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Arabian Lion gets first Grade 1 win in Woody Stephens S.
Saturday, June 10, 2023

Arabian Lion, a son of the Bob Baffert-trained Triple Crown winner Justify, became his sire’s first Grade 1 winner on Belmont Day on Saturday when the 3-year-old colt scored by 1 ¾-lengths in the Woody Stephens S. (G1).

Turning back to seven furlongs after winning the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton S. on May 20, Arabian Lion and jockey John Velazquez settled into a good inside spot no more than two lengths from the lead for the backstretch run. He kept to the inside until just before turning for home, when Velazquez switched to the three-path for the stretch drive.

Drew’s Gold was strong on the lead, but Arabian Lion wore him down, taking the lead with a furlong to run and drawing away late to finish up in 1:21.70 on fast track. He earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 109, which is the top number for any 3-year-old in 2023.

“He’s just a smaller version of Justify and to have a horse by Justify--one of the greatest horses I’ve ever trained--and to bring him to New York and win a Grade One, that’s what we’re all in the game for,” Baffert said. “I’m just going to enjoy this Grade One victory. It’s great to be back here. Nothing like winning in New York. It means so much to the horse and the connections and I feel great about it."

Arabian Lion, who is now 3-2-0 in seven starts, has earned $437,600 for Zedan Racing Stables Inc.

Baffert 2013