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Muth handles Arkansas Derby (G1) with style
Saturday, March 30, 2024

Muth gave Bob Baffert a record-tying fifth win in the Arkansas Derby (G1) with his commanding two-length victory in Saturday's $1.5 million race at Oaklawn Park.

Muth, who had been off since winning the San Vicente S. (G2) in early January, was never worse than second at any point of Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile contest. Time for Truth, then Timberlake, the 6-5 favorite, both had early leads, with on top by just a head after six furlongs. Muth poked his head in front and was going along much better than Timberlake, who was already under a drive turning for home. Muth sprinted clear and easily held off a late charge by Just Steel to stop the timer in 1:49.54 on a fast track.

“When I saw Timberlake move up in there, I was concerned, because I figured he’s the horse to beat, but he stayed with him, and I’m proud of the horse,” Baffert said. “Really, the only horse to beat him was Fierceness, and we saw what he did today (winning the Florida Derby by 13 1/2 lengths). I’m happy for everybody. It’s an important race. You all know how much the races at Oaklawn mean to me.

“I try not to think about (not being able to run in the Kentucky Derby). I’m just happy for the horse. The Arkansas Derby is a very important race to win, and I’m just proud of the horse. We’ll just get him home. Don’t know what we’ll do. Just be happy to get him home and figure it out.”

Muth is owned by Zedan Racing Stables, Inc. Saturday’s big payday upped his bankroll to $1,504,100 and record to 4-2-0 in six starts.

Baffert’s previous Arkansas Derby wins came with Charlatan and Nadal, who won both divisions of the race in 2020, Bodemeister in 2012, and American Pharoah, who would go on to win the 2015 Triple Crown.

 


Baffert 2013