Elate rebounds in Fleur de Lis Handicap

Elate winning the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) - Coady Photography Very good horses are able to overcome adversity to win major races, and it’s safe to say Elate is a very good horse. The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had every excuse to lose the $250,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) on June 15 at Churchill Downs. She broke sluggishly from the gate, then wound up boxed in behind horses, unable to shift out for a clear run [...]

BARN Podcast 6/17/19

We look back at a huge Saturday night card at Churchill Downs which included the Stephen Foster, Elate winning the Fleur de Lis, and more.  We also talk about the Poker Stakes at Belmont and Maximum Security's return to the races at Monmouth Park. 

How to play the Stephen Foster Day all-stakes Pick 4

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Six weeks after the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs will return to the spotlight with a terrific evening of racing Saturday. The 11-race card features five consecutive graded stakes races, so fans of multi-race wagers will have plenty of all-stakes options to choose from. My personal focus will be on the Pick 4, which kicks off in the sixth race. I’ve previewed each race separately for BetAmerica, but since intra-race and multi-race wagers require [...]

How to bet the 2019 Fleur de Lis Handicap

Blue Prize winning the Falls City Handicap (gG1) - Coady Photography Three fillies and mares stand above the others in Saturday’s #250,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs. #2 She’s a Julie, #3 Elate and #5 Blue Prize are all grade 1 winners who figure to put on a show in this 1 1/8-mile “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). In terms of Brisnet speed figures, they’re significantly faster than their [...]

May 2019 Breeders’ Cup Overview: Who Leads Each Division?

Bricks and Mortar winning the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) - Coady Photography Don’t look now, but the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park is just more than five months away, and the first North American leg of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series kicks off this weekend. Handicappers will be happy to know several key Breeders’ Cup divisions look wide open this year, which should make the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races exciting and competitive. Let’s quickly [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Division is Deep

Monomoy Girl winning the 2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) - Coady Photography The potential field and top contenders for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) might be unclear at this point, but the same can’t be said for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), which could be among the highlights of the championship series at Santa Anita Park this fall. There’s no shortage of high-class fillies and mares targeting the Distaff, and in compiling an initial Top 10 [...]

Will Escape Clause Upset the Apple Blossom Handicap?

Midnight Bisou (far right) edging Elate (far left) in the Azeri Stakes - Coady Phototgraphy There are only six fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park, but I’d argue that you won’t find a higher-quality field anywhere in the country this weekend. Five graded stakes winners, two grade 1 winners, and a two-time Canadian classic winner are among the entrants, which is why—despite what the tote board might try to tell [...]

Who Are the Top Contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic?

Accelerate winning the Pacific Classic (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo In recent years, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) has not been the most competitive race from a handicapping perspective, turning instead into a showcase showdown between two star runners (Arrogate and California Chrome in 2016, Gun Runner and Arrogate in 2017) or just a simple coronation of an undisputed champion (American Pharoah in 2015). However, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic promises to be different. With the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Abel Tasman Stays On Top

Abel Tasman edging Elate in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Viola Jasko Since posting my first Top 10 list of contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), the complexion of the race has changed significantly. The retirement of Unique Bella was certainly a blow, as was the injury that knocked the promising three-year-old Red Ruby out of Distaff contention. But since then, a few other promising runners have emerged on the [...]

Abel Tasman Edges Elate in Thrilling Personal Ensign Stakes

Abel Tasman edging Elate in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Viola Jasko Neck and neck, nose to nose, Abel Tasman and Elate came roaring down the homestretch in Saturday’s $700,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, a “Win and You’re In” prep race for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I). The two accomplished fillies had met once before at Saratoga, pushing each other to the limit in a thrilling renewal of [...]