Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - October 14, 2022

Arkansas Derby Predictions, Picks, Odds (Oaklawn Park)

Arkansas Derby Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park! Odds taken from Twinspires!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 KAVOD 15/1
M Murrill C Hartman
J Lezcano S Asmussen
R Gutierrez J A Ortiz
J Velazquez T Yakteen
5 UN OJO 6/1
R A Vasquez R Courville
L Contreras D W Lukas
J Court D Stewart
F Geroux B Cox
F Prat R Brisset

Arkansas Derby Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Secret Oath, We The People and Un Ojo = $30

$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Secret Oath over We The People, Un Ojo and Cyberknife = $30

Top Pick Secret Oath (5/2)

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Arkansas Derby Secret Oath

A dominating winner in three starts this winter against fillies, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Secret Oath will be out to prove she is ready for a new challenge when she takes on the boys in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

In trying to become the first filly to win a Kentucky Derby qualifier since the adoption of the points system in 2013, Secret Oath will take on eight 3-year-old males.

A daughter of Arrogate, she will attempt to join Althea, Winning Colors, and Serena’s Song, who were all previous trainees of Lukas who went on to win major Kentucky Derby preps.

Most recently, Secret Oath made easy work of her competition in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes, which finished with a faster time than the boys ran in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes on the same afternoon.

Un Ojo, the upset winner, and Barber Road, a fast-finishing third, are the top Arkansas Derby contenders coming out of the Rebel.

The unbeaten We The People, California invader Doppelganger, and recent sharp allowance winner Cyberknife are three more colts who should get plenty of attention on Saturday.

Contested at 1 1/8-miles, the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 100-40-20-10 to the respective top four finishers.

 Arkansas Derby Predictions and Race Analysis

Secret Oath

I’ll admit it, after years of seeing the fillies kept away from any Kentucky Derby preps, it’s nice to see the old master D. Wayne Lukas be the one to buck the trend.  But there is a whole lot more to this daughter of Arrogate than just the rooting interest.

She began to show signs of being a nice one last year in Kentucky but really has turned things up a notch since arriving in Arkansas. Consistently the best 3-year-old of either gender on the grounds, she has made easy work of her female competition in three straight races.

So much so, that it seems only natural that she would now take on the boys in the biggest race at the track. With enough early speed to stay in touch early and then an impressive turn of foot, she should be tailor-made for the Arkansas Derby trip. She is the top pick.

We The People

This will be a major test for a horse so light on experience, but he looks like a major talent who could be a real factor on Saturday. A son of Constitution, he has made only two lifetime starts to date, but both were impressive wins over the Oaklawn Park track.

He’s also shown good early speed in those maiden and allowance races, which could leave him in a great stalking spot from his outside draw in a race without a ton of speed. Picking up rider Flavien Prat shouldn’t hurt at all either.

Conditioned by up-and-coming trainer Rudolphe Brisset, I do believe this is a horse with serious ability and despite the step up in class, he looks like the biggest threat to the leading lady.


Making his first start for trainer Tim Yakteen, after being transferred from the embroiled barn of Bob Baffert, this son of Into Mischief will try to prove he belongs in the Kentucky Derby for his new barn.

There will also be an interesting change of jockeys, as Flavien Prat shifts to We The People, while this one gets the Hall of Fame services of John Velazquez. I’m not certain what that will mean, but it could be that he is closer to the pace this time after being late to the party in the last two against the Forbidden Kingdom.

If you believe that the Forbidden Kingdom is a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby, then it would be easy to like this one, but he really did not threaten him at all in those two losses. Perhaps there are no monsters like that in here, but I am not sold on this yet, but do respect him as a talented horse who could improve in his fourth-lifetime start.

Barber Road

This son of Race Day has been quite consistent with his late run and has been knocking on the door in three straight-stakes races at Oaklawn Park. He was finishing well when third in the Rebel last time, but couldn’t quite beat Un Ojo, who he meets again on Saturday.

Perhaps the added distance of the Arkansas Derby will help his cause, but I have my doubts. Clearly, he is a nice horse, but I think actually getting up for the win is even less likely this time than his previous chances, as he faces his toughest test yet.

He should come running once again, but of the late runners, I am leaning to Un Ojo as the better chance.

Un Ojo

Obviously this New York-bred gelding has struggled for respect as evidenced by his huge 75/1 odds when winning the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes last time. Four of the horses he beat in the Rebel are back to try him again on Saturday.

Of course, there is much more in here than what he saw in the Rebel, but his consistent late run puts him in with a chance. In fact, looking back in hindsight, it’s hard to imagine why his odds were so high last time.

He likes the track and he is proven at nine furlongs, having already finished well when second in the Grade 3 Withers. I am not going to pick him on top, but I think he has a big shot to rally up into the exotics in this $1.25 million race.


Trained by Brad Cox, this son of Gun Runner has run several promising races in his five-race career. Having said that, he failed in his only attempt in a graded stakes race when he finished sixth against a tough field in the Risen Star.

The good news is that he came back from that disappointment to score impressively against the allowance company last time. That effort was not flattered, though, when the runner-up did nothing in last weekend’s Louisiana Derby.

Still, there is hope for this one. There’s been talk that he has been a work in progress that is just finally starting to put things together mentally. From a powerful stable, he’s a threat on Saturday, but not one of my top contenders for the win.

Chasing Time

Pretty well backed at 5/1 for his stakes debut in the Rebel, this Steve Asmussen-trained colt never did too much, ran evenly, and checked in a non-threatening fifth. The disappointing effort followed a sharp allowance score over the track.

Like many in here, we are left to search for reasons why he can improve enough upon his Rebel effort to make some noise on Saturday.

Perhaps he has a better chance than the two listed below him, as he takes only his second start against graded stakes level sophomores, but still, I like too many others better to strongly consider him here.


Blinkers come off this son of Lea as he tries to better consecutive fourth-place finishes in the Smarty Jones, Southwest, and Rebel. Often that means less early speed, but drawing the rail, I believe this speedy colt has little chance other than to go after the early lead once again.

This spot only looks tougher as he tries to navigate a full nine furlongs on Saturday. Speed is always dangerous, but in this spot, he looks likely to be fading down the stretch once again.

Ben Diesel

While not necessarily embarrassed in four consecutive stakes tries after winning his debut, this son of Will Take Charge has finished behind Barber Road in three straight at Oaklawn Park.

On the plus side, he had a strong workout on Saturday and is bred to get better with maturity and distance. Still, I believe it is difficult to find enough reasons why he can turn the tables in the Arkansas Derby. I cannot recommend him on Saturday.

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How to Watch the Arkansas Derby

Arkansas Derby Race Information
What Arkansas Derby (Grade 1)
Location Oaklawn Park
Time Saturday, April 2 — 7:35pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,250,000


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Brian Zipse

225 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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