Stakes Profile: Arkansas Derby
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
The Arkansas Derby is a 9 furlong race for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park. First run in 1936, it’s currently a Kentucky Derby points race. While the Arkansas Derby produced the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, what kind of betting race is it?
Below is a snapshot of what has produced Arkansas Derby winners since 1991 including odds, bettors’ choice, field size, running styles, prior race location, prior race finish position, number of days since the last race as well as Brisnet Speed Figures.
The charts and graphs are interactive. Hover over or touch bars and lines for more information.
Arkansas Derby Winners Odds & Payouts 1991-2018
Odds are shown as listed in the charts. Hover-over or touch each bar for $2 payout.
Outliers Rockamundo (IRE) (1993 $108 odds), Sir Cherokee (2003 $55.60 odds) and Danza (2014 $41.30 odds) have been excluded from the graph below to allow for an overall better visualization. They are included in the averages and medians.
Average $1 Odds: $12.60
Median $1 Odds: $2.9
Average $1 Odds: $11.50
Median $1 Odds: $3.70
Average $2 Win: $27.10
Median $2 Win: $7.50
Average $2 Win: $25.10
Median $2 Win: $9.40
Arkansas Derby Winners Bettors’ Choice and Field Size 1991-2018
Bettors’ Choice is the ranked order of the field by final odds: The favorite is the first choice, the second favorite is the second choice and so on. For example, 1991 winner Olympio was 2nd choice in a 11 horse field. Hover-over or touch the bars for more information
Average Choice of Winner: 3.54
Average Field Size: 10.32
Average Favorite Finish Position: 3.22
Average Choice of Winner: 3.27
Average Field Size: 10.45
Average Favorite Finish Position: 3.63
Winning Arkansas Derby Running Styles 1991-2018
To read the charts below, 0 on the vertical axis is the lead, any distance behind the leader is below 0 and any distance above 0 is the amount the leader is ahead of the next horse. At the bottom are the points of call as they correspond to the charts. Each line is a horse, and you can hover over the point of call for each line to see more information about the horse.
For example, if you hover over the bottom-most line in the first chart at the 1/2 mile mark you’ll see that in the 2003 winner Sir Cherokee was 17.25 lengths behind the leader at this point in the race.
Certain (2006) won by disqualification and has been excluded from the running style charts since he did not finish first.
Stalker/pressers have has a slight advantage in the Arkansas Derby since 1991, winning 37% of the time. Deep closers have also performed well, winning 25.9% of the time. In the last 10 years early speed has won 60% of the time, evenly split between speed and stalker/pressers.
Position at the 1/2 mile mark…
Speed: In the lead
Presser/Stalker: Between .1 and 3 lengths off leader
Off the pace: Between 3 and 6 lengths off the leader
Deep closer: More than 6 lengths off the leader
Below is a closer look at winning running styles by decade.
Arkansas Derby Winners Last Track Raced & Days Since 1991-2018
The majority of Arkansas Derby winners since 1991 prepped locally, running their prior race at Oaklawn Park. In the last 10 years Oaklawn produced 40% of the winners while Gulfstream and Santa Anita each produced 20%.
Average Days Since Last Race: 29
Median Days Since Last Race: 28
Winners Placing in Prior Race 1991-2018
Just under half of Arkansas Derby winners won their prior race and more than three quarters of the winners finished in the money, or no worse than third, last out.
Arkansas Derby Brisnet Ratings 1991-2018
The chart below represents the last three Brisnet Speed Ratings earned by the Arkansas Derby winner, and includes the winning figure for the Arkansas Derby. In instances where a starter did not have three consecutive Brisnet Speed Ratings leading into the Arkansas Derby, the line starts with most recent.
Winning Brisnet Speed: 101
Brisnet Speed Prior Race: 97
Brisnet Speed 2 Back: 98
Brisnet Speed 3 Back: 91
The last ten years have been on trend with 50% of winners coming in on an improved Brisnet Speed Rating and all but one of those came in on a two race improvement.
Thanks to a fair share of long shot winners, the Arkansas Derby has been a decent betting race. The average winning odds since 1991 are 12.6-1 with a median of 2.9-1, and the average $2 win payout is $27.10 with a median of $7.50. Since 2010 the average dipped slightly but the median more than doubled to $7.50.
In addition to frequently providing generous payouts, the Arkansas Derby has also been relatively formful with favorites outperforming the generally accepted win rate of 35% to win 42.9% of the time. The winner on average has been the 3rd choice (3.54) since 1991 and that average has remained relatively steady since 2010 at 3.27. The favorite has had an average finish position of 3rd (3.22) since 1991.
Stalkers/Pressers have had the edge since 1991 winning 37% of the time. Those with early speed have performed best in the last 10 years winning 60% of the time, evenly split between front runners and stalker/pressers.
Winners have generally prepped locally at Oaklawn Park, winning 46.4% of the time since 1991. In the last 10 years Oaklawn retained its edge producing 40% of the winners with Gulfstream and Santa Anita each producing 20%. Field size has been well above the 2017 average of 7.7 starters with an average of 10.32 starters since 1991 and 10.45 starters since 2010.
A slight majority of winners came in on an improved Brisnet Speed Rating from their prior race since 1991. The last ten years have been on trend with 50% of winners coming in on an improved rating and all but one of those came in on a two race improvement.