Unraced since September, two-year-old champion American Pharoah made a spectacular return to the races in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, winning as easily as jockey Victor Espinoza pleased.
The commanding 6 ¼-length victory was good for 50 points in the Kentucky Derby qualifier, moving American Pharoah to fifth on the Leaderboard.
Owned and bred by Zayat Stables LLC, American Pharoah also provided trainer Bob Baffert with his fourth Rebel win in five years.
The bay colt easily was never seriously challenged while leading wire to wire over the sloppy track, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:45 3/5.
American Pharoah could wind up being the Kentucky Derby favorite with another impressive performance in his final prep race, most likely the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 11.
For the complete Handicapper’s Edge recap of the Rebel Stakes, click here.