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Last updated April 30, 2020

Arkansas Derby Betting

The Arkansas Derby runs annually in early April at Oaklawn Park in Hotsprings, Arkansas. The race is for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles and is a top prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

How to bet the 2020 Arkansas Derby

Wagering Tips for the Arkansas Derby

  • All different style of runners have won the Arkansas Derby since 2006
    • Lawyer Ron won wire-to-wire and started a string of three-straight favorites that won the race.  
    • Oaklawn Park has a long stretch run, and since 2010 with a number of big long shots have won the race with
    • Two closers ran from far back, Archarcharch (25-1) in 2011 and Creator (11-1) in 2016.
    • Line of David (17-1) in 2010 and huge long shot Danza (41-1) in 2014 also pulled shocking upsets.   
  • Since 2006, the key prep race for the Arkansas Derby has been the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.
    • Five Arkansas Derby winners came out of the Rebel, with two of them winning that race, one finishing second and two others finishing third.
  • Over the last 12 years since 2006, six Arkansas Derby favorites have won the race.
    • Trainers Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen have each won the race twice during that period.   
  • Current form has proven meaningful
    • 10 of the last 11 Arkansas Derby winners finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their previous race.
    • The Arkansas Derby speed record was set by Althea in 1984 with a final time of 1:46.80.
    • Smarty Jones (2004) and American Pharoah (2015) are the two most recent Arkansas Derby winners who went on to win the Kentucky Derby.
      • American Pharoah won the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup classic in the same year, and Smarty Jones also won the Preakness Stakes.
    • In 2007, Curlin won the Arkansas Derby by a record 10 ½ lengths on his way to winning the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2008 Dubai World Cup.

Past Arkansas Derby Betting

The 2018 Arkansas Derby is slated for Saturday, April 14th out of Oaklawn Park. It is contested at 1 1/8 miles and holds a purse of $1,000,000 with 100 derby points available to the winner. Whomever claims victory in the Arkansas Derby usually goes on to compete in the American Classics with mixed results. This race has produced notable competitors like Classic Empire (2017) and Bodemeister (2013) as well as a Triple Crown hero in American Pharoah (2015) and the 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator.

The best overall bet is Magnum Moon, who is profiled below. An exacta featuring him and Solomini seems like the best bet. However, My Boy Jack looms as an ever-present threat while Gidu will make his much anticipated stakes debut as the son of a future of Hall of Famer.

Magnum Moon – Won the 2018 Rebel Stakes in dramatic fashion and has moved up in to the top tier of Kentucky Derby contenders. This Malibu Moon colt is trained by Todd Pletcher and has a sterling record of 3-0-0 in three starts. Horse players will be intrigued to see if Magnum Moon is the real deal, or whether his stakes debut in the Rebel was a fluke. All signs point to him being a true threat.

Solomini – Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, Solomini has finished second or third in all of his stakes efforts. Every single one of his losses has come against top flight talent like Good Magic, McKinzie, Magnum Moon and Bolt d’Oro so there’s no shame in his defeats. A noted speedster trained by Steven Asmussen, this Curlin colt is a great choice if you’re building an exacta box or an exotic play. He will certainly challenge for a top spot and is 1-3-1 in five starts so he’s as reliable as they come, but a win bet seems out of reach.

My Boy Jack – Recently finishing third in the Louisiana Derby as a second choice, my Boy Jack has routinely received praise. He’s improving steadily under Keith Desormeaux but doesn’t seem to have that “it” factor that’s so important and this stage on the Kentucky Derby trail.

Combatant – There’s always been hope that Combatant could make the leap but he’s fallen short most times. He won his maiden in October of 2017 and then placed as runner-up three times in a row in the Remington Springboard Mile, Smarty Jones Stakes, Southwest Stakes and then third in the Rebel. Though he is one of many Scat Daddy colts proving to have potential, Combatant just isn’t at a winning level just yet. He’ll be a outsider at best in the Arkansas Derby.

Gidu – A new name on the derby trail, ,Gidu has gone 2-2-0 in four starts and recently won the one-mile Columbia Stakes. He’s a son of Frankel, a former European Champion who was the top racehorse in the world in 2011 and 2012. As far as dark horses go, Gidu is the best standalone win bet in the bunch. There’s no real telling what he’s capable of, but if you’re looking to take a swing then Gidu is your horse. He ran the Columbia in 1:34.52 giving him a relatively strong speed rating compared to Magnum Moon, who will open the 2018 Arkansas Derby as the favorite. He has yet to compete at two turns so this will be an intriguing test for the highly rated Pletcher trainee.

Arkansas Derby winner betting payout history

The chart below will provide the winning Arkansas Derby contender for each year run, their odds, payout as well as the horses performance and how the race favorite ran.

2017Classic Empire9-5$5.801:48.93Mid-pack1st
2016Creator11-1$25.201:50.14Closer, far back10th
2015American Pharoah1-9$2.201:48.52Stalking1st
2013Overanalyze7-2$9.401:51.94Midpack, off pace10th
2011Archarcharch25-1$52.401:49.34Closer, far back7th
2010Line of David17-1$36.601:49.37Front5th
2009Papa Clem4-1$10.001:49.00Mid-pack2nd
2006Lawyer Ron3-5$3.001:51.38Front1st

As seen in the chart above, the Arkansas Derby has seen the favorite typically run will and hit the board. Since 2006, only four favorites have finished out of the money. For more handicapping on the Arkansas Derby, check this page out.