Handicapping the Gulfstream Park All-Stakes Pick 4

Hi Happy winning the Pan American Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography With 43 horses spread across four races, the all-stakes Pick 4 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park is shaping up to be a great sequence with lots of options for handicappers to consider. One of the challenges of playing sequences like this is keeping ticket costs reasonable—with so many horses to consider playing, it’s easy to wind up spending more than is logical [...]

Keying Audible in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes

Audible winning the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photography On a stakes-packed day of racing at Gulfstream Park, one of the highlights is the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile event that serves as a logical steppingstone toward the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (gr. I) six weeks from now. The overwhelming favorite figures to be #1 Audible, who has not run a bad race in [...]

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, [...]

Why I’m Keying the Favorites in the Hollywood Derby

River Boyne - © Benoit Photo With relatively few opportunities remaining for horses to compete against Grade 1 company before the end of 2018, fourteen three-year-olds have turned out to contest Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. I) at Del Mar. But while the huge field size suggests that the race should be wide-open in nature, I’m strongly drawn toward the two favorites #4 River Boyne and #6 Raging Bull, in part because I believe their most recent efforts [...]

Will Mendelssohn Prevail in the Cigar Mile?

Mendelssohn winning the UAE Derby - Coady Photography More often than not, the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct is won by a horse exiting a Breeders’ Cup race, whether it’s the Classic, the Dirt Mile, or even the Sprint. It only makes sense. With its Grade 1 ranking, its hefty purse, its perfect placement on the calendar, and its one-mile distance that is ideal for a wide variety of horses, the Cigar Mile is a [...]

Bessarabian Stakes Offers Rematch of Ontario Fashion Stakes Rivals

Moonlit Promise winning the 2018 Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) If the field for Sunday’s $175,000 Bessarabian Stakes (gr. II) at Woodbine seems a bit familiar, that’s because the seven-furlong all-weather sprint is essentially a rematch of last month’s Ontario Fashion Stakes (gr. III) over the same track. The top four finishers from the Ontario Fashion—Silent Sonet, Jessica Krupnick, Moonlit Promise, and Code Warrior—are set to face off again, along with the sixth-place finisher [...]

Will Chicago Style Upset the Hollywood Turf Cup?

Bigger Picture (inside) winning the United Nations Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth Park - Photo By Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO In my opinion, one of the most interesting handicapping challenges of the week is the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. II) on Friday at Del Mar, a 1 ½-mile turf race that pits established stars in questionable form against a handful of up-and-comers who have never won at the graded stakes level. By far the most accomplished runners in the [...]

Stella di Camelot Stands Out in Mrs. Revere Stakes

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Technically speaking, Friday’s $200,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs is a Grade 2 event, and understandably so. The 8.5-furlong turf race for three-year-old fillies has been won by some very good horses over the last decade or so, including the Grade 1 winners Acoma, Aruna, Marketing Mix, and Centre Court. Perhaps one of the dozen fillies entered in the 2018 renewal will go on to achieve similar success, though at [...]

Is Seeking the Soul Unstoppable in the Clark Handicap?

Seeking the Soul winning the 2017 Clark Handicap (gr. I) - Coady Photography As we approach the end of 2018 and enter the winter racing season, only two Grade 1 dirt races for older horses remain to be run this year, and one of them—the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs—is coming up this Friday. That said, on paper, this year’s renewal of the nine-furlong event bears a greater resemblance to a quality Grade 2 than [...]

Playing the Exacta in the Cardinal Handicap

Bonnie Arch defeating I Remember Mama in the Ellis Park Turf Stakes - Coady Photography The majority of the entrants in Saturday’s $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs are veterans with more than a dozen races on their records, but the filly that interests me most in this nine-furlong turf test is the most lightly-raced horse in the field. That would be #1 I Remember Mama, a four-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper who has never finished out [...]