Oklahoma Derby: Trained by Brad Cox, Best Actor Is the Likely Favorite in the 9-Furlong Test

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated October 14, 2022
7 min read

Oklahoma Derby Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
L Reyes B Dibona
2 RED KNOBS 12/1
J Carreno R Diodoro
L Goncalves S Davis
F Geroux B Cox
B J Hernandez Jr K McPeek
L Luzzi J Gelner
S Elliot S Asmussen
C Torres R Diodoro

Oklahoma Derby Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$20 Exacta Box – Rattle N Roll and Best Actor  = $40

$10 Exacta Box – Rattle N Roll and Steal Sunshine  = $20

Top Pick: Rattle N Roll (5/2)

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Oklahoma Derby Predictions

Each coming off impressive recent stakes victories, Best Actor and Rattle N Roll headline a field of eight set for Sunday’s $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

Trained by Brad Cox, Best Actor is the likely favorite in the 9-furlong test. A son of Flatter, he has won three of four career starts and comes in off a 5 ¾-length score in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones at Parx.

Before that, the dark bay colt was a good second, beaten only a half-length, in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby in what was his stakes debut.

Rattle N Roll, meanwhile, will be looking for his third stakes victory in his last four starts. A Grade 1 winner as a juvenile, the son of Connect took a while to find his best this year, but has been going good of late for trainer Kenny McPeek.

Three starts back he rallied nicely at Churchill Downs to win the $200,000 American Derby, and most recently he rushed past the field to romp in the $250,000 St. Louis Derby five weeks ago.

Of the rest, Steal Sunshine looks to have the best chance to upset the top two in Sunday’s Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby.

A winner of three straight, the Constitution colt ran his first eight races at Gulfstream Park, where he won the Carry Back Stakes two starts back. Most recently, he ventured outside of South Florida to win the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby on August 14.

Oklahoma Derby Predictions and Race Analysis

Best Actor

This lightly raced son of Flatter has done little wrong for trainer Brad Cox in his first four career races. After two nice wins to begin his career this spring, he moved seamlessly into graded stakes company with a solid second in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby in July.

Next out was even better as he went wire-to-wire to dominate the Grade 3 Smarty Jones at Parx. He’s not at the level of his stablemates Cyberknife and Tawny Port, who will contest the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday, so Cox sent this one to Oklahoma.

He is progressive, has good tactical speed, and should not be bothered by the extra half-furlong of the Oklahoma Derby. The morning line favorite is obviously a huge threat to win this, but there is one other horse I like better.

Rattle N Roll

After a difficult start to this season, this son of Connect has rounded into form and found his place as a solid stakes horse a level below the Grade 1 types. Impressive wins in the American Derby and St. Louis Derby demonstrate that he is in good form and fits in with this group.

While he has been unable to live up to his Grade 1 victory as a juvenile, the experienced chestnut has turned in a series of solid races. In fact, his only disappointing race in his last handful came when trouble out of the gate cost him all chance in the Indiana Derby.

Coming off what was likely his best race yet for trainer Kenny McPeek, I like the three-time stakes winner’s chances on Sunday evening. He is the top pick.

Steal Sunshine

His class will be tested on Sunday, but this son of Constitution is obviously moving in the right direction after three straight victories.

His connections thought enough of him to run in the Grade 1 Florida Derby early this year. He was an also ran in that one, but has continued to improve for trainer Bobby Dibona.

He became a stakes winner two starts back in the 7-furlong Carry Back Stakes and then proved he can win away from Gulfstream Park with a convincing score in the one mile Ellis Park Derby last month. The top two to be tough here, but of the rest, this one looks like the biggest threat for the win.

King Ottoman

The winner of only one out of six career races, this well-bred son of Curlin was able to get that lone victory in the $300,000 Texas Derby. It was over a weaker field than this, but still showed his potential to be a graded stakes horse.

His two starts since, though, leave some question marks. His third-place run in the Indiana Derby was not bad, but he was clearly not as good as Best Actor there. Last time he finished well back behind a tough field in the West Virginia Derby.

Perhaps the sloppy track did him in there, but you have to wonder if he is good enough yet to handle these. I like the top three better.

Great Escape

One of two trained by Robertino Diodoro, they both come out of a pair of stakes races north of the border.

This Midnight Storm colt finished second to his stablemate Red Knobs in the Manitoba Derby, but was able to turn the tables last time with a convincing score in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby.

Coming from three races in Canada, and with spotty form in the U.S. before that, it’s tough to know how that form will translate in this Grade 3 American test. Of the two, I like this one a bit better, but both look like longshots that I cannot completely dismiss.

Red Knobs

Like his stablemate, this son of Union Rags has tactical speed and enters Sunday’s test off two solid stakes performances in Canada. Before heading north, he had only won once in ten starts in the United States.

Still, there were some decent performances along the way, and enough to think that he has at least a shot in here to fill out the exotics if he can run his best.

Unfortunately, the top two or three in here look a cut above, making it hard for me to give him strong consideration for the win.

Big Chopper

This Louisiana-bred has developed into a pretty nice horse in his native state, while primarily running against fellow statebreds.

He finally left Louisiana to get in a prep for this and just missed in a Remington Park allowance race three weeks ago. It was a decent performance, but probably not enough to show that he can beat a field like this.

Like the two above him, I would not be shocked if he outran his odds, but he looks to be in a tough spot against the likes of Best Actor and Rattle N Roll.

Flash of Genius

This gelded son of Flashback has never actually crossed the wire first in a race, with his only career victory coming via disqualification in a Del Mar allowance race more than a year ago.

After a poor performance to start the year in a race in which he was claimed, he came back to run a couple of decent races on the turf for his new connections.

It does appear that he is on the improve out in Southern California, but it seems a stretch that he can come here and beat this bunch in his stakes debut.

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How to Watch the Oklahoma Derby

What Oklahoma Derby (Grade 3)
Location Remington Park
Time Sunday, September 25 — 9:14 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $400,000
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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Horse Racing
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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.
Nationality: American
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