Updated on 09/16/2011 8:10AM

Private Emblem clears all obstacles


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Private Emblem overcame the widest post and a six-week layoff to post an authoritative, 4 1/2-length win over Wild Horses in the Grade 2, $500,000 before a crowd of 52,122 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Windward Passage and Bay Monster, who dead-heated for third place.

The Arkansas Derby was the third leg of the Big 3 Pick 3 that also included the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, and the national bet returned $128 for a $2 ticket. The pool for the wager was $991,679.

Private Emblem ($10.40) broke sharply from post No. 11 under Donnie Meche, and raced in third early, about a length behind pacesetter Outstander, who led the field through an opening half-mile in 47.60 seconds. Mr. Mellon, the 5-2 favorite, pushed the pace in second, then was overtaken by Private Emblem into the stretch.

Private Emblem barreled home, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.20. The Arkansas Derby was his first start since he won a division of the $75,000 Southwest Stakes on March 2, and his third straight stakes score. He earned $300,000 for the win, which improved his record to 4 victories from 7 starts for earnings of $459,300.

Private Emblem races for James Cassels and Bob Zollars, is trained by Steve Asmussen, and is being pointed to the Kentucky Derby.

Sweet Sixteen gets two turns

Sweet Sixteen, who was beaten three-quarters of a length in her debut by eventual Grade 2 Fantasy winner See How She Runs, became a stakes winner on the Arkansas Derby undercard when she drove to a length win over Sarah Jade in the $50,000 Althea. It was another two lengths back in third to even-money favorite Bedanken.

Sweet Sixteen ($12.80), making her first start around two turns, was prominent throughout in the one-mile Althea under Chris McCarron, leading the field through an opening half-mile in 47.60 seconds while under pressure from Supreme Discovery. She went on to cover the distance in 1:37.60.

Sweet Sixteen earned $30,000 for the win, which improved her record to 3 wins from 5 starts and earnings of $75,800 for Iron Horse Racing. She gave trainer Bob Holthus his fifth stakes win at the meet, and could start next in the Grade 3, $100,000 La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 2.

See How She Runs stays unbeaten

In Friday's feature race, See How She Runs remained perfect in four career starts when she held off even-money favorite Lake Lady by three-quarters of a length to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Fantasy for before a crowd of 21,809.

It was another neck back in third to Chamrousse.

See How She Runs ($9.40) broke well in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, and pushed pacesetter General Jeanne through an opening four furlongs in 46.07 seconds. She took the lead on the turn and was game to the wire under regular rider Don Pettinger.

Lake Lady raced in fourth early, found herself boxed in on the turn and in the stretch, and rallied when clear.

See How She Runs, who was making her stakes debut in the Fantasy, covered the distance over a fast track in 1:43.80. She races for Pin Oak Stable and is trained by Donnie Von Hemel, the same connections behind Grade 3 Honeybee winner Bedanken, who was also eligible for the Fantasy but ran instead in Saturday's Althea, where she finished third.

See How She Runs, a daughter of Maria's Mon, earned $120,000 for the victory, which improved her earnings to $170,400. Pin Oak and Von Hemel have yet to make a decision on the filly's next race. She is not nominated to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 3.