HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Angel of Empire won the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby by 4 1/4 lengths Saturday, putting him on a path to the Kentucky Derby in May.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Angel of Empire ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.68 at Oaklawn. Sent off at 9-2 odds, he paid $11.40, $5.80 and $4.40.
King Russell returned $34.40 and $12.20 at 58-1 odds. Reincarnate paid $3.60 to show.
Angel of Empire earned 100 qualifying points for the May 6 Kentucky Derby. He won the Risen Star in his previous start and finished second in the Smarty Jones on Jan. 1.
Like Smarty Jones, who won the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Angel of Empire is a Pennsylvania bred. A son of 2017 Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire, he was purchased for $70,000.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Jason Loutsch, part of winning owner Albaugh Family Stable. “I saw at the three-eighths pole he was really moving, holy cow. I was with my brother and hugging him.”
Albaugh Family Stable also owns Cyclone Mischief, who finished third in the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday.
“Days like this are just unreal,” Loutsch said. “We’re excited to get to Churchill.”
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