The Arkansas Derby is a Gr 2 American horserace contested by
three-year-old thoroughbreds over 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park Race
Track in Hot Springs, Arkansas in April each year. A dirt race, it
offers a lucrative purse of $1-million and is a well-known and
popular prep race for the prestigious Kentucky Derby.
Inaugurated in 1936, the first Arkansas Derby offered a purse of
$5,000, which was a lot of money in those days. It was won by Holl
Image under the guidance of trainer Jack Carter. A race that has
proved the test of time, over the years many of its winners have
gone on to bigger and better things, like 2007 winner Curlin.
Curlin went on to chalk up wins in many auspicious races such as the
Jockey Club Gold Cup (2008), the Jaguar Trophy Handicap (2008), the
Dubai World Cup (2008), the Stephen Foster Handicap (2008) and the
Woodward Stakes (2008). The colt was also named the World's
Top Ranked Horse in the same year.
In 2004, Arkansas Derby winner Smarty Jones went on to win the
Kentucky Derby as did Sunny's Halo in 1983. In addition, previous
race winners Elocutionist, Tank's Prospect and Pine Bluff all
went on to victories in the Preakness Stakes. Concern, race winner
in 1994, won that year's Breeders' Cup Classic.
In 1984 Althea won the Arkansas Derby in a record time of 1:46.80,
while jockey Pat Day has won the race a record three times - in
1986, 1987 and 1997.