L. T. B. and Hillerich Racing’s One Mean Man got up just in time to win Saturday’s Grade 3 American Derby by a half-length at Arlington Park. The sophomore son of Mizzen Mast covered nine furlongs over the firm turf course in 1:48.86 for trainer Bernie Flint, giving jockey Robby Albarado a late double.
“His sister did very well here and she won the Pucker Up [at 1 1/8-miles], so it only made sense to come back,” said Flint. “He’s a great horse and he has a big heart. In fact, the last time he was second, he thought he won.”
One Mean Man was third-from-last in the early going while Tequila Joe and longshot Weavers Ice Cold dueled for the lead. Weavers Ice Cold won the sprint to the first turn, covering a quarter-mile in :23.83 while flanked by Tequila Joe. Oscar Nominated and Swagger Jagger were right there tracking from third position. Weavers Ice Cold extended his lead to a full length by the half-mile mark, covering the fraction in :48.88, but he was quickly swallowed up by Tequila Joe mid-way through the far turn. Swagger Jagger joined the challenge for the lead, and those two turned for home together.
Meanwhile, One Mean Man was making major headway from the rear of the pack despite being forced four wide on the far turn. He came rolling down the center of the stretch, joining up with Oscar Nominated three paths off the rail to overtake the leading pair. One Mean Man’s momentum carried him home a half-length in front of Oscar nominated, with Tequila Joe finishing third. Swagger Jagger settled for fourth.
“He was a little further back than I anticipated, but he was there for me,” said Albarado. “Of all the times I’ve ridden him, that was probably his best finish.”
Bred in Kentucky by Bernie Flint and Ron Hillerich, One Mean Man was winning his first graded stakes in the American Derby. His overall record of 4-3-1 from 13 starts has earned the colt over $ 214,000.
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