Longshot Farmington Road Could Lead To Riches in Split Division Of Arkansas Derby

FairwayJay examines the split divsions that make up Saturday's two-race Arkansas Derby, with betting tips for each race.

Trainer Bob Baffert Saddles Both Favorites In Split Divisions Of Arkansas Derby

Looking for a longshot and cashing in is a thrill when betting on the races. Or any major sporting event, including golf which has its own 'horses for courses' but much larger fields and bigger longshots. The NFL Draft is now completed, and that also provided individual player props. But with MLB stuck in the dugout instead of the batters box, and the NBA still waiting for a comeback to the court, we’re left with horse racing and the Sport of Kings to land our next longshot. Saturday’s Arkansas Derby offers a variety of chances to cash in and we’ll follow the winding road, um, oval and let Farmington Road lead us to the feed bucket and return on investment. 

Arkansas Derby betting tipsThe two divisions of the Arkansas Derby were created equal only in the number of horses that will run in each race - 9. What started with 11 runners in each race has now lost Shooters Shoot, Fast Enough and yesterday Wrecking Crew and Saratogian. The favorite in the first division is Bob Baffert-trained Charlatan (1/1), who is 2-for-2 and now makes his stakes debut as the odds on favorite. He's a front runner in a race that lacks little other speed, and even proven handicappers looking for value and a horse they can get behind to take down Charlatan are coming up empty. How they handle that with little payoff as a reward is to just 'single' Charlatan in the all-stakes Pick 3 starting with this first division of the Arkansas Derby in Race 11.

For those watching at home, that race is at 6:29 p.m. ET and be seen on TVG's "Trackside Live" airing on its home network and also simulcast by NBCSN. Also on Saturday, May 2, NYRA-produced "America's Day at the Races" will air from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1. Additional race coverage on Friday and Sunday is on FS2. 

Arkansas Derby betting odds and post positions

Division 1 (Post time 6:29 p.m. ET)

Post Horse Opening Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Charlatan 1/1 Martin Garcia Bob Baffert
2 My Friends Beer 20/1 Decan Clannon Jeremiah O'Dwyer
3 Mo Mosa 30/1 Kendrick Carmouche Mike Maker
4 Gouverneur Morris 9/2 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher
5 Jungle Runner 30/1 Tyler Baze Steve Asmussen
6 Wrecking Crew 20/1 Flavien Prat Peter Miller
7 Anneau d' Or 6/1 Juan Hernandez Blaine Wright
8 Winning Impression 15/1 Julien Leparoux Dallas Stewart
9 Crypto Cash 20/1 Corey Lanerie Ken McPeek
10 Basin 8/1 Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steve Asmussen

Division 2 (Post time 7:43 p.m. ET)

Post Horse Opening Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Finnick the Fierce 15/1 Martin Garcia Rey Hernandez
2 Saratogian 50/1 Joe Talamo Rodolphe Brisset
3 Storm the Court 6/1 Flavien Prat Peter Eurton
4 King Guillermo 3/1 Samuel Camacho, Jr. Juan Carlos Avila
5 Nadal 5/2 Joel Rosario Bob Baffert
6 Code Runner 50/1 Stewart Elliott Steve Asmussen
7 Silver Prospector 10/1 Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steve Asmussen
9 Taishan 15/1 David Cohen Richard Baltas
10 Farmington Road 12/1 Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher
11 Wells Bayou 7/2 Florent Geroux Brad Cox

The Arkansas Derby betting guide and breakdown offers a better chance to score in Race 13 with the second division of the Arkansas Derby. Upon further review, our 'looking for a longshot' angle points towards Todd Pletcher-trained Farmington Road (12-1), who competes against four graded stakes winners including the favorite Nadal (5/2), who is 3-for-3 under trainer Bob Baffert. But Pletcher has won a record five Arkansas Derbys, and when it comes to finding the right training regimen, Pletcher seems to get his runners to 'find more' as he brings them along in their development. The hay and oats bucket has a nice mix and some flavored protein powder. 

Nadal is going to be tough in here as the favorite, and some analysis including the Super Screener believe he's the best in Baffert's barn loaded with some strong 3-year-olds. But when evaluating horses and a race, 'how' a horse has run leading up to a race is more important then 'where' the horse finished or the time, which can be dependent on the track and conditions. So pace projections, race shape, track biases, trip analysis, historical patterns for the race type are part of the handicap, as is value. Nadal won't offer up value, but that certainly doesn't mean he won't win. He'll just be pressured by more horses up front in this race, and perhaps he won't be as comfortable while using more energy to maintain the pace.

If the pace is fast as projected, then #10 Farmington Road (12-1) will be a beneficiary. He closed from the clouds and way back in his last race to rally strong in the stretch and just miss while finishing second in the Oaklawn Stakes. He went very wide on the far turn, and had a strong race off a little layoff having finished fourth in the Risen Star (G2). That last race was just three weeks ago, so Pletcher must like how his colt came out of the race and what he can do with him. With other Kentucky Derby prep races likely added to the schedule this summer due to COVID-19 and some of the major preps being cancelled or postponed, Pletcher wouldn't have to push Farmington Road back on quick turnaround unless he felt confident. 

The Picks

The $0.50 cent late Pick 3 looks like this for $10. Hit it three times #1 with 7, 9, 12, 14 with 4, 5, 7, 9, 10.

Add a straight $5 Pick 3 of Charlatan, Combatant and Farmington Road (1-7-10)

Farmington Road gets Win, Place and Show bets, which can pay off more if Nadal fails to win the race as well.

You can bet on it.   

FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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