The Arkansas Derby is a Grade 1 thoroughbred horse race held annually in April at Oaklawn Park Race Track in Hot Springs, AR. The race was first run in 1936 and was previously known as the Southwest Stakes until 1952 when it was renamed to honor Arkansas’ racing patrons. Today, it offers a purse of $1.5 million with an attendance record of over 30,000 (an increase of nearly 10,000 from 2011). This year will be run on April 2nd.
The history behind this event is vibrant and detailed-and we’re going to explore it together! Multiple horses have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby after claiming victory here, including winners such as Chateaugay (1958), Forward Pass (1968), and Sunny’s Halo (1983). The Arkansas Derby is also one of the key prep races for the Preakness Stakes.
The first running of the race was contested on dirt over 1-1/8 miles and was won by Head Play. Since then, many legendary horses have competed in this event, including Smarty Jones, who ran in the 2004 race but finished fourth. Curlin, who is considered one of the best racehorses of all time, won this event in 2007 before taking home both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Other notable winners include:
Bold Ego (1981)
Silver Ending (1990)
Dazzling Falls (1995)
Zarb’s magic (1996)
Crypto Star (1997)
Private Emblem (2002)
Sir Cherokee (2003)
Gay Ego (2008)
Line of David (2010)
Super Stock (2021)
The Arkansas Derby is a Grade I thoroughbred
The Arkansas Derby is a Grade I thoroughbred horse race that has been held annually at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas since 1936. The race is open to three-year-olds and is run over 9 furlongs.
The first winner of the Arkansas Derby was Holl Image, trained by Jack Carter and won a purse of $5,000. Other notable winners include Demons Begone (1987), who won the Kentucky Derby, and Smarty Jones (2004), who went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
The Arkansas Derby is a yearly horse race, which takes place at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. The race is for three-year-olds and is run over 9 furlongs. It has the distinction of being the last leg in the Arkansas Triple Crown for three-year-olds. It is also a Grade 1 event with a purse of $1,000,000.
Arkansas derby is one of the most significant events in thoroughbred racing in Arkansas state. Its history dates back to 1936 when this event was inaugurated by the idea of Loyd Gentry Jr., Arkansas state representative.
The first Arkansas Derby race was won by Holl Image, trained by Jack Carter, and the purse was five thousand dollars. In 1938, the Arkansas Derby race was not conducted because of a flu epidemic. The following year, the Arkansas Derby purse went up to $10,000.
In 1942, the Arkansas Derby purse increased to $12,500; however, it is reported that the winner’s share was only $8,625 as War Tax took the top prize home. Arkansas Derby event did not occur in 1945 due to World War II. The 1946 Arkansas Derby race had total purse money of $15,000 with Special Agent as the winning horse.
The 1950 Arkansas Derby purse reached $25,000, which was a record. Arkansas Derby race was suspended for several years during the early 1960s, and it was then run as Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes from 1964 to 1969. Arkansas Derby purse reached $50,000 in 1982 and has been an essential part of Arkansas Triple Crown.
In 1992, Arkansas Derby’s purse increased to $500,000 and saw its name changed from Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes to Arkansas Derby. Oaklawn Park management has tied up with Walmac International Farm who has 15% interest in Arkansas Derby starting from the 2005 season. This interest is expected to increase over time if specific performance clauses are met by Walmac’s offspring winners of this race or other races held at Oaklawn Park.
Arkansas Derby is known for producing the winners of Triple Crown, who have also won more than two races in a row on more than one occasion. Arkansas derby has even had the winner of Triple Crown capture this prestigious event on three consecutive occasions besides having multiple Arkansas derby winners.
The first Arkansas Derby winner to win the triple crown was Whirlaway during the 1941 season, which is a unique feat. The second Arkansas Derby race winner to win Triple Crown was Bold Ruler in 1957, followed by fellow Arkansas Derby horses Count Deblanc (1958) and Al Develle (1959), Spring Broker (1960), Better Sea (1966), Traffic Mark (1969), and Temperance Hill Genuine Risk(1980) are other Arkansas Derby horses to win the Triple Crown.
Arkansas Derby Atmosphere Arkansas Derby is just one of the seven races conducted by Oaklawn Park to be declared a state-bred stake for Arkansas-foaled three-year-olds. Arkansas Derby race week, which runs from March 26th- April 1st, has several events, including Arkansas Oaks and Golden Rod Stakes leading up to Arkansas Derby last Saturday, which is usually around the third week of April.
Despite being called Arkansas Derby, this event is not restricted only to horses bred in Arkansas, nor does it connect with Arkansas or its residents except that it takes place at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This famous horse racing track was built by M. Lewis Clark in 1904 and was purchased by Arkansas Jockey Club in 1938, who eventually opened Arkansas Derby to the public. Arkansas Pacers are the local associations responsible for conducting the Arkansas Derby race event each year under license from Oaklawn Park management.
Winners of the Arkansas Derby often go on to achieve triumphs at other racing tracks, with Arkansas-bred horses having a specialty for this kind of victory. Famous Arkansas derby winners include With Regards (1942), Steven Hearts (1943), Challenge Me (1944), Bob Murphy (1946), Fleetridge (1947), Fertile Lands (1948), and Cacomo (1949).
Arkansas Derby purse has been changed many times during its history and its name. Arkansas Derby race was first inaugurated in 1936, and at that time, the bag was only $8,625 as War Tax took the top prize home. Arkansas Derby event did not occur during 1945 due to World War II.
The 1946 Arkansas Derby race had total purse money of $15,000 with Special Agent as the winning horse. Arkansas Derby race reached a new milestone in 1950 when its purse increased to $25,000, which was a record. Arkansas Derby race was suspended for several years during the early 1960s, and it was then run as Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes from 1964 to 1969. Arkansas Derby purse reached $50,000 in 1982 and has been an essential part of Arkansas racing history. Arkansas Derby race today, Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes, is again called Arkansas Derby and continues to be run under its original name.
Arkansas Derby race track can handle over 64,000 spectators at any one time with grandstands that offer comfortable seating arrangements for everyone who comes to watch this famous horse racing event. The atmosphere at the Arkansas Derby is always electric, with tens of thousands of fans cheering on their favorite horses.
Arkansas Derby atmosphere includes several enthusiastic fans coming especially from all parts of Arkansas as well as surrounding states like Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and Missouri to watch some of the finest thoroughbred horses from around the country compete with each other on a standard-sized racetrack that measures miles in length and wide enough to accommodate these horses comfortably.
The Arkansas Derby is a prestigious race that offers a significant purse and rich history. Many legendary horses have competed in this event, and the winner often competes in other key races, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. This year’s race is exciting, so make sure to tune in!
For tickets and more information, visit Oaklawn Park’s website.
2022 Arkansas Derby shall be held on April 2nd at Oaklawn Park Race Track in Hot Springs, AR. Gates open at 11 a.m., with the first race scheduled for 12:30 p.m. This event will feature a full day of races leading up to the marquee event-Arkansas Derby! There are currently four races before it kicks off, so plan accordingly! With that being said, if you want to experience this historical racing tradition, then get your tickets today!
Tickets are still available for this year’s Arkansas Derby, and you can purchase them online or at any ticket window on racetrack grounds. There are no advanced purchase discounts, but prices remain unchanged from last year – $11 for general admission and $22 for clubhouse admission. So, if you want to be up close and personal with the action, then the clubhouse is the place to be! However, general admission is perfect for you if you’re looking for a great day out and want to take in all of the sights and sounds.
Make sure that you get your tickets soon because this event always sells out! And don’t forget, parking is free at Oaklawn Park.