Road To The Kentucky Derby — Arkansas Derby Preview And Top Win Contenders

Written By Fairway Jay on April 1, 2022 - Last Updated on April 4, 2023
Oaklawn Park

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues the first weekend of April with three major Championship Series races. All three races award 100 qualifying points to the winner, and the next three finishers receive 40-20-10 points. The top two finishers would secure enough points to earn entry into the starting gate for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 7.

Here are the three key races on Saturday, April 2, for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby Trail.

  • Florida Derby – 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park
  • Arkansas Derby – 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park
  • Jeff Ruby Steaks – 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park

Saturday’s 13-race card at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, features the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby in race 12 at 7:35 p.m. EDT. The Grade 1 race at 1 1/8 miles drew nine entries.

Also, nine 3-year-old fillies will be running for Kentucky Oaks points in race 10 and the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Arkansas Derby field and odds 2022

1Kavod15-1M. MurrillC. Hartman
2Chasing Time12-1J. LezcanoS. Asmussen
3Barber Road8-1R. GutierrezJ.A. Ortiz
4Doppelganger3-1J. VelazquezT. Yakeen
5Un Ojo6-1R. VazquezR. Courville
6Secret Oath5-2L. ContrerasD. Lukas
7Ben Diesel15-1J. CourtD. Stewart
8Cyberknife8-1F. GerouxB. Cox
9We the People7-2F. PratR. Brisset

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Arkansas Derby top win contenders

As you determine your horse racing strategies, how to bet and which horses will win, here are the top win contenders and other horse analyses.

  • Secret Oath
  • Doppelganger

Secret Oath is a fine filly trained by legendary D. Wayne Lukas. She’s already qualified to run in the Kentucky Oaks, but a first- or second-place finish against the boys in the Arkansas Derby would qualify her for the 2022 Kentucky Derby. She’s 2-for-2 this year, and her time in winning the Honeybee over the Oaklawn track was nearly a full second faster (5-6 lengths) than Un Ojo, who won the Rebel Stakes later that day at 75-1 odds to return $152.80 on a $2 win bet. In addition, Secret Oath posted a 100 Equibase Speed Figure in the Honeybee — the fastest of any horse in this field.

Un Ojo’s surprising upset in the Rebel Stakes earned him 50 points on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and enough to qualify for the Run for the Roses. Un Ojo stretches out further like many runners in this race after posting a 91 Equibase Speed Figure in winning the 1 1/16 mile Rebel.

Doppelganger is a son of Into Mischief. A month ago, he finished a well-beaten second behind the front-running favorite Forbidden Kingdom in the San Felipe at Santa Anita, and he finished fourth behind winner Forbidden Kingdom in January’s San Vicente. Doppelganger is making just his fourth start.

We the People makes his stakes debut. He’s 2-for-2, with both wins this year at Oaklawn. We the People is a son of Constitution, and his grandsire is Tapit. His impressive 5-length win as the favorite last race included a 99 Equibase Speed Figure.

Barber Road finished third in the Rebel Stakes and joined Un Ojo, Kavod (4th), Chasing Time (5th) and Ben Diesel (8th) as horses returning from the Rebel to challenge in the Arkansas Derby. Kavod ran on the front end for nearly 1 mile in the Rebel before fading to fourth.

Ben Diesel is a son of the 2010 Rebel winner Will Take Charge. Barber Road had finished second in his three stakes starts before finishing a close third in the Rebel.

Cyberknife has finished first or second in 4-of-5 starts, but he finished sixth in his only stakes start in the Lecomte and well behind runner-up Epicenter.

Kentucky Derby points leaderboard

Take a look at the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard, and you’ll see last weekend’s favorite and Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter on top of the standings with 164 points. Louisiana Derby runner-up Zozos has 40 points. Both Epicenter and Zozos have already been shipped to Churchill Downs to begin preparations and training for the Kentucky Derby.

The only runner in the Arkansas Derby with enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby is Un Ojo (54 points). However, Barber Road (18), Kavod (7) and Ben Diesel (3) can still earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby with a top three finish in the Arkansas Derby. All other runners will need to finish first or second to earn a place at the starting gate for the 2022 Kentucky Derby on May 7.

Arkansas Derby winners and results since 2007

All different styles of runners have won the Arkansas Derby, including since 2006 when 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, several big long shots have won the race, two of them deep closers 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 off shocking upsets.

Since 2006, the key prep race for the Arkansas Derby has been the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. Eight Arkansas Derby winners came out of the Rebel, with five of them winning that race, one finishing second and two others finishing third. Super Stock won the 2021 Arkansas Derby after finishing a well-beaten fourth as a huge long shot in the Rebel.

Ten Arkansas Derby favorites have won the race since 2006. The current form has proven meaningful, as 14 of the last 15 Arkansas Derby winners finished first, second or third in their previous race.

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 the same year, and Smarty Jones also won the Preakness Stakes. In 2007, Curlin won the Arkansas Derby by a record 10½ lengths and went on to win the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2008 Dubai World Cup. Creator won the 2016 Arkansas Derby and the Belmont Stakes after finishing 13th in the Kentucky Derby.

2021Super Stock12-1$26.401:50.92Tracking5th
2020Nadal (Div 2)4-5$3.801:48.94Stalking, Presser1st
2020Charlatan (Div 1, DQ)2-5$2.801:48.49Front, Basin winner1st
2019Omaha Beach8-5$5.401:49.91Front1st
2018Magnum Moon4-5$3.601:49.86Front1st
2017Classic Empire9-5$5.801:48.93Midpack1st
2016Creator11-1$25.201:50.14Deep closer10th
2015American Pharoah1-9$2.201:48.52Stalking1st
2011Archarcharch25-1$52.401:49.34Deep closer7th
2010Line of David17-1$36.601:49.37Front5th
2009Papa Clem4-1$10.001:49.00Midpack2nd
2006Lawyer Ron3-5$3.001:51.38Front1st
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Fairway Jay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst and provides insight and information you can bet on to engage and assist the avid fan. His tee-to-green coverage and racing contributions have been provided to Churchill Downs, Twinspires, TVG, Forbes, TheLines, numberFire and PlayUSA platforms. Follow on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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