Last at the sixteenth pole, Reb unleashed a furious drive under jockey Julien Leparoux to nail No Inflation at the wire to win Arlington Park's $300,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) by a head in his stakes debut July 11.
Owned by Ashbrook Farm, the 3-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic earned his third consecutive victory for trainer George Arnold while completing the 1 3/16-mile test in 1:56.09 on firm going.
The pacesetting No Inflation was an unlucky loser after opening a clear advantage in the stretch for Robby Albarado. Oil Man, the original third-place finisher who was beaten by a half-length, was disqualified to fifth for interference in the stretch. Proceed Bee was moved up to fourth, while 3-5 favorite Giant Oak was placed fourth.
Reb, along with Giant Oak, trailed in the field of seven throughout as Vaquero led for the opening quarter-mile before dropping in behind No Inflation, who took over at the rail. Fractions were unavailable.
No Inflation edged away from Vaquero in upper stretch as Giant Oak rallied between horses and the stalking Oil Man closed in for Alonso Quinonez. Reb saved ground to the top of the stretch before altering course for Lepararoux and launching a determined bid. As the compact field spread out, it was Reb who finished best of all on the far outside under urging from Leparoux, who went to a left-handed whip a couple of times in deep stretch and got up in the final stride.
“We don’t know how good (Reb) is yet,” said Leparoux. “He’s still very green. The first time I rode him at Keeneland, he was green. He won both races by a neck and a nose. He’s just learning, so I didn’t want him to be in a rush. I was trying to get him to relax. Then I was afraid he was going to relax too much, but when Giant Oak started his run, my horse took the bit and gave me a very nice run.”
Oil Man veered into the path of both Proceed Bee, ridden by Chris Emigh, and brushed with Giant Oak, forcing jockey Eusibio Razo Jr. to take up.
Reb did not race at 2, debuting at Gulfstream Park in January with a fifth-place finish in a one-mile turf race. He returned to Gulfstream March 14 with a close second-place finish before breaking his maiden on Keeneland's Polytrack by a head at seven furlongs. Back on the turf at Churchill Downs May 29, the bay colt posted a nose victory over a first-level allowance field going one mile.
The American Derby victory was worth $176,400 and boosted Reb's career earnings to $245,160.
Bred by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey in Kentucky, Reb is out of the Kingmambo mare Sweet Baby Jane. He sold for $100,000 as a 2-year-old.
Sent off as the co-third choice, Reb carried 119 pounds and paid $13.20, $6.60, and $7.60. No Inflation, coming off a close third place finish in Churchill's Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) last time out for trainer Tom Proctor, returned $4.60 and $4.60. Proceed Bee, who raced without blinkers for the first time in six starts, was $11.40 to show.
“He ran hard, he just got beat,” said Albarado, who rod No Inflation. “We had a nice soft pace on the lead, and just got caught at the wire.”
Dakota Gypsy and Vaquero trailed.
The American Derby serves as a prep for the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) which will be run here on Aug. 8. By virtue of today’s result, the top three finishers earned free entry and starting fees in the Secretariat should their connections choose to run back.