Bob Baffert’s Arabian Knight puts himself at the front of Breeders’ Cup Classic picture

Arabian Knight with Flavien Prat wins the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic horse race.
Arabian Knight, right, with Flavien Prat aboard, wins the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic horse race Saturday at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar.
(Associated Press)

Once the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, Arabian Knight put himself in the picture for a more lucrative prize, by winning the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Saturday.

The Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old beat a talented group of older horses to win by a neck and earn a free pass into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

Arabian Knight, a $2.3 million purchase for Amr Zedan, was thought to be this year’s Kentucky Derby favorite after a spectacular win in a maiden race on Breeders’ Cup day at Keeneland last year and then a stakes win in the slop at Oaklawn this year, but then he was removed from the Kentucky Derby trail after a lackluster workout for substitute trainer Tim Yakteen.


Yakteen, a former Baffert assistant, was training the colt so he could gain Derby qualifying points after Baffert was on a two-year suspension for a medication violation after Medina Spirit won the Derby in 2021.

Del Mar continues to boast large field sizes as it readies for its big Saturday, highlighted by the Pacific Classic, the only $1-million race in the state.

Aug. 31, 2023

Returning to the Baffert barn after being pulled by the Derby trail, he finished third in the Haskell Stakes before winning on Saturday in Southern California’s richest race.

Geaux Rocket Ride, who qualified for the Classic by winning the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth, was second followed by Slow Down Andy, Senor Buscador, Skinner, Defunded, Piroli, Tripoli, Order and Law and Stilleto. Arabian Knight paid $6.20 to win.