The wait for the Arkansas Derby is almost over. Oaklawn Park’s biggest race of the spring is set to wrap up the qualifying races for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and a few derby hopefuls can be expected at the starting gate on Saturday.
Here are some fun facts to know before Saturday’s big day!
- The Arkansas Derby was first run in 1936. This weekend marks the 83rd running of the race.
- The race is worth $1 million and 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. The winner gets $600,000 and 100 points, which is enough to guarantee a spot at the Kentucky Derby.
- American Pharoah used the 2015 Arkansas Derby as a springboard to Triple Crown success. He won the Rebel Stakes in March before winning the Arkansas Derby and achieving Triple Crown fame.
- Trainer Bob Baffert has won the race twice since 2012 with American Pharoah and Bodemeister. This year, he’ll have a top contender in Rebel runner-up Improbable.
- Last year a total of $16,159,771 was bet on Arkansas Derby day races, a record for the track.
- No horse has won the Arkansas Derby by a bigger margin than Curlin. The eventual two-time Horse of the Year was 10 ½ lengths ahead of runner-up Storm in May in 2007.
- Seventeen horses won a Triple Crown race after racing in the Arkansas Derby. Creator is the most recent, capturing both the 2016 Belmont Stakes and Arkansas Derby.
- The race attracts more fans than any other day at Oaklawn. An estimated 64,500 people showed up for last year’s big race.
- The betting favorite has won the race three out of the last four years but just four of the last 10.
- The average winning odds are 3.60-to-1 in the last four years. In the last 10 years, it’s 10.83-to-1
Photos by David Yerby