Rating the 2019 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography As we head into the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, now seems like a good time to look back at the 17 North American prep races already run this year and assign a rating to each one. My ratings—based on a scale of 1 to 5—attempt to blend the apparent strength of each race on paper with its potential [...]

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 [...]

How to Bet the Fountain of Youth Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography The Saturday, March 2 card at Gulfstream Park includes a $750,000-guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 covering the final four races of the day, including the much-anticipated Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). The sequence looks a bit chalky, but I do like one live longshot in the finale, and if the sequence is indeed chalky than we should be able to hit it for [...]

Why I’m Betting Hidden Scroll in the Fountain of Youth

I don’t think anyone will deny that #5 Vekoma and #6 Signalman are the most accomplished runners heading into Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, a major stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. In a field of eleven three-year-olds, they’re the only proven graded stakes winners. Last year, Vekoma went 2-for-2 and defeated high-class rivals like Epic Dreamer, Mihos, Network Effect, and Call Paul in a maiden race and the Nashua Stakes (gr. [...]

2018 Year in Review: Horse Racing’s Top 5 Biggest Upsets

Knicks Go winning the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) - Keeneland Photo Although 2018 was generally a very productive year for racing’s established stars, that doesn’t mean the season went by without any memorable (and occasionally monumental) upsets. Some upsets featured high-priced winners, while others featured favorites that were defeated at very short prices. Comparing and ranking them is tricky, but after going back through the year’s results, here’s my opinion on five of the biggest racing upsets [...]

How to Bet the Blue Grass Stakes

Despite the potential of weather that emulates the winter, it is opening weekend at beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. The track that will soon be roughly 60 miles from my residence wastes no time jumping into high quality action with a ten-race card on Friday followed up by a stakes laden Saturday that includes three Grade 1’s spread over the 11-race slate. The headliner on the first of three Saturday cards at Keeneland this spring is the one [...]

How to Bet the Grade 1 Florida Derby

The grand finale on the 14-race Saturday afternoon card at Gulfstream Park is the $1.1 million dollar Grade 1 Florida Derby. The event for three-year-olds is conducted at a mile and an eighth and offers a total of 170 qualifying points (100 to the winner) on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard. The Florida Derby marks the return of one of my top contenders for this year’s “Run for the Roses” in #8 Audible. The New York bred has [...]

Analyzing the Surprising Fountain of Youth Results

Promises Fulfilled winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photography The Road to the Kentucky Derby took a major turn on Saturday when the champion Good Magic suffered a surprising defeat in the $400,000 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. Right from the start, the race failed to unfold as expected when Strike Power and Machismo—two colts with plenty of speed—failed to make serious bids to secure the [...]

Will Free Drop Billy Upset the Fountain of Youth?

Good Magic winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Photo by Carson Denis/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) The return of a champion is always an exciting day for racing fans, and for bettors it can provide a great opportunity to make a score if they believe that the champion is vulnerable to an upset. When Gulfstream Park hosts the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) this Saturday, all eyes will be on #6 Good Magic. Trained by Chad Brown, the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 2/27/18

Bolt d'Oro - © Benoit Photo. It’s been a bit quiet on the Kentucky Derby trail over the last week, but that won’t be the case for much longer. The upcoming Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park promises to be one of the most significant Derby prep races to date, and two races on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby are scheduled to be held this Thursday and Friday. I’ll kick off this action-packed [...]