Keeler Johnson’s Picks and Plays for Keeneland Opening Weekend

Keeneland Photo Get ready, everyone! The much-anticipated Keeneland fall meet kicks off on Friday, and opening weekend is packed with top-class stakes races featuring some of the best horses in the country. With high-class competition, large fields, and low-takeout wagers, Keeneland is always popular among horsemen and handicappers alike. Looking to get in on the action? Here are a few prospective picks and plays to get you started…. Friday, October 5 Race 8: Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes [...]

Eskimo Kisses, Blue Prize Among Big Names in Keeneland’s Spinster Stakes

Blue Prize winning the Falls City Handicap (gr. II) - Coady Photography There’s a good chance that when the dust settles after Sunday’s $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, a new Grade 1 winner will have been crowned. The 1 1/8-mile race has attracted a deep, competitive field of eleven fillies and mares—all vying for the winner’s share of the purse plus a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I)—but [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Setbacks for the Favorites

Monomoy Girl winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography The disqualification of Monomoy Girl. The no-show effort from Abel Tasman. The season-ending injury to Elate. Suffice to say, the top contenders for the November 3rd Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs have had some setbacks in recent weeks, with the loss of Elate from the prospective field being a particularly unfortunate blow. But from a betting perspective, at least the race is shaping up to [...]

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 [...]

Shapiro’s Approach to the Oaks/Derby Double

Good Magic galloping under the Twin Spires - Coady Photography The two biggest races of the year at Churchill Downs make up a Daily Double sequence that commences with the one-million dollar Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday and concludes with the world-famous Kentucky Derby sponsored by Woodford Reserve on Saturday evening. This year’s Oaks is led by 2-1-morning line favorite #14 Monomoy Girl and 5-2-second choice #10 Midnight Bisou. The pair of three-year-old fillies bring by [...]

Keying the Favorites in the Kentucky Oaks

Monomoy Girl winning the Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography While it’s not easy to hit the trifecta in any race, let alone a Grade 1 event with fourteen horses, I get the feeling that Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs could provide a great opportunity for bettors seeking to make a big trifecta score. The 144th renewal of the “Run for the Lilies” pits some of the best three-year-old fillies in [...]

Classy Act Takes Center Stage in Fair Grounds Oaks

Wonder Gadot winning the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography If you’re looking for a horse to single in the multi-race wagers on Saturday at Fair Grounds, I would recommend that you check out the field for the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). The 8.5-furlong Kentucky Oaks prep race has attracted nine starters, and at first glance the race appears very competitive. But upon closer examination, I believe that #1 Classy [...]