Gary and Mary West's American Freedom ran a big race on the Preakness Day undercard to win the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes, and his next stop, in Prairie Meadows' Grade 3 Iowa Derby this Friday, will be another big test for the Bob Baffert trainee.
Making just his fourth lifetime start, the sophomore son of Pulpit will face a field of eight other 3-year-old colts and geldings in the $250,000, 1 1/16-mile contest. American Freedom is listed on the morning-line at 5-2 with jockey Rafael Bejarano, but the top choice for the Iowa oddsmaker was Texas-bred Texas Chrome.
Trained by J. R. Caldwell, Texas Chrome put together a strong string of listed stakes efforts over the winter and spring in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, before coming to Churchill Downs on June 18 to contest the G3 Matt Winn. While he finished nearly six lengths behind the runaway winner Gun Runner, Texas Chrome made a good effort to just be beaten for second, finishing a half-length behind Gray Sky. He will be ridden by Iram Diego, and is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the Iowa Derby.
Trainer Donnie Von Hemel's Synchrony, listed at 401, also merits a look, as he has been working well over the local surface and returns from a two-month freshening after a third-place effort in Keeneland's G3 Lexington Stakes in April.
Scheduled for 10:21 PM Eastern time on Friday, the full field for the Iowa Derby, from the rail out, is as follows:
- Lookin For A Kiss (8-1, Mike Tomlinson, Ramon Vazquez)
- Catfish Creek (15-1, Scott Young, Belen Quinonez)
- Texas Chrome (2-1, J.R. Caldwell, Iram Diego)
- American Freedom (5-2, Bob Baffert, Rafael Bejarano)
- Synchrony (4-1, Donnie Von Hemel, Shaun Bridgmohan)
- The Rouge Diesel (30-1, John Hall, Ken Tohill)
- Colonel Dan (12-1, Wesley Hawley, Miguel Mena)
- Hint of Roses (10-1, Mike Maker, Florent Geroux)
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