Keeler Johnson’s 2019 Belmont Stakes fair odds line

Intrepid Heart winning his debut at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography Upon release of the 2019 Belmont Stakes (G1) entries Tuesday evening, I immediately started work on my annual fair odds line for identifying wagering value. The concept behind my fair odds line is simple. For each horse in the field, I ask myself, “What are the chances of this horse reaching the winner’s circle?” After assigning a probability of winning to each horse (25%, 12.50%, etc.), I [...]

Running styles suggest slow pace in 2019 Belmont Stakes

The field breaks from the gate in the 2016 Belmont Stakes - Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography Contrary to popular belief, the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park does not give an advantage to deep closers. The typically slow pace of the Belmont Stakes gives frontrunners and pressers/stalkers an advantage that is difficult for late runners to overcome. Since 2008 three horses (Da’ Tara, American Pharoah and Justify) have won the Belmont in gate-to-wire fashion, [...]

Which Horses Have the Best Chance to Win the Belmont Stakes?

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography With entries due in less than two weeks, the field is slowly coming together for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8 at Belmont Park. At least 11 horses are under consideration for the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion,” and more could join the field during the coming weeks. The Belmont figures to come up deeper [...]

5 Takeaways from the Fountain of Youth Stakes

Code of Honor winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes - © Adam Coglianese Photography A deep field, a fast pace, and a wild finish combined to make Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park one of the most interesting races so far on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Code of Honor, runner-up in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last fall, was the star of the show, rebounding to his best form to score [...]

Harvey Wallbanger Posts 29-1 Upset in Holy Bull Stakes

Harvey Wallbanger winning the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography/Leslie Martin Harvey Wallbanger spent much of Saturday’s Fasig-Tipon Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park racing in last place, but the 29-1 shot made the last move and ultimately had the last laugh as he rallied to post a stunning upset victory. The early pace of the 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race wound up more contested than expected as Epic [...]

Iroquois Stakes: Cairo Cat Wins First Prep Race for 2019 Kentucky Derby

Cairo Cat (left) rallies to defeat Tight Ten in the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Pinch yourself—is it a dream? No, it’s real. It seems hard to believe, but the first miles on the road to Louisville for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) were officially traveled on Saturday when a dozen promising two-year-old vied for supremacy in the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, where 7 ½ months from now [...]

How to Bet the Iroquois Stakes

Hog Creek Hustle winning his debut at Ellis Park - Coady Photography It seems hard to believe, but the 2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby kicks off this Saturday with the running of the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, which also serves as a “Win and You’re In” prep race for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Suffice to say, there’s a lot on the line in this 8 ½-furlong race, and if one [...]