Baffert Does It Again; Nadal Aces Second Division of Arkansas Derby

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Nadal | Sarah Andrew

Just about an hour and 15 minutes after his stablemate and fellow ‘TDN Rising Star’ Charlatan (Speightstown) dazzled in the first division of the GI Arkansas Derby, Nadal (Blame) provided Hall of Famer Bob Baffert with a clean sweep of the split Oaklawn feature. The bay scored a good-looking victory in what was considered the deeper edition of Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, securing his spot in the gate for the Sept. 5 Run for the Roses.

Anxious in the gate, Nadal was away in good order from post five as GII Louisiana Derby victor Wells Bayou (Lookin at Lucky) caught a flyer from the outside stall in this nine-horse affair and went straight to the front. The 4-5 chalk hustled up to stalk that pacesetter from his flank in second with GII Tampa Bay Derby victor King Guillermo (Uncle Mo) to his inside in third through opening splits of :23.08 and :46.21. Taking command approaching the five-sixteenths pole, Nadal assumed a clear lead entering the lane and kept on finding, pulling clear of a determined King Guillermo to win by three lengths. Finnick the Fierce (Dialed In) filled the show spot.

“He looked good. Very good race,” said winning rider Joel Rosario. “He sat off that horse and then took care of the rest. He’s a champ.”

“I just have to thank the timing,” said part owner George Bolton. “He had six weeks between starts. He went back to California and Bob [Baffert] worked him behind horses three times. I thought if there was speed today, he could sit off it. He had a much more comfortable trip than in the Rebel when he was attacked by three different challengers. I was very proud. He finished well. I have a secret. Bob called me two days ago and said he wanted me to come. He said he thought he’d run big and wanted me there.”

Tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ off a good-looking win in his Jan. 19 unveiling at Santa Anita, Nadal followed suit with a victory in the GII San Vicente S. Feb. 9 going seven panels in Arcadia. Stretched to two turns for the first time in Oaklawn’s GII Rebel S., the $700,000 FTFMAR purchase took the field wire-to-wire in the slop for a 3/4-length success Mar. 14.

Pedigree Notes:

Nadal is the fifth Grade I winner by Blame–his first male Grade I winner–and one of 57 black-type winners and 29 graded winners by the Claiborne stallion. The $65,000 KEESEP yearling turned $700,000 FTFMAR breezer is the second of just two foals out of Ascending Angel, a half-sister to SW & GSP Reform Act (Lemon Drop Kid) and the dam of GSW Journey Home (War Front). Nadal hails from the family of champion Pleasant Stage (Pleasant Colony), MGISW Marsh Side (Gone West) and GISW Changeintheweather (Gone West).

Saturday, Oaklawn Park
ARKANSAS DERBY-GI, $500,000, Oaklawn, 5-2, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:48.34, ft.
1–NADAL, 122, c, 3, by Blame
1st Dam: Ascending Angel, by Pulpit
2nd Dam: Solar Colony, by Pleasant Colony
3rd Dam: Meteor Stage, by Stage Door Johnny
1ST GRADE I WIN. ($65,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $700,000 2yo ’19
FTFMAR). O-George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman &
Mark Mathiesen; B-Sierra Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Joel
Rosario. $300,000. Lifetime Record: 4-4-0-0, $1,053,000.
‘TDN Rising Star’ Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–King Guillermo, 122, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Slow Sand, by Dixieland
Band. ($90,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $150,000 2yo ’19
OBSAPR). O-Victoria’s Ranch; B-Carhue Investments,
Grouseridge Ltd. & Marengo Investments (KY); T-Juan Carlos
Avila. $100,000.
3–Finnick the Fierce, 118, g, 3, Dialed In–Southern Classic, by
Southern Image. O-Arnaldo Monge & Rey Hernandez; B-Blu
Sky Stables (KY); T-Rey Hernandez. $50,000.
Margins: 3, 1HF, 2HF. Odds: 0.90, 4.70, 62.20.
Also Ran: Farmington Road, Wells Bayou, Storm the Court, Silver Prospector, Code Runner, Taishan. Scratched: Fast Enough, Saratogian. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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