There’s one more derby before THE derby.
The Arkansas Derby unfolds Saturday night from Oaklawn Park, giving Mountain State bettors one more look at the prospective May 1 Kentucky Derby field.
The race has an approximate post time of 7:41 p.m. EST.
Winners of all the prep races, including this one, become contenders for the Run for the Roses. The Derby picture has begun to crystallize.
Notable developments from last weekend:
- Rock Your World captured the Santa Anita Derby.
- Essential Quality ran down a game Highly Motivated to capture the Blue Grass Stakes. Both horses should be considered threats in the Kentucky Derby.
- Bourbonic surged from dead last to win the Wood Memorial at a whopping price of 72-1.
Who joins this group Saturday? The favorite is Concert Tour, who won the Rebel Stakes decisively at Oaklawn on March 13 and is guided by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Hozier, Caddo River and Super Stock finished well behind in that race but are entered here. Bettors might play them “underneath” Concert Tour in trifecta or superfecta “key entry” wagers.
It works like this: A $1 superfecta with the winning horse “keyed” over four additional horses costs $24. The four “underneath” horses can be in any order between second and fourth place, and the key horse must win.
Horse betting in West Virginia
Arkansas Derby winners have enjoyed major success. Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Curlin and American Pharoah have gone on from winning this event to capturing at least one Triple Crown race.
American Pharoah went from the 2015 Arkansas Derby triumph to recording thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years.
While you’re betting, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races offers live thoroughbred cards Thursday-Saturday at 7 p.m.
Starting April 25, Mountaineer Park in Chester offers Sunday-Wednesday cards at 7 p.m.
Arnaldo Bocachica, the perennial leading rider at Charles Town, is listed on mounts in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh races on Saturday. He recently surpassed 2,000 career victories.
Keep an eye on jockeys Fredy Peltroche and Denis Araujo, too. And always save some money for big long shots in the races with bigger fields.
It happened on April 2 in the opening race.
A five-horse field produced an exceptional $1 trifecta payout of $376.50.
Bocachica was on the 1-5 favorite McNally. He finished third as Walkit Like I Talk, the 16-1 long shot, came from 15 lengths back to run down the entire field in the stretch.
It wasn’t easy to predict this move. This was the first career start for Walkit Like I Talk.
How could bettors have gotten near this payout? McNally drifted down to an unplayable 1-5 betting odds just before post time. But taking the big favorite with a couple of other horses in a $1 trifecta box would have cost $6. A pair of $1 trifecta boxes would have cost $12.
Sure, you’d have no idea that the first-time starter would make such a rally. But tossing him in with the prohibitive favorite in the three-horse box might have produced the payday.