Previewing The 2022 Arkansas Derby

The Arkansas Derby, one of the final races for the second leg of the 2022 Road to Kentucky Derby series, is just a month away now.

The annual event will be held at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The winner of the race will pocket an ultra-valuable 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Second place will take home 40, third place 20 and fourth place 10. The purse for the winner is a grand total of $1.25 million.

Messier and Epicenter share the highest betting odds of winning the 2022 Kentucky Derby at 12/1, followed by Smile Happy and Corniche (14/1). Sports fans in the Bear State that want to bet on the race can use Arkansas Betmgm and other horse races can make risk-free bets of up to $1,000 through BetMGM.

The Arkansas Derby race, which started in 1936,  is limited to three-year-old horses. The left-handed track covers 1 ⅛ miles.

The Arkansas Derby is one of three races that will take place on Apr. 2 during the second leg of the series. The Florida Derby (at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida) and the Jeff Ruby Steaks (Turfway Park  in Florence, Kentucky) will run on the same date.

LIke the Arkansas Derby, the Florida Derby and Jeff Ruby Steaks also carry the 100-40-20-10 point systems.

After Apr. 2, there are only four faces left on the Road to the Kentucky Derby: The Blue Grass Stakes (Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky), the Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California), and the Wood Memorial Stakes (Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York).

Finally, the Lexington Stakes — considered a “wild card” event — will run at the Keeneland Race Course. That event carries a point system of 20-8-4-2.

Super Stock (jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.) was the winner of the 2021 Arkansas Derby. The 2020 event was split into two races. Charlatan (jockey Martin Garcia) and Nadal (jockey Joel Rosario) won the first and second divisions of the 2020 Arkansas Derby, respectively.

In 2015, American Pharoah (jockey Victor Espinoza) won the Arkansas Derby en route to the 2015 Kentucky Derby crown. But otherwise history really hasn’t exactly favored the winners of the Arkansas Derby when it comes to the eventual Kentucky Derby. 

Updated Derby Leaderboard

Epicenter (jockey Joel Rosario) leads the Derby leaderboard with 64 total points, followed by Un Ujo (jockey Ramon A. Vazquez) with 54 points and Smile Happy (jockey Corey J. Lanerie) with 30 points.

All told, there are currently 18 horses with at least 10 points on the Derby leaderboard.

Un Ojo is coming off an unlikely victory at the Rebel Stakes, which was held at the aforementioned Oaklawn Park. With the win , Un Ojo claimed the $1 million purse and 50 important points that practically locked down a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Ethereal Road (jockey Luis Contreras) finished second place to net 20 points. Barber Road (jockey Reylu Gutierrez) and Kavod (jockey Francisco Arrieta) finished third and fourth to claim 10 and five qualifying points for the Road to Kentucky Derby, respectively.

Road to Kentucky Derby: Key Races In March

There are 12 races for the Road to Kentucky Derby in the month of March, starting with the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at the Kempton Park Racecourse (in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, England).

The winner of that race will take home 20 points; the race is a 20-8-4-2 point system.

Five of the 12 races this month will carry 50-20-10-5 point systems: Fountain of Youth (Mar. 5 at Gulfstream Park), Gotham Stakes (Mar. 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack), San Felipe Stakes (Mar. 5 at Santa Anita Park), Tampa Bay Derby (Mar. 12 at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Florida) and Sunland Derby (Mar. 27 at Sunland Park Racetrack in Sunland Park, New Mexico).

There are two races that run the 100-40-20-10 point systems, and both of them will run on Mar. 26: The UAE Derby (at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates) and the Louisiana Derby (the Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans, Louisiana).

Just over a month remains in the qualifying for the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which will once again run a field of 20 horses.