2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

During Kentucky Derby Prep Season, Less is Often More

Possible Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will have to break the "Smarty Jones Curse" in order to win the roses. Photo by Coady Photography While it used to be common for horses to employ busy prep schedules in advance of the Kentucky Derby, in recent years, Derby winners have been taking a “less is more” approach to their winter/spring racing action. Gone are the days when a Derby winner might run seven times as a 3-year-old prior to [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Who’s on the Bubble?

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli How many qualification points will be required to run in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and which horses will secure the last few slots in the starting gate? That’s the question everyone is asking now that the 2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby is complete, and the field of 20 horses is pretty much set. It would be set in stone ,except that there are still 19 [...]

Top Contenders Tough to Split in Arkansas Derby

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography The tricky part of handicapping the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park isn’t identifying the top contenders. That part is easy. The challenging aspect is splitting them, so your wagers will yield a reasonable return on investment. #1 Improbable, #3 Omaha Beach and #11 Long Range Toddy are the obvious favorites in this 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep [...]

By My Standards Upsets the Louisiana Derby

By My Standards winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) - © Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. The trend of upset victories in Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races continued on Saturday when By My Standards produced a big rally up the inside to post a 22-1 upset victory in the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds. At the start of the race, all eyes were won the 4-5 favorite War of Will, who was expected [...]

How to Bet the Louisiana Derby

War of Will winning the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) © Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. I don’t think anyone will deny that #6 War of Will is going to be tough to beat in the March 23 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds. The 1 1/8-mile races kicks off the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races offering 100 qualification points to the winner. War of Will hardly needs them; after all, he’s [...]

Is War of Will Vulnerable in the Risen Star?

War of Will winning the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir If horses always ran to form and everyone always received a perfect trip, handicapping races would be easy. Certainly handicapping Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds would offer no meaningful challenge. After all, doesn’t #14 War of Will loom as a standout on paper? The son of War Front is 2-for-2 on dirt and was [...]

Derby, Oaks Contenders Face Off on Saturday at Fair Grounds

Serengeti Empress winning the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders will shine at Fair Grounds on February 16, a busy day of racing that includes four graded stakes races at the New Orleans racetrack. The highlight of the day is unquestionably the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), which offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the winner as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship [...]

Six Horses That Could Take Bill Mott Back to the Derby

Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography During a career that began in 1973, trainer Bill Mott has won a staggering 4,893 races, the seventh-highest total in the history of North American racing. Those victories include a Belmont Stakes, ten Breeders’ Cup events, and 448 other graded stakes races. It’s obvious why Mott is in the Hall of Fame. Yet for all his success, Mott has never won the Kentucky [...]