Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM

Arkansas Derby Odds, Picks and Betting Strategies

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Arkansas Derby Odds and Free Picks

This Saturday was supposed to be the 2020 Kentucky Derby and while many are upset, the folks at Oaklawn Park continue to provide horse racing opportunities and May 2 will feature the Arkansas Derby. The event will feature two divisions and while the original draw had 11 entries in each race, we continue to see scratches appear. 

The races will feature a total purse of $1 million and each division winner will receive $500,000 each plus they will win 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby qualifying. Second, third and fourth place finishers will also receive points, 40, 20 and 10 respectively.

Let's break down the races!


  • Date: Saturday, May 2
  • Post-Time: 6:29 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: FS1, NBCSN
  • Race: 11
  • Distance-Length: Dirt, 1 1/8 Miles
  • Qualification: Three-year-olds
  • Track: Oaklawn Park
  • Location: Hot Springs, Arkansas

Arkansas Derby Division 1 Preview Analysis

(Post-Horse-Morning Line Odds)

1 – Charlatan (1-1 odds) Crushed maiden rivals in sprint debut and entry level allowance types when stretching out most recently, both at Santa Anita. Appears to be loose on the lead after the scratch of the other speed in here and will be the shortest price of the weekend. Looks too tough for me to try and beat and will likely give Baffert his third win in this event.

2 – My Friends Beer (20-1 odds) Didn’t break his maiden until his fifth start, a maiden claiming event at Laurel on New Year’s Day. Shipped in from Maryland to finish third in a money allowance/optional claimer most recently and would need to run the race of his life to event try for a piece in here.

3 – Mo Mossa (30-1 odds) Passed a handful of runners late to get the show dough in a money allowance contest over the course last out after an abysmal Tampa Bay Derby performance. Best work, including lone victory, came over synthetic surface at Turfway.

4 – Gouverneur Morris (9-2 odds) Looked good when making his seasonal bow in an entry level allowance contes at Tampa Bay Downs to start the season then failed to fire a true shot when an even-running fourth in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream in his latest. Starting to wonder how far he wants to go. Might be the one with the best chance to upset the favorite, which says a lot about this bunch. Looks to add on to trainer Todd Pletcher’s record five wins in this event.  

5 – Jungle Runner (30-1 odds) Has been terrible in his last three tries in minor stakes after winning two in a row last fall at Remington Park. Would need a spectacular form reversal and a ton of improvement to even consider for a minor award.

6 – Shooters Shoot (SCRATCHED)

7 – Wrecking Crew (SCRATCHED)

8 – Anneau d’Or (6-1 odds) Ended 2019 with a couple of near misses in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Los Alamitos Futurity before starting this season with an absolute dud when blinkers were added at Fair Grounds for the second division of the Risen Star where he beat just two home at even money. Blinkers have been removed but he is hard to like off his last effort.

9 – Winning Impression (15-1 odds) Rallied nicely in slop to take a money allowance contest four weeks ago over the course before being wrongfully disqualified. Has made in all four of his starts going a distance of ground, including a third-place finish at this trip where he was beaten just a length. Trainer Dallas Stewart has a knack for getting longshots to run big races in big races.

10 – Crypto Cash (20-1 odds) Closed from last to finish fourth after a stumble at the start seemingly cost him all chance at taking the Rushaway at Turfway last out. Broke his maiden on dirt at Ellis Park last summer before taking an entry level allowance on the turf at Churchill in November. Has raced exclusively around two turns in his five-race career, a sign he may appreciate the added distance.

11 – Basin (8-1 odds) Not so sure this guy appreciated the inside draws in his last two starts and first couple of the year after ending 2019 with a fantastic score in the Hopeful in Saratoga. He’s forecasted to run on a dry track for the first time since his maiden tally at the Spa in his second try last summer. Not sure if nine furlongs is what he wants but I think this will be a good barometer going forward.

Arkansas Derby Division 1
Predictions - If I had $100

Free Pick: $20 exacta 1 with 9,10,11; $6 tri key 1 over 9,10,11


  • Date: Saturday, May 2
  • Post-Time: 7:43 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: FS1, NBCSN
  • Race: 13
  • Distance-Length: Dirt, 1 1/8 Miles
  • Qualification: Three-year-olds
  • Track: Oaklawn Park
  • Location: Hot Springs, Arkansas

Arkansas Derby Division 2 Preview Analysis

(Post-Horse-Morning Line Odds)

1 – Finnick the Fierce (15-1 odds) Was elevated to victory in aforementioned money allowance in slop last out, his first win since taking his debut going five furlongs at Indian Grand last June. He’s usually making up ground at the end of his races, a good sign for the longer distances. Had a rough trip in the Risen Star in his lone start at the trip

2 – Saratogian (SCRATCHED)

3 – Storm the Court (6-1 odds) Has been a non-factor when fourth in San Vicente and third in San Felipe, both a Santa Anita, since upsetting the B.C. Juvenile at 45-1 last November. That effort is looking more and more like a fluke as each day passes.

4 – King Guillermo (3-1 odds) Posted a 49-1 upset in sensational style when romping home in the Tampa Bay Derby eight weeks ago. Sat just off the pace that day and should be able to get a similar trip with a couple of others in here seemingly faster than him I the early going. Not sure what to believe when it comes to this guy. You may want to let the toteboard guide you a bit. I wouldn’t want anything less than 6-1 on him if I want anything at all.

5 – Nadal (5-2 odds) Another undefeated Baffert runner, this colt was aided greatly by the speed biased, sloppy track he won the Rebel over when he held off an 80-1 shot to get the money. I’ve wondered how far this colt really wants to go and think this will be a solid litmus test. I’ve seen enough to believe he’s stretched out at the nine furlongs but throw Baffert out at your own peril. I wouldn’t be him to win but certainly wouldn’t let him knock you out of the pick 4 or pick 5.

6 – Code Runner (50-1 odds) Ships in from Sam Houston off an entry level allowance tally, the first time he actually crossed the wire first in a race as he was elevated to win in his maiden score. Would need monumental improvement to compete in here for Asmussen, who also sends out…...

7 – Silver Prospector (10-1 odds) Now this guy intrigues me. His races on fast tracks are lightyears better than his wet track efforts despite the fact he won the KJC at Churchill last fall. His awful efforts in a pair of local tries over wet tracks sandwich a victory in the Southwest that would give this field a lot to think about.

8 – Fast Enough (SCRATCHED)

9 – Taishan (15-1 odds) Took them gate-to-wire two back in the slop against entry level allowance foes before sitting off a quick pace only to finish third after making the lead on the turn in the prep for this. He can’t make the lead in here and moves up on a wet course.

10 – Farmington Road (12-1 odds) He was flying through the stretch in the prep for this, gets another favorable pace set up and switches back to Hall of Famer Javier Castellano and you’re making him that price on the morning line? You’ll be lucky to get half of that and he is obviously a player BUT it is hard to trust these one-run closers. He can win and appears to be an improving type, but he better be improving because his best thus far doesn’t really match up with some others in here.

11 – Wells Bayou (7-2 odds) Actually cuts back in distance off his front-running score I the Louisiana Derby. He’s led the way in all five of his starts but it’s really hard to imagine him getting in front of Nadal, which means he’ll have to stalk the pace for the first time OR get involved in a speed duel. Neither option seems appealing to me as a gambler when speaking about the second choice. Another I’d use protectively in multi-race wagers but want little to do with in the win pool.

Arkansas Derby Division 2
Predictions - If I had $100

Free Pick: If I had $100: $40 win on 7; $10 exacta/$5 tri 7 over 5,10,11

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