The wait for the Arkansas Derby is almost over. Oaklawn Park’s biggest race of the spring is set to wrap up the qualifying races for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and a few derby hopefuls can be expected at the starting gate on Saturday.

Here are some fun facts to know before Saturday’s big day!


  1. The Arkansas Derby was first run in 1936. This weekend marks the 83rd running of the race. Oaklawn


  1. The race is worth $1 million and 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. The winner gets $600,000 and 100 points, which is enough to guarantee a spot at the Kentucky Derby.


  1. American Pharoah used the 2015 Arkansas Derby as a springboard to Triple Crown success. He won the Rebel Stakes in March before winning the Arkansas Derby and achieving Triple Crown fame.


  1. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the race twice since 2012 with American Pharoah and Bodemeister. This year, he’ll have a top contender in Rebel runner-up Improbable.


  1. Last year a total of $16,159,771 was bet on Arkansas Derby day races, a record for the track.

  1. No horse has won the Arkansas Derby by a bigger margin than Curlin. The eventual two-time Horse of the Year was 10 ½ lengths ahead of runner-up Storm in May in 2007.


  1. Seventeen horses won a Triple Crown race after racing in the Arkansas Derby. Creator is the most recent, capturing both the 2016 Belmont Stakes and Arkansas Derby.


  1. The race attracts more fans than any other day at Oaklawn. An estimated 64,500 people showed up for last year’s big race.


  1. The betting favorite has won the race three out of the last four years but just four of the last 10.


  1. The average winning odds are 3.60-to-1 in the last four years. In the last 10 years, it’s 10.83-to-1


Photos by David Yerby