Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Game Winner Remains On Top

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography Although he suffered the first defeat of his career last Saturday, the performance of Game Winner in the Rebel Stakes was sufficient for the champion colt to retain the top spot in my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Not surprisingly, Omaha Beach—the colt who gallantly conquered Game Winner—has secured a high ranking as well in his first week on my list. Game [...]

Rating the 2019 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography As we head into the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, now seems like a good time to look back at the 17 North American prep races already run this year and assign a rating to each one. My ratings—based on a scale of 1 to 5—attempt to blend the apparent strength of each race on paper with its potential [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Tacitus Joins, Hidden Scroll Returns

Tacitus winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - Photo by SV Photography The indefinite suspension of racing and training at Santa Anita has thrown a monkey wrench into the plans for Game Winner and Improbable, delaying their scheduled returns to action by one week. Nevertheless, they remain at the top of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 despite a busy weekend that saw Tacitus upset the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), Haikal rally to victory in the Gotham [...]

Four Fillies to Consider in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool

The Twin Spires at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The annual Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool opens for action this weekend, with 23 individual fillies plus an “all others” option available for bettors to consider. The Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs is just two months away, but the potential field for the race remains in flux. That’s why it’s tough to consider playing the morning line favorites when there’s no guarantee that they’ll be among the favorites (or [...]

Four 50-1 Shots to Consider in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 will be open for betting this weekend, just in time for a massive Saturday of racing that includes four Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races. Heralded youngsters like Game Winner, Improbable, and Instagrand are among the favorites on the morning line, but if you’re like many bettors and want to lock in a big price on a horse with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Code of Honor Returns

Code of Honor winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes - © Adam Coglianese Photography Code of Honor is back. Hidden Scroll is gone (at least temporarily). Roadster is moving up, Signalman is moving down, and that pretty much sums up the changes to my latest Kentucky Derby Top 10. The Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), won by Code of Honor in late-running fashion, was the main catalyst for change, but it was nothing compared to the action [...]

No Shortage of Derby Contenders Boasting Triple-Digit BRIS Speed Figures

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography Generally speaking, Beyer and BRIS speed figures are arranged on a similar scale. A young horse that posts a triple-digit number is a fast and probably stakes-caliber runner with a bright future. But interestingly, the Beyer and BRIS speed figures paint differing pictures of the 2019 Triple Crown contenders. On the Beyer scale, just two members of this foal crop have cracked the triple-digit barrier, those [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Things Are About to Get Serious

Roadster winning his debut at Del Mar - © Benoit Photo Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, because the Road to the Kentucky Derby is going to feature hectic, non-stop action from here on out. After weeks (months?) without any significant changes in my Kentucky Derby Top 10, expect to see some major shifts over the next couple of weeks as my top six contenders compete in races like the March 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Another Twist in the Trail

War of Will winning the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) © Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. There might be a new name atop the 2019 Kentucky Derby qualification leaderboard, but the top six names in my Kentucky Derby Top 10 remain unchanged. That’s not to say that there aren’t some changes further down on my list. War of Will moved to the top of the qualification leaderboard by virtue of his victory in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Eight Unraced Nominees to Remember

Justify winning the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography It seems hard to believe, but last year at this time, Triple Crown winner Justify was still a week away from his career debut. Perhaps emboldened by the extraordinary success of the colt who shattered the “Apollo Curse,” seventy unraced horses have been nominated to the 2019 Triple Crown, including three who haven’t even been named yet. If you’re in the mood to look for the second coming of Justify [...]