By Emily Shields
Oaklawn Park held the biggest card of their meet on Saturday, with two divisions of the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G1) highlighting the day. Both were won by unbeaten Bob Baffert trainees, who now sit squarely on the top of the Kentucky Derby rankings.
In the first division, sophomore Charlatan ($2.80) took the lead from the outset and cruised to a six-length score. The son of Speightstown broke from the rail under Martin Garcia and ran away from Grade 1 winner Basin and Grade 1 placed Gouverneur Morris in second and third. The 1 1/8-mile trip was completed in 1:48.49 with brisk early fractions.
Charlatan broke his maiden at Santa Anita in February, then added an allowance in March. This was his first start past a mile. SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Frederick Hetrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables own the Stonestreet-bred runner.
An hour later, Nadal ran even faster in the second division, scoring in 1:48.34. The unbeaten son of Blame runs for George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman, and Mark Mathiesen. Under Joel Rosario, Nadal ($3.80) won by three lengths to extend his winning streak to four. Tampa Bay Derby (G2) hero King Guillermo finished second, with 62-1 shot Finnick the Fierce third. Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Wells Bayou ran fifth, with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Colt Storm the Court sixth.
Nadal had previously won both the San Vicente Stakes (G2) and the Rebel Stakes (G2), with the latter coming over this track.
Baffert also won on the day with unbeaten Gamine, who is pointing for the 2020 Kentucky Okas (G1).
The Oaklawn meet may be over, but racing will resume the second and third weeks of May at both Churchill Downs and Santa Anita, and all will be available to watch and wager live with TVG.
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