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 [...]

Why I’m Betting Well Defined in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) When six horses head to the starting gate for Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park, most handicappers will have their eyes on #4 Code of Honor, and understandably so. Although the Mucho Macho Man is not an official Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, the one-mile event serves as a stepping stone toward Gulfstream’s three Derby prep races and will mark the seasonal debut of the highly regarded Code of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Game Winner Challenged By His Stablemate?

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography For the first time this season, a horse has emerged to challenge Game Winner for the top spot in my Kentucky Derby Top 10, a position that the son of Candy Ride has tenaciously held since September. Ultimately, Game Winner narrowly retained his leadership spot, but the fact that a horse as talented and accomplished as Game Winner isn’t first by a mile speaks volumes about the talent [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Maximus Mischief On the Rise

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Although no new names have joined my Kentucky Derby Top 10 following the weekend of December 1-2, that doesn’t mean my rankings have gone completely unchanged. To the contrary, Maximus Mischief has moved up following an eye-catching victory in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), while Code of Honor has dropped a slot after unexpectedly missing the Remsen. My [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Signalman Moves Up

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography The action on the Road to the Kentucky Derby picked up over the weekend with Signalman claiming a gutsy victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) and the filly Make Happy powering to a decisive win in the Cattleya Sho in Japan. Plus, two weekends ago, we saw trainer Bob Baffert debut yet another exciting two-year-old who appears to have a very bright future. [...]