Archarcharch storms to victory in Arkansas Derby

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At 25-1, Archarcharch came with a strong run in mid-stretch and held off a closing rival in Nehro to win the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park Saturday.

Under John Court, Archarcharch came from mid-pack at the top of the lane and pulled clear until Nehro came with a late run for a a head victory in 1:49.34 for 1 1/8 miles.

Archarcharch is owned by Robert and Loval Yagos and was bred in Kentucky by Grapestock Llc.  Trained by Jinks Fires, he’s a son of Arch out of the Woodman mare, Woodman’s Dancer.


JP’s Gusto broke from an outside post and went for the lead early, tracked by Dance City, Caleb’s Posse and odds-on favorite The Factor.  The early fractions were swift for the distance as the order stayed pretty much the same down the backstretch through 22.54 and 46.53 splits.  Rounding the far turn, The Factor and Sway Away made moves, with Sway Away getting the best surge turning for home. 

Sway Away looked to be pulling clear, but Archarcharch emerged on the outside and overtook his rival.  Archarcharch sailed toward the wire with a clear lead in deep stretch.  Nehro (9-1) came running late to make it close.  Dance City (25-1) finished a game third.

The Arkansas Derby was the second graded stakes win for Archarcharch, who also won the Southwest at Oaklawn in February.  He was coming off a third-place, six and a half-length loss to the Factor in last month’s Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.

Nehro finished second to Pants On Fire in the Louisiana Derby.

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  • Glimmerglass

    Wonderful – love to see Jon Court in the Derby with a good contender!

  • Kelso

    I love the genius media.

    They fawned over Uncle Mo, To Honor And Serve, Tapizar, Jaycito, Brethren, Silver Medallion, and The Factor. Who’s up next for the man-crush?

    William Goldman, writer of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid when asked about Hollywood Studio Executives….”Nobody knows anything.”

  • Jeff

    We want Zenyatta back. At least she could put some consecutive wins together.

    These Derby preps are crazy this year. Anyways, maybe “The Factor” displaced his palate. Sure looked like it.

  • Jay

    He did. HRTV just reported it.

  • Robb

    Well, this is the most wide open and mediocre Kentucky Derby field that I’ve ever seen. Nobody wants to win the race, it seems.

  • Jeff

    Kelso,

    That has to be the best quote ever!

  • Chariset

    Nehro looked good in defeat, didn’t he? If the stretch had been two yards longer, he’d have won it.

  • SixteenK Claimer

    Jeff…maybe you can explain your X-Ray Vision that allows you to see through a horses flesh and see that it displaced its “palate”. The Factor is a wuss unless he is on the lead and even today he would have got drilled by the closers. Thank you for the entertainment Jeff…Like Baffert and the owners of the Factor…the excuses will keep pouring in. The horse got drilled…deal with it.

  • John

    The Factor displaced his palate. Works for me. Just like Uncle Mo and his stomach gas. Let’s throw the Wood, Arkansas and Santa Anita Derbies and all meet in three weeks in Churchill and may the best horse win.

  • Glimmerglass

    “… mediocre Kentucky Derby field …”

    Ah, yes, when chalk plays fail the critical whine is that the fields are somehow substandard to other years.

    The reality is that players have fallen for the media (with bloggers lumped in that) picks as opposed to doing any real analysis on their own. Just because the anointed runners don’t win doesn’t mean any horse who does show up is less than deserving.

    Look at Archarcharch: he won the Southwest Stakes, took 3rd in the Rebel but was likely spooked by the cast horse next to him in that race who thrashed at him, and then won the Arkansas Derby. Not exactly a fluke horse.

    The flipside is that everyone have been yammering on about Elite Alex’s potential which frankly has been in demonstrated nowhere in an actual race. The Factor was up against 5 horses wearing blinkers who didn’t before. Did anyone not get the fact that there was going to be measured shift in how this particular race would play out? I’m happy to take anyone’s money in that case.

  • Jeff

    SixteenK Claimer,

    Come talk to me when you know the symptoms of a displaced palate. Otherwise, keep that pie hole in the front of your head shut.

    When the horse came back, I could hear him gurgling. He’s either going to need a TSD/Cornell collar or a laryngeal tie-forward surgery. Either way, the horse is done. Not enough time between now and the Derby.

  • John

    Running against optional claimers in an ungraded stakes race. Developing stomach gas. Displacing your palate.
    Meadowlands going broke. TVG alreay broke.
    God, I miss Zenyatta.

  • SixteenK Claimer

    Jeff….shaddup ya maroon

  • Joe

    Congrats to Archarcharch and Nehro. What was wrong with the race-caller? Taking naps on the job like air-controllers? Newest blinkered blazing front-runner JP Gusto… I wonder if his owner feels stoooopid tonight.

  • Kelso

    16K Claimer needs to be injected and dropped in for $8,000 ;)

  • SixteenK Claimer

    Kelso….Drop for the win!

  • hip703

    Here is the latest Kentucky Derby Top 5:

    1. R Heat Lightning
    2. Zazu
    3. Joyful Victory
    4. Turbulent Decent
    5. Arienza

    On the upward move: May Day Rose

  • hip703

    Turbulent Descent

  • http://www.toosmarttofail.com/pap.html Walt Gekko

    The Price and Probability method (http://www.toosmarttofail.com/pap-op-041611.pdf) actually had Archarcharch at 5-1 on the value line and 12-1 on the morning line, which made him the pick in that race. He was a ridiculous overlay at that price, especially given the fact he won the Southwest and was third in the Rebel, so it’s not like we didn’t know he could handle the track.

    Dialed in is certainly looking like the favorite for the Kentucky Derby now, and those who hammered him in Pool 1 in particular have to be smiling at the moment.

  • steve

    Kelso,your right on.Even with free PPs the “genius media” are clueless.

  • bookiebuster1

    Hey how about we talk about Frankel who clearly is the best 3 year old on the planet right now :)

    Factor got out run happens every day. Ironic when the media types instantly jump ship and swims over to un tested waters to sink another “sure thing”. Next up perhaps is Dialed In who i am pretty sure still managed to go the slowest last winning quarter of all the major preps. However at least he did actually win.

    This Derby is going to be AWESOME!

  • hip703

    The Arkansas Derby was the worst call ever in a stakes race.

    About six times throughout the race, there is a lonnnnng silent pause, as if he either forgot the names of the horses, or drew a blank and didn’t have anything to say. Wonder if he was drinking. I’ve watched a fair amount of Oaklawn races, and he seems to have long, silent pauses in every race.

  • Bocephus

    The racing media only knows what Bob Baffert, Bill Mott, Wayne Lukas, and Todd Pletcher tell them. And that’s only the racing media. The pathetic state of journalism applies to the rest of the world as well, which is the truly sad state of affairs.

  • Canarse

    Of course Archarcharch was underbet due to the media hype around Pletcher and Baffert. Do you actually think that’s a bad thing? I love it. It puts money in my pocket.

    Also, if I were named Emperor of Racing my first decree would be to require saddlecloths to have different colors for every horse. Bad call or not, I’m trying to identify horses while they run and those damn blue cloths were brutal!

  • wildhorse 13

    Hip 703. Right you are, that was the most amateurish race call I’ve ever heard……Ever!

  • Mary

    I’m glad somebody mentioned the call. I thought the sound on my TV was cutting off and on (I’m not joking).

    The blue cloths were brutal but they were wearing different silks.

  • ratherrapid

    Joel at TC Insider picked the winner of Ark. Derby. Good call!

  • Medo Moreno

    @hip703 re: post #22: Absolutely! I became totally annoyed during the running of the race: more so than any other call I remember, even Derby ’09 when Tom Durkin FINALLY mentioned Mine That Bird 9 SECONDS AFTER he took the lead in the stretch.

  • Medo Moreno

    @Canarse re: post #24: Another great point (different colored saddle-cloths). I couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand ANY reason for same-colored saddle-cloths.

  • Medo Moreno

    @hip703 re: post #17: I’m sure you meant Ky. Oaks

  • tomfool

    I wooldn’t doubt The Factor displaced as hard as Martin Garcia jerked on the bit when taking the horse outside going into the first turn. What does Bob Baffert see in these heavy handed jockies like Martin Garcia and Victor Espinoso?

  • hip703

    Medo Moreno:

    re: post 17: no, I meant Kentucky Derby.

  • Medo Moreno

    hip703:

    Sorry, I’m a little slow.

  • Robert

    Wildhorse 13: re: post #25: I heard worse, ever hear Bobby Flay’s call at Saratoga a few years back?

  • chalkee1

    Want to say a word about Terry Wallace, who as the race caller for Oaklawn,holds the longest record for consecutive races called…over 20,000. Alas, like all of us, eventually your skills diminish and it is time to ride off into the sunset. This was Wallace’s last season to call…I suspect that Frank Mirahmadi will be offered the job. He sat in for terry this year and you could tell that the mantle was being passed. Regardless of how bad the race was called, he will still be remembered as one the most prolific announcers in thoroughbred history.

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