Arkansas, Florida & UAE Derby’s 2024 Top Picks

Arkansas, Florida & UAE Derby 2024 Picks Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park
The field breaks from the starting gate during the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 01, 2023. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Saturday is a big horse racing day for the Kentucky Derby Prep Races. The winners of the Arkansas, Florida and UAE Derby are all but assured of a spot in the Run for the Roses in early May because the points for finishing 1st to 5th place are 100-50-25-15-10, in descending order.

Let’s look at what horses you should be betting at for these races that have points up for grabs for the first leg of the Triple Crown and identify the top picks that could lead to a lucrative payday at the top betting sites.

Also, remember to check your local regulations and available markets, as options may vary depending on your location. For instance, Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review) offers fixed odds in Colorado, so it’s worth exploring what your local providers have on offer.

2024 Arkansas Derby Info

  • Race: 12
  • Status: Grade 1
  • Distance: Race 1 1/8-miles
  • Conditions: Dirt
  • Purse: $1,500,000

Arkansas Derby 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2024 – Post Time 06:47 PM ET at Oaklawn Park

Arkansas Derby Top Picks

  • Win: #9 Mystik Dan
  • Place: #7 Muth
  • Show: #2 Timberlake

Arkansas Derby Field

 Post Position Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Will Take It Francisco Arrieta Eddie Milligan Jr. 50-1
2 Timberlake Flavien Prat Brad Cox 9-5
3 Dimatic Cristian Torres Steve Asmussen 20-1
4 Time for Truth Rafael Bejarano Ron Moquett 20-1
5 Liberal Arts Tyler Gaffalione Robert Medina 15-1
6 Informed Patriot Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen 30-1
7 Muth Juan Hernandez Bob Baffert 8-5
8 Just Steel Keith Asmussen D. Wayne Lukas 15-1
9 Mystik Dan Brian Hernandez Jr. Kenny McPeek 5-2
10 Imperial Gun Emmanuel Equivel Steve Asmussen 30-1

Breaking Down the Arkansas Derby

If you are looking for a possible Kentucky Derby winner, this race is a good place to start based on history. In 2015, American Pharoah would win this race and go on to collect the first Triple Crown in 37 years. Plus, American Pharoah and Curlin would win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Other Oaklawn winners, Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex had victories in two legs of the Triple Crown.

Muth is the 8/5 morning line favorite, having three victories and two seconds in five starts and he’s been as impressive. He’s not the only horse in this race the horse bettors have an eye on.

Mystik Dan (5/2 odds) won the Southwest Stakes at this same track by eight lengths at 11-1 odds in early February. What was so compelling about that stalking trip was that his speed rating was significantly higher than any horse that would be in this race. Can he duplicate that effort?

Timberlake (9/5) is the third choice, with three wins in six trips (also a 2nd). His strength is consistency, having virtually the same speed rating in his past three races. Timberlake’s trainer Brad Cox knows a thing or two about this race at 1 1/8 miles, having won the last two with Angel of Empire and Cyberknife.

If you are looking for a long shot, Time for Truth (20/1) fits the bill, with two Ws and a Place in three races. Just Steele (15/1) and Liberal Arts (15/1) could fit nicely into trifecta and superfecta cards.

2024 Florida Derby Info

  • Race: 14
  • Status: Grade 1
  • Distance: Race 1 1/8-miles
  • Conditions: Dirt
  • Purse: $1,000,000

Florida Derby 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2024 – Post Time 06:42 PM ET at Gulfstream Park

Florida Derby Top Picks

  • Win: #2 Hades
  • Place: #10 Fierceness
  • Show: #9 Conquest Warrior

Florida Derby Field

Post Position Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Frankie’s Empire Miguel Angel Vasquez Michael Yates 12-1
2 Hades Paco Lopez Joseph F. Orseno 7-2
3 Bail Us Out Irad Ortiz, Jr. Todd A. Pletcher 15-1
4 Grand Mo the First Emisael Jaramillo Victor Barboza, Jr. 15-1
5 Real Macho Javier Castellano Rohan Crichton 20-1
6 Le Dom Bro Edwin Gonzalez Eniel Cordero 15-1
7 Catalytic Julien R. Leparoux Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. 20-1
8 Seminole Chief Joel Rosario Jack Sisterson 30-1
9 Conquest Warrior Jose L. Ortiz Claude R. McGaughey III 3/1
10 Fierceness John R. Velazquez Todd A. Pletcher 8/5
11 Iris’s Dream Jorge Ruiz Cheryl Winebaugh 30-1

Breaking Down the Florida Derby

The focus of this race will be the two front runners, Fierceness (8/5) and Conquest Warrior (3/1), just for different reasons on each. Fierceness has the benefit of being the 2023 Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male champion and he’s trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, who has won this race a record-setting seven times.

The concerns about Fierceness start with drawing the #10 gate in this 11-horse field, which will require a quick start on this two-turn 1 1/8 miles excursion. This is not impossible, because last year Forte drew No.11 and went on to win. The other concern about Fierceness is he is coming off a disappointing third-place effort in the Holy Bull in his previous start. He was bumped a little and did not respond.

Conquest Warrior is making his stakes debut. CW has two wins and a place this year in lesser races, but bettors and oddsmakers appear to trust Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Jose Ortiz.

Florida-bred gelding Hades is behind the leaders by odds at 7/2 but just might slip into the favorite role on race day. Hades is a perfect 3-for-3 going to the winner’s circle. At the Holy Bull, he stunned Fierceness for the upset. Trainer Joe Orseno has not been to Louisville with a horse in the big race in 23 years. If Hades finishes first or second, he’s going back.

After this trio, three others could make some noise or show up on winning tickets for exacta, trifecta or superfecta action. Frankie’s Empire (12/1), Grand Mo the First (15/1) and Le Dom Bro (15/1) could be factors. We’ll give Le Dom Bro a shot because he’s more rested and was 2nd at the Fountain of Youth four weeks ago.

2024 UAE Derby Info

  • Race: 4
  • Status: Grade 2
  • Distance: Race 1 3/16-miles
  • Conditions: Dirt
  • Purse: $1,000,000

UAE Derby 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2024 – Post Time 09:50 AM ET at Meydan Racecourse

UAE Derby Top Picks

  • Win: #5 Forever Young
  • Place: #6 George Tesoro
  • Show: #12 Pandagate

UAE Derby Field

Post Position Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Auto Bahn Mickael Barzalona Julio Olascoaga 33-1
2 Oasis Boy Christophe Soumillon Julio Olascoaga 40-1
3 Rock Walk Joao Moreira Julio Olascoaga 14-1
4 Ballon D’Or Norihirio Yokoyama Mikio Matsunaga 40-1
5 Forever Young Ryusei Sakai Yoshito Yahagi 3-2
6 George Tesoro Yuga Kawada Takayuki Kato 7-1
7 Guns And Glory Jamie Spencer Bhupat Seemar 10-1
8 Henry Adams Ryan Moore Aidan O’Brien 8-1
9 Killer Collect Tadhg O’Shea Bhupat Seemar 14-1
10 Mendelssohn Bay Patrick Cosgrave Bhupat Seemar 12-1
11 Navy Seal Wayne Lordan Aidan O’Brien 16-1
12 Pandagate Dylan Davis Christophe Clement 6-1
13 Satono Phoenix Oisin Murphy Masato Nishizono 33-1

Breaking Down the UAE Derby

The UAE Derby has been around since the year 2000 and is run at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The favorite is Forever Young (5/4) and in his wins, he’s been patient and followed his rider’s orders.

Henry Adams (11/2) has the next best odds, however, our preference is the other two horses to challenge Forever Young. They are Pandagate (7/1) and George Tesoro (8/1). Both have looked good in recent workouts and should be primed for big efforts.

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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