Star (Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey) has 71 points and El Kabeir (also Zayat Stables) is currently at the top of the leaderboard with 75 points.
In other news, Untapable was recently pipped at the post in her season debut on March 14th by Gold Medal Dancer in the $300,000 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Ridden by Luis Quinonez and trained by Donnie Von Hemel, Gold Medal Dancer won in style and crossed the wire in a time of 1:45.92.
“Every once in a while you have to give a horse a chance to do something like this,” said Von Hemel. “She's just been such a nice mare. It's taken us a little while to get in there, but I think as a 5-year-old she's going to have her best year. It was great to see her do it today.” There was also Warren’s Veneda who won the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita Stakes on March 14th, and on the same day, Race Day made it to the wire just in front of Midnight Hawk to win the Grade 3 $250,000 Razorback Handicap for 4-year-olds (and up) at Oaklawn Park.