Bet on the Clark Handicap
The Clark Handicap has a rich history dating back to the inaugural running in 1875. Held traditionally in the fall at Churchill Downs, the race has become an ideal spot for horses to either redeem themselves post-Breeders’ Cup before the voting for the Eclipse Awards or put an exclamation point on an outstanding season. The race has been run at several distances over the years ranging from a mile and a sixteenth to two miles and is currently contested at a mile and an eighth on the main track.
Online Racebook Guide
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Play the Clark Handicap Odds
The two strongest favorites finished first and third in the 2014 Clark Handicap, but it was the solid second-place run by 7-1 Protonico that help kick up the exotic payouts, returning an even $64 for the exactor, and $300 for the trifecta, both on a $2 bet. Betting through an online racebook like Bovada, our best choice, puts better odds in the horseplayer’s favor, thanks to weekly cash back rebates that pay out win or lose.
2016 Clark Handicap Contenders
In a wide-open renewal, the 2015 Clark featured a handful of intriguing older horses among the field of nine. Effinex, sent to post as the 5/2 favorite, was wheeling back from an admirable second-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic where the Jimmy Jerkens trainee finished behind only American Pharoah. Impressed by the four year-old’s sustained energy following the Classic, Jerkens opted ship Effinex to Churchill in search of the horse’s first grade 1 victory. The plan worked to perfection as Effinex tracked the leaders before launching a closing bid around the turn under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. By the eighth pole Effinex had seized command and proved best while holding off a late challenge by grade 1 winner Hoppertunity. Despite garnering plenty of buzz before the race, Grade 1 Travers winner Keen Ice could do no better than fourth. Keen Ice, a three year-old, was the only horse in 2015 to defeat American Pharoah.
2015 Order of Finish: Win Place Show
1st: Effinex $7.00 $3.60 $3.20
2nd: Hoppertunity $3.20 $2.60
3rd: Looks to Spare $10.80
(Also Ran: Keen Ice, Race Day, Protonico, Shotgun Kowboy, Mr. Z)
Did you know?
Though the Clark Handicap boats a storied history and prestigious Grade 1 status, some of the most remarkable races have come in contemporary years. In the past twenty years, some of the greatest North American champions have added the Clark to their remarkable resumes. Will Take Charge, most recently in 2013, rebounded after a narrow defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to win the Clark and earn the Eclipse as champion three-year-old.
It is a rare enough occurrence for a filly to step up and defeat male rivals but it is even more of an accomplishment when a three-year-old filly takes down a field of older horses. In 2000, Surfside did just that. The royally-bred daughter of Breeders’ Cup heroine Flanders was denied her own Breeders’ Cup win the month before and came back in style to defeat a field of eight male rivals in the Clark.
Held at the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, the Clark often attracts horses with a penchant for the surface. Very few horses excelled over that main track quite like 1997 Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm. After a heart-breaking defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic twenty days earlier, the popular gray colt came back fighting and won the Clark by a resilient head, giving 11 pounds to rival Littlebitlively.