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Angel of Empire wins 2023 Arkansas Derby with surge on home stretch

An impressive push at Oaklawn Park leads to a four-length win in the Kentucky Derby qualifier.

Trophy with flowers in the infield at Oaklawn Park during the Racing Festival of The South on April 14, 2012 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

An hour after Forte came back to win the 2023 Florida Derby, Angel of Empire closed out the day with a strong stretch finish to win the 2023 Arkansas Derby. Angel of Empire closed at 9/2 odds, which were the third best odds at post time. King Russell finished second and Reincarnate finished third.

Angel of Empire claimed 100 points with the victory and climbs into second place in the points standings for the 2023 Kentucky Derby. He entered the race with 54 points and sitting in seventh place. He trails only Forte, who will likely be the favorite at Churchill Downs. Angel of Empire is not “officially” in the Derby, but the horse effectively fuaranteed a spot. Only an unexpected injury would keep the horse from competing in the Run for the Roses.

King Russell was a shocker in second place, having come into the race with 58/1 odds to win. Reincarnate claimed 30 points with the third-place showing and moves into a tie for 11th place with the showing.

Rocket Can finished fourth in the race, which earned the colt 20 points. He climbs into a tie for sixth with that result.

Win: Angel of Empire
$11.40, $5.80, $4.40

Place: King Russell
$34.40, $12.20

Show: Reincarnate

$1 Exacta: $261.80
$0.50 Tri: $889.20
$0.10 Super: $512.65