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So far Keeler Johnson has created 722 blog entries.

Betting Against the Proven Class in the Santa Margarita Stakes

Santa Anita - © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 There might be a couple of established grade 1 performers entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park, but for various reasons I’m inclined to oppose both in this 1 1/8-mile test. #8 Paradise Woods is by far the most accomplished mare in this eight-horse field, but the two-time grade 1 winner hasn’t won a race since September 2017, and she seems to have lost the [...]

Betting a Cold Double on Churchill Downs’ Opening Night

Bulletin winning the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint - © Eric Patterson/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM /Breeders' Cup You won’t need a news bulletin to know #1 Bulletin will be an overwhelming favorite in the $125,000 William Walker Stakes at Churchill Downs on April 27. The eighth and featured race on opening night of the spring meet, the William Walker is a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds, and sprinting on grass is what Bulletin does best. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Trainers, Facts and Trends

Bode Baffert (and Mike Smith) holds up the Derby trophy as his father, trainer Bob Baffert (second from left), enjoys the moment after Justify won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs (Skip Dickstein/Times Union) Some of the best-known trainers in North American horse racing will be represented by major contenders in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, but as usual, the “Run for the Roses” will make room for a few newcomers as well. Sixteen different [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Omaha Beach Stays on Top

Code of Honor wins Fountain of Youth Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin) Now that the Kentucky Derby prep races are complete, it’s safe to say morning training sessions have moved to the forefront of everyone’s attention as the Derby draws nearer. I haven’t seen anything in the various workouts and gallops to strongly shift my opinions of the top contenders, but that could change over the next week or so, as the 20 Derby candidates wrap up their serious [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Keeler Johnson’s Morning Line Projection

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography In recent years post-time favorites in the Kentucky Derby have been starting at relatively short prices, especially when you consider the uncommonly large size of the annual Derby field. This has coincided with a historic streak of six consecutive winning favorites. Orb, who prevailed in the 2013 Derby at odds of 5.40-1, has been the only member of the current streak to start above 5-1. He’s been followed into the Derby winner’s circle [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

Pick 4 Plays for Charles Town Classic Day

Lake Ponchatrain winning the Pink Ribbon Stakes at Charles Town - Coady Photography If you’re planning to watch and wager on the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) Saturday at Charles Town, I strongly recommend you tune in early to catch the numerous stakes races earlier on the card. Eight stakes races (the first at 2:17 p.m. ET) are scheduled for the afternoon, and they’re arranged in consecutively, without a single allowance or claiming race stuck in between. The [...]

Alwaysmining Stands Out in Federico Tesio Stakes

When six horses line up to contest the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, it’s hard to imagine any outcome other than a resounding victory for #2 Alwaysmining. On paper the son of Stay Thirsty towers over the field and will be an overwhelming favorite to claim victory in the 1 1/8-mile race, which serves as a prep for the Preakness Stakes (G1) four weeks from now. Speed figures? Alwaysmining has fired off four straight 91+ BRIS speed ratings, [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Charles Town Classic

War Story - Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) The $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town will be contested for the 11th time Saturday, and the previous ten renewals have produced some clear-cut clues to help us identify the most likely winner. Favorites have not been very successful in the Charles Town Classic, probably because the 1 1/8-mile race features three turns over a six-furlong bullring racetrack, which tends to produce a wild race from [...]

Mike Maker-Trained Runners Loom Large in Elkhorn Stakes

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Is it possible trainer Mike Maker could sweep the trifecta in Saturday’s $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland? I don’t think it’s a far-fetched notion. Certainly a victory would come as no surprise. Maker’s former claimer #10 Zulu Alpha seems to have forgotten how to lose, with four wins from his last five starts, including graded stakes triumphs in the Sycamore Stakes (G3), [...]