Anchored by two major prep races for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a National Pick 4 wager will be offered on Saturday, April 16 by Oaklawn Park and Keeneland, in conjunction with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Named the "Premier Pick 4," the wager will combine Oaklawn's $1 million, Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), along with one additional stakes race from each track.
Both the Arkansas Derby, which produced last year's Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones, and the Blue Grass, which has sent 22 starters to Derby victory, are for 3-year-olds at 1-1/8 miles.
All four races will be televised live on ESPN from 4:30-6:30 p.m., EDT. The Pick 4 will start with the $100,000 Instant Racing Breeders' Cup from Oaklawn, to be followed by the $400,000, Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) from Keeneland.
"The Toyota Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby are two of the premier stepping stones to the Kentucky Derby," said Keeneland's director of racing Rogers Beasley. "Since they will be run within minutes of each other on ESPN, we thought the public would enjoy wagering on them in a national bet."
"Oaklawn is delighted to partner with Keeneland for the presentation of a National Pick 4 anchored by two classic 3-year-old races," said Bobby Geiger, Oaklawn's director of wagering and simulcasting.
"The Premier Pick 4 is an addition to the NTRA's National Pick 4 schedule and racing fans will benefit," said Kenneth E. Kirchner, NTRA senior vice president for product development. "We appreciate the leadership shown by Keeneland and Oaklawn in advancing this wager."
The $1 minimum wager will originate from Oaklawn Park. The NTRA offers numerous Pick Four wagers throughout the year in conjunction with national telecasts.