Clark Handicap Betting Guide

There aren’t many more prestigious races in the United States than the Clark Handicap, as it has been a common race on the racing calendar since 1875. Below, you can find out all about the race and the markets you will be able to bet on in 2021.

Clark Handicap Event Details


The Clark Handicap is run annually in April and takes place at Churchill Downs. The race is a Grade 1 and is run over 1 1/8 miles on a dirt surface. Horses that are aged three and older can enter the race, and there is a purse of $500,000 available for connections.

Clark Handicap Preview


The Clark Handicap will take place in November, which means that declarations for the race will not be made until later in the year. However, we can assess some of the trends from recent years. Below, you can find the last five winners of the Clark Handicap.


  • Tom’s d’Etat (2019)

  • Leofric (2018)

  • Seeking the Soul (2017)

  • Gun Runner (2016)

  • Effinex (2015)


There aren’t many similarities between the past winners of the race over the past five years. The same trainer hasn’t won the race more than once, with Albert Stall Jr, Brad Cox, and Dallas Stewart being the last three winning trainers of the race. There have also been five different jockeys to win the race in the past five renewals, with Joel Rosario riding the winner in 2019.


The age of the horse could be more telling when trying to find the winner of the race. Younger horses have dominated since 2013, with three horses being aged three. There have been two horses aged four, and one horse aged six, and one horse aged five. Six-year-old winners are a rarity, as Tom’s d’Etat’s win in 2019 was only the second time that a six-year-old had won this race since 2000.


It is also important to assess the route that a horse could take to get to the Clark Handicap. Tom’s d’Etat won the Grade 2 Hagyard Fayette Stakes before lining up for the Clark Handicap. Earlier in the season, he had lined up for the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes and Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes.


The Hagyard Fayette Stakes was also the route that Leofric took on his way to winning the race in 2018. The Cox-trained horse won the race, which was his fourth start of the season. Prior to that win, he had come third in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes and had won the Grade 3 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes at Mountaineer Park.


However, victory in the Hagyard Fayette Stakes isn’t the only route that is taken by horses. Seeking the Soul won the Clark Handicap in 2017 and went into the race after winning an allowance at Keeneland. He hadn’t won a graded race before lining up for the Clark Handicap, as he had finished third in the Grade 3 Lukas Classic Stakes and third in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx.

Clark Handicap Event Information


The prestige of the Clark Handicap makes it one of the most appealing races in the fall at Churchill Downs. It has been run since 1875 and has been run over various distances throughout its history. The distance that it is now run over was also used between 1896 and 1901. However, the first five renewals of the race were run over two miles. It was also run over 1 ¼ miles and 1 1/16 miles.


The speed record for the race was set in 2006, as Premium Tap won in a time of 1:47.39. There have only been three horses in the history of this race to win on two occasions. Hodge was the first to achieve the feat, as he won in 1915 and 1916.


Bold Favorite and Bob’s Dusty have also since achieved that accomplishment. Isaac Burns Murphy and Pat Day have achieved the most wins at jockeys as they have won on four occasions. Meanwhile, three trainers are tied for the most wins in this race, as Ben Jones, Smiley Adams, and Bob Baffert have all won on three occasions.

Clark Handicap Betting Information


The Clark Handicap is an extremely popular betting race on the American calendar, and there are a number of betting markets available to gamblers. It is important to do extensive research before making a wager on any of the following markets.


  • Win: Gamblers can place a win bet on the Clark Handicap. The selected horse must win the race to get the returns.

  • Place: Selections can be made on a horse to place in the Clark Handicap. The selection must finish in the first two to get returns.

  • Exacta: Exacta bets can also be placed on the Clark Handicap. However, the gambler must successfully predict the first two horses that make it home.

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