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. [...]

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 [...]

Gunmetal Gray Rallies to Victory in Sham Stakes

Gunmetal Gray winning the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo When the dust settled in the aftermath of Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, racing fans were surely left scratching their heads over one of the strangest Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races in recent memory. Much of the pre-race hype centered around Bob Baffert’s promising debut winner Coliseum, a quirky son of Tapit who started as the overwhelming 3-5 favorite. [...]

Keying Coliseum in the Sham Stakes

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography Remember 2017, when Gormley “upset” American Athem in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita and paid a whopping $5.20 to win? Remarkably, that modest payoff has been the highest in the Sham since the one-mile event became a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race in 2013. During that same timeframe, the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has started horses in five editions of the [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]