Gary and Mary West’s American Freedom added a first graded stakes victory to his growing resume with an emphatic 4 3/4-length victory in Prairie Meadows’ Grade 3 Iowa Derby. The sophomore son of Pulpit covered 1 1/16 in 1:42.62 over the fast main track, ridden by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Bob Baffert.
American Freedom broke sharply for Bejarano, but was quickly joined in a four-way rush for the lead by the three horses to his inside. Lookin for a Kiss won the sprint to the first turn, but American Freedom was no more than a half-length behind, ensuring an honest first quarter of :23.52. Texas Chrome tucked in behind those two while several paths off the rail, allowing longshot Catfish Creek to sneak up the inside and join the battle for the lead entering the backstretch. Catfish Creek went head and head with Lookin for a Kiss for nearly the length of the backstretch until the latter colt dropped out of the race, but American Freedom was right there to pick up the fight.
Entering the turn, American Freedom was extending his stride effortlessly, but he had company on his outside in the form of Texas Chrome. The two colts hit the top of the lane together, dispatching Catfish Creek, while Hint of Roses attempted to make up ground on the outside. Under a hand ride from Bejarano, American Freedom drew away easily down the lane, crossing the wire 4 3/4 lengths in front of a struggling Texas Chrome. Hint of Roses was the best of the rest, and Lookin for a Kiss faded to finish fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Centaur Farms, American Freedom was a $ 500,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. He broke his maiden in his first start, then faltered to sixth in the Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard. On Preakness Day at Pimlico, he was able to hold off late challengers and speed to a listed stakes victory in the Sir Barton, marking just his second lifetime win. The Iowa Derby is his third win from four starts, and first graded victory, bringing his career earnings to nearly $ 250,000.
The owners, Gary and Mary West, also captured the sophomore fillies’ Iowa Oaks on Thursday night’s card with Family Tree.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2016 Paulick Report.