Mike Maker-Trained Runners Loom Large in Elkhorn Stakes

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Is it possible trainer Mike Maker could sweep the trifecta in Saturday’s $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland? I don’t think it’s a far-fetched notion. Certainly a victory would come as no surprise. Maker’s former claimer #10 Zulu Alpha seems to have forgotten how to lose, with four wins from his last five starts, including graded stakes triumphs in the Sycamore Stakes (G3), [...]

During Kentucky Derby Prep Season, Less is Often More

Possible Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will have to break the "Smarty Jones Curse" in order to win the roses. Photo by Coady Photography While it used to be common for horses to employ busy prep schedules in advance of the Kentucky Derby, in recent years, Derby winners have been taking a “less is more” approach to their winter/spring racing action. Gone are the days when a Derby winner might run seven times as a 3-year-old prior to [...]

How to Bet Keeneland’s Lexington Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Rushing Fall winning the Jessamine Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland. Photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography The second Saturday of the 2019 Keeneland spring meet features another action-packed afternoon of high-class racing, including the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) and the Lexington Stakes (G3). Those much-anticipated events comprise the last two legs of an all-stakes Pick 4 that has the potential to yield a nice payoff, but only if you can identify the winners of the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) and the [...]

Will Escape Clause Upset the Apple Blossom Handicap?

Midnight Bisou (far right) edging Elate (far left) in the Azeri Stakes - Coady Phototgraphy There are only six fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park, but I’d argue that you won’t find a higher-quality field anywhere in the country this weekend. Five graded stakes winners, two grade 1 winners, and a two-time Canadian classic winner are among the entrants, which is why—despite what the tote board might try to tell [...]

Top Contenders Tough to Split in Arkansas Derby

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography The tricky part of handicapping the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park isn’t identifying the top contenders. That part is easy. The challenging aspect is splitting them, so your wagers will yield a reasonable return on investment. #1 Improbable, #3 Omaha Beach and #11 Long Range Toddy are the obvious favorites in this 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep [...]

Why I’m Betting Anothertwistafate in the Lexington Stakes

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli When ten horses line up to contest Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, the one sure bet is that I’ll be all-in with my support of #4 Anothertwistafate. The 1 1/16-mile race serves as a final, desperate qualifier for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), and offers 20 qualifications points to the winner. Those points alone are unlikely to yield a spot in the starting gate, but [...]

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 [...]

How to Bet the Blue Grass Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Amy's Challenge winning the Dixie Belle Stakes - Coady Photography The first Saturday of the 2019 Keeneland spring meet is a typical stakes-packed card highlighted by the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II), a major prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass also serves as the last leg of an all-stakes Pick 4 that features large fields and 13,104 possible outcomes before scratches. It will be a difficult sequence to hit, but [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Wood Memorial

Tacitus winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - Photo by SV Photography There are plenty of promising and accomplished runners to consider in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race that has attracted eleven entrants. I’ve taken a look at the five morning line favorites and have divided them into two categories—“For,” containing the horses that I like best, and “Against,” featuring the short-priced runners that [...]

Why I’m Betting Signalman in the Blue Grass Stakes

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography To be honest, you could pick a name out of a hat and probably have as good a chance at picking the winner of Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland as any handicapper employing a more analytical approach. That’s because this 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race has attracted a full field of fourteen starters without any particular standouts. [...]