Looking for longshots in the 2019 Epsom Derby

They call it the Derby for a reason—it’s the father of all Derbys, the race that started it all way back in 1780. Officially called the Investec Derby (G1) and held over 1 1/2 miles at Epsom, the great race has been dominated in recent years by Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has conditioned six winners since 2001. In his quest to secure a record-equaling seventh win in the Derby, Aidan O’Brien will send out seven of the 13 entrants [...]

Top Milers Prep for Royal Ascot in Lockinge Stakes

Horses and jockeys during the 2017 Queen Mary Stakes, Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The 2019 British flat racing season is well underway, and preparations are heating up for the prestigious five-day Royal Ascot meet in mid-June. The annual opening race at Royal Ascot is the Queen Anne Stakes (G1), a one-mile test that pits some of the best older milers in Europe—both male and female—against each other in a straight run down the long chute and [...]

European Representation Seems Unlikely in 2019 Kentucky Derby

When clear favorite U S S Michigan flattened out in the homestretch of the Cardinal Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford City Racecourse in England, the chance of having a European representative in the 2019 Kentucky Derby weakened considerably. The one-mile Polytrack race was the final stop on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series designed to offer a spot in the Derby starting gate to the horse that accumulated the most points in seven qualifying races. But the first six [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Will Frustrations Continue for Dubai Shippers?

Plus Que Parfait winning the UAE Derby - © Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley It’s safe to say that few (if any) major Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races have had less of an impact on the annual outcome at Churchill Downs than the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Held five weeks before the first Saturday in May, the UAE Derby seems like an event that should produce major Kentucky Derby contenders. With a rich [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Master Fencer

The recent confirmation that Japan’s Master Fencer will contest the 2019 Kentucky Derby has added a bit of international intrigue to the Run for the Roses. Master Fencer will be just the third Japan-based runner to compete in the Derby, and he’ll be making history as the first Derby starter bred in Japan. His participation will naturally provide a challenge for handicappers, since it’s difficult to determine how his form compares to that of the more clearly established Derby contenders [...]

U S S Michigan Seeks Kentucky Derby Berth in Cardinal Conditions Stakes

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The European Road to the Kentucky Derby will conclude on Thursday with the running of the Cardinal Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford City in England, and I’d advise everyone to keep a close eye on what transpires in this one-mile race. Held over a Polytrack course similar in size and shape to Churchill Downs, the Cardinal Conditions Stakes has attracted nine starters, and while only two have been nominated to the Triple Crown, one of [...]

Der Flug Wins Final Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Race

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby reached its conclusion with the Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 31, though it remains to be seen whether the four-race series will produce a starter for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Eight horses lined up to contest the 1,800-meter race, though with the well-regarded Derma Louvre on the road for the UAE Derby (UAE-II) and last month’s Hyacinth Stakes winner Oval Ace absent from the action, the Fukuryu field was a bit [...]

Plus Que Parfait Rebounds in UAE Derby

Plus Que Parfait winning the UAE Derby - © Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley After being soundly defeated in two Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races at Fair Grounds this winter, it seemed as though the Derby trail had come to an end for Plus Que Parfait. But his undaunted connections persevered and set their sights on another target—the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, offering 100 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the winner. And [...]

Picks and Plays for Dubai World Cup Night

Almond Eye winning the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) - Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association By far the best race card in the world this Saturday will take place at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, where the eight Thoroughbred races on Dubai World Cup Night will pit high-class runners from around the world against each other in a series of rich stakes events. I’ve gone through the card and have put together a list of horses that interest me [...]

Why I’m Betting Walking Thunder in the UAE Derby

Meydan Racecourse - Coady Photography The international roads to the Kentucky Derby will heat up significantly this weekend, with the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai being the main highlight. A major Road to the Kentucky Derby steppingstone offering 100 qualification points to the winner, the UAE Derby has never produced a Kentucky Derby champion, but it has produced plenty of Derby starters through the years and figures to produce one or two more [...]