Reflections on My Up-and-Down Derby Week Handicapping

Maximum Security and Country House battle to the wire in the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography From a handicapping and wagering perspective, Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs was a mixed bag for me. If I’m being honest, the week got off on the wrong foot when my confident top choice for the Derby—Omaha Beach­­—scratched from the race with an entrapped epiglottis, which sent me scurrying to regroup and rethink my plays. Overall, the week was filled with [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Horse-by-Horse Trip Notes

The finish of the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The 2019 Kentucky Derby will go down as one of the strangest and most controversial in history, but for handicappers, it’s just another race to dissect the same as any other. While most of the attention is being focused on the disqualified Maximum Security, the upgraded winner Country House and the troubled pair of War of Will and Long Range Toddy, it’s important for handicappers to take a [...]

How to Bet the Oaks/Turf Classic/Derby Pick 3

Bricks and Mortar winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (gr. I) - Photo by Ashley Blum/Adam Coglianese Photography There are a handful of interesting multi-day bets on the agenda at Churchill Downs, each one pairing races on Kentucky Oaks Day with races on Kentucky Derby Day. Yesterday I shared my wagering strategy for the popular Oaks/Derby Double, but I encourage you to check out the similar Pick 3 that sandwiches the Oaks and Derby around the $1 million Old Forester [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Double

Abel Tasman winning the Kentucky Oaks (G1) - Coady Photography Do you think you’ve identified the most likely winners of the 2019 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs? Then why don’t you combine your opinions and play the popular Oaks/Derby Double? This specialty bet pairs the May 3 Kentucky Oaks with the May 4 Kentucky Derby in a classic “daily double” and attracts a few million dollars in wagers each year. If you can [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Old Forester Turf Classic

Bricks and Mortar winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) - Photo by Ashley Blum/Adam Coglianese Photography Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has won dozens of major turf races across the country, but the $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs has so far proven elusive. That figures to change Saturday, when Brown sends out morning-line favorite #12 Bricks and Mortar to contest the 1 1/8-mile race, which immediately precedes the Kentucky Derby and [...]

How is Keeler Johnson Playing the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (G2) - Coady Photography While I’m still plotting out my wagering strategy for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, I’ve essentially nailed down my overall opinions of each horse and have determined whether I’ll be using them on my tickets. The Tuesday morning post position draw helped clarify my position on a few bubble contenders, including War of Will and Spinoff. I’ve sorted the 20 horses into four [...]

Winners and Losers at the 2019 Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw

War of Will winning the Lecomte Stakes (Hodges Photo/Fair Grounds) Who drew well and who drew poorly when post positions for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) were assigned Tuesday morning? Three of the 20 horses received highly favorable post positions, while three others were compromised by their assignments. Who were these “winners” and “losers” at the post draw? Winners #3 By My Standards He showed in the Louisiana Derby (G2) he doesn’t mind racing inside of horses, and with [...]

Who is Running in the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Morning line favorite Omaha Beach drew post #12 in the 2019 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography Omaha Beach was shaping up to be the favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), even beforethe Tuesday morning post position draw at Churchill Downs, but when the talented colt drew favorably in post position #12, his status as favorite was most assuredly cemented. Omaha Beach was the penultimate horse to be assigned a post position, and there was a 50-50 chance [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Jockey Assignments, Facts and Trends

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby winner Justify - Coady Photography It is often said that jockeys are unable to make horses run beyond their abilities, but the difference between victory and defeat can come down to the skills of a rider in saving ground, timing moves correctly and riding hard to the finish line. That’s why the 20 jockeys who will compete in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) include the most talented riders in North America. Leading [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: The Final Rankings

Omaha Beach winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The major workouts are complete, most of the contenders have arrived at Churchill Downs and just five days remain until the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been sharing my Kentucky Derby Top 10 rankings every week since the beginning of November, when Game Winner, Improbable, Code of Honor and Roadster, comprised four of my top five horses. Six months later they still rank among the main names in [...]