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So far Keeler Johnson has created 546 blog entries.

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Game Winner Challenged By His Stablemate?

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography For the first time this season, a horse has emerged to challenge Game Winner for the top spot in my Kentucky Derby Top 10, a position that the son of Candy Ride has tenaciously held since September. Ultimately, Game Winner narrowly retained his leadership spot, but the fact that a horse as talented and accomplished as Game Winner isn’t first by a mile speaks volumes about the talent [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Improbable

Improbable winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo Trainer Bob Baffert is well accustomed to wheeling and dealing with expensive horses. Triple Crown winner Justify cost $500,000. Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate cost $560,000. Two of Baffert’s flashy maiden winners this year cost $925,000 and $625,000. But some of Baffert’s best runners this season have been quite inexpensive by those standards, and that includes Improbable, who sold for just $200,000 at the 2017 Keeneland [...]

Watch Out, Game Winner: Improbable Impresses in Los Alamitos Futurity

Improbable winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo Question—which horse is the most talented two-year-old currently residing in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert? Prior to the running of the December 8th Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (gr. I) at Los Alamitos, most racing fans would have quickly answered Game Winner, the three-time Grade 1 winner and probable champion two-year-old male of 2018. But then Baffert sent out Improbable to crush the [...]

Grass Championships Wide-Open at the 2018 Eclipse Awards

Enable winning the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I) - Coady Photography When Eclipse Award voters fill out their ballots at the end of the year, they will be faced with several challenging decisions, and while the battle for Horse of the Year is receiving most of the attention, the showdowns to determine the 2018 champion turf horses figure to be just as contested. There certainly won’t be a unanimous choice for Champion Grass Male or Champion Grass Female, [...]

Betting a Cold Exacta in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes

Monte Man winning the Heitai Stakes - Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr While some handicappers understandably shy away from betting heavy favorites, under the right circumstances, I’m more than happy to back a short-priced contender if I think I can make a nice score in the exotic wagers. Such is the case in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes at Fair Grounds, a six-furlong event that has attracted some of the best Louisiana-bred sprinters [...]

How to Bet the Valedictory Stakes

Melmich - Michael Burns Photography Want to take on a difficult handicapping challenge this weekend? Then come join me in analyzing Sunday’s $125,000 Valedictory Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine. The uncommon (and very testing) 1 ¾-mile distance would make this race tricky to handicap even if it were being run on dirt or turf, the two most common racing surfaces in North America. Add in the fact that it is actually being conducted over the synthetic Tapeta track [...]

Betting a Baffert Exacta in the Los Alamitos Futurity

Improbable winning the Street Sense Stakes - Coady Photography Just how many times has the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I), which will be renewed for the 38th time on December 8th? Well, technically, Baffert has never lost the Los Alamitos Futurity. Since the race was moved to Los Alamitos in 2014, Baffert has prevailed in every edition, and he also won the race six times during its glory days at [...]

Keying Mother Mother in the Starlet Stakes

Mother Mother winning the Rags to Riches Stakes - Coady Photography At first glance, the December 8th $300,000 Starlet Stakes (gr. I) at Los Alamitos isn’t the most appealing race from a betting perspective—with just six starters, payoffs could be on the small side. But then again, the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race is packed with quality, so it’s not like there’s an overwhelming favorite towering over the field. And if we can beat the [...]

Six Juvenile Stakes Races Scheduled for December 8th at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) As part of an action-packed afternoon of racing on December 8th, Gulfstream Park will host not only the Clasico Internacional del Caribe series (showcasing some of the best horses from Latin America and the Caribbean), but also a half-dozen stakes races for two-year-olds. Those juvenile races comprise the first six events on the massive card, which kicks off at 11:50 p.m. Eastern. And since you never know where the next Kentucky Derby (gr. I) [...]

Betting Regional Class Advantages, Part 2

Coady Photography In a recent article here on BetAmerica, we discussed how regional class advantages can exist throughout the sport of horse racing and produce to profitable wagering opportunities. Our first example noted how turf horses from the East Coast tend to be superior to their counterparts from the West Coast, but when we turn our attention to dirt racing, the picture looks very different. Specifically, when it comes to three-year-old dirt horses—Kentucky Derby candidates—the west has been [...]