Spot Plays for 2019 Louisiana Derby Day

Bricks and Mortar winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (gr. I) - Photo by Ashley Blum/Adam Coglianese Photography A marathon day of racing is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at Fair Grounds. Thirteen races are on the card, including the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II), a prominent steppingstone toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby. That race is unquestionably the main highlight, but the undercard includes several other interesting stakes races that could offer opportunities to make nice wagering [...]

How Studying Stallions Can Yield Profitable Pedigree Plays

Stephanie's Kitten winning the Flower Bowl (gr. I) at Belmont Park - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography It’s a known fact that the progeny of some stallions prefer racing on dirt rather than turf (or vice versa), but did you know that these preferences can be even more subtle than that—all the way down to showing a preference for certain turf course conditions? For example, take Kitten’s Joy. A champion racehorse turned champion sire, the vast majority of [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Saturday Spot Plays

Divisidero winning the 2016 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) - Coady Photography As usual, the Breeders’ Cup Saturday card is packed with large fields, competitive races, and exciting wagering opportunities. When you pit this many talented horses against each other, you’re bound to find an abundance of live contenders offering appealing odds. With this in mind, I’ve gone through the Saturday card gathering up a few “spot plays.” Basically, I’m just looking for non-favorites and longshots that [...]

Eight Europeans Face Six Americans in 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile

Oscar Performance winning the Woodbine Mile (gr. I) (Michael Burns Photo) It’s looking like a classic North America vs. Europe showdown in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) on November 3rd at Churchill Downs, and while the raiders hold a slight advantage in numbers, the Americans appear far from being overmatched. Fourteen horses plus two also-eligibles have been entered in this competitive one-mile turf race, which is arguably the most wide-open of any Breeders’ Cup race this [...]

Oscar Performances Out-Sprints Rivals in Woodbine Mile

Oscar Performance winning the Woodbine Mile (gr. I) (Michael Burns Photo) Things certainly can change fast in the sport of horse racing. One month ago, Oscar Performance was pulled up as the favorite prior to finishing the Arlington Million (gr. I), but on Saturday, he shrugged off that disappointing run to score a terrific victory in the $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (gr. I) at Woodbine in Canada. Yes, you can argue that Oscar Performance received a dream setup [...]

Huge Weekend of Racing Set for September 15-16 at Woodbine

Divisidero winning the 2016 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) - Coady Photography On the weekend of September 15-16, the attention of the racing world will turn to Woodbine in Canada, where a top-class series of eight stakes races worth nearly $2.2 million will take center stage. Among the highlights of this action-packed weekend are three official prep races for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs. Kicking off the slate is the $800,000 Woodbine Mile [...]

Fast Pace Seems Likely in Fourstardave Handicap

Divisidero winning the 2016 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) - Coady Photography Turf races in New York have a reputation for being very slow-paced events that are difficult to decipher beforehand. How can you handicap effectively when you have no idea who might wind up shaking loose on an easy lead? That said, Saturday’s $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. I) over the inner turf course at Saratoga could be an exception. The one-mile race—a major prep on the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Mile Top 10 – 7/2/18

World Approval winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) - Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup Every year, one of the most exciting and competitive races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I), which typically pits the best milers in American against a top-class group of invaders from Europe. With four months remaining until the race, who are some of the major players to keep an eye on? Here’s how I rank the top [...]

Keying Divisidero in the Wise Dan Stakes

Divisidero (left) edges World Approval in the 2016 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) - Coady Photography If you want to play the classic “horse for the course” angle this weekend, look no further than #1 Divisidero in Saturday’s $200,000 Wise Dan Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Divisidero might not be the most consistent horse in the country—as a deep closer, he’s often reliant on a quick pace to set up his late rally—but he’s been a [...]

World Approval Seeks Another Dixie Stakes Victory

World Approval winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) - Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup One year ago, World Approval won Pimlico’s $250,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. II) by a decisive 2 ¼ lengths, the first of four graded stakes wins during a 2017 campaign that saw him earn an Eclipse Award as North America's champion male grass horse. That reputation stamps World Approval as clearly the horse to beat in the 2018 edition of the Dixie, though the Mark Casse-trained [...]