Baffert is Loaded in Quest for Record-Equaling Sixth Kentucky Derby Win

Game Winner winning the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo Trainer Bob Baffert has already swept the Triple Crown twice among 15 victories in Triple Crown races, record totals that have established Baffert as the all-time leading trainer in the spring classics. Five of those classic wins have come in the Kentucky Derby, which places Baffert second on the all-time wins list behind only the Calumet Farm legend Ben Jones, who trained six Derby winners. [...]

Analyzing the Strength of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Field

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography Just over two months have elapsed since thirteen young Kentucky Derby contenders vied for supremacy in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, giving us time to formulate clearer opinions on the overall strength of the Juvenile field. https://youtu.be/czkxQKL7gI8 So far, eight of the thirteen Juvenile starters have come back to run again, with a mixture of success and disappointment. Let’s take a [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Major Changes to Kick Off 2019

Gunmetal Gray winning the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo For the first time in more than a month, there’s been a major shake-up in my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Following disappointing efforts in Saturday Derby preps from Code of Honor (previously ranked #6) and Coliseum (ranked #8), I have elected to remove both colts from my list for the time being. I have also dropped Roadster (ranked #5), who hasn’t turned in a timed [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Gunmetal Gray

Gunmetal Gray winning the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo The most hyped 2019 Kentucky Derby contender in Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn is certainly the undefeated Instagrand, but in terms of accomplishments to date it’s hard to deny that Hollendorfer’s steadily-progressing Gunmetal Gray has surpassed his stablemate. He might not have the flashiest pedigree, being by Exchange Rate out of the allowance-winning Include mare Classofsixtythree, but what his pedigree lacks in flash it makes up for with [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Mind Control

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography We’ve long known that Mind Control is a very talented colt over short distances, but on New Year’s Day he took an important step toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby by demonstrating that he can handle a mile and isn’t purely a sprinter. That was a bit of a question mark prior to Mind Control’s front-running victory in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: The Calm Before the Storm

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Just as we’re on the verge of entering 2019, we’re also on the verge of entering a new stage on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Things have been quiet over the last couple of weeks, but that will change when the two-year-olds of today turn three years old on January 1st. The Derby prep races will kick off immediately thereafter with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Thoughts, Insights, and Fun Facts

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography Merry Christmas, racing fans! Today might be Christmas Eve, with the holiday itself just a day away, but it’s also Monday, which means it’s time to share my latest Kentucky Derby Top 10 rankings. For the second straight week, I don’t have any changes—understandable at this quiet time of year—but I do have some thoughts, insights, and fun facts to share about each horse. So if [...]

2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby Year-End Review

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With the running of the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in Japan on December 19th, the final Kentucky Derby prep race of 2018 entered the history books, giving us an opportunity to look back on the season before the calendar turns over and we continue headlong toward the 2019 Derby. During the course of the primary Road to the Kentucky [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: No Changes (For Now)

Improbable winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo As the racing year winds down, the final Kentucky Derby prep races of the season are wrapping up. On Sunday, Long Range Toddy forged to a narrow victory in the Remington Springboard Mile, earning 10 qualification points toward the 2019 Derby. Still to come on Wednesday is the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun, the second leg of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, in which the California-bred [...]

Rating the First Round of 2019 Kentucky Derby Preps

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography With the running of Sunday's Remington Springboard Mile, the last North American Kentucky Derby prep race of the year entered the history books, bringing to a close the first stage of qualification for the 2019 “Run for the Roses.” From September through December, nine Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races were conducted across the country, and while the majority offered the same number of qualification [...]