Classic Empire was desperate for a win to get into the Kentucky Derby, and his move in the homestretch was just that: desperate. He overcame a rough ride and closed down the stretch to overtake Conquest Mo Money to win the Arkansas Derby Saturday.
Bunched in between horses for most of the race, the two-year-old champion waited patiently for an opening before finding one in the homestretch as the field opened up; at one point there were seven horses within three lengths of the lead. Conquest Mo Money led for most of the race, and looked to have things sewn up as he came down the homestretch.
But Classic Empire came from way off the pace and ran down Conquest Mo Money in a furious finish, winning the race by a half length. It looked closer than it was. The winning time for the 1 1/8 mile race was 1:48.93.
Lookin at Lee finished third.