For the first time ever, the Arkansas Derby will be run in split divisions on Saturday, May 2. The entry list for the Grade 1 race at Oaklawn Park grew to 22, but following two early week scratches, each race will have 10 runners. Churchill Downs will grant full qualifying points (100-40-20-10) for both divisions toward the rescheduled Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.
The $1 million purse will be split in half this year with each division paying out $500,000.
Some Kentucky Derby contenders and horses to watch are running in this year’s Arkansas Derby. As the racing schedule changes and more preps added before the Kentucky Derby, we’ll get a chance to watch some of these runners again and evaluate their chances for making a Run for the Roses.
Arkansas Derby key details
The Arkansas Derby (G1) will have 10 horses in each of the two divisions. The winner of each division race will earn 100 points to secure a spot in the starting gate for the rescheduled 2020 Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. The Arkansas Derby runner-up may also secure a spot with 40 Derby points added to their total.
- Date: Saturday, May 2, 2020
- Time: Race 11 and Race 13 with Race 11 starting at 6:29 ET
- TV: 4-8 p.m. ET on TVG’s “Trackside Live” airing on its home network and also simulcast by NBCSN
- Online and Mobile: NBC Sports App and streamed live on NBCsports.com/live and TVG
- Track and Location: Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas
- Distance: 1 1/8 miles on dirt
- Field: Two divisions each with 10 3-year-old Thoroughbreds
- Prize Pool: $500,000 for each division with $320,000 to winners
- Road to the Kentucky Derby Points: 100-40-20-10 to top four finishers in each division
Arkansas Derby betting odds and post positions
Division 1 (Post time 6:29 p.m. ET)
|1||Charlatan||1/1||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert|
|2||My Friends Beer||20/1||Decan Clannon||Jeremiah O'Dwyer|
|3||Mo Mosa||30/1||Kendrick Carmouche||Mike Maker|
|4||Gouverneur Morris||9/2||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|5||Jungle Runner||30/1||Tyler Baze||Steve Asmussen|
|7||Anneau d' Or||6/1||Juan Hernandez||Blaine Wright|
|8||Winning Impression||15/1||Julien Leparoux||Dallas Stewart|
|9||Crypto Cash||20/1||Corey Lanerie||Ken McPeek|
|10||Basin||8/1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steve Asmussen|
Division 2 (Post time 7:43 p.m. ET)
|1||Finnick the Fierce||15/1||Martin Garcia||Rey Hernandez|
|3||Storm the Court||6/1||Flavien Prat||Peter Eurton|
|4||King Guillermo||3/1||Samuel Camacho, Jr.||Juan Carlos Avila|
|5||Nadal||5/2||Joel Rosario||Bob Baffert|
|6||Code Runner||50/1||Stewart Elliott||Steve Asmussen|
|7||Silver Prospector||10/1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steve Asmussen|
|9||Taishan||15/1||David Cohen||Richard Baltas|
|10||Farmington Road||12/1||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher|
|11||Wells Bayou||7/2||Florent Geroux||Brad Cox|
Arkansas Derby scratches
Following the early week post position draw, four horses have been scratched from the Arkansas Derby. Shooters Shoot (6/1) came down with a fever and caught a virus, which will keep him out of the first division along with Wrecking Crew (20/1). Fast Enough (12/1) was scratched from the second division after reaggravating a shin injury. Longshot Saratogian (50/1) was also removed from the field There are no alternates, so each division will have nine runners.
Best Arkansas Derby betting site
How to bet the Arkansas Derby
The best place to bet on this weekend’s races is on the TVG app, where you’ll receive a risk-free bet of up to $300 when you make your first deposit. That means if you lose your bet, you’ll get refunded in the form of a free bet bonus. The bonus must be used within 30 days of the conclusion of the race.
TVG offers an iOS app for Apple devices and a sleek browser site for Android users. If TVG is legal in your state, you can place your bets right on your phone, tablet or personal computer and follow the action online.
Arkansas Derby betting strategy
Late Pick 3 and Pick 4 bettors can tie in both Arkansas Derby divisions along with the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap between them in Race 12. The Oaklawn Handicap features last year’s Kentucky Derby favorite Improbable and Tacitus, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes last year. Tacitus has finished in the money in 9 of 10 starts in America.
In the Arkansas Derby, Division 2 favorite Nadal (5/2) is undefeated and 3-for-3 having won his last race the Rebel Stakes (G2) wire-to-wire over a sloppy (sealed) surface by three quarters length as the 4/5 favorite. Nadal is trained by Bob Baffert and ships in from Santa Anita where he won his first two races including the San Vicente (G2) in February. He’ll be tough running on or near the lead, but will be pressed by Louisiana Derby winner Wells Bayou (7/2), who’s not likely to hold up on the front this time going long. And any uneven run or uncomfortable pace will set up an off the pace horse to catch Nadal and run down fading Wells Bayou.
Silver Prospector (10/1) also runs in Division 2. He was a well-beaten sixth in the Rebel, but won the Southwest Stakes (G3) over a fast track. Silver Prospector also won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G1) last November over third-place finisher Tiz the Law, who won the 2020 Florida Derby. Deep closer Finnick the Fierce (15/1) shouldn’t be overlooked in the Division 2 race having run a close second behind Silver Prospector in the Kentucky Jockey Club and fourth in the Lecomte (G3). Storm the Court (6/1) won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) but has failed to impress as a 3-year-old. He finished fourth in the San Vicente (G2), never challenging the winner Nadal.
King Guillermo (3/1) presents a strong challenger in here and can sit just off the pace. He won his graded stakes debut as a longshot (49/1) in the Tampa Bay Derby as bettors wrote him off as a turf horse not capable on dirt. But this son of Uncle Mo is improving and likely legit.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has won a record five Arkansas Derbys and he’ll saddle Farmington Road (12/1), a deep closer who finished second in the Oaklawn Stakes on April 11 breaking from the outside post 13. He was five lengths clear of Basin (8/1), who’s a contender in the Division 1 race. Farmington Road also had a deep run to finish fourth in the Risen Star over a deep Fair Grounds track. Pletcher and the trainer to his outside, Brad Cox (with Wells Bayou), are both masters of masking how their horses are fed. We won’t go any deeper on that discussion, but it’s important to know these horses get better and stronger and can improve at the longer distances if fit and healthy. Farmington Road is fit and improving, and he also ran 1 1/8 mile races in each of his last two starts and was closing hard and making up ground in both races. Farmington Road is a good bet in exotics and a has a chance to pull the upset.
In the Division 1 race, favorite Charlatan (1/1) makes his stakes debut for trainer Bob Baffert and is 2-for-2 with both wins at Santa Anita. While Charlton is taking most the money, its another longshot that can close strong from off the pace to catch a piece of the board. Winning Impressions (15-1) rallied from the back and crossed the finish line first in front of Finnick the Fierce in an early April Allowance race at Oaklawn, but was disqualified for drifting in late to cost the favorite a piece. Winning Impression should have a solid pace to run into and he’s not likely overmatched for his stakes debut. His strong recent bullet work suggests he’s an improving three year old that could surprise.
Arkansas Derby Picks 2020
Kim French at PlayPicks.com offers her predictions for the 2020 Arkansas Derby with betting odds, post positions and picks for both divisions.
Arkansas Derby trends and past winners
Oaklawn Park has a long stretch run, and since 2010 a number of big longshots have won the race with two of these deep closers from far back. Bob Baffert trained 2015 Arkansas Derby winner and Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah, who was the biggest favorite to win the Arkansas Derby at 1-9 odds. American Pharoah and 2004 Arkansas Derby winner Smarty Jones are the last two horses to win both the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby. Three other Arkansas Derby winners in the last 20 years have won a Triple Crown race: Afleet Alex (2005) and Curlin (2007) won the Preakness, and Creator (2016) won the Belmont.
Current form has proven meaningful, as 12 of the last 13 Arkansas Derby winners finished first, second or third in their previous race. The last two Arkansas Derby winners both won the local prep Rebel Stakes. But 2019 winner Omaha Beach was scratched as the morning line favorite in the Kentucky Derby with a cough and didn’t return to racing until last fall. The 2018 Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon finished 19th in the Kentucky Derby and was then was retired after injuring himself in a June workout.
Four of the last five favorites have won the Arkansas Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert has the favorite in each division this year, and he’s trained the Arkansas Derby favorite in six of the last nine years while winning twice. Since 2006, eight Arkansas Derby favorites have won the race. Also, when considering Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta wagers looking for a score, know that eight of the 22 horses to finish second or third in the Arkansas Derby since 2009 did so at double-digit odds. Longshot Laughing Fox (27-1) was a deep closer that just missed finishing third last year but completed the Superfecta.
|2016||Creator||11/1||$25.20||1:50.14||Closer, far back|
|2013||Overanalyze||7/2||$9.40||1:51.94||Midpack, off pace|
|2011||Archarcharch||25/1||$52.40||1:49.34||Closer, far back|
|2010||Line of David||17/1||$36.60||1:49.37||Front|