Two horses to key in the 2019 Kentucky Turf Cup

Arklow has lost six straight races since he prevailed in the 2018 edition of the $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs, but the son of Arch should relish the return to Southern Kentucky to defend his title.

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), [...]

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 [...]

How to Bet the Red Smith Stakes

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Just how many times has trainer Mike Maker claimed turf horses, stretched them out in distance, and turned them into graded stakes winners? The list goes on and on—I even wrote a whole article about it earlier this year—and the latest example is #3 Zulu Alpha, who runs in Saturday’s $200,000 Red Smith Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. Prior to being claimed by Maker, Zulu Alpha was [...]

Why I’m Betting Sadler’s Joy in the Sword Dancer Stakes

I’ll be the first to admit that #10 Sadler’s Joy isn’t really a horse you can rely on as, say, a single in an expensive multi-race wager. But regardless, I think he’s the most likely winner of Saturday’s $1,000,000 Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Sadler’s Joy can be frustrating because more often than not, he either moves too soon or moves too late. As a deep closer without any tactical speed, timing his late run can be very [...]

Keying Hi Happy in the Man o’ War Stakes

Hi Happy winning the Pan American Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography If you’re looking for a handicapping challenge, I encourage you to test your skills on Saturday’s $700,000 Man o’ War Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Held at 1 3/8-miles on turf, the Man o’ War has attracted a highly competitive field of ten accomplished horses. The problem is, you can argue that some of these horses may have peaked a year [...]

Deep Field Assembles for John B. Connally Turf Cup

Bigger Picture (inside) winning the United Nations Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth Park - Photo By Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO It’s only January, but I’m willing to bet that a couple months could pass before we see another field of turf horses with as much quality as the group that has assembled for Sunday’s $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. III) at Sam Houston Race Park. The 1 ½-mile race could easily be mistaken for a Grade 2 or [...]