Horse Racing

Arab Knights Leave Southwest in ‘Excellent’ Condition

Scheduled to debut as 3-year-old at the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 mile on Jan. Oaklawn Park, patronize The name of the ‘s was oddly missing when the entries appeared on January 23.

When asked why late Saturday morning, Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, the foal’s trainer, oddly replied: “He’s caught a case Arab Knights flu.”

About five-and-a-half hours later, Moquett’s medical opinion was confirmed when the highly-popular Arab Knight, led by Hall of Fame racer John Velazquez, won by a margin of five and a half hours. in the Southwest, the second of Oaklawn’s four Kentucky Derby (G1) races to score and maintain an undefeated record in two lifetime starts.

“He’s played great,” coach Bob Baffert said via text message on Sunday morning.

Zedan Racing Stables’ Arabian Knights represent a record sixth win in the Southwest for coach Baffert in the Hall of Fame and extend his record 19th overall in the Kentucky Derby scoring race at Oaklawn .

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The son of Uncle Mo was considered for $200,000 in San Vicente (G2) Shares at seven runs on Sunday at Santa Anita . Park before Baffert opted for another road trip following the pony’s five-stage training there on January 21. News came the next day that the Arabian Knights would be debuting the baby. 3-year-old child, bet and two turns in Southwest.

“That’s why I decided at the last minute,” Baffert said in Larry Snyder Winner’s Circle after Southwest. “What I do is I nominate my horses everywhere and whoever does well that week gets on board.”

The Saudi Knights, as a strong favorite contender, were a 7 1/4 lead in his career debut on 5 November at Keeneland. Racing on a high-speed main track in the Breeders’ Cup card, the Arabian Knight crossed seven feathers at a scale of 1:21.98 to create the eye-catching 97 Beyer Speed ​​Figure. Baffert has taken him to the Southwest in addition to the eight-hour, practice sessions at Santa Anita since Nov.

Videotapes: Southwest S. (G3)

“His first performance was off the charts, but I gave him a lot of time in between,” Baffert said. “I just took him away at a very easy pace. That’s good. You give them time between races.”

Baffert said plans for the next race for the Arabian Knights are pending.

“There’s no rush,” said Baffert. “I just wanted to keep him healthy and happy. You saw what he did today. It was like a American Pharoah -kind of race.”

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah made his debut as a 3-year-old in Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 mile in 2015. After bouncing around from the start , American Pharoah took the lead, controlling speed and finishing by 6 1/4 lengths on a sloppy, tight surface.

The Southwest offers 40 points (20-8-6-4-2, respectively) for the top five finishers to begin qualifying for the Kentucky Derby. The Arab Knights were not eligible for the Southwest qualifying points because Baffert was suspended for two years by Churchill Downs. It stemmed from his Medina Spirit being disqualified in the 2021 Kentucky Derby win for drug violations. The case is being appealed.

Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby streak continues with $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on February 25 and $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on August 1 miles on April 1. Unbeaten winning lineup (3 to 3) won the first race in the series, the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at 1-mile on January 1, for trainer Brad Cox.

“We’re definitely going to have something here for Rebel,” Baffert said.

Baffert’s appearance on Saturday was his first time entering a race at Oaklawn since Arkansas Race Day 2011.

This press release has been edited by BloodHorse Staff for content and style.


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