Kentucky Derby contender profile: Storm the Court

Although Storm the Court’s pedigree suggests he might prove best on grass, his early success at Santa Anita indicates he can be a factor on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Jockeys to watch (and wager on) at Del Mar

Jockey Drayden Van Dyke - Keeneland Photo You’ve heard of horses for courses, but what about jockeys for courses? For a variety of reasons, some jockeys excel when riding at particular racetracks, specific distances or on dirt versus turf and vice versa. When the 2019 summer meet at Del Mar kicks off Wednesday, which jockeys should we expect to see in the spotlight during the 36-day racing season? Based on data from Statsmaster, here are a few jockeys [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Jockey Assignments, Facts and Trends

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby winner Justify - Coady Photography It is often said that jockeys are unable to make horses run beyond their abilities, but the difference between victory and defeat can come down to the skills of a rider in saving ground, timing moves correctly and riding hard to the finish line. That’s why the 20 jockeys who will compete in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) include the most talented riders in North America. Leading [...]

Why I’m Betting River Boyne in the San Francisco Mile

River Boyne - © Benoit Photo He might not be an obvious standout at first glance, but I believe #10 River Boyne will be tough to beat in Saturday’s $250,000 San Francisco Mile Stakes (G3) at Golden Gate Fields. The Irish-bred 4-year-old has been flat-out classy since arriving in North America a year and a half ago, going 7-for-13 while cracking the superfecta in all but one of his races. With five stakes wins (three of them graded) [...]

Improbable and Game Winner Look to Dominate in Separate Rebel Stakes Divisions

Improbable(Horsephotos.com) Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is after his sixth Kentucky Derby win, and two of his horses are shaping up to give him an outstanding shot at the garland of roses. Both Improbable and Game Winner are slated to race in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Rebel Stakes, though they won’t have a chance to face one another. On Wednesday, it was announced the Kentucky Derby prep race would be the first to split off into two separate [...]

Sparky Ville Wears Down Dessman in San Vicente Stakes

Sparky Ville winning the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) - © Benoit Photo Over a wet-fast, sealed racetrack at Santa Anita that was slower and significantly less speed-favoring than usual, Sparky Ville became a graded stakes winner by out-dueling two heavily-bet Bob Baffert trainees in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II). Sparky Ville’s chances were aided when the 7-10 favorite Coliseum and his stablemate Dessman broke slowly at the start of the seven-furlong sprint and subsequently rushed [...]

Bellafina Completes Rare Sweep in Chandelier Stakes

Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO No matter how you slice it, it takes a pretty special filly to sweep the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II), Del Mar Debutante (gr. I), and Chandelier Stakes (gr. I), California’s three major prep races for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Over the last 40 years, only four fillies have completed this impressive three-race streak, starting with Arewehavingfunyet (1985) and continuing with the [...]

Del Mar Handicap Gets the Stakes Action Started on Pacific Classic Day

Itsinthepost winning the San Gabriel Stakes (gr. II) - © BENOIT PHOTO The first of three graded stakes races on the Pacific Classic Day card is the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. Trainer Phil D’Amato has won 3 of the last 4 renditions and looks to make it back-to-back wins in the event after Hunt got to the wire first in last summer’s edition for owner Michael House. D’Amato sends out a trio of runners in #1 Kenjisstorm, [...]

How to Bet the Rancho Bernardo Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar

©Benoit Photo The final graded stakes race of the week at Del Mar is the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap. The six-and-a-half-furlong event over the main track drew a compact field of 6 led by last year’s winner #4 Skye Diamonds. The five-year-old mare put forth a pair of triple digit BRIS speed ratings despite finishing third twice in her first two tries of 2018, but has tailed off considerably since then. The Cal-bred flopped big time over [...]