Robert Yagos's Southwest Stakes (gr. III) winner Archarcharch posted his first workout since finishing third in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 29 at Oaklawn Park as he looks to give his local connections a dream-come-true win in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) on April 16.
“We are very satisfied with where he's at right now," said trainer Jinks Fires the morning after the 3-year-old son of Arch breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5. “We are dealing with the weather and wanted to get it in maybe a little earlier than we planned. We thought about waiting a day, but I didn't want to end up having to breeze on a wet track."
The continued progress is testament to the resilience of Archarcharch. He emerged from a fourth-place finish in the Smarty Jones Stakes in January with a minor leg injury, but bounced back from that to win the Southwest. In the Rebel, he was repeatedly kicked in the legs by Alternation when that horse flipped in the adjoining starting gate stall. The incident stirred up Archarcharch, making his third-place finish extraordinary in Fires’s eyes.
“The veterinarian said when they got him out of the gate he was trembling,” Fires said. “It really stirred him up. He relaxed so well in the race before, which is key for him. I was very happy he was still able to run as well as he did. He was a little sore for a few days, but we've been hosing him and he seems to be doing good now.”
The Archarcharch connections are hoping for a home field advantage in the Arkansas Derby. Yagos is from Jacksonville, Ark., while Fires and his brother, Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, were born and raised in Rivervale, Ark. Jon Court, the colt's regular jockey, is married to Fires' daughter, Krystal.