Creator swoops past 11 rivals to take Arkansas Derby

Apr 17, 2016 Vance Hanson/

Creator, a deep-closing son of Tapit, registered an 11-1 upset of Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), the final points-scoring prep for next month's Kentucky Derby (G1).

Trailing in the field of 12 to the far turn, Creator was aided in his late bid by a fast pace set by Gettysburg, a fellow starter owned by WinStar Farm. Not only did Gettysburg set a swift pace of :22.81, :46.33 and 1:10.61, but he also wore out odds-on favorite Cupid, who had rated in second but came under pressure to keep up approaching the quarter pole.

Under Ricardo Santana, Creator began to cut into the deficit around the far turn while saving ground. Shifted outside entering the stretch, the gray bulled his way between rivals and seized the lead just past the eighth pole. He came home 1 1/4 lengths to the good of fellow closers Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Creator paid $25.20 after completing 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.14.

Creator earned 100 qualifying points for Kentucky Derby eligibility, assuring himself a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore saw their respective point totals climb to 50 and 44, which also assures them spots in the Derby field.

Cupid, who captured the Rebel (G2) last month, faded to 10th. Currently 13th on the points list, his Derby status might be up in the air considering the sub-par performance.

This was the second win in eight starts for the late-developing Creator, who was reared by the long-winded Peruvian champion Morena. Creator finished second in four of his first five outings, but broke through with a belated maiden victory at Oaklawn in late February by more the seven lengths. Last time, he rallied from last in the Rebel field of 14 to finish third, three lengths behind Cupid. He's earned $768,320.

Creator will join fellow Asmussen trainee Gun Runner, winner of the Louisiana Derby (G2), in the Kentucky Derby lineup.

(Coady Photography)

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