HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Olympio surrendered the lead to favored Richman going down the backstretch and then rallied Saturday to win the $500,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
Olympio, trained by Ron McAnally and ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, finished the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 3/5, including an excellent 12 1/5 seconds for the final quarter. The time was a second off the track record set by Snow Chief in 1987.
Olympio was a late nominee for the Triple Crown. Before Saturday, his big achievement was a victory over Santa Anita Derby winner Dinard, who has emerged as one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby May 4.
The second choice in the field of 11 3-year-olds, Olympio returned $6.20, $4.20 and $2.80. Corporate Report, who finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Olympio, returned $7.60 and $3.80. Richman, the favorite, was another length back and paid $2.60.
Olympio carried 122 pounds, same as Richman, but four pounds more than Corporate Report.
Olympio broke quickly and took the field into the first turn, but Pat Day put Richman alongside him going down the backstretch and the Louisiana Derby winner opened a lead.
Corporate Report, ridden by Chris McCarron, caught Richman in the far turn and those two were head and head as they turned for home. The leaders went the first half mile in 45 2/5 seconds and six furlongs in 1:09 3/5.
"Boy, when I called on him, he really excelled," Delahoussaye said.
Olympio was making his first start since he won a stakes race in Northern California by more than two lengths March 9. Before that, he beat Dinard by a nose at seven furlongs. McAnally said before Saturday's race that his concern was whether the son of Naskra could go the distance.
"When we entered the backside, Pat Day came up alongside, so I let him go on and I kind of sat back and then McCarron came," Delahoussaye said. "I was a little worried in the far turn because I got shuffled a little bit, bumped a little bit. I had so much horse under me I knew when I called on him he would give it to me. How much and how far, I didn't know at the time."