Cyberknife Runs Into Classic Picture With Arkansas Derby Upset - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Cyberknife Runs Into Classic Picture With Arkansas Derby Upset

Cyberknife winning the Arkansas Derby with Florent Geroux aboard

Jockey Florent Geroux capped a huge day on Saturday at Oaklawn with an upset victory aboard Gold Square LLC's Cyberknife in the Grade 1, $1,250,000 Arkansas Derby. Earlier in the day at the Hot Springs, Ark., track,  Geroux won two G3 races –the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile with Fulsome and $600,000 Fantasy with Yuugiri. Brad Cox trains Cyberknife and Fulsome.

After making a bold move splitting the leading horses Kavod and Chasing Time approaching the far turn, Geroux and Cyberknife took command into the stretch and drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Barber Road was up late for second, defeating Secret Oath, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained filly bet down to 7-5 favoritism off three successive victories. Doppelganger, making his first start for Tim Yakteen after being transferred from the barn of  four-time Arkansas Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, was fourth. Completing the order of finish were Kavod, Ben Diesel, We the People, Un Ojo and Chasing Time.

The Arkansas Derby is a qualifying race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby awarding 100 points to the winner, with 40 for finishing second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth. The win by Cyberknife assures him a berth in the Kentucky Derby, giving trainer Cox a solid candidate for a possible second consecutive Derby win following Mandaloun's victory via the drug disqualification of Medina Spirit in 2021.

Updated Kentucky Derby/Oaks leaderboard

Time for the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track was 1:50.42. Cyberknife returned $13.60 on a $2 win mutuel. The 3-year-old colt from the first crop of Three Chimneys Farm stallion Gun Runner was bred in Kentucky by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and purchased by Joe Hardoon, on behalf of Al Gold, for $400,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale. The Arkansas Derby winner was produced from the stakes-winning Flower Alley mare Awesome Flower.

Cyberknife, breaking from the No. 8 post position, settled into fourth position early, tucking in behind Kavod, Chasing Time and Doppelganger rounding the first turn. Kavod set fractions of :22.11 and :46.54  for the opening half mile under pressure from Chasing Time, with Doppelganger racing in the clear in third.

Approaching the far turn, Geroux gunned Cyberknife into contention between the two front runners and battled with them through a six-furlong split in 1:11.22. Luis Contreras, aboard Secret Oath, was stuck near the back of the field, but then swung her out to commence a strong rally.

Turning into the stretch, Cyberknife held the advantage as Chasing Time and Doppelganger retreated, fading to eighth and then re-rallying to finish fourth. Secret Oath circled the field with a strong move to make a bid but flattened out in the final furlong after the opening mile was clocked in 1:37.24. Barber Road and Reylu Gutierrez came up the rail to pass Secret Oath for second approaching the wire.

“Great effort with some high hopes for him,” said Geroux. “We always thought he was very talented. Looks like he finally put it together and he's probably not even 100 percent as he was zig zagging down the lane. I'm hoping he's going to be a little straighter on the first Saturday in May. But, a very talented horse.”

The win for Cyberknife was the colt's third in five starts and first in a stakes. His only previous stakes attempt came Jan. 22 at Fair Grounds when he finished sixth behind Call Me Midnight in the G3 Lecomte.

“You watch these horses train and you have high hopes,” Cox said of Cyberknife. “Sometimes, they pick you up, sometimes they let you down. In this case, he picked us up today. We thought he was a good colt. He got some good (speed) figures last time. I don't really know what happened in the Lecomte – from a maiden win to the Lecomte was just too much too quick for him. He looked great in the Lecomte and then straightened up and was just nowhere, backed out of it. So, he certainly trained like a big horse and ran like one today. I was a little concerned he (Florent Geroux) may have been moving just a touch early into a hot pace. But, obviously, it worked out. Very, very proud of him.”




Winning jockey Florent Geroux, Cyberknife:

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