Horse Racing History? Can Secret Oath Win the Arkansas Derby on Road to Kentucky

Can Secret Oath beat the boys and make horse racing history? The $1.25 million Arkansas Derby Saturday at Oaklawn Park (post time 7:35 p.m. ET) is no longer just a qualifying prep for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. It is a must-watch race.

It awards 100 points and certain entry into the Run for the Roses. The 40-point prize for second also will ensure a Derby slot, as might the 20-point third-place prize.

Horse Racing History?

No filly was won a Kentucky Derby qualifier since the adoption of the points system in 2013. That may change in the Arkansas Derby. Secret Oath won her last three races by 23 lengths. And her trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, is the only trainer in the last half century to win a Kentucky Derby prep with a filly, according to

Lukas did so with Althea in the 1984 Arkansas Derby, Winning Colors in the 1988 Santa Anita Derby (G1), and Serena’s Song in the 1995 Jim Beam (G2), now known as the Jeff Ruby.

Only three fillies have ever won the Kentucky Derby: Winning Colors in 1988, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Regret was the first in 1915. Each raced against males in advance of running in the Kentucky Derby. Winning Colors and Genuine Risk are the only two fillies to compete in all three Triple Crown races.

A total of 40 fillies have run in the Kentucky Derby, and six were post-time favorites. No filly has entered the Derby since Devil May Care finished 10th in 2010. Eight Belles finished second in 2008 and is the only other filly to enter the Derby this century. No filly has won a Triple Crown race since Rachel Alexandra at the Preakness in 2009.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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