Grass Championships Wide-Open at the 2018 Eclipse Awards

Enable winning the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I) - Coady Photography When Eclipse Award voters fill out their ballots at the end of the year, they will be faced with several challenging decisions, and while the battle for Horse of the Year is receiving most of the attention, the showdowns to determine the 2018 champion turf horses figure to be just as contested. There certainly won’t be a unanimous choice for Champion Grass Male or Champion Grass Female, [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Classic Top 10: Roaring Lion Takes the Spotlight

West Coast winning the Travers Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Chris Rahayel We’re less than two weeks away from the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, and pre-entries for the fourteen championship races are set to be revealed on Wednesday. The Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) is shaping up to be among the most competitive races with an oversubscribed field expected to be entered. Who will claim the winner’s share of the $6,000,000 purse? [...]

2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic vs. Distaff: Which Will Be the Better Race?

Monomoy Girl winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic… the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff… they’re arguably the two most important races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, but which one is shaping up to be the bigger highlight 2 ½ weeks from now at Churchill Downs? Well, that depends on your point of view—that is, whether you’re primarily a bettor seeking a big wagering score or a racing fan [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Classic Top 10: Yoshida Enters the Picture

Yoshida winning the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography A lot has changed since I posted my last Top 10 ranking of contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Major races like the Travers Stakes, Woodward Stakes, and Pennsylvania Derby have significantly influenced the landscape of contenders, while a wildly talented European has joined the list of possible starters. So with six weeks to go, here [...]

Who Are the Top Contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic?

Accelerate winning the Pacific Classic (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo In recent years, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) has not been the most competitive race from a handicapping perspective, turning instead into a showcase showdown between two star runners (Arrogate and California Chrome in 2016, Gun Runner and Arrogate in 2017) or just a simple coronation of an undisputed champion (American Pharoah in 2015). However, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic promises to be different. With the [...]

Surface Switch No Issue for Catholic Boy in Travers Stakes

Catholic Boy winning the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photograpy/Elsa Lorieul Turf to dirt? No problem! A switch in racing surfaces might be tricky for some horses to handle, but it certainly wasn’t an issue for Catholic Boy, who utilized his exceptional talent and stamina to crush nine rivals in Saturday’s $1,250,000 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. It’s not like Catholic Boy had never shown an affinity for dirt—last winter, he pulled [...]

How to Bet the Travers Stakes

Good Magic winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo No matter how you slice it, Saturday’s $1,250,000 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga is the best race of this coming weekend. With its hefty purse, huge field, challenging 1 ¼-mile distance, and competitive list of entrants, the Travers Stakes is certainly the most prestigious race of the week, and it promises to be a fantastic betting race as well. Truthfully, a case can be made [...]

Will Hawkish Fly to Victory in the Belmont Derby?

Turf racing at Belmont Park - Photo by Coglianese Photography Chad Brown and Aidan O’Brien. Few, if any, will dispute that these two men are among the leading trainers in the world, particularly when it comes to turf horses. Both will be represented by well-regarded runners in Saturday’s $1.2 million Belmont Derby (gr. I) going ten furlongs at Belmont Park, but is it possible they could be overshadowed on this day by a talented horse from a smaller [...]

Analyze It Faces Deep Field in Pennine Ridge Stakes

Analyze It winning the Transylvania Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Just how talented is the unbeaten three-year-old turf star Analyze It? No one knows for certain, but we’ll get a better idea when he takes on a quality field of rivals in Saturday’s $200,000 Pennine Ridge Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park. The nine-furlong race serves as a prep for the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational (gr. I) on July 7th at Belmont Park, so it’s not surprising [...]