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 [...]

Why I’m Betting Channel Maker in the Man o’ War Stakes

Channel Maker (outside) finishes in a dead-heat with Glorious Empire (inside) in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography Three straight defeats have befallen #8 Channel Maker since he won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in gate-to-wire fashion at Belmont Park last fall.  But perhaps a return to Belmont for Saturday’s $700,000 Man o’ War Stakes (G1) will trigger a rebound. An honest pace could enhance Channel Maker’s chances in [...]

How to Bet the Fountain of Youth Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography The Saturday, March 2 card at Gulfstream Park includes a $750,000-guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 covering the final four races of the day, including the much-anticipated Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). The sequence looks a bit chalky, but I do like one live longshot in the finale, and if the sequence is indeed chalky than we should be able to hit it for [...]

Why I’m Betting Longshot Kulin Rock in the Mac Diarmida

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Sometimes, it seems like trainer Mike Maker is able to work miracles with little-known grass runners, turning them into graded stakes winners seemingly overnight. His strategy tends to be simple, at least to the casual observer. It goes something like this—find a nice, solid competitor, stretch him or her out in distance, and see what happens. That exactly what Maker will do with #9 Kulin Rock in [...]

How to Bet the Pegasus World Cup Turf

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) The inaugural running of North America’s richest turf race—the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (gr. I)—didn’t attract as deep a field as one might have hoped given the size of the purse, but you certainly can’t knock the race from a betting perspective. Ten starters have turned out to contest the 1 3/16-mile race at Gulfstream Park, and a case can be made for just about all of them to win or hit [...]

Four Weeks Out: Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Top 10 Rankings

Promises Fulfilled edges Whitmore in a thrilling renewal of the Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo With the vast majority of the Breeders’ Cup prep races having been completed, now is the perfect time to start mulling over the top contenders for each race and shaping our early opinions of who might win and who might be vulnerable to defeat. Over the last several months, I’ve been posting lists of my top ten contenders for various Breeders’ [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Top 10: Sorting Out the Euros

Robert Bruce winning the Arlington Million (gr. I) - © Arlington Park/Coady Photography Getting an early start handicapping the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) is always a challenge, since European runners tend to have the advantage, but determining which ones might make the trip is easier said than done. That said, with less than seven weeks remaining until the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, here’s my preliminary attempt at ranking some of the top contenders, which [...]

Fast Finish Secures Sword Dancer Victory for Glorious Empire

Glorious Empire winning the Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photography The old saying that “pace makes the race” was proven true once again in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. The 1 ½-mile “Win and You’re In” prep race for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) attracted ten starters, but thanks to a pedestrian early pace over a very firm turf course, it may as well have been [...]

Price Horses to Consider on the Travers Day Card at Saratoga

Logical horses are likely to win the majority of Grade 1 events at Saratoga on Saturday afternoon, but it is also possible that the “graveyard of favorites” will produce a longshot or two on the Travers Stakes Day card. Here are a few runners that are listed at double digit odds on the morning line and are worth consideration in your exotic wagers if not on the Win end: Ballerina Stakes (Race 8) #5 Finley’sluckycharm, #6 Lewis Bay and #7 [...]

World Approval Stands Out in Frank E. Kilroe Mile

World Approval winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) - Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup To put it simply, World Approval is a beast. The six-year-old gelding has long been a tough competitor at the Grade 1 level, even while running as far as 1 ½ miles, but when trainer Mark Casse cut World Approval back in distance to a flat mile last summer, the son of Northern Afleet became a force to reckon with. His decisive victories in [...]