Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10 – 7/9/18

Abel Tasman winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography In recent years, we’ve been treated to some truly memorable renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), and the 2018 edition at Churchill Downs is shaping up to be yet another terrific race. With a prospective field that’s packed with champions, Grade 1 winners, and intriguing up-and-comers, the Distaff should be among the highlights of this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Here’s how I rank the top contenders…. [...]

Abel Tasman Looks Tough in La Troienne Stakes

Abel Tasman winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography One year ago, Abel Tasmen gave notice that she was a champion in the making by unleashing a powerful late rally to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs by 1 ¼ lengths. That was the first of three Grade 1 wins that the Bob Baffert-trained filly would score during her Eclipse Award-winning 2017 campaign, and she’ll seek another when she returns to the site of [...]

Keying Unique Bella in the Apple Blossom Handicap

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo If you want to make a profit betting Friday’s $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park, then in all likelihood you’ll have to concede that #5 Unique Bella is probably unbeatable. The four-year-old daughter of Tapit has won seven of her nine starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer while showing flashes of pure brilliance and talent. Although some of her biggest victories have come in [...]

Dry Track Can Help Farrell Rebound in Azeri Stakes

Farrell winning the Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography Some horses like wet tracks; other show a strong dislike for anything but dry footing. And of course, once in a while a horse comes along and shows an affinity for only certain types of wet tracks. Such a horse is entered in Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, that being #2 Farrell. A brief glance at her record on wet tracks reveals that she’s [...]

Oaklawn Veterans Face Off in Bayakoa Stakes

Farrell training at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography A couple of local veterans and an accomplished stakes winner from Dubai are among the seven fillies and mares set to face off in the $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (gr. III) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park. The 8.5-furlong event is part of a series of filly and mare races at Oaklawn that continues with the March 17th Azeri Stakes (gr. II) and concludes with the prestigious $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) [...]

Four Stakes Races Highlight Final Fair Grounds Cards of 2017

Mr. Misunderstood winning the Commonwealth Turf Stakes (gr. III) - Coady Photography The last two days of 2017 comprise a stakes-packed weekend of coast-to-coast racing, and Fair Grounds in Louisiana is poised to celebrate the end of the year in particularly memorable fashion with a pair of stakes races on both Saturday and Sunday. First up on Saturday is the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes for three-year-old fillies going a mile on turf, and if you like large fields, [...]

Likely Derby, Oaks contenders start at Aqueduct

Beldame Stakes runner-up Money'soncharlotte heads the field for the Chilukki Stakes. Photo: J J Zamaiko Photography.   It may seem amazing while the Breeders’ Cup is on at Del Mar, but there are some good quality graded stakes races to interest punters at other North American venues this weekend. Aqueduct, Churchill Downs, and Woodbine host graded races Nov.3-5, and two of them will be of interest to those looking for next year’s big races for 3-year-olds. The first [...]