The 4 3/4-length victory for the Pulpit colt under jockey Rafael Bejarano gave trainer Bob Baffert his third victory in the 1 1/16-mile race. Bejarano also guided Prayer for Relief to victory for the Hall of Fame trainer in 2011 and Concord Point won the 2010 edition.
Off as the 1-5 favorite in the scratch-shortened filed of six, American Freedom engaged in a trio of duels on the front end at different times in the nighttime feature, but put away all challengers.
First it was Lookin for a Kiss through a quarter-mile in :23.52, but the Lookin At Lucky colt faded in the backstretch. Catfish Creek rushed up on the inside to take his place as the half went in :47.75 but similarly dropped back. Texas Chrome pulled within a head through six furlongs in 1:12.49 and proved to be the only one with staying power with a second-place finish, four lengths clear of Hint of Roses.
American Freedom pulled away to run a mile in 1:36.58 and hit the wire in 1:42.62 under a hand ride from Bejarano late.
The winner paid $2.60, $2.20, and $2.20 across the board. Texas Chrome brought $3.40 and $2.20, and Hint of Roses delivered $2.60.
Bred in Kentucky by Centaur Farms from the Pleasant Tap mare Gottcha Last, American Freedom has three wins from four starts and is on a two-stakes win streak following his LARC Sir Barton score on Preakness (gr. I) day May 21 at Pimlico Race Course. His only blemish is a sixth-place run in the Pat Day Mile (gr. III).
Earlier in the card, Bejarano secured the first leg of his Friday night stakes double with a 9-1 upset victory aboard Godolphin's Innovative Idea in the $100,000 Iowa Distaff. The Darley-bred Bernardini filly, trained by Eoin Harty, outfinished 1-2 favorite Super Majesty to win by three-quarters of a length.