Derby Day is Saturday at Oaklawn

By Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS – The last name called during the post position draw for the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby, the richest Kentucky Derby prep, was Secret Oath. 

But, regarding the race, could it be another case of “ladies first” for her Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas?

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After winning the 1984 Arkansas Derby with a filly, Althea, Lukas attempts to do it again with Secret Oath, who headlines a nine-horse field for the 1 1/8-mile event Saturday at Oaklawn. Probable post time for the Arkansas Derby, which goes as the 12th of 13 races, is 6:35 p.m.

Racing begins at noon. The infield will be open and will feature live music, food trucks, Beer Garden and Kids Zone.

Saturday’s card also features the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, $400,000 Oaklawn Mile for older horses and the $200,000 Carousel Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 furlongs.

The Arkansas Derby will offer 170 points (100-40-20-10, respectively) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. A top two finish likely would give Secret Oath enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, which is limited to 20 starters.

In other racing news: Oaklawn will add Thursday, April 7 to its schedule after racing was canceled January 21 due to inclement weather.

Oaklawn’s live meet runs through Sunday, May 8.

Barber Road in action at Oaklawn. (Coady Photography)