Baffert, Smith Team Up With Ax Man in Matt Winn Stakes

In the winner's circle after the 2018 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography Just how many graded stakes races will trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith team up to win this year? One week after sweeping the Triple Crown with Justify and winning the Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I) with Abel Tasman, Baffert and Smith will seek another big win together with Ax Man in Saturday’s $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. As is the [...]

2018 Kentucky Derby: A Horse-By-Horse Recap

Justify winning the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography The results of the 144th Kentucky Derby are in the history books, and it was a day for records to broken. Record rainfall. Record wagering. The demise of the fabled “Apollo Curse.” Throw in the fact that favored Justify delivered with a huge victory, and you have an unforgettable Kentucky Derby. But the Preakness and Belmont Stakes are still to come, so Triple Crown season is far from over. With an [...]

Betting the Kentucky Derby Trifecta on a $100 Budget

Coady Photography $5,464. Favorites may have won the last five renewals of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (gr. I), but the average payoff for the trifecta over that time frame has still been a hefty $5,464, because let’s face it—hitting the trifecta in a race with twenty horses isn’t easy. That said, I think the task could be more manageable this year because I feel strongly that #7 Justify stands above his rivals and will be [...]

Justify Draws Lucky Seven at Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw

The post positions for the 2018 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography Trainer Bob Baffert was late in arriving at the post position draw for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, but if he was worried about where his horses would draw, he needn’t have been. By the time Baffert arrived, his Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Justify had drawn post seven in the “Run for the Roses,” an ideal position that has cemented the unbeaten colt as the horse [...]

2018 Kentucky Derby: Who’s On the Bubble?

The Twin Spires at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Who’s in and who’s out? That’s a question that be asked repeatedly during the next two weeks as the 2018 Kentucky Derby approaches. The last two Derby prep races—the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) and the Lexington Stakes (gr. III)—were held on Saturday, so all of the Kentucky Derby qualification points have been assigned and the field of twenty horses is more-or-less set in stone. However, history suggests that there [...]

Analyzing Magnum Moon’s Arkansas Derby Victory

Magnum Moon winning the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) - Coady Photography If the fabled “Apollo Curse” is ever going to be broken, 2018 could certainly be the year. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old, but times are changing and it’s possible that the two favorites for the 2018 Derby will be colts that went unraced as juveniles. Last week, Justify put his name in the mix with an [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 3/29/18

Noble Indy winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. Question—what do Bravazo, Combatant, Free Drop Billy, Mississippi, Promises Fulfilled, Quip, and Reride have in common? Answer—they’re all contenders for the 2018 Kentucky Derby and they all scored their maiden victories at Churchill Downs, where the Derby is held each year. While experience over the main track at Churchill Downs certainly isn’t a bad thing for a Derby contender, you might be [...]

Magnum Moon Rises in Rebel Stakes

Magnum Moon winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography With a purse of $900,000 and a record of producing top horses, the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) on March 17th at Oaklawn Park promised to be a major stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Suffice to say, the race lived up to expectations, with Magnum Moon delivering an impressive performance to defeat a field that included the proven Grade 1 competitors Solomini and Sporting [...]

Keying Magnum Moon in the Rebel Stakes

Solomini (outside) rallies past McKinzie (inside) and Instilled Regard (middle) in the Los Alamitos Futurity(©Benoit Photo) It’s safe to say that the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert knows how to win the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. Baffert has won the 8.5-furlong Kentucky Derby prep race a staggering six times in the last eight years, including with champions American Pharoah and Lookin at Lucky, so all eyes in the 2018 Rebel will surely be [...]

Late Pick 4 Analysis for Rebel Stakes Day at Oaklawn Park

The $900,000 Grade 2 Rebel Stakes headlines a serious ten-race card Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park. The day of action in Hot Springs features three stakes events and a Pick 4 wager that commences in Race 7 and concludes with the main event scheduled for approximately 6:09 local time. Here are my thoughts on the four races: Race 7 A high level optional claimer at six furlongs kicks things off. #9 Mitole looks like the horse to beat for trainer [...]