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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