Charlatan, Nadal give Bob Baffert sweep in Arkansas Derby

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Charlatan romped to victory by six lengths in the first division of the Arkansas Derby and Nadal won the second division, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a sweep Saturday when the Kentucky Derby was postponed.

The 146th Derby usually would have dominated the first Saturday in May, but it was pushed back to Sept. 5 by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, 20 3-year-olds ran in two divisions of the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, each worth $500,000. Each race was worth 170 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, including 100 to the winners. It was the first time since 1960 that the race was split.

No fans were allowed because of the pandemic on a day that would have been the biggest of the season at Oaklawn.

Charlatan improved to 3-0 after not racing at age 2. His first two wins by a combined 16 lengths came at Santa Anita, where the colt is based. He broke from the No. 1 post in the 1 1/8-mile race under Martin Garcia, who was replacing Drayden Van Dyke for the race. Charlatan was timed in 1:48.49 and paid $2.80 to win.

“He did in all within himself,” Garcia said. “I felt someone coming at the three-eighths (pole) and I let him go. He just took off. That’s a sign of a really good horse.”

Basin finished second and Gouverneur Morris was another neck back in third. Winning Impression finished fourth.

Nadal, named for tennis star Rafael Nadal, won his division in 1:48.34. He is 4-0 in his young career.

“He looked good, very good race,” winning jockey Joel Rosario said. “He’s a champ.”

It was Baffert’s third win in the Arkansas Derby.

The race was supposed to be on April 11, but Oaklawn reworked its stakes schedule to run it on closing day Saturday and split it into divisions because of the large number of horses that were entered.

Pegasus on Jan. 28, Florida Derby on April 1 at Gulfstream

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Gulfstream Park announced the schedule for the 2022-23 Championship Meet, highlighted by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 28.

Also on Pegasus day: The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, as well as the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Gulfstream’s top Kentucky Derby prep race, the $1 million Florida Derby, will be run on April 1 as part of a card with 10 stakes races. Other top 3-year-old preps at Gulfstream in early 2023 include the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man on Jan. 1, the $250,000 Holy Bull on Feb. 4 and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth on March 4.

The Pegasus is returning for a seventh time. The format has changed several times in the race’s infancy; the purse structure for the Pegasus World Cup no longer requires owners to put up $1 million apiece for a spot in the starting gate for what was, at its inception, the world’s richest race with a purse that reached $16 million.

This much has remained constant: Winning the Pegasus changes a horse’s resume. No Pegasus winner has ever finished worse than sixth in the yearlong earnings among North American horses, and two past winners – Arrogate and Gun Runner – are two of the three highest-earning thoroughbreds in U.S. history.

Gulfstream’s Championship Meet runs from Dec. 26 through April 2, featuring 60 stakes races, 35 of them graded, and worth a combined $13.6 million.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.