Why I’m Keying the Favorites in the Hollywood Derby

River Boyne - © Benoit Photo With relatively few opportunities remaining for horses to compete against Grade 1 company before the end of 2018, fourteen three-year-olds have turned out to contest Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. I) at Del Mar. But while the huge field size suggests that the race should be wide-open in nature, I’m strongly drawn toward the two favorites #4 River Boyne and #6 Raging Bull, in part because I believe their most recent efforts [...]

Will Chicago Style Upset the Hollywood Turf Cup?

Bigger Picture (inside) winning the United Nations Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth Park - Photo By Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO In my opinion, one of the most interesting handicapping challenges of the week is the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. II) on Friday at Del Mar, a 1 ½-mile turf race that pits established stars in questionable form against a handful of up-and-comers who have never won at the graded stakes level. By far the most accomplished runners in the [...]

Baffert Runners Look Tough in Bob Hope Stakes

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography If Del Mar ever decides to rename the $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes (gr. III), all they would really have to do is change “Hope” to “Baffert” and it would be perfectly understandable, considering how thoroughly the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has dominated the Bob Hope. Through the years, Baffert has won this seven-furlong sprint for two-year-olds eight times, including four times since 2011—a remarkable streak when [...]

Game Winner vs. Mind Control: Who’s More Likely to Win the Kentucky Derby?

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography On Labor Day, the summer race meets at Del Mar and Saratoga came to a climax with the running of the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), the first two Grade 1 events of the year for two-year-old males. As a result, Game Winner (who prevailed in the Del Mar Futurity) and Mind Control (a determined winner [...]