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Arabian Knight makes it look easy in Southwest S. (G3)
Saturday, January 28, 2023

Arabian Knight handled the combination of two turns, a sloppy racetrack and first stakes start like a seasoned professional in Saturday’s $750,000 Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park, drawing off in the final furlong for a 5 ½-length victory.

The 3-year-old had made but one start for trainer Bob Baffert prior to the Southwest, winning a seven-furlong maiden race at Keeneland on Breeders’ Cup Saturday by an eye-opening 7 ¼-lengths, which earned him a “TDN Rising Star” tag.

Saturday’s win was even more impressive given all the new challenges. Arabian Knight, under John Velazquez, broke very well in the 1 1/16-mile race and made the right away. He rolled through a half-mile in :46.82, with Frosted Departure a length behind. Arabian Knight was in hand around the final turn, then shook up at the top of the stretch and steadily pulled away in the lane to win handily in 1:43.50 over the off going.

“When he got away and got in that high cruising [speed] down the backside I thought, ‘Well, if he’s as good as I think he is, there’s no excuse,’” Baffert said. “If he got beat today, the distance was going to get him. These good horses are hard to come by. We’ve had a lot of luck here at Oaklawn, so it was nice to have a horse like this. What he did today, he ran 1:43 and change, that’s racehorse time and he did it without taking a deep breath.”

Arabian Knight has won both of his starts and earned $544,275 for the Zedan Racing Stable.

Baffert now has a record six wins in the Southwest.

Baffert 2013