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Arabian Lion rolls to four-length Sir Barton S. win
Saturday, May 20, 2023

Arabian Lion kicked off the Preakness S. (G1) day action at Pimlico with a powerful front-running score in the $100,000 Sir Barton S., a victory that had his trainer wishing he had entered the 3-year-old colt in the Preakness.

However, Baffert would go on to win the Preakness with National Treasure, giving the Hall of Fame trainer a record eighth win in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

Baffert has had high hopes for Arabian Lion, who is a son of his 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, since the chestnut colt won on debut in early October. He had won subsequently, however, though he was second most recently in the April 15 Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland.

In the Sir Barton, he shot right to the lead and controlled the pace from the outset. He got a half-mile in :48.13 with a 1 ½-length lead. Tapit’s Conquest got within a half-length on the final turn, but Arabian Lion shook him off in the stretch and came home a four-length winner in 1:41.13 for the 1 1/16-miles on a fast track.

The time set a new stakes record, was just two ticks off the track record and was good for a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

“I should have run him in the Preakness,” said Baffert. “I didn’t think he could lose in the Lexington. I was just,’>How did he get beat?’ I think that race sort of helped him, and I wanted to give him one more time around two turns. He is such a beautiful horse. He is like a smaller version of Justify, and I think he is just starting to wake up. What I saw today, and that time was pretty impressive, I think he [belonged] in the Preakness the way he ran today. The Belmont is a possibility with him.”

Arabian Lion is owned by Zedan Racing Stable. Saturday’s win improved his record to 2-2-0 from six starts and earnings to $217,600.

Baffert 2013