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Best Horse Racing Bets Today | Oaklawn Park, March 30

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published March 30, 2024
8 min read

With five weeks to go before the 2024 edition of the Kentucky Derby, the trail through Oaklawn Park hits a fever pitch with the running of the $1.5 million Arkansas Derby. Muth, Timberlake, and Mystik Dan all come into the big race off an impressive graded stakes win. The trio will vie for favoritism among a field of ten sophomore colts.

In the sister race to the Arkansas Derby, an evenly matched field of a dozen 3-year-old fillies will be in search of a big payday, and to prove they belong in the Kentucky Oaks, when they meet in the $750,000 Fantasy Stakes. Filling out the big day, there will be two more lucrative stakes races, the Oaklawn Mile for the boys, and the Matron for the girls. Without further ado, let’s get to my best bets from this excellent card of racing.

Oaklawn Park Grounds Race Course 2024 Horse Racing Bets



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Race #9 Oaklawn Mile (Grade 3) $500,000 1-Mile Dirt - 5:32pm EST

A multiple graded stakes of nearly $1.7 million at Oaklawn Park alone, Last Samurai returns to his favorite track in hopes of picking up where he left off at the Hot Springs, Arkansas oval last year, when he tops a field of  eight older males in Saturday’s $500,000 Oaklawn Mile. 

Now trained by Eddie Miligan, Jr. the 6-year-old son of Malibu Moon came very close to a big triple at Oaklawn Park in 2023 when he won both the Grade 3 Razorback and the Grade 3 Essex, before just missing in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. This will be his first start for his new barn and since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Whitney last summer at Saratoga for previous trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Frosted Grace is another veteran with an excellent record at Oaklawn Park, and he also will be running for a new barn in the Grade 3 affair. The 8-year-old Mark Valeski horse was last seen winning a high-priced claiming race at the track eleven weeks ago. He has since moved to the barn of Mike Maker. He was the winner of the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park last spring.

Another one to watch in this flat mile test is the Steve Asmussen-trained Silver Prospector. A graded stakes winner at Oaklawn Park, the Declaration of War gray comes in off a recent allowance win at the track and trip five weeks ago. It’s a wide open race, but I like Frosted Grace the best at the one-mile distance. He is my top pick.

My Play

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Frosted Grace over Last Samurai, Silver Prospector and Midnight Rising = $30

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Last Samurai, Silver Prospector and Midnight Rising over Frosted Grace = $30

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Race #10 Matron Stakes $250,000 6-Furlongs Dirt - 6:12pm EST

A fleet-footed Californian, Daddysruby will take her show on the road when she headlines a field of ten older female sprinters in the $250,000 Matron Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

A California-bred daughter of Frac Daddy, she has won five of seven career starts all coming in her home state for trainer Peter Miller. Her big win came two starts back when she just held on to win the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita. In her first start since finishing third in the Spring Fever Stakes, she will add blinkers in hopes of taking this field gate to wire.

Chief among her opposition in the six-furlong affair will be the Steve Asmussen-trained Zeitlos. A 4-year-old daughter of Curlin, the chestnut filly comes in off two straight wins at the track and distance. Last time out, she split horses to drive to victory in the Carousel Stakes five weeks ago.

A returning filly with plenty of back-class is the Tom Amoss-trained Hoosier Philly. A three-time stakes winner, the daughter of Into Mischief will be making her first start since being well beaten in last fall’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The improving Zeitlos is the one I like best in this race, however, and she will be the top pick.

My Play

  • $50 Win - Zeitlos = $50

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Race #11 Fantasy Stakes (Grade 3) $750,000 1 1/16-Miles Dirt - 7:00pm EST

A surprise winner of the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park five weeks ago, Lemon Muffin looks to validate that performance when she faces a deep field of twelve Kentucky Oaks hopefuls in Saturday’s $750,000 Fantasy Stakes.

Trained by the Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, the 3-year-old Collected filly had been knocking on the door while sprinting, but was still a maiden after five tries. Things turned around when she stretched out in distance for her stakes debut as she rolled down the stretch to win easily. Things will only get tougher on Saturday as she takes on numerous talented fillies in the 1 1/16-mile affair.

The second and third place finishers in the Honeybee are back to take another shot at Lemon Muffin. The stakes winner Tapit Jenallie was second, while West Omaha is also a stakes winner and was the favorite that day when she finished third.

The top two finishers in the Sunland Park Oaks, Recharge and Candy Aisle, also merit respect, as does the New York shipper My Mane Squeeze, who has won three straight stakes races against state-breds at Aqueduct. Still, I believe the Lukas filly can do it again if she can repeat her Honeybee performance. Lemon Muffin is the top pick.

My Plays 

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Lemon Muffin over West Omaha, Candy Aisle, and My Mane Squeeze = $30

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - West Omaha, Candy Aisle, and My Mane Squeeze over Lemon Muffin = $30

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Race #12 Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) $1,500,000 1 1/8-Miles Dirt - 7:47pm EST

In the signature race of the year at Oaklawn Park, Muth, Timberlake, and Mystik Dan all should receive plenty of support when the graded stakes winning trio tops a field of ten Kentucky Derby hopefuls in the $1.5 million Arkansas Derby on Saturday.

A 3-year-old son of Good Magic, Muth was purchased for $2 million a year ago and has lived up to expectations for trainer Bob Baffert. Never having finished worse than second in five career starts, he proved his class with a runner-up finish in last fall’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In his only start this year, the Grade 1 winner was a handy winner of the Grade 2 San Vicente in January at Santa Anita. 

Finishing a bit behind Muth when fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was Timberlake. Sandwiching that effort, the Brad Cox-trained son of Into Mischief sports convincing scores in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. The latter came five weeks ago at Oaklawn Park.

Mystik Dan, meanwhile, has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief career. Last time out, the son of Goldencents absolutely blitzed the field on a wet Oaklawn Park track in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. A similar effort here could be enough to get the job done on Saturday. Training brilliantly for this big race, I like the classy Muth best in this spot, however. He is the top pick.

My Play

  • $10 Trifecta Key -  Muth over Timberlake, Mystik Dan, and Liberal Arts = $60

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Brian Zipse

289 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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