Arkansas Derby winner American Pharoah

Arkansas Derby winner American Pharoah

Coady Photography

Top Three Exit Arkansas Derby in Good Order

American Pharoah, Far Right, and Mr. Z all have enough points for the Kentucky Derby.

The top three finishers from the April 11 Arkansas Derby (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park, including runaway winner American Pharoah , emerged from the 1 1/8-mile race in good order, their connections said April 12.

The Zayat Stables' homebred walked the shedrow Sunday morning at Oaklawn and is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs April 13, said Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager for Zayat Stables. American Pharoah is based in Southern California at trainer Bob Baffert's Santa Anita Park stable.

The 2014 champion juvenile was exiting a front-running 6 1/4-length victory in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 14, Oaklawn's final major prep for the Arkansas Derby. The son of Pioneerof the Nile  showed a different dimension Saturday, coming from off the pace to record his fourth consecutive blowout victory. He was the 1-9 favorite.

"He's the best horse I've ever owned," owner Ahmed Zayat said.

Under regular rider Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah equaled the third-largest margin of victory in Arkansas Derby history, and his winning time of 1:48.52despite being geared down latewas the fastest since Sir Cherokee (1:48.39) in 2003.

"The way this horse runs is unbelievable," Espinoza said.

Zayat Stables also owns Mr. Z , who finished third in the Arkansas Derbythree-quarters of a length behind Far Rightand El Kabeir, third in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Both Mr. Z (34) and El Kabeir (95) have sufficient points to run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)if more than the maximum 20 horses are enteredbut Ahmed Zayat wouldn't commit either to the Run for the Roses. Zayat said each of his potential Kentucky Derby starters has to be treated individually.

There's no question Far Right is headed to the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Ron Moquett said the Far Right will probably ship to Churchill Downs April 14 and was "99% sure" Sunday morning that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith would ride the Notional ridgling back in the Kentucky Derby.

Smith guided Far Right to victories in Oaklawn's first two major Kentucky Derby prepsthe Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 22.

Far Right dropped far behind early in the Arkansas Derby before closing well out in the track to finish second. Moquett, who skipped the Rebel to train Far Right up to the Arkansas Derby, said Smith rode a smart race Saturday.

"He said he was saving us some for the next one," Moquett said. "He said it didn't matter if we were second by five or second by eight. He said he was trying to save some for the next one, when things may work more in our direction."

Tim Austin, an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, said Mr. Z is scheduled to ship Monday to Churchill Downs. The colt ran third in the Smarty Jones and Southwest before finishing last of nine in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 28. Mr. Z, again wearing blinkers, rebounded with a solid performance in the Arkansas Derby.

"He came back great," Austin said. "He was dragging us around the test barn last night. Everything's good."