Tipsheet: 2024 Arkansas Derby

March 27th, 2024

A talented field of 10 three-year-olds will travel nine furlongs on the Oaklawn Park strip in Saturday’s $1.5 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday. The ever-important 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series tilt will offer a total of 200 qualifying points (100-50-25-15-10) that will go to the top five finishers in the event. 

Arkansas Derby Picks

  • #7 Muth
  • #2 Timberlake
  • #9 Mystik Dan
  • #8 Just Steel

Arkansas Derby Wagers

$40 win #7 Muth
$15 exacta box 2-7
$1 superfecta 2,7 with 2,7 with 8,9 with all

Arkansas Derby Contenders

#1 WILL TAKE IT: Tapit colt showed marked improvement with blinkers coming off in his latest when a nose second with maiden foes for trainer Eddie Milligan. The bay takes a monstrous class rise, however, and he will be hard to back against this cast. Francisco Arrieta has the assignment. 

#2 TIMBERLAKE: Grade 1 winner commenced his sophomore campaign with a measured score in the Rebel S. (G2) on the surface for Brad Cox. This classy Into Mischief colt has obvious room to improve in his second run off the layoff, and he is the main danger to the leading selection with the superb Flavien Prat coming in to ride. 

#3 DIMATIC: First of three for Steve Asmussen ran evenly when fifth in the Rebel in his latest venture and would be a surprise in the cast. The Gun Runner chestnut has improved his Brisnet Speed figure with each career run to date, however, so a top-four finish is not out of the question with Christian Torres up. 

#4 TIME FOR TRUTH: Omaha Beach colt has been first or second in each of his trio of races to date and passed the route test with an allowance coup in his latest offering. This Kentucky-bred colt will need to get faster to upend this field, though. Rafael Bejarano stays in the silks atop the Kentucky-bred bay. 

#5 LIBERAL ARTS: Robert Medina trainee was a clear third in the Southwest S. (G3) in the slop to commence his three-year-old campaign and has obvious room for improvement in his second run of the season. The Street Sense S. (G3) victor has progressed nicely in his career and is a sure top-three challenger with another move in the right direction on this occasion. Tyler Gaffalione picking up the mount is a major plus, as well. 

#6 INFORMED PATRIOT: Hard Spun colt was unplaced in the Sunland Park Derby (G3) most recently and faces better on this day. The Smarty Jones S. third has ability and ran well in his lone prior run at Oaklawn, so a placing might be within reach with expected improvement. Ricardo Santana, Jr. will be in the stirrups. 

#7 MUTH: West Coast import has speed and class and is the one to beat for Bob Baffert. The $2 million son of Good Magic was a facile winner of the San Vicente S. (G2) to kick off 2024 and shows a trio of six-furlong drills in succession to prepare for Saturday, as well. He will be formidable from the opening bell with regular pilot Juan Hernandez coming in to ride. 

#8 JUST STEEL: Southwest (G3) runner-up was empty late in the Rebel (G2) most recently, but we will give him a pass and tab him for a top-four result in this spot. The $500,000 son of Justify has run well locally and has the versatility to be well placed at the top of the lane. Keith Asmussen will guide the colt for the initial time. 

#9 MYSTIK DAN: Goldencents colt thrived in the slop when powering home an impressive winner of the Southwest (G3) in his latest go. This Kenny McPeek trainee has lacked consistency to this point, but he is surely a talent and can’t be dismissed on the stretch out in distance in this spot, obviously. The Kentucky-bred will have Brian Hernandez on board. 

#10 IMPERIAL GUN: Gun Runner colt disappointed when fourth in a recent allowance race but could improve second time off the bench against this group. The dark bay broke his maiden like a nice prospect on this strip two back, and something resembling that could find him challenging for a share late with Emmanuel Esquivel in the irons.