(Reuters) – Is Nadal good enough to beat a Charlatan?
That was the question fans asked after the two horses were divided into several races in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday.
With the Kentucky Derby, usually on the first Saturday of May, postponed to September due to the corona virus, the $ 1 million Arkansas Derby took center stage, albeit without spectators, on what is usually the largest day on the U.S. horse racing calendar.
The 1 1/8 mile (1,810 meters) race for three-year-olds in Hot Springs was split into two divisions, and Charlatan, ridden by Martin Garcia, led the first convincing six-length victory.
But Nadal, named after the tennis player, was equally impressive in the second flight.
Jockey Joel Rosario led the foal to the lead around the top corner on the Oaklawn Park dirt before pulling away to conquer three lengths in one minute, 48.34 seconds, slightly faster than Charlatan’s 1: 48.49.
Both winners, trained by Bob Baffert, remain unbeaten.
“He’s a champion,” Rosario said of Nadal.
He was talking about the horse, although he could have talked very well about the 19-time grand slam champion.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina)