Horse Racing History? Arkansas Derby Filly May Qualify For Kentucky

Written By Dave Bontempo on March 29, 2022
horse racing

Can Secret Oath beat the boys and make horse racing history? The $1.25 million Arkansas Derby Saturday at Oaklawn Park (post time 7:35 p.m. ET) is no longer just a qualifying prep for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. It is a must-watch race.

It awards 100 points and certain entry into the Run for the Roses. The 40-point prize for second also will ensure a Derby slot, as might the 20-point third-place prize. Click PLAY NOW below to get a risk-free bet up to $300.

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Horse Racing History?

No filly was won a Kentucky Derby qualifier since the adoption of the points system in 2013. That may change in the Arkansas Derby. Secret Oath won her last three races by 23 lengths. And her trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, is the only trainer in the last half century to win a Kentucky Derby prep with a filly, according to kentuckyderby.com.

Lukas did so with Althea in the 1984 Arkansas Derby, Winning Colors in the 1988 Santa Anita Derby (G1), and Serena’s Song in the 1995 Jim Beam (G2), now known as the Jeff Ruby.

Only three fillies have ever won the Kentucky Derby: Winning Colors in 1988, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Regret was the first in 1915. Each raced against males in advance of running in the Kentucky Derby. Winning Colors and Genuine Risk are the only two fillies to compete in all three Triple Crown races.

A total of 40 fillies have run in the Kentucky Derby, and six were post-time favorites. No filly has entered the Derby since Devil May Care finished 10th in 2010. Eight Belles finished second in 2008 and is the only other filly to enter the Derby this century. No filly has won a Triple Crown race since Rachel Alexandra at the Preakness in 2009.

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2022 Arkansas Derby Morning Line Odds

Lukas’ latest entry battles a field that includes the one-eyed Un Ojo, who won the Rebel Stakes at 75-1, along with sharp up-and-comers We The People and Doppelganger. Odds for whichever horses you bet won’t be locked in until post time, per pari-mutuel regulations.

PostHorseOddsTrainerJockey
1Kavod15-1Chris HartmanMitchell Murrill
2Chasing Time12-1Steve AsmussenJose Lezcano
3Barber Road6-1John OrtizReylu Gutierrez
4Doppelganger9-2Tim YakteenJohn Velasquez
5Un Ojo6-1Ricky CourvilleRamon Vasquez
6Secret Oath5-2D. Wayne LukasLuis Contreras
7Ben Diesel20-1Dallas StewartJon Court
8Cyberknife8-1Brad CoxFlorent Geroux
9We The People7-2Rodolphe BrissetFlavien Prat

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Past Performances

1. Kavod (15-1)

Brings life to the party as a pacesetter. A gun-and-go type who looks ideally suited or a mile. Will try at nine furlongs here.
Finished a game-and-gritty fourth both in the Southwest and the Rebel Stakes. Hung on longer in the Rebel and finished closer. May get overrun again, but from a fan’s standpoint, makes the race. Will contend for bottom of super.

2. Chasing Time (12-1)

Made a good run at the leaders in the Rebel homestretch, but could not get there and finished fifth. Would need a sizzling hot pace and improvement to get into the money picture.

3. Barber Road (6-1)

Results of the last two races suggest this distance may suit him. Ran out of real estate in the Southwest and Rebel, finishing second to Newgrange and third just behind Un Ojo, respectively. Bettors would hope he’s in striking position at the top of the lane, benefit from the longer race and sustain the charge seen in those two races. Live, will be played.

4. Doppelganger (9-2)

His stakes were upgraded last week. Amid the suspension of trainer Bob Baffert and his subsequent lawsuit against Churchill Downs, Doppelganger was transferred to trainer Tim Yakteen in order to be eligible for Kentucky Derby qualifying points. He was not awarded the 20 qualifying Derby points for finishing second to Forbidden Kingdom in the San Felipe.

Under his new trainer, he would reach the Derby by finishing first or second, maybe even third. Second race stretching out to a distance. Ran well; although, behind a dominant Forbidden Kingdom in the San Felipe. Forbidden Kingdom’s impressive 98 Beyer Speed Figure indicates Doppelganger could be logical here with anticipated improvement. Ships from California to Arkansas. New surface.

5. Un Ojo (6-1)

A sentimental public betting favorite. He somehow drifted to 75-1, shipping from a second-place finish to Early Voting at the Withers in Aqueduct, and won an exhilarating Rebel stretch duel. Got a ground-saving trip on the rail, a break when it opened on the turn and he nosed out Barber Road and Ethereal Road. Has run well two races in a row. Ran late in both, would figure for the same. Only horse in the race to have covered the 1 1/8-mile distance. Should be respected.

6. Secret Oath (5-2)

Here comes the filly. Needed horse racing room entering the homestretch of the Honeybee, got it and won by seven lengths at 1-5 odds. The time of 1:44.74 for the 1 1/6 miles was faster than Un Ojo’s winning time of 1:45.69 over the same track and distance in the Rebel. Prominent off the last. Beyer Speed Figure of 92 in the Honeybee is the best in the field. Excellent value if this price holds.

7. Ben Diesel (20-1)

Did he hit a wall or an off-day in the Rebel? Was right there in the Southwest, just missing second behind Barber Road. Did not progress in the Rebel, stuck with a not-involved eighth behind horses that are in this race. Form from two races back would put him on the fringes. Hard to see him beyond that. Could be pace factor.

8. Cyberknife (8-1)

Winning time at Fair Grounds in Allowance Optional Claiming at this distance in 1:42.53 was about four seconds faster than his previous effort in the Lecomte. It’s the best in this field and suggests he can contend. On the flip side, Kupuna ran second to him that day and was outrun in the recent Louisiana Derby. That suggest the task of returning to major stakes company is too tall. Now goes to Oaklawn, a new surface, with new distance. Mixed signals. Will be used in some tickets.

9. We The People (7-2)

Follows a successful pattern we just saw, which was Zozos graduating from Allowance Optional Claiming to second in the Louisiana Derby. Here comes a 2-5 graduate from Allowance Optional Claiming, fresh off a five-length, hand-ridden victory in a solid time of 1:43.66. Lightly raced, 2-for-2, much to like. Must avoid the speed duel that nearly happened in his last race. Florent Geroux was able to rein him in then. That will be Flavien Prat’s job now as Geroux is on Cyberknife.

Pace Preview

Does Cyberknife, Chasing Time, Ben Diesel or We the People go early with Kavod? Where do the closers position themselves in the early going?

How I’m Betting This Race

Win Bet

I like the filly on top based on track experience and projected improvement. Will take a win-bet pop at 9-5 or higher. Recent favorites have been getting bet down to even money and 4-5 at these Kentucky Derby preps, however.

Exacta

I’ll take an exacta box 6-9 on the Oaklawn track edge principle. Must take a cover box 6-4 in case We The People gets compromised in a speed duel. Will take a stand that Barber Road likes the added distance and put him in exacta box with Secret Oath. Un Ojo goes in that category too.

Trifecta

Will add a $1 trifecta key with the 6 over the 3,5,9. ($6 wager). Cyberknife and Doppelganger in one more underneath ticket if the betting odds look right.

Final Thoughts

Can Kavod stay fourth if they fail to pressure him? You can go down as far as you want and try as many combos as you want, it’s just a matter of how much to spread. But I’ll start with Secret Oath. That’s the bulk of the money if his odds stay playable. Enjoy the horse racing.

Road To Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

The top-20 healthy horses in the standings after all KY Derby prep races have completed will be eligible to enter the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

RankHorsePointsTrainer
1Epicenter
164Steven M. Asmussen
2Zandon114Chad Brown
3White Abarrio
112Saffie Joseph, Jr.
4Mo Donegal112Todd Pletcher
5Tiz the Bomb110Kenny McPeek
6Cyberknife100Brad Cox
7Crown Pride (JPN)100Koichi Shintani
8Taiba100Tim Yakteen
9Simplification
74Antonio Sano
10Smile Happy
70Kenny McPeek
11Classic Causway66Brian Lynch
12Tawny Port60Brad Cox
13Barber Road
58John Ortiz
14Un Ojo
54Anthony W. Dutrow
15Messier40Tim Yakteen
16Zozos40Brad Cox
17Summer Is Tomorrow40Bhupat Seemar
18Charge It40Todd Pletcher
19Happy Jack30Doug O'Neill
20Pioneer of Medina25Todd Pletcher
21In Due Time24Kelly Breen
22Ethereal Road22D. Wayne Lukas
23Rich Strike21Eric Reed
24Rattle N Roll20Kenny McPeek

*Not Triple Crown nominated; can become eligible with $6,000 payment due March 28

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Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

View all posts by Dave Bontempo