Fred Faour: Meet our Derby long shot, Angel of Empire

View from behind of jockeys on horses rounding the corner during horse race.

Fred Faour: Meet our Derby long shot, Angel of Empire

As part of our Derby countdown, today we focus on our favorite long shot – Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire. Remember, Mattress Mack has a great promotion where if the Derby favorite wins, your furniture is free. Check out the flyer below, then meet Angel of Empire.

Angel of Empire will be a live long shot if he makes it to Derby Day. Buy your furniture and root for the favorite, but throw a few bucks on this guy as well.

He won the Arkansas Derby with ease, although it was not the strongest prep. However, traditionally horses that run well at Oaklawn tend to do just fine at Churchill. He has won four of six starts, but on the dirt he has four wins and a second. His only bad race was on the turf.

Angel of Empire has a strong late kick and a great Derby pedigree. His sire is Classic Empire, who had a troubled fourth in the Derby and was second in the Preakness. His grandsire was Pioneerof The Nile, who also sired Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Pioneerof The Nile also finished second in the Derby, as his father Empire Maker did before winning the Belmont. Empire Maker’s sire? Derby winner Unbridled. So the breeding is there on the top side.

Angel of Empire also won the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, beating another Derby contender in Two Phil’s. His other stakes race was a second at Oaklawn in the Smarty Jones.

He is trained by Brad Cox, a solid conditioner whose horses tend to improve and stay in form when they get good. He should relish the Derby distance and will be a solid price. This is a long shot with a real chance on the first Saturday in May.

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