For the first time in 75 years, the first Saturday in May will not be celebrated with the running of the Kentucky Derby.
In its absence, Churchill Downs is hosting a virtual race between the 13 Triple Crown winners. Fans can win prizes by donating to the fundraiser. Even so, it’s not the same as seeing real horses traverse the dirt track. Luckily, Oaklawn Park is stepping up to the plate.
The racecourse in Hot Springs, Arkansas delayed its traditional date for the Arkansas Derby. Instead of racing on the second Saturday of April, the fine folks at Oaklawn Park postponed this year’s race to fill the void left by the Kentucky Derby. Of course, fans will not be in attendance for Saturday’s race card.
The move has created a beautiful problem. This year’s top three-year-olds were preparing to be at their best on the first Saturday of May for the Kentucky Derby. Even though the race was postponed, the horses still need to remain on schedule. By moving the Arkansas Derby, trainers and owners of almost every talented three-year-old wanted to enter the race but there was one problem. There are only 14 spots in the gate at Oaklawn Park.
To cater to the high demand, two divisions of the Arkansas Derby will be held Saturday evening. Each $500,000 race will also reward the best racers with points in the Road to Kentucky Derby standings (100-40-2-10). A look at the 22 horses running this Saturday in Hot Springs.
Charlatan and Nadal are the 7/5 morning line favorites. The latter has much more competition in Division 2 with Silver Prospector (6-1), Taishan (12-1) and Brad Cox’s Wells Bayou (6-1) in the field. Click here to find free PPs for both stakes races.