How to Bet the Southwest Stakes

Sueno galloping at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography When I started handicapping the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) on Presidents’ Day at Oaklawn Park, I initially began by trying to separate the six runners coming out of last month’s Smarty Jones Stakes. I took note of the fact that #1 Gray Attempt won the Smarty Jones in gate-to-wire fashion, tenaciously clinging to a narrow advantage down the homestretch while giving the impression that he was in better control [...]

Gray Attempt Successfully Stretches His Speed in Smarty Jones Stakes

Gray Attempt winning the Smarty Jones Stakes - Coady Photography Sprint to the lead. Run everyone off their feet. Hang on to secure the victory. Rinse and repeat. That’s been the magic formula for the up-and-coming three-year-old Gray Attempt, who secured his third straight front-running triumph when forging to a hard-fought win in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on January 25 at Oaklawn Park. Never mind that he was stretching out to a mile for the first time—he [...]

Sorting the Contenders in the Smarty Jones Stakes

Gray Attempt winning the Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds - Photo by Hodges Photography The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Friday with the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, a one-mile race that strikes me as considerably easier to interpret than last week’s Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. Whether that indeed proves to be the case is another question entirely, but here’s how I break down the main contenders: The Deserving Favorite #8 Gray [...]

2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby Year-End Review

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With the running of the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in Japan on December 19th, the final Kentucky Derby prep race of 2018 entered the history books, giving us an opportunity to look back on the season before the calendar turns over and we continue headlong toward the 2019 Derby. During the course of the primary Road to the Kentucky [...]

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 [...]

Long Range Toddy Hangs On in Remington Springboard Mile

In a race packed with traffic-filled trips, big middle moves, and dramatic late rallies, Long Range Toddy managed to defy the overall race trends and emerge victorious in the $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile on December 16th at Remington Park. One of five horses representing trainer Steve Asmussen (who sent out nearly half the field), Long Range Toddy’s tactical speed allowed him to secure a perfect position early on in the one-mile test, settling a length off the pace while outside in [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Steve Asmussen Keeps On Winning

Trainer Steve Asmussen (Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Ben Van Hook 2014) Just how deep is Steve Asmussen’s roster of talented young two-year-olds? No one can say for certain, because seemingly every week—or at times, every day—Asmussen unleashes another promising young runner. Last week at Saratoga, Asmussen won three juvenile races in the span of two days, and he would have won four over three days if not for a disqualification on Thursday. The disqualified runner was Super Simple, [...]