Shapiros’ Fair Odds Line for the 150th Running of the Belmont Stakes

Justify winning the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) - Jim McCue Photography Last week I did a preliminary Fair Odds line for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, but after further research and the post-position draw here is my final rendition: #1 Justify (Even money) - The undefeated dual Classic winner obviously has a ton going for him, including tactical speed that allows him to make the lead or stalk just off the early pace. However, regressing numbers [...]

2018 Kentucky Derby: A Horse-By-Horse Recap

Justify winning the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography The results of the 144th Kentucky Derby are in the history books, and it was a day for records to broken. Record rainfall. Record wagering. The demise of the fabled “Apollo Curse.” Throw in the fact that favored Justify delivered with a huge victory, and you have an unforgettable Kentucky Derby. But the Preakness and Belmont Stakes are still to come, so Triple Crown season is far from over. With an [...]

Good Magic Returns to the Spotlight Following Blue Grass Victory

Good Magic winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo A champion racehorse is back in the spotlight, and not a moment too soon. The horse in question is Good Magic, the champion two-year-old male of 2017 based off a powerful win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Long viewed as one of the main contenders for the upcoming Kentucky Derby, Good Magic disappointed his backers when third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) [...]

Good Magic Seeks Rebound in Blue Grass Stakes

Good Magic winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Photo by Carson Denis/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) #11 Good Magic might be the champion two-year-old male of 2017, but he certainly didn’t scare off the competition in Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland. Fifteen horses (including one also-eligible) have been entered in the nine-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, with Good Magic the 2-1 morning line favorite. The well-bred son of Curlin showed promise from [...]

An Early Preview of the Blue Grass Stakes

With the Grade 1 Florida Derby in the rearview mirror it is time to start looking ahead to the trio of Triple Crown prep races next weekend. The Santa Anita Derby should be great, but took a potential hit with McKinzie opting to skip the race due to an issue with one of his hind legs. The Wood Memorial in New York has not been the most productive event of late, but should be a solid race this year with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 3/29/18

Noble Indy winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. Question—what do Bravazo, Combatant, Free Drop Billy, Mississippi, Promises Fulfilled, Quip, and Reride have in common? Answer—they’re all contenders for the 2018 Kentucky Derby and they all scored their maiden victories at Churchill Downs, where the Derby is held each year. While experience over the main track at Churchill Downs certainly isn’t a bad thing for a Derby contender, you might be [...]

Did a Favorable Pace Setup Help Enticed in the Gotham Stakes?

Enticed winning the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by Coglianese Photography If you’re looking for the definition of a race that is “fast early, slow late,” check out the results of the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) on March 10th at Aqueduct. From start to finish, the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race got slower with every quarter-mile fraction, and while this isn’t surprising for a slow track like Aqueduct, it was the extent [...]

Three graded stakes events headline a solid late Pick 4 sequence on Tampa Bay Derby Day

After a massive Saturday of racing last weekend at Gulfstream Park, things heat up on Florida’s west coast this weekend with the running of the Grade 2 $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The mile and a sixteenth event over the main track is one of three Kentucky Derby prep races held in North America this Saturday that reward 50 qualifying points to the victor and marks the eleventh race on Tampa’s twelve race card. A late Pick 4 sequence that includes [...]

Analyzing a Competitive Renewal of the Gotham Stakes

Firenze Fire winning the Jerome Stakes (NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand When handicapping Kentucky Derby prep races, it’s usually simple to narrow down the field to a couple of main contenders. But that isn’t the case in Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, a race in which nearly half the entrants boast impressive credentials. Leading the way are the Grade 1 winners #5 Firenze Fire and #6 Free Drop Billy, who also strike me as the most likely [...]