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Horse Racing Picks and Analysis: Arkansas Derby | Saturday, May 2

Ben Rasa



Kentucky Derby Betting Picks, Odds, Predictions and best bets for Saturday's 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs with the ConTENders picks Highyl Motivated King Fury from Ben Rasa and Josh Engleman

We are still ways away from the major sports leagues possibly returning, but that does not mean that there is nothing to wager on. Certainly League of Legends and some lesser-known sports are up and running, but do not forget about horse racing, which never went away. The Kentucky Derby and other major races had to be postponed, but we still have racing without fans late in each week.

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Oaklawn Park in Arkansas has been holding their meet and have some quality races upcoming on the docker. The Arkansas Derby, which is a Kentucky Derby prep race, is ready to get started, and with so much interest, we actually get two races to breakdown. We had 22 horses enter into the race so they have decided to go split divisions and break them up into two Arkansas Derby races. This gives us even more to bet and breakdown with several legit Kentucky Derby contenders in these fields. Horse racing may be something that you are unfamiliar with, but it uses a lot of the same concepts that we lean on in sports betting and DFS. Below is an article that talks about the intro to betting the ponies if you are looking for the basics.

A Guide to Betting on Horse Racing

Keep in mind this article is being written before the scratches were finalized. Make sure that you double check who is still in each race as some horses may be scratched between now and post time.

Arkansas Derby, First Division

Post time: 6:29 p.m. EST Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Purse: $500,000. Grade: 1. Distance: 1 1/8 miles. TV: TVG and NBC Sports Network.

Post, horse, trainer, jockey, odds

1. Charlatan, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia, 1-1

2. My Friends Beer, Jeremiah O’Dwyer, Declan Cannon, 20-1

3. Mo Mosa, Mike Maker, Kendrick Carmouche, 30-1

4. Gouverneur Morris, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 9-2

5. Jungle Runner, Steve Asmussen, Tyler Baze, 30-1

6. Shooters Shoot, Peter Eurton, Joe Talamo, 8-1 – SCRATCHED

7. Wrecking Crew, Peter Miller, Flavien Prat, 20-1

8. Anneau d’Or, Blaine Wright, Juan Hernandez, 6-1

9. Winning Impression, Dallas Stewart, Julien Leparoux, 15-1

10. Crypto Cash, Kenny McPeek, Corey Lanerie, 20-1

11. Basin, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 8-1

Division 1 Breakdown

We get things started with the first division and 10 horses looking to take down the Arkansas Derby. Originally this was an 11-horse field, but Shooters Shoot has scratched so cross him off the list. Immediately we have to get to the big name in this tier and it’s the 1 horse in Charlatan.

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This is a Bob Baffert-trained monster who so far has looked invincible in his two races. He hasn’t been remotely tested in his two appearances, but the competition was nothing like he will see here. Add in that he is going further than the previous races and there are some question marks. That’s really all I can say in terms of potential red flags as this horse has been a contender from the moment he broke his maiden.

The other big break Charlatan got is that there isn’t a lot of early speed in his division which should allow him to set the pace and go wire to wire again. If he were pushed and got into a speed duel, it could set up fast fractions and allow the closer to have a fighting chance. If he gets off to a lead and isn’t pushed, you can basically shut this one down and he will have no problem making it 3-3 in his career.

Anneau d’Or

If looking outside the heavy favorite, we can go to Anneau d’Or who sits at 6-1 on the morning line. He ran second in two legit stakes races before a very disappointing ninth-place finish last time out. In that last race, they put blinkers on the horse and it clearly didn’t work so those have been taken back off before this start. The speed figures were over 100 in the previous two races, so it is not impossible he has the talent to compete with the big boys in this one.


Arkansas Derby, Second Division

Post time: 7:43 p.m. EST Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Purse: $500,000. Grade: 1. Distance: 1 1/8 miles. TV: TVG and NBC Sports Network.

Post, horse, trainer, jockey, odds

1. Finnick the Fierce, Rey Hernandez, Martin Garcia, 15-1

2. Saratogian, Rodolphe Brisset, Joe Talamo, 50-1

3. Storm the Court, Peter Eurton, Flavien Prat, 6-1

4. King Guillermo, Juan Carols Avila, Samuel Camacho Jr., 3-1

5. Nadal, Bob Baffert, Joel Rosario, 5-2

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6. Code Runner, Steve Asmussen, Stewart Elliott, 50-1

7. Silver Prospector, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 10-1

8. Fast Enough, Rafael Becerra, Tyler Baze, 12-1 – SCRATCHED

9. Taishan, Richard Baltas, David Cohen, 15-1

10. Farmington Road, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 12-1

11. Wells Bayou, Brad Cox, Florent Geroux, 7-2

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Division 2 Breakdown

The second division of the Arkansas Derby seems to be a little more wide open as we don’t have anyone as an even-money favorite. One could argue this is the better side of the overall field with several big name horses who have what it takes to win this race.


The first horse up has to be Nadal who has already been tested in a race of this caliber. Back in March, he took to this Oaklawn Park track in the Grade 2 Rebel stakes and held off a late rally to remain undefeated in his career. The 3-for-3 is impressive, but the last appearance showed that Nadal may need to avoid a hot early pace if he wants to hold on at this distance. In that race, second-place finisher Excession made a late rall, mostly due to the speed duel that emerged with Nadal early in the race. He will once again be tested if he tries to go to the front amongst this field.

Farmington Road

The big issue I have with Nadal is he’s stretching out to nine furlongs here and there is other speed in this race to challenge him upfront. Wells Bayou, who won the Louisiana Derby, will be trying to set the pace as well and this could create chaotic fractions that give all these closer a fighting chance. One of the horses that piques my interest is Farmington Road who is 12-1 on the morning line. This horse is going to be well off the pace and has what it takes to close if the fractions are right. He is the perfect type of horse to use in exotics if you think a speed duel develops between Nadal and Wells Bayou.

Banking on a closer always has inherit risk as they are reliant on the horses in front of them to set a pace and also have to worry about getting blocked when making their move. Still, this is the type of race where the skill set should translate as he will not get involved in any early pace and has shown he can compete with the talent in the division.

Final Picks

I have never heard of two separate Arkansas Derbies, but I am certainly not complaining. We get to see more horses in action and the divisions seem pretty balanced in terms of talent. Charlatan is the horse that everyone wants to see against tougher competition and he is the one to beat in the first heat.

The second heat with Nadal also features a bunch of top-end contenders, but it is less clear who the post-time favorite will be. Charlatan to me is just too good for the rest of that heat, but you can take some stabs with longer shots in the second race as a lot of horses are live to do damage in this spot. Farmington Road could go off better than 10-1 at post time and he has exactly what we want if a handful of horses are all trying to set the pace right out of the gate. Keep an eye on how the track looks leading up till post time and that should give us even more information on whether we want horses that close or horses that will be setting the pace.

Looking for more Horse Racing picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data and more on the Awesemo Sports Betting home page, just click HERE

*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing [email protected].

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