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 [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 4/24/18

Justify - © Benoit Photo Twelve days, folks. Just twelve days remain until twenty of the best three-year-old Thoroughbreds from North America and Europe vie for supremacy in the 2018 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Since the start of December, I’ve been compiling a weekly ranking of the top Kentucky Derby contenders, an enjoyable exercise that is equal parts challenging and fun. Many names have come and gone from my list, but now the prep races are complete [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 4/18/18

Magnum Moon winning the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) - Coady Photography It’s been a long and winding road, but the final prep races for the 2018 Kentucky Derby were run last Saturday, meaning that the field for the “Run for the Roses” is more or less established. From now until the Derby, the main focus will be on the pre-race workouts, with handicappers watching the morning training sessions to get a glimpse of each contender and gauge how [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 4/10/18

Good Magic winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo With just two prep races remaining to be run, the field is pretty much set for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, leaving handicappers to debate the merits of the many impressive performances we’ve seen over the last several months. For me, the results of Saturday’s three major prep races—the Santa Anita Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes, and the Wood Memorial—did little to change my opinions of the [...]

Vino Rosso Rebounds With Wood Memorial Victory

Vino Rosso winning the Wood Memorial (gr. II) - Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography On paper, Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial (gr. II) at Aqueduct wasn’t the strongest of the day's three Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, but the end result was a quality event that that could have a significant impact on the Triple Crown. The clear favorite in the nine-furlong race was the two-time graded stakes winner Enticed, winner of the Gotham Stakes (gr. [...]

How to Bet the Wood Memorial

The massive weekend of Triple Crown prep action includes the $750,000 Grade 2 Wood Memorial. The mile and an eighth event run over the Aqueduct dirt offers 175 qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard with 100 going to the victor. The featured event on the 11-race card drew a field of 9 led by Grade 3 Gotham Stakes winner #5 Enticed. The son of Medaglia d’Oro was extremely impressive in that last victory earning a 104 [...]

Will Vino Rosso Upset the Wood Memorial?

Enticed winning the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by Coglianese Photography Call me stubborn, but I’m hoping that the third time will be the charm for my top pick in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. I have felt since last year that #9 Vino Rosso—a well-bred son of Curlin out of a Street Cry mare—has the potential to be a big player on the Triple Crown trail. Conditioned by the two-time [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 4/3/18

Audible winning the Florida Derby (gr. I) - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography The Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby took some twists over the last few days, and for some well-regarded contenders, the road has gotten bumpy. The prep races over the weekend were the Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park and the UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan, in which Audible and Mendelssohn stamped their Derby credentials with impressive victories. But some of their beaten rivals [...]

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 [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 3/19/18

Magnum Moon winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography We’re in the homestretch now. Last week was a bit of a milestone on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park and the Jeff Ruby Steaks (gr. III) at Turfway Park essentially representing the last races in the penultimate round of Kentucky Derby prep races. Next week, we’ll enter the final round with the Louisiana Derby [...]