American Pharoah Seeks to Solidify Favorite Role for Kentucky Derby

The Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah has spent most of the winter and early spring as the betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and will seek to solidify that role when he makes his final prep on Saturday in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.

The colt is the current wagering favorite for the Run for the Roses at 9-2, with his closest pursuer his undefeated stablemate Dortmund, who is at betting odds for the Derby at 5-1.

American Pharoah will take on seven foes in the Arkansas Derby and was installed as the 1-2 prohibitive favorite in the marquee race at the Oaklawn Park meeting. The race is the final Road to the Derby points race with 100-40-20-10 points up for grabs for the top four finishers.

The Baffert trainee is already safely in the Kentucky Derby field, currently ninth in the points standings with 60.

The colt ran fifth in his debut, then won the Del Mar Futurity (G1) on polytrack as a maiden, and followed that up with an impressive victory in the Frontrunner (G1) in his first start on dirt.

He was the early betting favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but a foot issue knocked him out of the race just days before.

It took 5 ½ months for Baffert to get the talented colt back to the racetrack in the afternoon, and he did not disappoint, winning the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park in gate to wire fashion drawing away to win by 6 ¼ lengths. After that win his future price for the Kentucky Derby dropped from 8-1 to 9-2.

A strong outing on Saturday in the Arkansas Derby will send him to Louisville as the betting favorite, while Dortmund could overtake the favorite role if he does not fire his best.

On paper, it looks like a one horse race, as his seven foes look overmatched. The colt with the best shot of pulling off the upset is Far Right, who is 9-2 on the morning line and is 40-1 for the Kentucky Derby.

The Ronald Moquett trainee won the first two Derby prep races at the Hot Springs racetrack. He won the Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 19 and followed that up with a victory in the Southwest (G3).

The colt has 23 Derby points, which is good for 23rd place in the standings. A top three finish will earn him a ticket to Louisville on the first Saturday of May.

Mr. Z, who is 60-1 in early Kentucky Derby betting, is looking to rebound off a dull ninth place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2). The colt has landed in the money in seven stakes races but is still looking for his first win other than his maiden score.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who already will have a strong presence in Louisville, is hoping Madefromlucky can join the ranks. The colt was third in the Rebel in his last outing. The colt is 45-1 for the Kentucky Derby.

Completing the field is The Truth Or Else, Bridget’s Big Luvy, Bold Conquest and Win the Space.

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