Arkansas Derby

The Road to the Kentucky Derby winds down on Saturday with the running of the $1 million dollar Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

The 1 1/8 mile historic race boasts an impressive roster of Winners. Highlighted by champions and/or classic Winners AMERICAN PHAROAH, CREATOR, CURLIN, LAWYER RON, AFLEET ALEX, SMARTY JONES, and VICTORY GALLOP just to name a few.  

If you’re going to wager on this race, reviewing the recent history of the race is worth your time.

Identifying historical trends and tendencies can be a big handicapping help, allowing you to sort through the contenders and determine which ones best match the profile of a typical Arkansas Derby Winner.

Favor pacesetters and speed horses: While it’s not impossible for late runners to Win here, it’s much more common for speed horses to hold the advantage. Nine of the last 15 Arkansas Derby Winners (60%) were racing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd after the opening half mile, including each of the last four Winners. Deep closers – the kind without any tactical speed – tend to be at a disadvantage.

Favorites have been on a roll: You have to go back to 2016 to find the last time a favorite failed to cross the wire first in the Arkansas Derby. All told, favorites have crossed the wire first in 12 of the last 18 editions of this race, a success rate of 67%.

Double-digit longshots succeed more often than mid-range longshots: If you want to oppose the Arkansas Derby favorite (we always do), you’re better off thinking outside the box than betting the second or third wagering choice.

Over the last twelve years, four double-digit longshots have visited the Arkansas Derby Winner’s Circle. During the same timeframe, only two non-favored runners have prevailed at single-digit odds, so go big or go home seems to be the right strategy when playing longshots here.

Be sure to bet Bob Baffert: The Hall of Fame trainer has Won the Arkansas Derby three times since 2012. Baffert trainees have prevailed in four of the last 10 editions of the Arkansas Derby. If you’re excluding Baffert trainees from your Exactas and Trifectas, you’re missing out on Winning tickets more often than not.

On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at the field of six for this years Arkansas Derby. So stop back and see who we like.

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