Omaha Beach moved ahead early before holding off favored Improbable to win the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby by a length Saturday at Oaklawn Park, earning 100 points and vaulting himself into second place on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
After entering the day 19th in the standings with 37.5 points, the dark bay colt became one of the key contenders by winning the $1 million final Derby qualifier. Starting from the No. 3 post at the Arkansas track, Omaha Beach was up front by the halfway point on a sloppy track and dueled Bob Baffert-trained Improbable the rest of the way. The horse trained by Richard Mandella earned his second consecutive graded stakes victory and third overall in four starts in 2019.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Omaha Beach covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.91 and paid $5.40, $3 and 2.80.
Improbable returned $3.60 and $3, and Country House paid $4.20 to show.
ARCADIA, Calif. — Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode his 4,000th career winner at Santa Anita.
He guided filly Portal Creek to a 3 }-length victory in the third race Saturday for trainer Bob Hess Jr.
The 36-year-old Peruvian jockey says Santa Anita has always been a special place for him. He won six races at the Southern California track in his first day riding there on April 8, 2006.
Bejarano came to the U.S. in 2002 after training at a national riding academy in Peru. He led the U.S. in victories with 455 in 2004.
He has career purse earnings of $200,611,833 and five victories in the Breeders’ Cup.
OCEANPORT, N.J. — Maximum Security will race this weekend for the first time since being disqualified in the Kentucky Derby.
The Jason Servis-trained colt was among six 3-year-olds entered Thursday for the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.
The 1 1/16-mile race in New Jersey will be the first in more than two months for Maximum Security. The colt galloped 1 1/8 miles here Wednesday.
In the Derby on May 2, Maximum Security got to the finish line 1}-lengths ahead of Country House. The victory was overturned 22 minutes later when the stewards disqualified the 9-2 second choice because of interference with eventual Preakness winner War of Will and other horses.
It marked the first time in the 145-year history of the Derby that the first-place finisher was disqualified for interference.