The Arkansas Derby is the final prep for any horses looking to get enough points to start in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. American Pharaoh is the 1-2 morning line favorite and no person with knowledge of horse racing would dispute that position. However, a field of seven others is stepping up to the plate for their shot at Kentucky Derby points and a share of the $1 million purse. Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it.
Race: Arkansas Derby (G3)
Location: Oaklawn Park
Distance: Mile and a eighth
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, April 11th 2015
Post Time: 7:18 PM ET
TV Coverage: TVG and HRTV
|1||15-1||The Truth Or Else||Borel||A big run in the Southwest Stakes gave folks something to look at. He returned in the Rebel against American Pharaoh and frankly h got his but handed to him. His running style lends to coming off the pace to grab a piece in this field. But adding blinkers this late in the game is a bit odd.|
|2||10-1||Mr. Z||Vazquez||He continues to be bet and it back two weeks after a poor Louisiana Derby. People forget that he has never won above MSW. He finds the board but the winners circle. He tend to fade out in the stretch and just does not have what it takes to do more than set the pace, which he will want desperately.|
|3||20-1||Bridget's Big Luvy||Cruz||I would expect based on history that you could very well see Bridget's Big Luvy attempt to go with American Pharaoh and Mr. Z. Probably not wise but he did win the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel in last. That field does not even remotely compare to Far Right, let alone American Pharaoh. I can't even see a piece here.|
|4||6-1||Madefromlucky||Velazquez||True, he was the runner-up in the Rebel Stakes. Also true that he finished 6+ lengths behind American Pharaoh who lost a shoe. That was his first stakes try so there is room to improve. I know he is out of Lookin At Lucky but I just do not trust him yet in his 3-YO campaign. Just not seeing it here.|
|5||20-1||Bold Conquest||Santana||To me he is more intriguing than many believe. While he appears destined to dominate lower level stakes, he has faced some tough customers including the top two here. His third last out was far from American Pharaoh but… He is improving and third off a layoff. While not ready to win here yet, I can see him hitting this board as a trifecta or exacta saver. Watch him the next 3 months for maturity.|
|6||1-2||American Pharaoh||Espinoza||He has been atop my Kentucky Derby Power rankings all year and that will not change. After breaking his maiden in start No.2, he has been nothing short of brilliant. The 2-YO Horse of Year won his 3-YO debut in the Rebel by 6+ lengths despite a sloppy track and losing a shoe at the start. He is that good and he doesn't need the lead.|
|7||9-2||Far Right||Smith||The clear second choice here. He has been a different horse as a 3-YO. He came from off the pace in back-to-back stakes to win. He did it in good weather, in bad weather and showed he can squeeze through on the rail. Besides, he needs to show Mike Smith why he should stay on for the beginning of May. He is better than some believe but any traffic is concerning not to mention the horse to his inside.|
|8||30-1||Win the Space||Desormeaux||He just does not belong. Frankly, minus a major miracle, I cannot see a way he factors. He should be able to "Win the Space" at the rear of the field with concern.|
Arkansas Derby Breakdown and Betting Strategy
American Pharaoh is the favorite, should be the favorite, and even with a miss-step will be the logical horse in the winner’s circle around 7:30 on Saturday night. He is the most accomplished in the field, last year’s 2-YO Horse of the Year and sits atop my Kentucky Derby 141 power rankings since January. Truth be told, anything can happen in horse racing and even the best lose on occasion. However, it would take a career race by others and probably an off day by American Pharaoh for that to happen. You can expect something horrible like 2-5 or even 1-10 when they step into the gate for the 2015 Arkansas Derby.
But if you were looking for a horse or two that could meet the magical scenario, who could it be? Let’s start with Far Right. He is coming off back-to-back stakes victories over this Oaklawn Park surface. However, he did avoid American Pharaoh in the Rebel Stakes by design. If there is an all-out blitz up front that burns American Pharaoh then he will be coming. That of course assumes any in this field can torch the favorite.
I know he is 20-1 and probably outclassed in this field but I would not turn a blind eye to Bold Conquest. He knows how to hit the board and did finish third to American Pharaoh in the Rebel Stakes, albeit a distant third. He is also third off the layoff that bodes well for another forward step. Will the step up be enough? Probably not but when looking for something that meets expectations if American Pharaoh falters, he meets the requirements in my book. Heck, you will get one heck of a price.
Below are some betting options for the race. You can take all, some or none but I wanted to give you some combinations that just make come true when making your 2015 Arkansas Derby picks. Remember the morning line odds for the Arkansas Derby are suggestions/opinions and frankly nothing more. As always if you are struggling to raise a couple of dollars to make a bet, please don’t. Pay a bill, which is more important. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. On to my win picks, predictions, and betting strategies for the 2015 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
|$1 Exacta Box||5 with 6 with 7|
|$1 Trifecta Box||5 with 6 with 7|
|$1 Exacta Box||5 with 6 with 7|
|$ 1 Trifecta||6,7 with 1,5,6,7|
|$3 Win/ Place||7|