Updated on 09/17/2011 10:17AM

No troubles this time for 56-1 Sir Cherokee

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Jeff Coady
Sir Cherokee blows by Eugene's Third Son late to take the Grade 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby at odds of 56-1 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Rack up one for the home team. In a 56-1 shocker, Sir Cherokee earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday when he ran down Eugene's Third Son just past the sixteenth pole to win the Grade 2, $500,000 by 1 3/4 lengths at Oaklawn Park.

It was 6 1/2 lengths back in third to Christine's Outlaw, while favorite Man Among Men finished 10th.

Attendance for the day was 61,752.

Oaklawn-based Sir Cherokee, who paid $113.20 as the third longest shot in the race, suffered through troubled trips in both of the local preps for the Arkansas Derby. But things fell his way early in the 1 1/8-mile race Saturday when Cat Genius led through quick fractions of 21.93 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.42 for the half-mile, followed closely by Eugene's Third Son.

Sir Cherokee trailed through those fractions, advanced six wide around the final turn, went wide into the stretch, and went on to cover the distance over a fast track in 1:48.39. It was the fastest running of the Arkansas Derby since 1994, when Concern won the race in 1:48.

The remaining order of finish in the Arkansas Derby was Region of Merit in fourth, followed by Crowned King, Comic Truth, Saint Liam, Aristocat, Defrere's Vixen, Man Among Men, Sell to Survive, and Cat Genius.

Terry Thompson rode Sir Cherokee for the first time for trainer Michael Tomlinson. Domino Stud owns the colt, who is by Cherokee Run.

Sir Cherokee earned $300,000 for the biggest win of his career. Overall, he has won 3 of 10 starts, and his earnings now stand at $393,975. One of Sir Cherokee's best races came at Churchill Downs last year, when he rallied from more than 15 lengths off the pace to finish fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Following that effort, Sir Cherokee came to Oaklawn and won his 3-year-old debut at 4-5 in a Feb. 8 allowance race. His closing style did not work to his advantage in his next start, however, when he rallied for fourth behind wire-to-wire winner Great Notion in the $75,000 Southwest Stakes.

That was the first local prep for the Arkansas Derby. In the second, the $125,000 Rebel, Sir Cherokee showed more early speed than usual when knocked hard by another rival out of the gate. He ended up fourth again, this time behind 36-1 shot Crowned King.

Mauk Four upsets Northern Spur

On the undercard, Mauk Four raced with a quick pace, then drew clear by seven lengths to win the $75,000 Northern Spur Breeders' Cup.

Rush Around finished second, a head in front of favorite Witt Ante.

Mauk Four ($21.80) went to the front soon after the start, and raced alongside pacesetter Pistol Avenue through fractions of 22.80 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.33 for the half-mile mark.

Mauk Four, who raced on the rail, disposed of the other speed soon afterward, and went on to cover the mile over a fast track in 1:37.04 under Jon Court.

The win was the second straight for Mauk Four, who won a conditioned allowance here April 3.

"He's a late June foal who is getting better all the time," said Jerry Cart, who trains Mauk Four for R&W Srygley Partnership.

Cart said Mauk Four could start next in the $60,000 Prairie Meadows Mile on May 31. The colt earned $45,000 for the win, which improved his record to 3 wins from 15 starts and earnings of $92,700.