Eight Rings rebounds impressively in American Pharoah Stakes

Eight Rings might still be a work in progress, but his abundant raw talent was readily apparent when he romped to victory in Friday’s $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita.

Horses to bet (and bet against) in the American Pharoah Stakes

Horses break from the starting gate at Santa Anita (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) On Friday at approximately 4:30 p.m. PT, racing fans and handicappers across the country will turn their attention to Santa Anita for the $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes (G1). This 1 1/16-mile “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the November 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) also serves as a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race that offers 10 qualification points to the winner. There is [...]

Rating the First Round of 2019 Kentucky Derby Preps

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography With the running of Sunday's Remington Springboard Mile, the last North American Kentucky Derby prep race of the year entered the history books, bringing to a close the first stage of qualification for the 2019 “Run for the Roses.” From September through December, nine Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races were conducted across the country, and while the majority offered the same number of qualification [...]

Game Winner, Rowayton Face Off Again in American Pharoah Stakes

Game Winner winning the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo The field for Saturday’s $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita might be lacking in quantity, but it’s certainly not lacking in quality! Five promising two-year-old have been entered in the 8.5-furlong “Win and You’re In” prep race for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), including two that have already shown significant talent at the Grade 1 level. Those two are #4 Game [...]

Keying Magnum Moon in the Rebel Stakes

Solomini (outside) rallies past McKinzie (inside) and Instilled Regard (middle) in the Los Alamitos Futurity(©Benoit Photo) It’s safe to say that the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert knows how to win the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. Baffert has won the 8.5-furlong Kentucky Derby prep race a staggering six times in the last eight years, including with champions American Pharoah and Lookin at Lucky, so all eyes in the 2018 Rebel will surely be [...]

2017: A Year in Reflection

Gun Runner after winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic (Photo by Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) With only a few days remaining in 2017, now seems like a great time to look back at a memorable year of racing from coast to coast and throughout the world. From best bets to favorite races, here are some of my most memorable moments from 2017…. Best Bet of the Year When I look back at 2017, I think my best bet [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 12/8/17

Good Magic winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Photo by Carson Denis/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) Get ready, everyone! The prep races on the road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby are already underway, and with just five months remaining until the big race, it’s time to start analyzing the contenders and thinking ahead to which horses will be ready for glory on the first Saturday in May. Starting today and continuing every week until the Derby, I’ll be sharing my [...]

Bolt d’Oro seeks third grade I in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Bolt d'Oro dominates the field for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Photo: Benoit Photos. There’s one major question heading into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Saturday: is Bolt d’Oro for real? The son of Medaglia d’Oro has swept all before him in three starts in California. He won his maiden well, rallied from well back to win the Del Mar Futurity (G1), and produced an outstanding effort to rout his opposition in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. [...]

Champagne Stakes an Intriguing Puzzle for Punters

The Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park is one of the best juvenile races in the country, and its winner earns direct entry into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. But trying to select a winner when there is so little exposed form can be a difficult task. Despite its grade one status, only Firenze Fire among the 12 Champagne Stakes entries has run in a graded stakes race, winning the Sanford [...]