Distaff division update: Midnight Bisou, Point of Honor impress

Midnight Bisou (far right) edging Elate (far left) in the Azeri Stakes - Coady Phototgraphy One week after Elate threw down a challenge to her fellow Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) contenders with a sensational victory in the Delaware Handicap (G2), a handful of talented fillies and mares responded with eye-catching performances of their own. The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is shaping up to be among the most exciting and competitive races at the Breeders’ Cup in November at Santa [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff top 5: Elate takes over

Elate winning the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) - Coady Photography As we head into summer, the top contenders for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) are beginning to build their credentials for the championship showdown at Santa Anita. Elate has re-emerged as one of the favorites, following an impressive victory in the Delaware Handicap (G2), Midnight Bisou has continued her winning ways with a triumph in the Ogden Phipps (G1) and the 3-year-old Guarana has burst onto [...]

Elate rebounds in Fleur de Lis Handicap

Elate winning the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) - Coady Photography Very good horses are able to overcome adversity to win major races, and it’s safe to say Elate is a very good horse. The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had every excuse to lose the $250,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) on June 15 at Churchill Downs. She broke sluggishly from the gate, then wound up boxed in behind horses, unable to shift out for a clear run [...]

How to bet the 2019 Fleur de Lis Handicap

Blue Prize winning the Falls City Handicap (gG1) - Coady Photography Three fillies and mares stand above the others in Saturday’s #250,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs. #2 She’s a Julie, #3 Elate and #5 Blue Prize are all grade 1 winners who figure to put on a show in this 1 1/8-mile “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). In terms of Brisnet speed figures, they’re significantly faster than their [...]

Why I’m opposing Serengeti Empress in the Acorn Stakes

Serengeti Empress winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography #1 Serengeti Empress is by far the most accomplished filly entered in Saturday’s $700,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, but that doesn’t mean she’s the most likely winner. The 3-year-old daughter of Alternation has three graded stakes wins under her belt and enters the one-mile Acorn off a gate-to-wire victory in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs, where she turned back a challenge from Liora [...]

How to bet the 2019 Arlington Matron Stakes

La Force training at Churchill Downs - © Evers/ESW/Breeders Cup /Breeders' Cup In terms of proven class and overall accomplishments, #3 La Force is clearly the mare to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 Arlington Matron Stakes (G3) at Arlington Park. Last year, the German-bred daughter of Power placed second in three straight grade 1 races on the California circuit, and she returned as good as ever in her 2019 debut, when she finished second in the Santa Margarita Stakes [...]

May 2019 Breeders’ Cup Overview: Who Leads Each Division?

Bricks and Mortar winning the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) - Coady Photography Don’t look now, but the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park is just more than five months away, and the first North American leg of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series kicks off this weekend. Handicappers will be happy to know several key Breeders’ Cup divisions look wide open this year, which should make the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races exciting and competitive. Let’s quickly [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Division is Deep

Monomoy Girl winning the 2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) - Coady Photography The potential field and top contenders for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) might be unclear at this point, but the same can’t be said for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), which could be among the highlights of the championship series at Santa Anita Park this fall. There’s no shortage of high-class fillies and mares targeting the Distaff, and in compiling an initial Top 10 [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

Point of Honor winning the Suncoast Stakes - © SV Photography I know, I know. When we were handicapping the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, we all thought there was a ton of speed in the race, only to watch in disbelief as Serengeti Empress shook loose on an uncontested lead and won in gate-to-wire fashion. But that frustrating turn of events won’t stop me from making the same declaration about Friday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan [...]

Patience Pays Off, She’s a Julie Wins La Troienne

She's a Julie winning the La Troienne Stakes (G1) - Coady Photography She wasn’t the favorite—three rivals started at shorter prices—but when push came to shove, She’s a Julie was indisputably the best filly in the $500,000 La Troienne Stakes (G1) on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs. She’s a Julie is a perfect example of a horse who needed time to mature before reaching peak form. After winning her debut as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs, the [...]