2018 Arkansas Derby Predictions
Arkansas Derby Wagering Overview
Make no mistake about it, the one to beat in this field of nine is the 8/5 morning line favorite Magnum Moon. Trained by 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher, Magnum Moon is unbeaten in three starts, including a dominating win at Oaklawn last-out in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. He’s trained forwardly since that March 17 effort and appears to be getting better with each start.
Another factor solidifying Magnum Moon’s status in this race is that much of his primary competition figures to come from colts he already defeated handily in the Rebel. Solomini (2/1) was the runner-up in that race, beaten over three lengths and Combatant (6/1) was a head further back in third.
The new shooter of note in the Arkansas Derby is Quip (9/2). His connections opted to skip the Grade 2 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland last weekend in favor of this more prestigious opportunity. Quip made a huge leap forward in his only start as a three year-old, winning the Grade 2 Tampa Derby by a length over the well-regarded Flameaway (2nd last weekend in the Bluegrass).
Meet the Field
- Beautiful Shot 30/1
- Machismo 20/1
- Tenfold 10/1
- Dream Baby Dream 15/1
- Solomini 2/1
- Magnum Moon 8/5
- Plainsman 30/1
- Quip 9/2
- Combatant 6/1
In addition to Quip, Tenfold is an interesting outsider. One of three horses in the race trained by Steve Asmussen, Tenfold is 2 for 2 in his young career, winning a maiden special weight and an allowance race at Oaklawn – both at the mile and a sixteenth distance. He figures to be close to the early lead, but will need to improve upon his career-best Beyer Figure of 87 in order to have a say in the outcome.
2018 Arkansas Derby Picks
Magnum Moon is the real deal and has the look of a very serious KY Derby contender. With a win in the Arkansas Derby, Magnum Moon will likely battle for favoritism on the first Saturday in May with Santa Anita Derby hero Justify. Neither colt raced as a two year-old, however, something every Kentucky Derby winner has done since Apollo in 1882.
None of that really matters here though. I like Magnum Moon on top as he’s already proven to be the fastest of this buch and looks to have more in the tank. Magnum Moon has excellent tactical speed and should find a comfortable spot behind the early leaders. Quip is an interesting contender and he’s only run one bad race in his career, winning 3 of 4 starts. Still, I think he’d have to move forward to challenge Magnum Moon. Solomini and Combatant are reliable horses who will likely round out the top finishers.
- 1st: Magnum Moon
- 2nd: Quip
- 3rd: Combatant
- 4th: Solomini
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